We are approaching the first Monday in September, which in America and Canada is Labor Day. In the USA, it became a federal holiday in 1894 as a tribute to the achievements of American workers. Appreciation extends to the many people who have made and who now make valuable contributions to work places. Indeed, there are many folks who regularly sacrifice to provide services to others. Years ago, manual labor was more prevalent. Some workers toiled in intense heat on farms, in mines, and in factories. Lots of muscle work was put in to do the assorted jobs. Such continues but the numbers in such fields have diminished. In high and low places, laborers perform, often in dangerous environments, to accomplish necessary tasks. Currently, computer usage has replaced much that was done manually. Yes, things have changed considerably in the labor markets. The Bible tells us in Mark 6:3 – KJV that Jesus was a carpenter. It says, “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother ofContinue reading »

A humorous look at our present time “Your contumacious attitude will get you into deep trouble son. Why are you so feckless?” My mother’s eyes were angry and dark as she spat out the words, which is why I knew, as a nine-year-old boy, that I was in trouble. But what did she mean? I knew I had been disrespectful and I hadn’t been doing my chores and I had even lied. That part I understood. But I didn’t understand the words she was using. Was I contumacious? And feckless? It sounded like a disease. Where did I pick it up? My mother, being an old English schoolteacher, was fond of using difficult words. It confused me. My father, who had left my mother when I was three, raised me in the Netherlands and therefore English wasn’t my first language. “Sorry Mom,” I answered timidly. “But what do these words mean?” “Go to the library and find out!” My mother was clearly not in the teaching mood. “Your father’s truculentContinue reading »

A testimony It was almost dark when I saw the haystack silhouetted against the edge of a forest, barely visible through the steady rain. Maybe I could sleep there. I was cold, hungry and soaked, and in need of rest. I had heard of people sleeping in haystacks, so I figured it was my best option. I cautiously approached the dark mountain of hay, and after I made sure it was safe, I carefully hoisted myself into the musty fodder. At first, I was relieved, but soon the loneliness that had been my constant companion raised its ugly head again and reminded me of my desperate plight. “There’s little hope for you, buddy. You are on a dead-end street.” I knew, loneliness was right. I was safe for tonight. But what about the next night, or the night after that? How long could I go on like this? I shivered and rolled out my sleeping bag. It was damp, despite the plastic bag I had been carrying it in. NeverContinue reading »

Many families, over the years, have kept secrets, particularly from children. My mom passed away when I was a teenager. I just learned, this year, that she’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia. That revelation put some of the pieces of the puzzle together for me. As I remember, I now somewhat get why she sometimes exhibited bizarre and weird behavior. I now know reasons why my mom’s personality shifted from calm to scattered mindsets and actions. As a youth, in the seasons when my mom wasn’t in a sane mental place, I was ashamed of her. A few of my childhood peers would tease and taunt about my mother. They considered her crazy. In assorted ways, the situation was traumatic for my family. In the midst of all of the confusion and disarray, I was certain that my mother loved us. When she was in her states of clarity, Mom was loving, kind, generous, sweet and joyful. Also, she was a loving and faithful Christian who sincerely loved God. I’m gratefulContinue reading »

Scores of folks gathered to witness the Olympic athletes compete. Some of the competitors have stories of courage and perseverance that testify of their faith and grit. Yes, stories of determination and steadfast stances not to quit. I think back to the 1996 Olympics when American gymnast Keri Strug injured her ankle. Her limp revealed to the world audience that she was in pain. What did she do? She bravely stayed in the competition, got on that vault and obtained a score high enough to secure the gold medal win for the team. Her coach carried her to the medal stand to join her team members. The courageous act of Keri was one of the certain highlights at the Olympics that year! The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24 – KJV, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you might obtain.” Throughout his writings, we note the courage of Paul in the midst of numerous boutsContinue reading »

How long are You going to allow the violence to go on? Look at us. Look at what we’re becoming. Is this the reason why the floods came, the Earth opened up, releasing the waters of the deep as the rain came down? Was the Earth so violent, so unforgiving, so malicious, that You had no choice, but to end the carnage that had spread to every corner of the world? Was there no escape from one killing another? Had crime spread so far, been so prevalent, that no one was safe in their homes? Children no longer went outside to play? No one traveled across the countryside to spend time away? Fear replaced the joy that was supposed to blanket the Earth You made? This wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t the plan at all. Time to start all over again. But there was a glimmer of hope. There were the families of Noah and his children and their families. You kept them alive. You had mercy, You had graceContinue reading »

Wondrous delights surface as we dwell on the abundant lessons of Master Teacher, Jesus – Yes, he’s much more but this focus is Lord as teacher The good book is packed with accounts of his teaching excellence on manifold levels vast beyond our comprehension On the mount, Jesus taught In the garden, Jesus taught At the wedding, Jesus taught Inside the boat, Jesus taught In the temple, Jesus taught He had/has rapt audiences along with dissenters yet, Jesus taught/teaches profoundly with unmatched skill How fortunate that we have the teachings of Christ to guide and to help us navigate our varied spiritual journeys The splendor is awesome to live and behold . . .

How inspiring it is to read, in the Bible, assorted accounts of courage. Great reading indeed. Of course, one of the all time favorites is what we read about the showdown between David and Goliath. From a natural standpoint, the odds were against David. Goliath disdained him. Yes, he underestimated the small in stature young man. Obviously, Goliath had more in height and in his experience as a warrior. David, though, had power from Almighty God, who no foe can defeat. David was confident that he’d gain victory over his giant foe. The lad, David, was certain that he had, in his spiritual arsenal, the ultimate reinforcement. How impressive is it that he hasted and ran toward his enemy – 1 Samuel 17:48- KJV? David didn’t hesitate, cower or retreat. He went full throttle to handle the business of his God. Goliath uttered threatening declarations about his perceived triumphant posture. Yes, he talked the talk, but the Lord saw to it that he didn’t “deliver the goods.” David was theContinue reading »

I peered in the window Wow, pictures galore What’s in the frames? Splendor, comfort, magnificence, glory and beauty in abundance Church, wedding, graduation and birth scenes – Lovely views in plentiful numbers – Love pours out of the frames Joy heartens Escapes into fun delight us Families gather in anticipation of photo shoots They grin, smile, and pose – Giddiness on display Creatures great and small – We marvel at their eye appeal Delightful views indeed Earth pleasures abound in mountain, valley, river, canyon and stream views with so much more in the frame arrangements – Oh my! Children frolic in glee Frame worthy in abundance Happiness pictures lift our hearts God’s presence is evident in the picture frames – All beauty has its origins in God The views excite, delight, comfort and aid – Yes, the pictures in frames remind us of the magnificence of life compliments of our awesome and amazing Creator, the Lord Almighty. Praise ye the Lord.

“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 »

When the wife told her husband about a new invention she had heard about, he laughed and scoffed: “Sometimes I really wonder about you. You are so ignorant and believe just about anything. What you’re saying there can never happen.” Her eyes were sad as she answered him in soft tones, “But it’s true. I read about it in a magazine, but you never believe me.” The man shook his head in disgust, grumbled another complaint, and continued reading the sports page of his newspaper. Unbelief hurts. When people do not believe you and make fun of you, it is hard to bear. There’s almost no offense so hard to bear as being called a liar, for although people would be quick to say they don’t mean it, a liar is inherently what people call you when they don’t believe you. How does that apply to God and faith in God? Unbelief in God is, in essence, the same as calling Him a liar. The Apostle John agrees. He said:Continue reading »