Joyful noise

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord, he is God; It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:1-3 NKJV).

Eastern music – that is to say, the music of Asia – is different from that common in the Western hemisphere. Not only do they feature different instruments which produce varying tones, but their chords, rhythms, and melodies are far removed from the “top 40” hits, symphony performances, and other popular music with which most Europeans and Americans are familiar. Continue reading “Joyful noise”

Calling evil good

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV).

“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:22-24). Continue reading “Calling evil good”

Desolation

“Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers” (Isaiah 1:7-8 NKJV).

As one drives through Bangladesh he sees many fields of rice, vegetables, or other crops, as well as many ponds used to raise shrimp or fish for the export market. All of these various kinds of produce are valuable, and since the fields and ponds are generally, unfenced they are vulnerable to thieves. Continue reading “Desolation”

Just and honest weights

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 25:13-16 NKJV).

Most Americans have little or no experience with balance beam scales. That is the type where there is a beam supporting two baskets or trays, itself supported in the middle so as to be able to go up and down in either direction. One places the item to be weighed on one tray, and a standard known weight on the other, adjusting quantities until the beam balances exactly. Continue reading “Just and honest weights”

Familiar faces

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid'” (Matthew 14:27 NKJV).

On one of my first trips to Nepal I missed a flight and arrived at a different time from that for which I was scheduled. After waiting alone at the airport exit for some time, I finally recognized the local preacher whom I had met only once before. Though I fully expected to be met by someone, it was still a great relief to see him and know I was not forgotten.

Can you imagine the fear of the twelve disciples of Jesus as they fought the strong winds and waves of the Sea of Galilee? It was dark. They were alone, without their master and teacher, Jesus. Some of them at least were professional fishermen who knew all too well the hazards of their position. Continue reading “Familiar faces”

“Gathering up the fragments”

“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.’ Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:12-13 NKJV).

In Bangladesh when tables are set for meals, there are usually extra plates set out (about one for each 2-4 people). When I first began traveling there that puzzled me, but as we ate, their purpose became plain. Those were the “bone plates” onto which each diner would discard any bones, gristle or other inedible residue of his or her food. Continue reading ““Gathering up the fragments””

Room 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).

While looking for a place to eat lunch in Dhaka we found ourselves on a divided boulevard with concrete barriers separating the north and southbound lanes. When we reached the restaurant we had chosen we could not turn in because there was no break in the barriers. We had to drive a considerable distance past it, then turn and come back. Since we had already driven more than six hours to get to Dhaka, then another hour plus of city traffic jams, we were not pleased at the extra time and distance. Continue reading “Room to turn around”

Synchronizing spirits

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11).

As Brenda and I traveled to Florida recently we began discussing things we would need to do soon after returning home. We found ourselves beginning a sentence, then having the other person answer it before the first speaker had even named the primary object or subject which was under discussion. After three or four exchanges we broke out laughing, amused that we were so much in tune with the other that we could immediately complete each other’s thoughts, even when they represented a total change of subjects. I guess that is one benefit to having celebrated a golden anniversary.

On reflection however, we agreed that this is about more than lengthy marriages. Continue reading “Synchronizing spirits”

What babies can know

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight'” (Luke 10:21 NKJV).

It can sometimes be discouraging to work diligently to proclaim the gospel with little apparent immediate results. Often what results there are may seem to be among the poor and uneducated, or even among the so-called outcasts of society. Paul described the majority of Christians as consisting of “Not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Corinthians 1:26). He went on to state, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Continue reading “What babies can know”

The cure for hatred

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3 NKJV).

The feuding mentality is alien to some, but seems to come naturally to many. What enables certain families, clans, or ethnicities to pass on hatred and enmity through multiple generations? From the warring tribes of Africa, the feuding families of Appalachia, and the clans of the Scottish Highlands, some ancient grudges have lasted for hundreds and even thousands of years. And some seem to be just as intense and fierce as they have ever been. Continue reading “The cure for hatred”