The story is an old one. Spirituality fluctuates between a wasteland and vibrancy. This narrative reoccurs throughout time. King David experienced it.
As people grapple with the current crisis, some will trod this well-worn path. Others may never reach the vibrancy. Continue reading “Self-confidence, crisis, then praise”
Five years ago, come July, my dad passed away. (Yesterday would have been my parents 65th wedding anniversary.) I was given the blessing of God to be able to be present for his last days, even though I live on another continent. God gave me similar blessings when my paternal grandmother and grandfather died as well. As a result, I was able to deal with grief in a positive way.
The human being has an inherent need for closure. Some feel a greater need for it, others less, but our psychological make-up drives us toward putting a tidy bow on intense emotional upheavals such as these: Continue reading “Our need for closure”
“And there was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver” (2 Kings 6:25 NASB).
During this Covid-19 crisis the people of Nepal are under lockdown orders, which means they cannot work and therefore earn money. Relief packages are being prepared for many of the poor, consisting of about 60 pounds of rice, 12 pounds of dal (beans), a half gallon of cooking oil, 5 pounds of salt, 2.2 pounds of soybean nuggets, and 2 bars of soap. This is considered a month’s supply of necessities for a family of 5. The cost of one such package is $22. That may seem like a small amount to some, but is beyond the ability of a large segment of the population under these circumstances. Continue reading “Running out?”
By Johnny O. Trail — During this season of quarantine, I have taken on projects that I have not had the time to complete. One of these projects included cleaning out the garage. Going through old boxes and other items that were quickly stowed away awoke memories from the past. Among the fondest of those memories, was the re-discovery of my father’s old fishing tackle box.
Upon opening the box, it was determined that the contents were in a very rough condition. My father rarely fished with artificial lures, so most of the items were hooks, sinkers, floats, and fishing line. The box had not been opened or used for about fifteen years, so the items were rusted and stuck to various parts of the box. Continue reading “The box does not matter — the memories do”
Life gets rough. How people respond is well known. “Why did God do this to me?” “How can God be good if he allows this to continue?” Adversity can foster many temptations. What role does God play in all of this?
James’ letter takes us straight to our questions about God. He does not answer every question we might pose. Rather he counsels us how to think about God when we are in the thick of it. Continue reading “How to think about God when life is rough”
I was confused. My fifth grade class was not on schedule. Instead of our normal routine, we were about to watch something on television. As my eleven-year-old mind tried to make sense of the pictures I saw, this much became clear: someone had hurt many people. A building was torn in half from bottom to top. Could it be that this was Oklahoma City?
171 lives ended that day. The memorial honors the victims with 168 empty chairs (149 adults and 19 children), plus the names of three preborn children who died with their mothers. It was, until 9/11, the deadliest terror attack in the United States.
In the days that followed my eyes saw the helpers. I saw rescue workers fighting through exhaustion to help pull people from the wreckage. I saw thousands lined up to donate blood. I saw compassion. I saw love. Continue reading “We are the times”
In times of crises and doubt, the book of Revelation is a wonderful reminder of the sovereignty and salvation of God. The times were far different, the suffering had a human cause, but the book highlights the concern of God, a reminder we urgently need today. Read with me, please, the eighteenth chapter of the book.
God caused the great fall of Babylon, in Revelation 18. The name of the city figuratively represented Rome. As the great capital of Babylonia had fallen, so would the center of the Roman empire, whence came the sufferings and persecutions of the saints to whom the apostle John had written. Continue reading “Mighty is the Lord God who judges”
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5, NASB).
As these words are written the world continues to battle the pandemic of Covid-19, a newly discovered Corona virus which, first detected probably in December, 2019, spread throughout more than 150 nations in a span of three to four months. A few countries have seen the peak of new cases pass, with fewer reported and death rates dwindling. But for most of the world the virus continues to rage. More than two million have been confirmed with Covid 19 in the U.S. alone and the number is still climbing. Equally alarming is the effect this pandemic is having upon the global economy. To say this is a critical time is perhaps an understatement. Continue reading “Critical situations”
When disaster strikes, when sorrow overwhelms, when hardship envelops our lives, the first question we often ask is, “Why?”
We wonder why we or the ones we love have to endure pain. We question if God loves us or if we deserve it. We might even demand an answer from God.
Wanting to know why is understandable. Knowing why promises us satisfaction. But does God always tell us why? Continue reading “From why to what now”
For some, the worldwide crisis of the body — the coronavirus pandemic, if that is what it is — has become a crisis of the soul.
Can the soul in flight from God and in pursuit of worldly things — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — deal with the isolation and the quarantine of the body? Continue reading “Crisis of body and soul”