Philip Yancey, a writer I often appreciate, wrote an article about his own struggle to carve out focused attention for reading, and how his own personal experience reflects our culture at large. The decline in reading books is something I feel strongly about, as those who aren’t dedicated readers most likely won’t be dedicated readers of God’s Word.
Here’s an excerpt from Yancey’s article:
I am going through a personal crisis. I used to love reading. I am writing this blog in my office, surrounded by 27 tall bookcases laden with some 5,000 books. Over the years I have read them, marked them up, and recorded the annotations in a computer database for potential references in my writing. To a large degree, they have formed my professional and spiritual life. Continue reading
One of the amazing examples of Creator God’s handiwork is on display in Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is called “Balanced Rock.” I grew up about 80 miles from there. On occasional day trips to the area, we always stopped to admire this huge rock that seemed to have so little foundation under it.
As a child, I viewed it as a statement about the wonder of nature. Today, it reminds me of the balance in God’s nature as displayed in all of His Creation. A quick review of the first two chapters of Genesis reminds us of the wonder of a universe filled with balance and Planet Earth as a balanced environment.
The Garden of Eden was filled with balance. The two humans who lived there did not try to dominate one another. All of the animals got along – there was no evidence of death. One can imagine how different life would be on this planet today if that pattern had continued. Continue reading
My wife and I live a short distance east of Portland, Oregon, at the west end of the Gorge. The Gorge is a canyon that follows the Columbia River along the northern border of Oregon. It is not uncommon during the winter to get sustained wind speeds of 20 miles per hour, with gusts registering 40 miles an hour or more blasting down the Gorge. And the winds are cold. We also have windy days during the summer, but at least they’re warm.
Solomon was a king of Israel around 1000 BC. His advice is recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes [ee-cleez’-ee-ast’-eez] in the Bible. He was genius-level intelligent and very wealthy. His insatiable thirst for knowledge led him to become an expert in a variety of subjects, from botany to zoology. He wrote over one thousand songs. He designed buildings, parks, vineyards, and trading ships. He enjoyed fancy parties and the finest entertainment. Nothing was beyond his reach. Continue reading
Here in the Northwest we’ve had a relatively mild winter. While the eastern two-thirds of our country has been brutally blasted with cold air and snow blizzards from the north, we’ve been spared. We had a short stint of snow, nothing like those other cities, but still enough to wreak havoc for motorists. Typically, the towns further east into the Gorge have it worse, with I-84 often shutting down for days on end, but on the west end, we’re back to rain. Up higher in the mountains, the ski resorts are excited for the February snows that are falling. They promise to bring more skiers, snowboarders, and tubers to the mountains and to their businesses.
One thing you’ve often heard from friends visiting our area from another part of the country is their amazement that we have so many trees and everything seems so green. Continue reading
One of the marks of a mature individual is their ability to face reality.We do not expect this of children, who have legitimate fears and appropriate imaginations. Adults help younger people learn to sort out what is real and what is make- believe. We can evaluate our level of maturity by our ability to identify and face reality.
There is a level of mystery and make-believe that should be a part of our life journey. Creativity comes out of that kind of thinking. So much of what we appreciate today is the result of people believing there is more to be experienced than what exists today. Consider medical advances, space exploration and technological abilities that are realities today but were only dreams – if that – a century ago. Continue reading
At least twice a week, the news stations sound the alarm that we need to get ready for the Big One, the earthquake that will rock Portland, Oregon. Our city officials are trying to get ahead of this and mandate that older buildings be reinforced to make them earthquake-proof. I don’t intend to get into the economics or politics of such an endeavor. But it is interesting that so much attention is given to making the foundations of our dwellings safe, but very little attention is given to explore the foundation of our lives. What is yours like? How does it do when you’re confronted with the storms of life? Does it produce peace, comfort, and hope? Or does it seem to crumble when you experience heartache? Are there cracks that have developed from traumatic shocks in the past? Continue reading
Valentine was the name of a Roman Priest who lived in AD 200’s during Emperor Claudius’ reign. Claudius was an evil ruler who hated Christians and was against the spread of Christianity. One form of persecution he used against Christians was to refuse young couples the right to marry. The sanctity of marriage meant nothing to him. He was much more interested in building his army to maintain his empire. Claudius wanted a strong army and he thought unmarried soldiers would fight harder and longer than married ones.
Valentine, on the other hand, strongly believed in the right to marry and say vows in the site of God and did everything he could to help young couples in love become wed. He even secretly married couples under the cover of night.
Claudius eventually found out and Valentine was caught and imprisoned for this action. Continue reading
When we were first painted, our colors were dazzling… we were called …. precious… priceless… beautiful… cute
But as time went on we began to HEAR the MOCKING sounds from other paintings…“I’m smarter…I’m stronger…I’m richer…I’m prettier…I’m better…”
Before long we accepted the lie that our value was based on COMPARISON. We began to DOUBT our worth. We felt the need to PROVE it (both to ourselves & others).
In some HOMES parents UNDERMINED their children’s worth, saying, “You’re such an embarrassment to me.” “You’re nothing but trouble.” “You’re always blowing it.” “Why can’t you be like your sister?” “You’ll never amount to anything.” Continue reading
Our pastor has been speaking for the last few weeks about ways in which Jesus described God, His Father. This past weekend he spoke of God’s GENEROUS nature. I like it when God is generous to me. But I find that when God seems MORE generous to someone else, I hear the voice of ENVY screaming with me, “It’s not fair!” At times, do you hear this same voice inside you?
There is always going to be someone who has more money than me, is smarter than me, or enjoys better health than me. Every time I turn on the television, I am bombarded with advertisements that seek to convince me that “I deserve to have it my way.” That may be fine when it comes to burgers, but that’s a Continue reading
The Democrat Party, fresh off electoral victories last fall, is flexing its muscles on behalf of sheer, unadulterated brutality, cruelty, and savagery.
In New York, the Democrat-controlled legislature and the Democrat governor signed into law a bill that allows abortion up the day of birth. The drop-dead point for the the butchers of Planned Parenthood is the scheduled day of delivery. The drop-dead point for the baby is any point before that. Even babies born alive after a botched abortion have been stripped of any guarantee of receiving medical attention. They presumably can be tossed in the corner and allowed to die. Continue reading