Businessman making a pact with the devil

Sell your soul to the devil?

“The quickest way to sell your soul to the devil,” a Wicca website explains, “is to join the church of Satan.” As the teenagers sometimes say, “well, duh!”

This organization, established in 1966, “teaches members to take pride in having the strength and dedication to implement the tools of Satan and the wisdom to recognize the Unseen in our society.” It goes on, “You don’t need to give some other organization your hard-earned money to sell your soul … understand that there is no such thing as a soul.” Continue reading “Sell your soul to the devil?”

Divisiveness

Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution

Peaceful unity is beautiful, whereas evil promotes cantankerous divisiveness. We recognize this. However, are we aware just how profoundly solidarity saturates God’s will at all levels?

Paul’s writings outline God’s solutions for a fractured cosmos, a divided church and broken relationships. Should we be surprised that at its core the same solution keeps appearing? Continue reading “Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution”

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Lessons from writing for God’s people

A life without lessons isn’t worth living. Continual analysis of what we’re doing will keep us focused and alert. In everything, we must strive to grow and mature.

Bringing glory to Christ is our greatest responsibility (Ephesians 3:20-21). Accordingly, we should always give it our best and pass it along to others. Continue reading “Lessons from writing for God’s people”

writing-calendar

After 12 years of continuous writing, Richard Mansel leaves Forthright

February 21, 2017, will mark twelve years of consecutive articles on Forthright Magazine for columnist Richard Mansel, without missing a single week. Because of personal reasons, Richard says it’s time to leave. For several years during this period Richard also provided good leadership as Managing Editor.

Shortly after he came aboard, Richard fast became a good friend and someone to bounce ideas off of. We did not know each other personally, but he quickly gained our trust. Continue reading “After 12 years of continuous writing, Richard Mansel leaves Forthright”

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The need to remember

“And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did” (Numbers 9:1-5 ESV).

God did not want the Israelites to forget what had happened to free them from Egyptian slavery. He gave them an anniversary to observe each year called “Passover.” This was to remind them that God had “passed over” their houses and that they had been freed from slavery that night. Continue reading “The need to remember”

Dragon

Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer

In spite of the magical power of dragon talk, as Bilbo the Hobbit surveyed the underbelly of the powerful dragon Smaug, Bilbo thought to himself:

“Why there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!”

As Smaug would later discover when a metal dart penetrated his chest, although dragons might feel impenetrable and wield great power, genuine vulnerabilities can exist. Lacking some vital knowledge, Smaug mistakenly placed confidence in his invincibility. Continue reading “Vulnerabilities in the sinner’s prayer”

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Unselfish love doesn’t need Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday where we focus on those we love.

It’s a romantic time that should bring joy to those who have good relationships. For those who don’t, well, it’s kinda cruel.

Of course, the holiday is economy driven and we fall in line and spend our money. Nevertheless, the day is important and we should express our fondness for that special person. Continue reading “Unselfish love doesn’t need Valentine’s Day”

Moonlight Masquerade

When the eye is bad

Any reader of this column will know by now that I just love the daylilies with the dark “eye zones,” or centers.

“Moonlit Masquerade,” “Raspberry Candy,” and “Carpetbagger” are some of my favorites, with their dark eye zone giving the blooms a stark contrast. They have a certain appeal, and they also remind us of a basic Bible truth about our spiritual sight. Continue reading “When the eye is bad”

No Way Out

Nowhere to turn around

“Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17 NKJV).

I set out to direct our group to a favorite place in Dhaka. We had a new driver, and most of the Banglas with whom I was traveling had not been in Dhaka very much. Therefore I, the foreigner, turned out to be the one who knew the route, or at least that is what we thought. Continue reading “Nowhere to turn around”