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 »

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 »

The Norwegian pastor and author Ole Hallesby wrote in his delightful book, “Prayer,” the following: “Listen, my friend! Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness.” Helplessness is an emotion we do not readily accept as a good emotion. When we are confronted with problems the first thing we usually do is to feverishly consider the options and we will strive to find a solution. That is our human, carnal nature. As humans, we seem to pride ourselves in solving our own problems and this forces us to lean to our own understanding. And we keep doing it until we realize our own understanding is not enough. Then we sigh in desperation, and finally, we feel utterly helpless. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 107; weContinue 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 »