landslide

How badly do you want to go?

“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV).

I am planning a trip to Nepal soon to visit areas devastated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 25. The Nepali friend who is helping me to plan the trip wrote saying, “We can rent a vehicle (since the) road has opened from last week. We are not trekking to the villages as advised by brothers. But since there are landslides in several places on the way we may need to walk to cross those areas in rain. So I think it would be better to have back packs, trekking boots, rain cover, and hiking sticks.” Continue reading How badly do you want to go?

empty-tomb

Victory over death

Over the past two weeks I’ve attended two funerals. The first was a young man who I was privileged to study with after he became a Christian around 10-15 years ago. He was a smart, enthusiastic young man who wanted to serve Jesus. Sadly, he lost his way and took an overdose, as he could not see any reason to continue living.

The second funeral was a woman in her 70s. She, too, became a Christian when she was young along with her husband. She and her husband had several children. Many of these became Christians and are still faithful today along with their spouses. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and later had a stroke and pneumonia.

Both funerals were packed with those who mourned the loss of their family and friends. It is not my desire to compare their lives – I am content to leave them in the hands of a just and loving God. Continue reading Victory over death

forgiveness_letter

Forgiveness

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Corrie ten Boom describes the time she and her sister were digging trenches, watched by NAZI guards. Her sister Betsie, a petite woman, and frail from months of mistreatment in the Concentration Camp, could only shovel small spadesful of earth. One guard grabbed the small pile of earth she had just dug, and held it aloft, calling attention to it and laughing with his fellows. Corrie had had enough. She grabbed her shovel and began to charge the offending guard. The only thing that stopped her was the voice of her sister: “Don’t look at him, Corrie,” she said. “Look at Jesus only.”

But the story does not end there. Continue reading Forgiveness

Father

God’s eternal fatherhood: more harm than good?

“…if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19)

The notorious atheist Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) once argued in a debate that having an “eternal Father” is one of the most detestable things he could imagine, and it was one of the worst constructs of the Christian religion. Continue reading God’s eternal fatherhood: more harm than good?

Reverence21

Preparing for prayer

Talking to the Creator is beyond human comprehension. We’re lifted up when we humble ourselves before him (James 4:10), because our sins can close the ears of God (Luke 18:9-14; Isaiah 59:1-2).

Prayer requires preparation because approaching God isn’t a casual affair. The solemnity and reverence in the Father’s throne room in Revelation 4-5 can touch us deeply.

Let’s pause and consider the beauty of God’s creation. Continue reading Preparing for prayer

Graveyard

Buried facing east

by Lynette Carnahan Gray

“My grandparents were such faithful Christians they even wanted to be buried facing east,” she said.

Hmmm. That was a concept new to me. So, I asked a friend if he’d heard of people wanting to be buried facing east. He said, “The only time I’ve made sure that I was stretched out facing east was when I got a West Texas motel room. A door facing east meant that wind didn’t drive sand in under it.” We chuckled. Continue reading Buried facing east

Tovara Painter's Pallette Persicaria

Painter’s palette

I am not an artist. Sure, arranging live plants in a visually appealing way to accommodate all seasons is quite the artistic challenge, but what I mean is that I don’t draw or paint. It’s on my bucket list of things to take up when I have more time.

However, I do have a plant in my garden called Tovara Painter’s Palette. Continue reading Painter’s palette

Mike

That good part

“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:40-42 NKJV).

In South Asia there is a popular saying that every evangelist soon learns: “No eating, no meeting!” In other words, if you plan for people to gather for hours listening to sermons or Bible lessons, there needs to be some thought given to providing refreshment. That may seem to us like greed or self-interest, but in those cultures if people give up several hours of their day for spiritual purposes they are also forfeiting the time that would ordinarily be spent in preparing meals for themselves and their families. There are few microwaves or frozen dinners in those nations. Continue reading That good part

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We are all needed

“For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body – though many – are one body, so too is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit. For in fact the body is not a single member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NET).

One of the best ways to think collectively about Christians is to think of a body. Several times in the New Testament this is the picture that the apostle Paul used to describe Christians’ relationships with each other. Although it isn’t specified here, but it is elsewhere, Jesus is the head of the body. The head is the part that gives direction. Continue reading We are all needed