The greatest act of faith takes place when a man finally decides that he is not God. -Johann Wolfgang Goethe The world is always directly opposed to God. In the world it is popular to say, “I will believe it when I see it.” You can hardly expect the unbelieving world to have a different attitude. After all, faith is not always easy. Often faith requires us to step out into the unknown and we just have to trust that God will catch us in case we fall, and to the world that is ‘foolishness’. But with God it’s always by faith and never by sight. Of course, we all would love to understand things better and always see the reasons why. But that’s not the way of faith. St. Augustine hit the nail on the head when he said, “Faith is trust in the things you don’t see, and the reward of that trust is that you will see.” *** The great sailing vessels of the past give usContinue reading »

The story goes that during the American Civil War, an officer angrily stormed into the room of General Stonewall Jackson and complained that a certain group of soldiers was making too much noise and that the general should do something about it. “What are they doing?” The general asked. “They are praying,” the officer sneered. And before that they were singing.” “But what’s wrong with that?” The general was surprised. “Everything,” answered the officer. “It says in the articles that every soldier that brings forth an unusual noise needs to be punished.” Stonewall Jackson shook his head. “My dear friend; God forbid that praying and singing are considered unusual noises. If these things are truly considered unusual noises, I think I have no hope anymore that this country will ever see the light again.” *** Public prayer, especially here in Europe, is a rare sight. Once in a while it’s done in a restaurant, but generally people shy away from being too open about their faith for fear of beingContinue reading »

“the ropes around his arms. . . melted” – Judges 15:14   Like the powerful Samson, we often find ourselves in positions where we are overwhelmed- bound and restrained by life’s demands and every way we turn we are halted or obstructed. We are limited by the knots, sometimes endless snarls of complications, in our lives. Samson was given the power by God and through the Spirit to burst any bond or rope that was put upon him. Samson’s power and gifts were matchless throughout history. However, we are not without resources and gifts. The power of God is always stronger than the tangles of life. It does not matter the size or gravity of the knots, for as the prayer says- “in your hands there is no knot which can not be undone”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” said my neighbor. He had spoken to me about his recent troubles and I had gently suggested that God could help him, if he would look to Him for help. „There’s nothing you get for free in this life. You’ve got to work for it. And God’s not going to do it for you.” Of course God does expect us to be faithful and do what we can do, but there are limits. There are things you cannot possibly work for. Things that can only be received and God specializes in those things. *** I once walked past a little shop on the edge of town and saw a man who was trying to wash the shop window. That was certainly a good idea, for the whole window seemed caked with dirt, but whatever he did, the window stayed dirty. He scratched behind his ears. He didn’t understand. Maybe some new cleaning products and hot water would help. He furiously scrubbed andContinue reading »

We don’t always seem to listen to the right voices and because of that, it does happen that we get ourselves stuck in the brambles, just like the stubborn, lost sheep that Jesus talked about in the Bible. There you are. Stuck, lonely and surrounded by thorns. Is there a way out? With Jesus, there is always hope. *** A father and a son were once running a very successful company. The father was just and wise and had organized his business with great skill and had gotten rich. He trained his son in all the ways of the business and had great hopes that his son would take over the company when he retired. And although the father and the son were very close, still the son sometimes resisted his father’s oversight. Now it so happened that the father had a very mean competitor. This man was shrewd and selfish and he would grab any opportunity to further his own cause, no matter how much pain and hardship itContinue reading »

Pressing on and going forward Philippians 3:13-14 ( NKJV ) “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Forgiving and forgetting is the prerequisite to going forward. As we follow the example of the apostle Paul and echo his words of “this one thing I do,” let’s not miss the truth that in order to reach ahead and press forward it is at times necessary to forgive and forget the things of our past. Looking back keeps us from looking upward to God for help. Forgiving and forgetting are keys to true freedom in the Christian life. The hardest thing about being a Christian is keeping your eyes on God. We get so easily distracted in this fallen world. We need to have our mind set on the things that will glorifyContinue reading »

Living for Christ Colossians 3:2-4 (NKJV) “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Before you came to Christ you were living the way the world lives. You did things as the world did things. It was not until you came to Christ that your life made a complete change. Before becoming Christians we all came from different backgrounds. Some of us were at our worst end, and didn’t know where to turn. Some of us like the apostle Paul were drawn In by God. Some of us grew up in the church knowing Christ. But, it makes no difference how we came into the Kingdom of God. But it makes all the difference in the world that we start growing in Christ because we have begun a new transform life when we accepted Christ in our lives.Continue reading »

Ed is packing his tweed overnight bag for his regular weekend trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey to play his favorite game, black jack, at the Bravo casino. Sylvia stands in the door with her bed head hair donned in plaid robe and well-worn slippers. Deep disappointment is etched on her plump face. “Not again, Ed,” she whimpers. Sylvia knows he’s headed to gamble, a “hobby” that has almost ruined their once stable union. It has put a huge dent in their budget, as well. Sheepishly, Ed responds, “I’ve got to win back my losses from the last few times that I played, Sylvia. Don’t you remember, babe, that I sometimes win?” “Actually, I remember the odds and they stack up to — mostly, you lose, which adds up to — we lose, Ed.” Ed winks. “But when I win, I win big, don’t I — don’t we?” Sylvia responds with disgust. “In the WHOLE of the matter, Ed, you’re not even breaking even. You know it, and I knowContinue reading »

I am a planner by nature. I like to have a plan, even if I don’t stick to it. If the plan goes off track, I plan some more. James had some words of wisdom for the planners of the world. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 (NIV) I find myself praying for someone, and my intentions are good and it starts out well. I say, Lord, I pray for so-and-so, and that you will give them courage and strength…” So I’ve started well. What comes next is where things go a bit awry. I find my thoughts wandering to the land ofContinue reading »

We live in a material world. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s nothing we can do about it. However, living in the world is not the same as letting the world live in us. John tells us: “The world and the lust thereof passeth away, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” This world as it is today is not our final resting place. *** The other day, when I was laden with care and anxiety, I fled into a beautiful forest to find rest and repose, and sat down at a babbling brook. “Lord, sometimes it gets too much,” I prayed. But while I was sitting there, I noticed these little flies that hovered over the water. They caught my interest. They seemed to be happily playing and dancing over the waters, blissfully unaware of the weightier matters of this world. Then, I noticed that some of them dove into the moving stream and took a refreshing bath, but all the while they keptContinue reading »

“God? There is no God.” The atheistic visitor smugly stirred his coffee and looked up to see if anyone had the guts to challenge him. “Religion is for the weak,” he continued. He had been invited by some neighbours in the street, and felt it was a good opportunity to testify of his unbelief. The couple who had invited him shifted uncomfortably on their couch, but said nothing as they did not want to offend their visitor. However their seven-year old son didn’t care about being nice and he cared even less about people who challenged his God. “Mister, that is not true,” he ventured. “God does exist.” “O, really?” said the atheist somewhat amused when he looked at the boy. “You know what,” he continued, “I’ll give you an apple if you show me where He is.” “And I will give you two apples,” answered the boy boldly, “if you show me where He isn’t.” *** Some people claim that faith in God is a very personal and privateContinue reading »