Always faithful

The motto of the U.S. Marines is “Semper Fidelis.” It means “Always Faithful.”

Our son, in the Marine Corps for six years, knew what this meant. He told us a Marine is always a Marine, and a Marine is always ready to serve.

Jesus knew the kind of servants he needed. The Lord wanted servants who were ready to do his work. He told his disciples, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning: and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, that when he will return from the wedding and knocks they may open to him immediately” (Luke 12:35-36a NKJV). Continue reading “Always faithful”

Deserving

“Then the king sent and called for Shemei, and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head.’ And Shemei said to the king, ‘The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do’ ” (1 Kings 2:36-38 NKJV).

There are few ideas which are more frequently abused in modern society than that of entitlement. Commercials bombard us with luxury and leisure, persuading us that we all deserve such. Leaders of third world countries speak before global venues, demanding that those in better circumstances provide the help that is owed by them to the poor of the world. Millions of the poor everywhere expect governments to provide for every need (and for many things they simply desire). “We deserve it” has become the universal creed, without regard for any responsibility on the part of the one making the demand. Continue reading “Deserving”

The encouragement of the scriptures

“For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope” (Romans 15:4 NET).

As we live as Christians we sometimes become discouraged. When we are “down” it can seem difficult to continue going on. But there is something we can “take” for that! Often when we are physically sick we are told to take a pill, to take medication which will help to pick us up again. The solution for when we are spiritually discouraged is God’s word. Continue reading “The encouragement of the scriptures”

Indestructible lives

It probably sounds too good to be true. Yet, through his actions and teachings, Jesus revealed he wants to help us build indestructible lives. What Jesus is offering should not be confused with that message of prosperity some pander in his name.

What Jesus promises leaves no room for such self-centered motives. Yet, he hopes all of us will embrace his offer to live lives capable of weathering not only the trials on earth but also possessing eternal life with God. Continue reading “Indestructible lives”

Taking it for granted

One of my favorite lines in hymns comes from the great Scandinavian anthem “How Great Thou Art.”

“And when I think, that God his son not sparing
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,” (Karl Boberg).

I “get” the attraction of the first two verses. Many of us live in urban areas and feel harried and harassed. We long for the times we can gaze at the stars on a clear night, or on a mountainside, the breeze blowing gently and the birds “singing sweetly in the trees.” Continue reading “Taking it for granted”

Taking action so that others will believe in our ‘favorable future’

Researchers think they’ve discovered a strange phenomenon in the area of persuasion. The more a person believes strongly in a future, the more likely he thinks that others will eventually come around to his belief. But there’s more.

“… partisans believe they are so correct that others will eventually come to see the obviousness of their correctness,” says behavioral scientist Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School, lead author on the research. “Ironically, our findings indicate that this belief in a favorable future may diminish the likelihood that people will take action to ensure that the favorable future becomes reality.

Continue reading “Taking action so that others will believe in our ‘favorable future’”

Are you worried?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease killed more than 630,000 people in 2016. That is a death from heart disease every 40 seconds. Cancer was the second most prevalent cause of death taking 596,000 people.

USA Today reported the top ten things that worry Americans are: government corruption, terrorist attacks, not enough money for the future, becoming a victim of terror, firearm restrictions, closely related people dying, economic or financial collapse, identity theft, closely related people getting sick, and Obamacare.

Not one of those things (or any other) should worry a faithful child of God. Continue reading “Are you worried?”

The glory of the moon

Those gardeners who plant moon gardens have my admiration. I never indulged myself in creating a place where we can enjoy the flowers that open as the sun goes down, but it sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy the best part of the day — the evening.

There is an unparalleled wonder in flowers that exhibit that rare characteristic of opening up AFTER the sun sets rather than when it rises. Continue reading “The glory of the moon”

Made for man

“And he said to them,’The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath'” (Mark 2:27, NKJV).

On one trip into the mountains of Nepal to preach among the villages, we took a Nepali cook who was a practicing Buddhist. Over the course of the two weeks we traveled, we spoke to him several times about his religion and about the Gospel. One comment he made has stayed with me. “I am tired of the priests’ extravagant demands – for everything there must be a sacrifice and I must always pay.” Continue reading “Made for man”

We are the Israel of God

One of the images God used for his people, the nation of Israel, was that of an olive tree which he had planted.

“The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” (Jeremiah 11:16-17 ESV)

This image is taken from Psalm 52:8, where David describes himself as a green olive tree in the house of God. In Hosea 14:6 the nation of Israel after being restored to God following captivity is described as a beautiful olive tree with its shoots spread out. Continue reading “We are the Israel of God”