Do you sometimes feel as though your faith needs a boost? Hebrews chapter eleven is often called the “Hall of Faith.” It is meant to encourage us, but sometimes I find it discouraging when I compare myself to the people listed. Take Abraham, for instance. Can you imagine if one morning you told your wife that God had instructed you to sell the house and pack the trailer for an unknown destination? Wouldn’t go over well in my home.
Or compare your faith to that of Noah. Try convincing your kids to spend most of their lives helping you build a monstrous ship in preparation for a flood God promised to send in 100 years. (Mind you, it had never even rained up to this time.) And what about Moses? His faith moved him to trade in a life of luxury for one filled with hardship, like giving up a lucrative job for minimum wage. And how about Joshua’s faith? He simply walked around Jericho for a week, gave one shout, and the walls of Jericho crumbled. Continue reading
We face a difficult reality when we try to help a hurting person find hope and healing, but they refuse our efforts. We have a certain advantage when dealing with our children, because we have the power to enforce a certain response. That is not necessarily a good thing, because eventually they will make their own choices. We want them to learn how to make good choices.
The power of personal choice is amazing, because our choices can take us to the greatest life imaginable or to a life of loss and failure. While many of our choices are affected by the influence of other people, as adults, we are responsible for the choices we make, including how we will respond to the poor choices others made for us earlier in life. Continue reading
While Scripture does not say as much as we’d like about circumstance-control, it says a great deal more than we like about self-control. Scripture warns, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Such a city, and such a person, will be left unhappy.
Without self-control on the inside, our lives are made vulnerable to innumerable assaults. That’s why God commands us, “Make every effort to supplement your . . . knowledge with self-control” (2 Peter 1:5-6). The Spirit-controlled believer is a self-controlled believer: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Continue reading
It was the height of the depression in 1934 and the women from the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church- dubbed the Sunshine Ladies- met to sew quilts and clothing for struggling families. Food for many during that time was in short supply and the ladies gathered up scarce resources to provide to those families who had nothing to eat. Fast forwarding to 2018 Portland Adventist Community Service Center provides services to east county families. Eight churches furnish volunteers and financial support to help struggling individuals and families. Continue reading
Farmers are diligent to prepare the soil for planting. When everything is right, they put seeds into the ground. As they do this, they have a mental picture of a field ready to harvest. They anticipate corn, oats, wheat or soybeans in abundance – what they call a “bumper crop.”
Gardeners follow a similar routine on a smaller scale. Their mental picture is of tomato vines bending under the weight of abundant fruit and healthy bushes loaded with beans or peas. It is the anticipation of the harvest that encourages hard work and patience over many weeks and months.
Farmers and gardeners understand potential crop failures. If they have worked at it for a few years, they probably have experienced such a loss. But they continue to make their preparations each year, always with a view of the harvest. If they ever lose that perspective, they might give up. Continue reading
Earlier this year, my wife and best friend Nanci was diagnosed with colon cancer, and is now beginning a combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. (You can read more on her Caring Bridge page; we would really appreciate your prayers.) Nanci recently wrote a prayer based on Psalm 23. It spoke to me, and I hope it speaks to you too, as you reflect on your heavenly Shepherd and the ways He leads and cares for you through every circumstance. Read Psalm 23 first, then enter into Nanci’s prayer. —Randy Alcorn
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; Continue reading
American Christians face unprecedented levels of open hostility today. This is increasingly true at the university level.
Many universities already teach students about what they call “White Privilege” and “Male Privilege” to raise student awareness about the damage professors believe had been done to America by these two groups. But their list of culprits has now expanded. They have added “Christian Privilege” to their societal oppressors who must be confronted and combated.
Today’s level of hostility toward Christianity in America is unprecedented, but such opposition is not. This reality was affirmed by a document we recently added to our historical collection — a post-Civil War governor’s proclamation calling for a day of prayer and fasting. Continue reading
One of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies, linked to a fascinating article in his daily A La Carte feature: Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down!?️ Here are some notable sections from it about the impact smartphones are having on our lives and minds:
They have impaired our ability to remember. They make it more difficult to daydream and think creatively. They make us more vulnerable to anxiety. They make parents ignore their children. And they are addictive, if not in the contested clinical sense then for all intents and purposes. Continue reading
In 2012 my dear Mom passed away. My wife and sister and I went through her things in preparation for taking care of her estate. We discovered that Mom had quite a collection of jewelry. Most of it was costume jewelry. She never spent a lot of money on herself. But even though we were skeptical, we thought it would be smart to have a pile of jewelry checked out by an expert, just in case there was something valuable in there.
So we got a lunch sized paper bag and filled it up with jewelry and took it to a guy who said he would help us determine if there were any valuable items there. (For Video of presentation, visit: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/162b06b3e9e12b1a?projector=1) Continue reading
I am a Christian for one simple reason: the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
There is simply no credible alternative to the view that his grave was empty on Easter morning because of his bodily resurrection. His body wasn’t there because he wasn’t there. And he wasn’t there because he had been raised from death to life.
It’s not credible that his body was stolen by the disciples. If it had been, the disciples would know that any public story that he was raised from the dead was a lie. Now people will die for a lie they believe to be true, but they will not die for a lie they know to be a lie. Eleven of the 12 apostles died a martyr’s death, a powerful confirmation that they knew beyond any shadow of doubt that Christ had risen from the dead. Continue reading