Revenge On the Password Fairy

Am I the only one who has more passwords than good sense?

Everybody or everything demands a password or a code. And woe be unto you if you’ve forgotten your password. You jump through a labyrinth of hoops to get a new password, which you’ll probably forget just as soon as you get off the site.

And the password fairies turn up their nose at a password you can remember. Ever get a message like this, “Would you like Google to generate a password for you?” zxy93@#314xxxza43ooonb43xx#$.

“Put this password in a safe place where it can’t be stolen. No, idiot, not on your computer. Don’t you know that Russians and Nigerians can send little bugs into your computer which crawl around and steal your password? It could be the end of your life as you know it. Memorize it!”

“Memorize it!” you want shout back at the password fairy. “Do you have any idea of the advanced state of decomposition of my brain? Do you realize that I have nine hundred jillion other passwords in there … somewhere? If I could just remember them.”

If you don’t do it, though, the Russians or the Nigerians will hack your computer and you’ll be sorry. I wonder what it was that the Russians and Nigerians did to make a living before Internet.

Passwords! (Scream, scream, scream).

God Has a Password?

So, suspicious little bells ding when you find this in the Message paraphrase of Psalm 100:4 :

Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’

    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.

    Thank him. Worship him.”

I know Eugene Peterson speaks metaphorically here in his paraphrase of Psalm 100, but not another password please! And to get into God’s presence no less. You know what, though? I think I can remember this password. “Thank you!” Continue reading

A Thousand-Generational Blessing for Your Family

I had a new thought recently as I was praying for my family. Lots of people like to say that you may be cursed for the sins of your fathers all the way to the third and fourth generation.

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:5-7, NIV)

Now, I don’t know about the curses thing. I think we’re guilty of seeing what we want (to have something new and cool to preach?) But, why do we focus on the negative?

I’d say that this verse promises that the moment I put my faith in Christ, an atom bomb of blessings explodes in my life and all the curses are blown away. Look what He says, “…showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

When I give my life to Christ, the devil’s curse is broken and Christ promises a thousand years of blessing in my family.

Now, I know that sociologically, families pass on traits—good and bad. And we still must deal with this heritage in our life. But, in Christ, we’re no longer a prisoner! We can grow into something better.

Blessings — for Your Great, Great, Great, etc Grandkids
Continue reading

God’s Joy–Your Safe Place Against Catastrophie

I’ve played a lot of baseball in my life and probably watched as much as I played. One of the funniest things I ever saw was a game between Paraloma, the village where I grew up, and Graves Chapel. Graves Chapel wasn’t even a village, just an area where enough people lived to have a baseball team.

Not a very good baseball team, mind you, but a team nonetheless.

This particular day Paraloma was putting a whipping on them that even Mr. Clean couldn’t wash off (excuse me for getting a bit over the top). Late in the game Graves Chapel substituted a young guy for their third baseman. The replacement evidently hadn’t played much.

Not long afterwards a Paraloma player on second base took off trying to steal third. The catcher whipped it down to the third baseman who planted himself on the bag and waited for the runner to come so he could tag him out.

The baserunner saw that he was going to be out by a mile so he slowed and walked submissively towards where the green third baseman waited. The defender stretched out his glove to make the tag when suddenly the docile baserunner came alive and slid under his tag.


The crowd exploded in laughter. I think even the sheepish young man’s own team was laughing. His coach took him out after that.

Safe! If you’re on the base, you’re safe. They can’t get you out.

Are You Safe?

Listen to this:

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” (Philippians 3:1, NKJV) The NIV and several other versions say it’s a “safeguard.”

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Rejoicing in the Lord makes us “safe!” It’s a safeguard. Continue reading

Niagara Falls—the End or the Beginning of Your Life?

Back in the dawn of time, when television images were still black and white, a strange comedy team tickled people’s funny bone. The called themselves the “Three Stooges.” But that was an exaggeration. They weren’t even that smart.

If you looked up “stupid” in the dictionary, Moe, Larry and Curly Joe might have their picture next to the definition. Moe had a Beatle’s haircut long before the Beatles; Larry opted for the Einstein “explosion in a mattress factory” coiffure and Curly Joe had no curls at all. He sported a crew cut.

One skit that sticks in my memory was about, “Niagara Falls.” In the story, Moe’s wife had left him for Larry. Moe followed him wanting revenge and caught up with him in Niagra Falls whereupon he beat him up. Supposedly years later he was telling the story to Curly Joe, the dumbest of the three (and the dumbest of those three is way down the food chain).

Curly Joe made the mistake of saying, “Niagra Falls” and Moe went into a kind of violent trance. He said, “Niiii-agra Falls. Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch. Then I caught him!” Everytime he heard “Niagra Falls,” he beat someone up.

Poor Curly kept forgetting and he said it several times. Each time he paid the price. Funny, huh?

Where Is Your Niagara Falls?

I think we’ve all had our “Niagara Falls” experiences. Some pastors hear the name of certain towns where they had been pastors and they want to say, “Niagra Falls!” and beat on someone. Some of you have had bosses like that.

All of us have had experiences like that. We hear the name of a place or a person and it feels like a gut-punch. Memories and emotions still lurk right under the surface, and it doesn’t take much to make them swim to the surface like a five-pound bass leaping out of the water after a dragonfly. Continue reading

Meeting God In “Thin Places”

One of my favorite places to go with my wife was Cochem in Germany. Over a millennium ago, men founded this town. Though today’s atmosphere was probably created more by the Chamber of Commerce than by history, when you’re there you feel like you step back hundreds of years in time.

Phyllis and I accidentally discovered it in 1988 as we wandered alongside the Moselle River, driving up from nearby Luxembourg. Friends had offered to watch the kids so we could get away. We spent the night in a bed and breakfast in Cochem, and the next day went to see the Eltz castle in the forest northeast of town.

The little boy and the historian in me fell in love and Phyllis and I went back several other times, creating vivid memories together—the night of the festival with all the oom-pa-pa music, and the people in old German costumes, for example.

Funny, but we often connect places with good times or bad times. That is a good place for me. A really good place.


Cochem, Germany

Morning Places

I’m a bit like that about the place where I read my Bible and pray in the morning. Just like some Christians are attached to a certain pew, I like to meet the Lord at a spot where I have memories.

At the moment it’s the back deck of our house (it’s really the back porch but I said “deck” so that you younger readers would know what I’m talking about). Before I get my work day gets started,  I love to sit out there. The quietness soothes me. Note, “quietness,” still includes birds singing and crickets cricketing. We’ve got a couple of Robins who think they own the place and we are their renters.

The day has intruded on the night; the sunshine is fresh and soft and I can get centered with God for what’s ahead. Continue reading