Show, don’t tell

“Show, don’t tell.” This basic principle rules the writing world. It makes life easier, also. To teach a man to fish, he must see you fishing. Personal-development guru Anthony Robbins wrote in his 1991 book, Awaken the Giant Within,

If you’re not sure how to get yourself out of pain and to feel pleasure as a replacement to your smoking, drinking, worrying, or other undesirable emotion or behavior, you can simply find the answers by modeling people who have turned things around for themselves. Find people who have made the lasting changes; I guarantee you’ll find that they had an alternative to replace the old behavior (p. 135).

The Bible both tells and shows. It communicates the message of truth and gives us visual lessons, both positive and negative, on how to be holy. Examples abound from beginning to end. All the great virtues shine in flesh-and-blood people throughout the pages of Scripture. Continue reading “Show, don’t tell”

Rules

The world has never had any rules. The world doesn’t even really like guidelines. How can something like, “Live for today,” qualify for a rule or a guideline?

William Barclay wrote, “One of the characteristics of the world in which we live is the lowering of standards.”[1] Many in the world have no standard at all. The disciple of Christ must live according to the standards of Christ. The only other option is to live in profligacy. Continue reading “Rules”

The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering

Less is more, or so say the experts. Personally, I have not felt the allure of the new “tiny home” or other minimalist trends but can appreciate the reasoning behind them. Our possessions are often burdening us! Most of us could benefit by simplifying many physical aspects of our lives.

It is no different in the garden. It would be wise to let go of plants that are high maintenance in favor of a shorter task list. Maybe, just maybe, one CAN have too many daylilies. At the very least, one can have too many of the same kind of daylily or iris.

In the now-popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo instructs her devotees to hold each item in their hands and decide if it brings them joy. Continue reading “The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering”

Pressing on

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12 NIV).

At one of the seminars I held in South Asia, a preacher told me of the money his congregation was saving for a modest church building. They needed about $1,500 and had accumulated almost half of that over two to three years of effort. He knew it would still take considerable time to complete the task, yet his joy and enthusiasm at their progress so far was palpable. Continue reading “Pressing on”

We are all sons of God

“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29 NET).

What a great privilege we have to be sons of God! The idea of being a “son” of God is no mere accident nor is it discriminatory. In fact, this was a very liberating concept! In most societies, up until fairly recently, it was the sons – the male descendants – who inherited. Yet in Christ, we all inherit, no matter who we are, through faith. We are all sons! Continue reading “We are all sons of God”

The least of them

By John Kaniecki

“And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Mathew 25:40 NET).

If one looks at this statement literally it is perhaps one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. That is, the way that you treat any human being is the way that you are treating Jesus. If Jesus came up to you and said “I’m hungry”, I am sure that you would give him all of the food that you had. But what about that drug-addicted man, dressed in rags, who is always begging by the side of the road. According to this scripture, there is no difference between the two. Continue reading “The least of them”

When life takes a rough turn

So OK, you don’t need this, your romance is going along just peachy; could you keep this just in case a “friend” needs it sometime? I won’t tell!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

There are many ways that life could throw a “curveball,” a “spanner in the works,” but I am specifically thinking of when a Christian young person has his/her heart broken in a romance. You might react by saying, this isn’t exactly a subject dealt with in Scripture, is it? But remember that the Bible is all about the following: Continue reading “When life takes a rough turn”

The problem is not in the harvest

He started out as a practicing Catholic. He made pilgrimages to Aparecida, Brazil’s religious center for the veneration of Mary. He hated “believers,” as fundamental evangelicals are called here. Once, he even threw a pail of water on two Protestants who were doing door-to-door evangelism.

Elijah, as we’ll call him, later converted to Protestantism. He became a Pentecostal pastor. As a dedicated man, he received in return that pail of water from someone who also hated believers. Continue reading “The problem is not in the harvest”

By the skin of God’s teeth

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? ‘And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the Godless man and the sinner’ ” (1 Peter 4:17-18 NASV)?

I have ceased trying to identify and remember how many close calls I have experienced while traveling in South Asia. After all, many threats and near disasters may occur without really drawing attention to themselves. When trekking in the Himalayas on steep trails any stumble or brief loss of balance could easily result in a fatal fall. Any drive on the narrow twisting roads could end with an accident causing injury or death. In addition to those everyday dangers, there is the constant possibility of a terrorist attack or violent crime. Whenever I come home safely I am aware that I am fortunate, and may honestly feel that I “barely made it.” Continue reading “By the skin of God’s teeth”

The gospel is for all

Reading through the New Testament, we find a controversy that seemed to plague the first Christians. It centered around whether a Gentile (someone who was not a Jew) could be a Christian and also how they became a Christian. The Jews took great pride in the covenant they had with God, represented by circumcision – they often referred to everyone else as the “uncircumcised” – and wanted to require Gentiles to be circumcised before being baptized. Although this might be difficult for those of us living 2,000 years later to comprehend, it is important to see how this impacted these first Christians.

Jesus stated quite clearly that the gospel was for everyone. He told his followers: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 ESV). Continue reading “The gospel is for all”