Heroes. Our televisions and movies are filled with super-heroes. Men and women gifted with special abilities to fight crime. Do we really believe someone can throw fire from their hands, or throw up an energy shield to withstand an explosion, or fly at will, or stop speeding cars with their hands? Of course not. It’s our way of stating our wish that someone could fight the evil around us and bring about justice. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered if all dogs go to Heaven as the cute animated film suggests? Did this film make you wonder if animals have souls, a necessary component of an incredible afterlife as Christians believe? This adorable film prompted me to do some research (Thank God for the Internet!). My first stop was scripture where I found proof that God loves His creations, and that includes animals.
In Genesis, God creates the animals first, and then Adam and Eve. Adam in His image as the first human being. Next God made Eve using one of Adam’s ribs. He gave Adam the responsibility of naming them. But I did not read scripture that gave me clear proof that animals have souls necessary for entry into Heaven (or Hell). There are theologians who hold onto this as truth. Continue reading
Music Mondays is a summer event in the park in downtown Gresham. Music is a fusion of voice, harmonics, and instruments. These elements come together to unite our community. Music in the park is an expression of who we are as a community of forest dwellers.
We bring our chairs and find just the perfect place to create a makeshift living room in the park. We hunker down ready to feast on satisfying sounds and symmetry. The music begins with light shades of notes building rhythm blending into one voice.
A huge pine sits center stage in the park. The branches at the top of the old pine gently move with the slightest breeze as birds gracefully glide across the sky. Our senses heighten in surrender as we relax into the music. Continue reading
Reading stories about hurting people in many countries makes me pause to give thanks for what I enjoy. Thousands of people in all age groups try to escape crime and starvation by entering another country – often facing new challenges of lack of employment, housing and education.
I am impressed by the efforts of churches to offer help to as many people as possible. It must cause daily heartbreak to try to assist while realizing that the majority continue to go without help. It hurts to think about children going to bed hungry and missing the opportunity to attend school. Continue reading
Recently I read a book by a physicist trained at MIT. His intention was to convince his readers that the six days of biblical creation are exactly the same as the 15 billion years which some people think the earth has existed. He lost me in his discussion about the stretching of time and its super-compression. Definitely beyond my intellectual capacity. While it’s fascinating to contemplate the science behind creation, I can’t help but think we get a little lost in the details. Reading books filled with such theories makes me all the more thankful for the simplicity of the gospel.
But in an age when we have more and more complex technologies being unveiled almost monthly, I wonder if some people assume the gospel is too simple for our tech-savvy culture because it doesn’t have the ring of newness or complexity. With new information exploding all around us, I wonder if some people mistakenly consider the gospel to be “ancient literature” having little value for today’s sophisticated intellect. Continue reading
One of the major events in the Bible’s book of Exodus is the miraculous departure, or Exodus, of the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. The memory of this single event is repeated over and over throughout the history of the Jewish nation. The Hebrew people had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. That’s all the people knew – harsh slavery. The Pharaoh had deceitfully enslaved them and through hard labor, forced them to construct cities for him.
But once they began to call on God for help, He raised up Moses to be their deliverer. If you take time to notice, you will see that the early story of Moses really magnifies the character of five women. First on the scene are two midwives. Because they feared God more than they feared Pharaoh, they disobeyed his orders to throw newborn males into the river. Secondly, you see the faith of Moses’ mother to hide him for three months and then, unable to hide him Continue reading
Though the answer wouldn’t be obvious to unbelievers or even to most Christians, the Bible is clear on this: it’s Jesus. Psalm 45:6-7 is quoted in direct reference to the Messiah, in Hebrews 1:8-9, where the Father says of His Son: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Most scholars think “companions,” in context, is the whole human race that Jesus became part of in His incarnation.
Notice the connection between Christ’s righteousness and His gladness, whereas in Scripture wickedness brings misery. Ironically, we often think of ourselves as fun -loving, and of God as a humorless killjoy. But we’ve got it backward. We are the dull ones, not God. Did we invent wit, humor, and laughter? No. God did. We’ll never begin to exhaust God’s sense of humor and His love for pleasure-filled joy. Continue reading
The Bible is full of stories of real people who face real challenges. One such story is about a young Jewish girl who becomes an orphan. Later, as a grown woman, she confronts a corrupt and proud politician who uses his position for personal gain. It’s a story with a bleak future unless God steps into the picture. But God does step in. He uses this orphan and her cousin, two ordinary people, to accomplish remarkable things in their country. As we review her story, you’ll see some similarities to your own, as well.
Years before our heroine, Esther, was born, Babylonia was the dominant world empire. Following its conquest of Israel, many Jews were taken to Babylon as captives. Continue reading
I realize that this title sounds out of line, but stay with me and it might make sense. I intend no disrespect toward God – in reality, my goal is just the opposite. But I wonder if He sometimes feels like we see Him as our handyman. I believe we can treat Him that way and not even know it is happening.
The handyman occupation is focused on fixing things. We break something and we schedule our handyman to repair it. We do not consider the time of day or night because we know he wants us to call. We are his livelihood – he needs us. Continue reading
George Washington is quoted as saying when asked by his father if he cut down the cherry tree “I cannot tell a lie …I did cut it with my hatchet”. My guess is that he could – – and likely did lie at times in his life. General Washington undoubtedly lied to confound the enemy in order to protect the lives of his own troops.
In researching the topic of “LYING”, I found extensive information that suggests there are many reasons that people lie. Not to poo-poo these brilliant psychiatrists and psychologists who likely put in hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on their studies – – but in my very humble opinion, people lie because they WANT THEIR CAKE & WANT TO EAT IT TOO. Simple as that! The “why” a person lies is truly unimportant. Continue reading