The other day I read a touching tale that holds an encouraging lesson for us as children of God. The story was telling the tale of the damaged relationship between a father and his daughter, and the consequent scars on both of their hearts. Because of miscommunication and misunderstanding both of them had tucked their feelings for each other far away in dark basements of their hearts, but no matter how far we try to hide our pain unless we find real healing, such hurts will always continue to affect us and radiate confusion into our daily lives. One day, the daughter found out that her father was dying. This time she could no longer refuse to visit the man who had been such an integral part of her youth. When she came in they both stared at each other for some time in silence. At last, the old man looked up and said in weak tones, “Thank you for coming, my dear daughter. You know… I have always lovedContinue reading »

Autumn is on the horizon A time to reap what’s been sown Seasonal changes occur – Leaves gain new colors and flutter from the trees Coolness arrives in our mornings Pumpkins display their artistic carvings Hay rides fill with gleeful children Candy apples delight our eager taste buds The Lord tells us that we reap what we sow – Yes, we learn the truths in that message – Throughout the Bible we read of the realities of consequences reaped from sown acts of good and evil Splendid changes are on the horizon for those who chose closeness to God Indeed, it’s a win win choice of direction Harvest time is ever present in the kingdom . . .

Imagine that. A beautiful puzzle of a mighty snow-capped mountain somewhere in Austria. 2000 pieces big and with the warning that it’s only suitable for experienced puzzlers. Can we do it? I am certain that, with enough time and several strong cups of coffee, a lot can be done. But what would happen if I would put those 2000 pieces in some sort of shaking machine and would start shaking them around for weeks, no, maybe even for years on end? Would I eventually get the complete puzzle of that rustic nature scene? No, I would not. Of course, some pieces would coincidentally fall into the right positions, yet others would get stuck in the wrong places, and after a certain amount of time, whole pieces would break off again. Science would say that the puzzle would reach ‘equilibrium.’ Some sort of balance would develop between good fitting pieces and bad fitting pieces and the breaking off of puzzle pieces. After a certain amount of time, the puzzle would simplyContinue reading »

“In the world, you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” * These words Jesus spoke to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion, and they are a wonderful and comforting promise to us, His children, who are so often confused by the struggles we face. It is a reality that we will face trouble in this world, unlike the popular idea that God should take all suffering away from us and give us clear sailing from the cradle to the grave. According to Jesus himself, this will never happen. And it is easy to understand why. This worldly system and its shallow principles are not guided by the Spirit of God. In fact, they are guided by entirely different forces, forces that do not like to be acquainted with God and His heavenly ideas. And because of that, we can be certain there will be lots of tribulation. Does it matter? Not really, because Jesus has already won our main battle. Our destiny isContinue 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 »

“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 »

Often, we desire the best, yet we tend to, on occasions, resist what it involves to attain it. College students attend universities to obtain degrees, but some of them initially throw caution to the wind, particularly during their freshman years. They drink alcohol in excess, party unreasonably, and hang out to the wee hours of mornings. Then the students get their grades and it hits home to them that their lax studying habits resulted in dreadful progress reports. Wake up calls do happen with students making amendments by properly prioritizing their activities. In such choices, their best can indeed be achieved. Workplaces have folks who slack off on the regular and then they complain when they aren’t receiving the best from employers. Such workers give less than their best but expect the best to manifest for them. Certainly, those expectations aren’t reasonable. Athletes who aspire to Olympic status regularly practice for hours for long stretches of time — years. They aim for the best and they invest their best. ProfessionalContinue reading »

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 When David sinned with Bathsheba and was finally exposed by Nathan the Prophet, he said, “against you and only you have I sinned” speaking of and to God. But what about Uriah? And Bathsheba? Didn’t David sin against them also? Breaking God’s law/commandments is sinning against Him. Is it true then when we break a rule that we are sinning against God and God alone? If a friend who draws me into an argument, and in anger says things that are hurtful, hasn’t he sinned against me and therefore, owes me an apology? If he does not admit to or recognize his behavior as sin, isn’t he in my debt? Not necessarily. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19 Consider this carefully. I know the Bible also talks about sinning against others and makingContinue reading »

I had a dream, a wonderful dream. I must have been in a palace for everything around me shone with glory and splendour. Crystal goblets of wine were filled with the best wines and when the meal was served, I could hardly believe my eyes. All my favorite dishes were present and my mouth started to water. Then there was the command, “Eat and be happy.” So I ate and was happy. When the desserts came in I could hardly take another bite, and then… …I heard the alarm clock. It was six in the morning and I awoke in my little corner in the attic. With a frustrated sigh, I slammed my fist on the alarm clock and crawled out of bed. My stomach was growling and I moved my weary body to the kitchen. No kingly meal awaited me there. No exquisite dishes, no wines, no desserts…Nothing. Thankfully, I still had a package of oatmeal. *** The food in our dreams is just like the real thing. ItContinue reading »

“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 »