“Why did you steal from me, son,” said the father to the son. “Have I not given you enough?” “I don’t know,” the son shrugged. “I just needed money, and you’ve got plenty anyway.” The father felt the anger rising in his heart, but he pressed his lips together and controlled himself. He had quarreled before, but quarreling did not help. “What did you need the money for?” he asked at last. The son answered him without even blinking his eyes, “For a party with my friends. We needed drinks.” The father shook his head. His son was only 14 years old. Where would this lead to? A month later something else happened. The boy did not come home that night and only returned the following evening. He clearly had too much to drink as he stumbled inside and there faced his father, who looked at him with an ashen face. “Something the matter?” the son asked. The father nodded. “Yes son… where were you last night?” The boy shruggedContinue reading »

The other day I came across an inspiring anecdote which illustrated the workings of prayer in a refreshing way. Once, a man woke up in the middle of the night and was overwhelmed by a deep sense of dread and danger. However, the feeling had nothing to do with the man himself but concerned his friend, a missionary who was working in the heart of Africa. Although it was dark, his bed warm and the man tired, he forced himself out of bed and made intercession for his friend. The foreboding feeling of danger did not leave immediately, but this prayer warrior did not yield to the temptation to give up and he fought in prayer like Jacob wrestled with the angel. Finally, as it was already getting light, a great sense of peace flooded into the man’s heart and he went back to bed. A month later he received news from his missionary friend and learned what had happened the night of his prayer. The missionary wrote: “On oneContinue reading »

In Part One of this, I expressed about pastors who were drug addicted. Those struggles can take tolls not only on the addicted but on their family members, as well. Drugs involved aren’t always illegal ones. Scores of folks are hooked on prescription drugs, some of which are sold on the black market. I recall learning about Christian parents with adult children who are/were addicted to drugs. The accounts are steeped in sorrow. There are parents who do the best that they know how while being faithful to gospel truths. Treatment centers certainly do help. Often, though, years of yo-yo actions occur with numerous relapses. Many prayers and works go into measures of help. It’s wonderful news to know that addictions are conquered. Families are elated to overcome the enormous hurdles in addictive circumstances. Of course, we know that addictive behaviors aren’t limited to drugs and alcohol. There’s a reality based cable program dedicated to situations relative to hoarders. Extreme cases boggle the minds of some folks. I’ve seen onlyContinue reading »

Once upon a time an Indian and a rich businessman were both listening to a moving sermon. The Spirit was knocking on their hearts and both felt the desire to open their hearts to Jesus. The Indian did so at once, but the rich man couldn’t quite take the step. In fact, it took him months before he finally surrendered. Later the man asked the Indian rather puzzled,”Tell me Wanakatou, how come you were able to give your heart to Jesus so easily, while it took me months before I could make that decision?” “That very simple,” the Indian answered. “Imagine there is a prince who wants to give us beautiful new clothes. I only had a pair of ripped pants and smudgy blanket to wrap around body to keep warm. You not like me. You already think you have fine clothes. I hated my dirty blanket but not you. You like your clothes. I had nothing to be proud of, but you did. So, I very happy to hearContinue reading »

Once upon a time, a mother was walking down the street with her little boy. Not anything unusual, except that the little boy had had polio and could hardly walk and was struggling along with his iron braces. A pitiful sight, but not to the mother; she was full of radiant joy and encouraged her son to keep going. “Good boy…It’s going so well,” she exclaimed jubilantly. Then the boy looked up and said, “Maybe, I can still learn to run after all! Would it be all right if I try?” A difficult question; of course that boy couldn’t run. Anybody could see that. He would fall and hurt himself. But the mother was confident and encouraged her son. “Come on son… give it a try. You can do more than you know.” The boy sighed and then took a few steps forward. He didn’t in any way resemble a seasoned runner, participating in a trial, but the boy did move, and for a few steps, it went well. ButContinue reading »

My heart is wounded to know of the folks who battle with addictive behaviors. There are gambling addicts, shopping addicts, food addicts, drug addicts, alcohol addicts, social media addicts, and addicts in other addictive categories. A percentage of Christians are in those numbers, as are their loved ones. In August of 2011, a well-known pastor was found deceased in a New York City hotel. Despite his mother’s efforts to keep the cause of death from public disclosure, a court ruling allowed the results to be publicly released in 2013. The subject pastor had shared about his past struggles with drug addiction. Many folks didn’t know that those struggles for him weren’t in the past. I can only imagine how he wrestled with his destructive habit. Likely, he was torn about the double life he was living. Was he ashamed to seek professional help? Perhaps he did . . . . Was he seized with fear relative to being exposed, and thus, kept suffering “in the closet”? My guess is thatContinue reading »

Sorrow came to visit, and grief sought to consume him – It was challenging to escape the inner turmoil – Remedy? He helped his neighbor – Reaching out to help eased his sorrow Widowed and lonely What did she do? She wallowed awhile then unselfishly, she “kissed” her self-pity goodbye – In she went to soothe neglected elderly folks who welcomed her in earnest – She adds the Lord’s light whenever she visits the assisted living home – Truly, helping others helps her Retired and bored – Bingo and golf aren’t enough to fulfill – Seeking, seeking more to complete his mundane life – Ah ha! He found more to satisfy – How so? He’s now a volunteer for the church bus ministry Yes, giving transpo drives folks and fuels his inner “engine” Yes, indeed, helping others gives plenty joyous gains. Certainly, helping others helps us.

There is an inspiring anecdote about two men who were boating on a foaming river. The two, however, were not very experienced and somehow they did not steer their boat properly. At one point, they took a few wrong turns and landed on a tributary and lost complete control. They were now being swept to a roaring waterfall and were in danger of losing their lives. But, there was hope. A man on the shore saw their desperate plight and got out a rope and threw it to the struggling friends. The first one grabbed the rope and was pulled to safety. But, just as the second man was about to grab the rope, a tree trunk floated by and that seemed to provide more security than the rope that was attached to the shore. The man made his decision. He jumped to the tree trunk, but he had made a deadly mistake. Only minutes later the screaming man disappeared with his tree trunk over the edge of the waterfallContinue reading »

In the Bible, we read of how Jesus went about helping others. He healed, ministered, fed, encouraged, and taught. He exhibited love, patience, and wisdom throughout his engagement with all sorts of folks. Even when Jesus wasn’t shown love, respect and appreciation, he remained loyal to God and gospel truths. We marvel at how the Lord solidly stood strong in the midst of various sentiments, expressions and spiritual postures. The Bible shares that Jesus helped by raising the dead, healing the sick, lifting spirits, and rebuking unwise choices. He cast out demons, as well as restored sight and hearing. He multiplied and fed fish and bread to thousands of folks, and at a wedding, Jesus turned water into wine. Yes, he abundantly helped. The Bible also shares that Jesus gave his life for folks to live lives more abundantly — John 10:10 – KJV — The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they mightContinue reading »

We have God to thank For our independence – Thank you, Lord For love, courage and hope – We’re blessed to have freedom To practice religion – Thank you for such precious and joyous liberties We’re grateful for the symbolism of the red, white and blue, including our flag with stars representing of our union We thank you, Lord for the soldiers who serve to add to the continued protection of our great nation We’re thankful for the assorted ways to enjoy our families and other loved ones because the precious gift of freedom was granted us those many years ago We appreciate the fun, food and fireworks displays that annually occur in honor of our independence Yes, dear Lord, thank you for another Fourth of July and for all of the bountiful things that you’ve lovingly and generously bestowed upon us.

“What does it mean to respect God?” the young man asked his father. The older man looked thoughtfully at his son for a moment, and then replied, “Somebody who respects God involves God in every little thing that he does. What God thinks matters and such a person seeks to follow what God wants. Such a person is wise and respects God. But a man who has too much confidence in his own abilities does not consider the mind of God. What God thinks doesn’t matter to him and he seeks to follow his own ideas. Such a person, in effect, disrespects the God of creation and is not wise.” The advice of the father to his child sounds so easy, and yet it is not always so easy to put it into practice. A short search online about the definition of wisdom leads us to an interesting quote. It states: “Wisdom: The art to judge and act in the proper way in all circumstances in life.” To judge andContinue reading »