Promises

“And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day’ ” (2 Kings 20:8)?

On a trip to the mountains of Nepal we followed a local bus for several miles. On the back of the bus was printed their slogan, “We make travel fun.” Really? What is so much fun about riding on extremely narrow, rough, crooked roads in high mountains where in order to pass traffic one must literally hang out over steep drops? It is not unusual to see below the burnt out ruins of vehicles that did not safely negotiate those conditions. Continue reading “Promises”

Which are we?

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9 NKJV)?

 

“Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you” (Ruth 3:1)?

I overheard a conversation in Asia. One asked about how a certain work was going to be done. The reply was, “That is not our headache. It is the contractor’s responsibility; let him take care of it.” On one level, that is not an unreasonable response. We might have better stated it, “It is not really our business, let him do the job his way.” But in the context of the conversation the attitude of the responder was basically, “I don’t care – let them handle their own problems without my help. Continue reading “Which are we?”

Independence comes at a price

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1, NKJV).

On March 26 Bangladesh celebrates its independence as a nation. From the establishment of the British Raj in the mid-18th century until its end in 1947, the land now known as Bangladesh was the East Bengal state of India. With the withdrawal of British control, the entire subcontinent of India was partitioned to form two nations with different religious majorities: India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Islamic). Pakistan was comprised of two widely separated territories, West Pakistan (now simply Pakistan) and East Pakistan (formerly East Bengal). Continue reading “Independence comes at a price”

Little things

“And the Lord did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies” (Exodus 8:24 NKJV).

I was standing recently under the shade of a mango tree in an Asian country and noticed several flies swarming around. When I looked more closely I saw many large flies sitting on the leaves and fruit. Other insects were also flying about, but the flies were especially numerous. Almost without thinking I moved back several feet to get away from them. Continue reading “Little things”

Manpower

“Solomon had seventy thousand who carried burdens, and eighty thousand who quarried stone in the mountains, besides three thousand three hundred . . . who supervised the people who labored in the work” (1 Kings 5:15-16).

One project in Bangladesh involved considerable digging and moving of dirt. A team of ten men were used, three or four of whom dug out the dirt and loaded it into baskets. These were then carried on the heads of the remainder of the crew to the place where the dirt was dumped. Each basket weighed an estimated 80 to 100 pounds. As I watched I could not help but be reminded of the massive building projects of Biblical times, such as the pyramids of Egypt and the great Temple and other buildings of King Solomon of Israel. Continue reading “Manpower”

At his coming

“And now, little children, abide in him, that when he appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28, NKJV).

I have recently returned to South Asia where I will be for the next few months. When I arrived I was greeted with many smiles and sincere welcomes by those whom I have known for a considerable time. It was good to be back, and they seemed very happy to have me here. Continue reading “At his coming”

What separates us from God?

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2, NKJV).

Few activities are more common to mankind than what we often call “the blame game.” Whatever problem I may face, it is never my fault. My difficulties are either caused by or should have been prevented by someone else. If “the devil did not make me do it” then “the government should do something about it.” Rarely do we hear, “I guess I need to make some changes.”

In ancient Israel many Jews were apparently blaming God for their sinful condition. Perhaps they were making the same claim we sometimes hear today: “If God was really a loving God he would not let this kind of thing happen.” Continue reading “What separates us from God?”

What is in a name?

“When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David, . . . and said, . . . ‘Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him’” (1 Samuel 25:23-25 NASB).

A man prominent in certain circles in Nepal is well known for ascribing nicknames to associates. Unfortunately, being of rather satirical humor, those nicknames are often somewhat derogatory and are not always appreciated by those to whom they are given. That, of course, is not unusual with respect to nicknames; many people are known for traits, habits, or attitudes of which they are not necessarily proud. Grumpy of the “7 Dwarfs” in Snow White’s story comes to mind. Continue reading “What is in a name?”

How did that happen?

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8 NKJV).

I count myself among those who marvel at how or why things happen the way they do. We live in a tremendously advanced age with regard to technology and scientific accomplishment. In my lifetime we have broken the sound barrier, put human beings in outer space, walked on the surface of the moon, and sent craft into the farther reaches of our solar system. And that does not begin to list the many advances in personal comfort, medical knowledge, and thousands of other important developments. Continue reading “How did that happen?”

Messengers of good

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘ Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7 NKJV).

One great blessing to the modern missionary (or any traveler to remote places) is the capability of immediate communication almost everywhere. Thirty years ago I might be able to contact my family at home one time in a month. Now I can call or email almost as frequently as I choose, from nearly anywhere I might be, and do so at a fraction of the previous cost. Continue reading “Messengers of good”