Week 20 Sunday

Crooked Roads and Rough Ways

Today’s scripture selection: Luke 3-4

Key Verse: Luke 3:5b

     When John the Baptist went off preaching in the wilderness he had a very specific job to do.  He was the “voice” crying in the desert, helping to prepare the way for the promised Messiah to come.

     One of the ways he did that was to quote another very famous prophet – Isaiah.  He repeated Isaiah’s ancient words, written centuries before, about how valleys would be filled in; crooked roads would become straight; and rough ways would be smoothed over.

     He wasn’t talking about a Biblical age highway beautification project.

     He was talking about the inner spiritual renewal that would be an integral part of Christ’s advent.

  • When light overcomes darkness
  • When people are given a new chance
  • When lives are turned around and set right
  • When hope springs new out of the ashes
  • When real spiritual renewal happens by the grace of God
  • When the rough and crooked ways of our lives are straightened and smoothed out

Then you know God has been powerfully at work.

He doesn’t force it on us; we have to freely choose to be a part of it.

But God offers it again and again – no matter how hopeless we might feel or think things are.

God is in the business of redeeming lives through Christ’s love and grace.

So don’t worry about the less than perfect aspects of your life.  God is waiting to work a miracle with the very thing you might feel is the most unfixable.

All you have to do is open your heart to the possibility.


Prayer: Lord, take my imperfect ways and accept my heart, just as I offer it.  Work your miracle in my life once again – that I can become once again an instrument of your grace.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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