The criminal

One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”

But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”

He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

The criminal hanging next to Jesus is rapidly becoming my favorite person in the Bible.

We don’t get to know much about him. In fact, all we know is that he was a criminal. He had done something worthy of death.

I think that is part of the reason his story is in the Bible. Apparently he had done something unforgivable. How many of us feel that we have done the unforgivable? 

I think the other reason that this man’s story is in the Bible is because it depicts the simplicity of salvation.

The Church likes to complicate salvation. We like to tell people that their prayer for salvation must include certain words or phrases and be followed by certain actions. We get tangled up in formulas and miss the simplicity.

Look at this passage.

The criminal does not repent or ask forgiveness for his sins. He does not ask Jesus to be his savior. He does not ask to be taken to heaven. No.

By his words to the other criminal, we know that he understood the reality of the Man dying next to him. He knew that Jesus was guilty of nothing and not deserving of death. He knew that Jesus was God in the flesh.

By his words to Jesus, we know that he knew he was unworthy of the Kingdom of God. He does not ask to be a part of that kingdom. He simply asks to be remembered.

And yet, Jesus promised him eternity in paradise.

No magic words. No formula.

Simplicity.

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How many?

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How many herbs and spices can you see in this picture? I kinda wanted to stick my face in it an inhale deeply. Unfortunately, it was too far away from the walk way. I’m guessing they did that on purpose…

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Seven times 32 =

The number of:

birthdays missed

anniversaries not remembered

holidays with missing loved ones

milestones not celebrated

dreams never fulfilled

goals never reached

lives not enriched

4.16.2007

neVer forgeT

2014-04-12 10.31.56

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I am a Hokie

Over 25 years ago I was siting on the back stoop of our military housing complex. My family would be moving in a few weeks. My dad had retired and had just taken a job teaching at a college in Virginia.

One of the neighbor moms was sitting next to me.

“So, you’re going to be a Hokie huh?”

“Uhuh.” I nodded. I lied. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.

After twenty five years in Blacksburg, I now know what a Hokie is – and I am not one. Sorry Hokie Nation – I do not love you.

Well, not most days.

Tomorrow I will be a Hokie.

I will be wearing a Hokie t-shirt, Hokie earrings, a Hokie necklace, and even Hokie fingernails.

I’m pretty sure the general public will think I’ve lost my mind. Which, personally, is my working definition of a Hokie. 

But tomorrow is April 16th.

Tomorrow, everyone is a Hokie.

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He knew

One of my favorite things about my Va volunteer rescue squad is the Junior Crew. The members of the Junior Crew are high school students. Most of them join because they are considering a career in the medical field. Needless to say – it’s kind of the cream of the local high school crop.

A few years ago, a petite girl with medical school dreams joined the crew. Her personality immediately enamored the entire crew – junior and senior. She was bright. She was happy. Just being around her made everyone else happy. She had the best giggle ever.

I hadn’t known her very long before I learned her last name. It sounded very familiar. I confirmed my suspicions with my friend who was the “Junior adviser.” This tiny girl with the amazing personality had lost her father to the violence of April 16. She had been about 12 years old.

I was looking forward to seeing her when I went to Va last weekend. Just to say “hi” and see her smile. When I arrived at the station on Friday afternoon, she was asleep on the couch. The TV was on an we were making quite the racket – she didn’t wake up and I didn’t have the heart to end her nap. I figured I would see her later that evening.

But I did not.

After the 3.2 for 32, I started to head back to the station where I was going to take a shower, pack my car, and leave. A part of me was saddened by the fact that I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to my young friend. As I walked, I was distracted by a sign pointing to an April 16 special collections display in the university library. I decided to take a detour.

I spent several minutes watching the video display of the outpourings of comfort from around the world. Letters from children. Signed banners from other schools. Teddy bears. Quilts. Flowers. So many people cared in so many different ways. I let myself go back in time a little bit. I let myself feel some of the emotions from seven years ago.

Needless to say, my emotions were a little raw when I walked out the door. So raw that I almost walked right into my young friend.

We shared several happy moments there at the library door. I will neither confirm nor deny that I cried.

The hugs of my young friend made my day.

But as I walked away, it wasn’t her arms around me that I felt – it was the arms of my Heavenly Father who knew exactly who I needed to see that day.

 

 

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Isaiah 51:12-16

“I, I’m the One comforting you. What are you afraid of—or who? Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead? Some poor wretch destined for dust? You’ve forgotten me, God, who made you, who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth. And here you are, quaking like an aspen before the tantrums of a tyrant who thinks he can kick down the world. But what will come of the tantrums? The victims will be released before you know it. They’re not going to die. They’re not even going to go hungry. For I am God, your very own God, who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies. I teach you how to talk, word by word, and personally watch over you, Even while I’m unfurling the skies, setting earth on solid foundations, and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!’”

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Missed one

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