Consider the Apostle Paul, King David, and the Prophet Elijah. You might think such godly men never faced discouragement, but each of them did. There was a time when Paul said he “despaired even of life.” One time David’s men talked of stoning him, and he had to “encourage himself in the Lord.” And there was a time when Elijah had suicidal thoughts. Discouragement attacks us all. You may have found discouragement to confront you infrequently and last a short time. Or you may be one for whom discouragement overshadows you daily.
In this blog we are going to follow the Prophet Elijah. His story is recorded in 1 Kings 17-19, covering 3-4 years of his life. I hope to discover some triggers of discouragement, as well as some helpful weapons to battle it. Elijah’s discouragement certainly wasn’t because he didn’t have enough faith. He participated in a number of God’s miracles during that brief span of time. Here’s a list: 1) He commanded the heavens to stop raining and they did, 2) birds air-delivered his meals both morning and evening, 3) his promise to a widow that her food would keep multiplying for years was fulfilled, 4) he prayed over that widow’s dead son, and he came back to life, 5) he saw God respond with fire from heaven in a very public showdown Continue reading
Winetasting has become a popular pastime in Oregon, as wineries have sprouted up throughout the countryside. Apparently, our state’s climate is conducive to the growth of tasty grapes and wines. The landscape boasts so many wineries now, that you can spend an entire weekend sampling the fruit-of-the-vine at different ones.
In the second chapter of Mark in your Bible, some people had asked Jesus why His disciples were not fasting. He answered, “No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” In Jesus’ day, grape juice was placed in animal skins that had been sewn shut. As the juice fermented, the skin would stretch, much like blowing up a balloon.
At first glance, it seems odd to discuss winemaking as a reply to that question. But Jesus used this illustration to teach one of the MOST IMPORTANT TRUTHS about salvation. It makes sense when we look back into the history of Israel. Continue reading
Uh-oh. New data from the notorious pro-homosexual organization GLAAD reveals that
America is rapidly falling out of love with the radial LGBT movement. And guess who is leading this wave of disaffection? Millennials aged 18-34.
Big Gay is non-plussed. Said the New Civil Rights Movement, “Days before the nation’s 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the start of World Pride in New York, a new study is measuring American attitudes toward LGBTQ people – and the results aren’t stellar.” Continue reading
I hate roller coasters. I almost get seasick just watching television coverage of some theme park’s new “biggest roller coaster ever.” If they think that is going to inspire me to vacation at their park, they have another thing coming. I see absolutely no excitement to being pulled straight up several stories, only to freefall straight down before being thrown upside down and barreling through corkscrews.
I think my dislike for roller coasters is because my head doesn’t do well with fast movements. One Spring Break, Karen and I took our young children to a neighborhood carnival. Alli loved the fast rides, so we teamed her up with a little boy to ride together. When he left, Alli asked me to go on a ride with her. I looked for the slowest one I could find. When I saw Tilt-a-Wheel, I thought “how bad can that be?” As soon as the ride began, I realized I had made a BIG mistake. When the ride finally stopped, my head kept spinning. When we got back home, I immediately went to bed, where I stayed two days before feeling normal again. Continue reading
If you care about teenagers and their mental health, the rush to legalize marijuana in America is a great example of a really, really bad idea.
THC is the active ingredient in pot. According to the Washington Post, some of today’s marijuana products average a 68% concentration of THC, stratospherically higher than what my college classmates smoked back in the day. This is not your father’s dope. One dad whose son wound up in an expensive rehab program calls it “nuclear-strength weed.”
Science confirms that earlier and more frequent use of this high-octane cannabis does put adolescents in greater jeopardy of a number of pathologies, including substance abuse disorders and mental health issues. It has a clearly established and negative impact on school performance.
And the particularly noteworthy problem is that pot has a dramatic effect on developing teen brains. The part of the brain that controls problem solving, memory, language, and judgment is not fully developed until age 25, and marijuana messes with that part of the growing brain. As a result, we are seeing an epidemic of dope-induced psychosis, addiction, suicide, depression, and anxiety. Continue reading
Man’s inhumanity to man is most clearly seen in racism. It has led to Hitler’s extermination camps in WWII, the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Stalin’s “Great Purge” in the 1930’s. It has also shown its ugly face in the enslavement, mistreatment and murder of Blacks in our own country’s history. This level of bigotry and hatred is the result of a heart that is diseased by sin and fueled by the devil. But racism is not only manifested in such large-scale atrocities.
I watched a movie recently about a little black girl who was the first to go to a “white” school during the early days of desegregation. Parents and students of that school said cruel and vicious things to that little first-grader, all the while smugly praying before their meals, Continue reading
Across the expanse of time, people of every generation have stood in awe at the beauty and majesty of the heavens. Looking up into the night sky has inspired songwriters and poets in every age. When my son was at Yosemite National Park, he took photos of the sky on a clear night. I was amazed to see the innumerable stars that filled the sky from horizon to horizon. Because of the city lights where I live, many of these stars are hidden from my view. Can you imagine what it must have been like before there was electricity? While still a young shepherd, before he became king of Israel, David often spent evenings staring into the heavens. His thoughts have been written down and preserved in Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him?” Continue reading
One of the things the Bible teaches is the total depravity of unredeemed man. “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10). If enough people believe the lies of the devil, eventually their entire culture becomes depraved.
Witness what happened last week in Miami Beach, Florida. There, a 41-year-old woman – her motive is unknown – was spotted stomping on the nest of a sea turtle, and jabbing at it with a wooden stake. She was summarily arrested and charged with the crime of “turtle egg molestation or harassment.”
Sea turtle eggs have been welcomed in life and protected in law since 1973 when they found shelter under the Endangered Species Act. Paradoxically, 1973 was the very same year in which abortion was “legalized” by the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. Continue reading
If evolution is true, then there must have been a time when these three animals did not possess their miraculous abilities. I’ve listened in on their meetings at that time.
BATS. “Guys, I’m having difficulty flying at night and catching enough insects to fill my stomach. But I’ve been thinking. Why don’t we start using a high-pitched sonar to locate the insects at night?” Another bat in the back of the group speaks up. “What’s sonar?” The first bat tries to explain, “It’s a noise we make. It will bounce off the insects and return to our little ears. Then we’ll do some fast, complex mathematics to determine the speed and trajectory of the insects. And then we’ll be able to nab more food.” The bat at the back yells out again, “I’m still having trouble understanding this sonar-thing. If I don’t understand it, how am I to pass it down to my bat-children?” Continue reading
It is good to have Flag Day. I believe every day should be a reminder of the significance of our American flag. It is a symbol of the freedom we enjoy in this great country. As long as it flies, we know we have certain rights and privileges.
The flag makes a statement of ownership. In a sense, each American owns this country. If we value and appreciate the relationship, we will do our part to maintain the portion that we call home. We will honor the heritage we enjoy because of people who gave us what we have.
When the American flag stands with those of other countries, it presents a cooperative effort beyond our borders. When nations work together for the good of all people, the benefits are without measure. Flags offer a statement of unity.
The stars and stripes on our flag represent the nation. While culture and traditions vary throughout the country, the 50 stars declare that we are one nation with goals and values that are essential to everyone. Those 13 red and white stripes remind us of commitment and faith of families who gave us the foundation of the country we enjoy today. Continue reading