But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT) Samuel told King Saul that God said to attack the Amalekites and completely annihilate them including the women, children, and animals. The battle was waged and the Israelites attacked the Amalekites, just as God had commanded. Unfortunately, they also kept the King of the Amalekites and the best of the animals. As a result, God sent Samuel to deliver the message to Saul that since he had not obeyed, God was removing him from the throne. When Samuel calls Saul on the carpet about not destroying everything, Saul claims he saved the best animals to sacrifice to God. So first he partially obeyed, which is basically saying “I will follow Your instructions, but only the part I want to.” It is the same as the temptation of Eve. God saidContinue reading »


Friendship Delights – Part Two

Days ago in Rest in Hope, I posted Part One of “Friendship Delights” that shared about the bond of David and Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Another favorite bible friendship story is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi’s two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah became widows, as did Naomi. After her husband passed, returning to her homeland, Judah, was Naomi’s mission. Orpah and Ruth told Naomi that they’d go with her to her people. Naomi discouraged them both, but Ruth persisted. She said to Naomi these words from the book of Ruth 1:16 – KJV, “. . . Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” How touching is that love, loyalty and devotion?

Naomi convinced Orpah to return to her kinfolk, but Ruth refused to be deterred. Off she went with her mother-in-law to a destiny of which she likely had no foreknowledge. Upon reaching and settling in Judah, Ruth listened to her mother-in-law’s wise and timely advice. Subsequently, Ruth gained Boaz as a husband and he gained a jewel of a wife. Ruth conceived and birthed Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Little known is that, according to the genealogy in Matthew 1:5, Rahab, the harlot, — Joshua 2 — was the great-grandmother of David.

Ruth 4:18 – KJV:

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Matthew 1:5 – KJV:

. . . And Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king.

Note: The spellings of the subject names differ in the Old and New Testaments.

I end this with a salute to my nearest and dearest best friend, Arnetta, who has passed on, but memories of her remain solidly in my heart. Ours was a proven and treasured friendship — indeed. The photo that accompanies this piece is of Arnetta and I from “back in the day.”

“How about becoming a clairvoyant?” The man shuffled with some papers and let out a sigh. He was getting tired of finding me a job. I had been sitting in front of him for half an hour and we had looked at job offers. But there was nothing. Granted, finding a job for an old missionary who has been on the mission field for most of his life is a daunting task for any man, but when he started to talk about being a clairvoyant I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly. “Excuse me?” He started to tap his fingers on his desk. “I said you could become a clairvoyant. You know, you play around with a crystal ball, read the Tarot cards. Communicate with the dead. Stuff like that.” I looked at him wide-eyed and shook my head. “I don’t understand.” It was getting late. The job office clerk clearly wanted to go home and had already drunk far more coffee than was good for him. He wasContinue reading »

Salvation is a gift. It can’t be earned, is never deserved and is available to every person who wants it. When Jesus spoke his last words, “It is finished,” his mission was truly accomplished. The temple veil was rent in two and heaven’s gates were opened. If salvation is free, then do our works still matter? Revelation 14:13 gives us a clue. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Our works may not get us into heaven, but it is clear from the Bible that God rewards us in direct relation to how we lived our lives on earth. Good works are important? You mean, like showing up in church and faithfully giving a donation to a needy cause? Those may be important, but the true works of God go a little further than that. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work theContinue reading »

Atheist Richard Dawkins said in his book, ‘The Selfish Gene’ the following: We are survival machines- robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. Unfortunately, however much we may deplore it, it does not stop being true. Is it true? From a pure, naturalistic standpoint and judging by the stories in our daily newspaper stories, it seems he may have a point. The world is self-centered; man is sinful and operates on the basis of the survival of the fittest. But it’s not God’s way of doing things. The apostle James made it clear when he said, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” * God’s nature is very different from the carnal nature of man and it is why Christ in us is the hope of glory. There is a story about the Christian evangelist Sundar Singh from India that illustrates this well. Once, SundarContinue reading »

“I call myself a Christian,” the well-dressed man proudly stated. “You can trust me.” But when his faith got tested and the storm hit, he was the first to abandon his post and run for shelter. Faith should be more than having the right Christian outfit. In fact, it may not have anything to do with the outfit you wear, but is a matter of the heart. Are we living an exemplary life on the outside, but are we singing a different tune in the well hidden, secret corners of our hearts? The world notices it too. The world is all too happy to point out that faith in God does not seem to help all that much and is not necessary. Of course, people who think that way don’t realize that throwing the baby away with the bathwater is a serious mistake. Just because Christians fall sometimes does not mean that faith in God is useless and that God is not there. But our sample can help and isContinue reading »

Abortion has been a topic that has stirred passionate responses from antiquity. While this is a medical process, the procedure often combines the ending of life with severe brutality- for both the unborn and the mother. While technology has made the procedure quicker in the modern era, the methods are frighteningly similar to those used in more ancient periods. One of the most renowned Church Fathers was Tertullian, living around 200 AD. Abortion and infanticide were practices the ancient world knew well and he spoke strongly against them. He said: “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument that is designed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for first of all opening the uterus and then keeping it open. It also has a circular blade, by which the limbs within the womb are dissected with careful, but unflinching care. Then a copper spike is driven into the unborn to take its life. From this infanticide method, some gave it the name, ‘Killer of the Infant’.” Tertullian, in another article, writes: “Are youContinue reading »

Sitting under the open sky, I marvel at the changes that occur in its coloring and cloud formations. The blue sky is a canvas for the birds in flight. They fly in symmetry, flapping their wings, and soaring rhythmically in the air. Playfully, the birds frolic in contentment as they thrive in what God so generously provides. Ah! What captivating beauty on display. I embrace the pleasure of the views. There come moments that teach me as I watch and breathe in the awe of creation. One morning, I noticed that a dirty cup was floating in the water where ducks were swimming. They nonchalantly swam by the cup as if they didn’t even notice it. Right after, two birds flew over the dirty cup — unbothered by its presence. God used those observances to reinforce to me that the “dirty cups” in my life shouldn’t cause me to forsake the rhythm of my journey. Truly, I sat there in appreciation for that deeply meaningful lesson learned from ducks andContinue reading »

Oh, the plights of whistleblowers. Yes, indeed, they go against the grain in their actions. The motives for blowing whistles vary with reasons that range from selfish, vengeful, courageous, honorable and loving. Disgruntled employees are in the mix of whistleblowers as are folks who are genuinely grieved by what set them on courses to expose destructive and criminal activities. Below are two famous examples of whistleblowers. Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician and labor union activist. She worked for Kerr-McGee. Karen reported and testified about concerns relative to unsafe conditions in her workplace. In route to meet a journalist and a union official — mysteriously, Karen was killed in a car accident. A 1983 Academy Award nominated film, Silkwood, was made about her case. Did Karen lose her life for being a grain resister — a woman who refused to be silent upon discovery of vitally unsafe conditions in her workplace? It’s highly likely that that’s precisely what occurred. Marie Ragghianti, chairwoman of Tennessee’s Board of Pardons and Paroles wasContinue reading »

“Blessed be the fruit of your womb” – Deuteronomy 28:4 To follow the Word of God and to follow his instructions is to bring success and life. Moses set before the people of Israel “a blessing and a curse”. Obedience to the Lord and His Word, a dynamic and living entity, brings about numerous blessings in this life and beyond. However, Moses speaks of a promised “curse” upon those who “turn aside” from the words of God. Politicians, who would aspire to run the United States, are trying to pull Christians aside from the Word of God. They pit their authority of this age, fleeting at best, against the eternal power of the Word of God by promising and pandering to those who only want success in this life and have little regard for the Kingdom of God. Politicians are campaigning on pro-abortion platforms, often hidden under the rhetorical title of “reproductive healthcare”. They are offering Christians a dangerous choice and a formidable challenge. Christianity has denounced abortion since theContinue reading »

“Don’t you know that 70,000 girls ages 15-19 die each year from pregnancy and childbirth?” I was discussing God with a young woman and she had discovered I was opposed to abortion. She couldn’t believe I would be against something that to her was so obviously right. She looked at me with a dark frown and sneered, “You know, babies that do survive have a 60% higher chance of dying.” Survive what? Surviving the pregnancy? She examined my face for a moment, probably in the hopes that I would see the light and I’d agree with her, but since I didn’t respond she shrugged her shoulders and shouted, “Abortion is needed. It’s the only sane solution for these poor girls.” Then she took off in a huff, no longer willing to discuss the issue with such an ignorant and uninformed creature like myself. There was much I could have said, like, ‘how come we live in a society where it is normal that thousands upon thousands of immature, young teensContinue reading »