One nice feature about international flights is having the opportunity to watch movies to occupy your time. The last time I flew to India on a mission trip I began watching the movie, Jack the Giant Killer. The movie was based upon the fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk, with giants living in the clouds. I enjoyed the movie, but I knew it was fiction.
However, the Bible makes several references to real giants that lived on earth. One was named Og. He had an iron bed over thirteen feet long and six feet wide (Deuteronomy 3:11). Now that’s a king-size bed! But the most well-known giant was Goliath, standing over 9 feet tall. He was a warrior in the Philistine army (1 Samuel 17:4), which was at war with the army of Israel. He boasted that if any Jewish soldier defeated him, the entire Philistine army would surrender. As you can imagine, no one among the Jewish army wanted to fight such a huge man. This guy would make NBA players look small. Plus, he had all his combat gear on. Continue reading
The privilege of personal choice is a gift to humans from Creator God. The natural world operates within boundaries that God designed. A rose cannot decide to produce apples; the moon cannot choose to be like a star. Humans have the benefit of choice, and it comes with consequence – positive or negative.
When the first humans were in the Garden of Eden, they made a poor choice by believing the lie of counterfeit god, Satan. Life on Planet Earth was changed in that all humans would struggle with the desire to choose less than best life opportunities. History reveals the constant effort of Satan luring people into hurtful choices while Creator God offers hope and power to make good ones. Choice followed by consequence is the story of human history that continues to be written today.
In most situations, it is not difficult to determine the consequence of our choice. If we made a poor one, we can understand the hurt that resulted. A good choice most likely will bring a desirable response. There is a troubling area between these two options that is often described with a question: “Why do good things happen to people who make poor choices and bad things come to people who make good ones?” Continue reading
Josh Harris of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” has quite publicly and unreservedly renounced his faith. “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” he writes on Instagram. “The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.” (Emphasis added.)
This naturally raises questions in the mind of every sincere Christian observer. Was he ever a true Christian? If he was, how could he so flatly repudiate his faith? And where does all this leave him with regard to his eternal destiny?
There will be those reading this who are firmly in the “once-saved, always-saved” camp, which believes it is impossible to forfeit one’s salvation. Someone may look like a genuine believer for a long time, but if he ever falls away, it will simply demonstrate he was never a Christian to begin with.
I grew up with this view, and believed it until I finished my training in the biblical languages at Dallas Theological Seminary, which paradoxically still stands firmly in the always-saved camp. I still have many friends, including pastors, who believe the always-saved view, and I have no interest in starting a quarrel with them or anyone else. I respect them, and my disagreement with them on this issue is not personal but biblical. Continue reading
“Laughter is better than complaining.” – paraphrasing a paraphrase of “Anger is better than laughter,” which in the King James Version is “Sorrow is better than laughter” (last week’s column) SOMETHING LOST IN THE TRANSLATION?
Not to repeat myself, but the English words anger and sorrow meant the same thing in pre-KJV times. The root word for anguish, angst, and angina was the root now used for “anger.” Rage wasn’t involved until the 1300s. Some say that “Sorrow is better than laughter” is one of their favorite scriptures.
While it’s true that sorrow and trials can do some good things for us sometimes, the God of the children of Israel is a comforting God, a laughing God (Psalm 2 and others).
Not to change the subject, but we now know why Bob Mueller didn’t want to testify. He asked nicely to be excused, but the geniuses – the “progressives” – insisted! We now know that “Mueller” is almost as old as I am. I’m so old that I’ve hit that age when you walk into a room and wonder why you’re there, even if it’s the bathroom. Maybe you stare inside the fridge and remember you were looking for the microwave. Continue reading
The Bible reveals in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We are supposed to be different. What has changed? I still have the same job and family. I still sleep and eat. Sometimes we don’t feel like that much has changed. Chapter two in Ephesians is a wonderful passage that indicates what some of these changes are.
- Dead in transgressions
- Following the ways of the world
- Gratified desires of the sinful nature
- Object of wrath
- Alive with Christ
- Raised with Christ
- Seated with Christ
Whether boys are standing beside a small creek or on a bridge above a river, they will find something to toss into the water. It’s fun to watch things bump along as they float downstream. It’s also fun to be the one drifting. When we were much younger, Karen and I enjoyed floating down the Sandy River on inner tubes. It was so slow, that it would take all day to float the nine miles to our destination.
But drifting can also be dangerous. A boat without an anchor can drift into the rocks. A houseboat must be anchored to the pilings to prevent drift. The Bible says in Hebrews 2:1, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Why is the author of Hebrews giving this warning? Surely, he’s not talking about drifting down a river. What, then, is so dangerous? Continue reading
My first Mother’s Day gift from my husband was a road bike. I have always loved biking but once out of college, and with other responsibilities filling my time, I pretty much stopped biking. Dan, my husband, on the other hand got on his first bike at the age of four and never got off. He absolutely loves it and his passion reignited my passion. We now ride bikes year-round, weather permitting, and although we ride for fun and recreation, I have learned that for many around the world it is their main form, if not only form, of transportation.
Once going on mission to India and Rwanda, I saw the need for bikes in almost every area of our ministry: the older orphans need transportation to college or vocational training programs; the widows need transportation for everyday errands; pastors that walk miles every day to share the gospel or minister to those in need can use bikes thus reaching many more in one day; and then the orphans need bikes to exercise, play and just be kids!Realizing the need and seeing the impact bicycles have in our different areas of ministry inspired Cycle for a Cause. We thought: why not turn a sport that we love and enjoy into something that helps others, too? Continue reading
How do you handle interruptions? I don’t handle them too well. I wish I dealt with them better, but I prefer it when life happens smoothly, according to (my) plan.
A familiar story can teach us a lot about interruptions. The story takes place in the early morning, near the end of Peter’s workday. He had been fishing all night. All that was left to do before going home to bed was to wash his nets and make any needed repairs to them.
While Peter worked on his nets, he listened to Jesus teach a crowd nearby. Peter met his first interruption the moment Jesus stepped into his boat. The Lord wanted Peter to push off from shore so He could be heard better by the growing crowd. Peter may have thought, “Hope this won’t take too long. I’ve still got more cleaning to do before I can go home.” Continue reading
There is a clear political agenda to destroy the traditional family in America, and it’s facilitated by public schools. Never before have all parents been legally “separated” from their minor children by the government. Until now, the American family was considered to be the foundation of civic life; the smallest form of government, where children are taught responsibility, respect for authority, and national pride.
In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in Fields v. Palmdale School District “that the Meyer-
Pierce right [of parents to direct the upbringing of their children] does not exist beyond the threshold of the school door. We conclude that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on the subject [of sexuality] to their students in any forum or manner they select.” Although, schools claim students can OPT-OUT of offensive curriculum, it has become more difficult because the content is taught in every subject from Health to History. Continue reading
Do you sometimes feel alone and afraid? Do you enjoy meeting new and unexpected challenges? Or are you like me, preferring routine? Do you have a tendency to see life as “a cup half full” or do you find yourself seeing things more as “a cup half empty?”
It’s easy to interpret circumstances and interruptions from our perspective rather than from God’s vantage spot. Let’s look at two widely divergent responses to trouble in 2 Kings, chapter 6. Here’s a little background. Israel and Syria are at war. God forewarns Israel’s prophet Elisha of Syria’s military plans, and Elisha warns the king of Israel. This happens so frequently that the king of Syria expects he has a spy in his camp. Learning that the culprit is Elisha, the Syrian king sends his army at night to capture the prophet.
This is where the story gets so exciting! When Elisha and his servant went to bed, all was safe and quiet. In the morning Elisha’s assistant gets up early and goes outside for fresh air before starting his day. What he saw freaked him out! He ran back into the house to tell Elisha that the city was surrounded by the Syrian army. Frantically, he asked the prophet, “What are we going to do? They are here to kill us! There’s no way out.” Continue reading