Developing the mindset of gratitude

Gratitude journals are a popular thing in some circles. Isn’t it good to see this? In a harsh and bitter world, cultivating a grateful heart can only produce good things.

Gratitude makes up a large part of a Christian’s prayers. So reasons for gratitude provide plenty of material for one’s communion with God.

Remember that many Israelites fell in the desert between Egypt and Canaan for lack of gratitude (mumbling and complaining). The apostle Paul considered it so important that he told saints to cultivate it three times, in three different ways, each mention in close proximity, in Colossians 3.15-17 (ESV): Continue reading “Developing the mindset of gratitude”

A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon

When Jesus was invited to a meal, the whole neighborhood might come. The common people wanted to see and hear Jesus, a rabbi who was often in conflict with the Pharisees. When Jesus was invited to dine with a Pharisee, it was one part evening entertainment and one part religious instruction.

When Jesus came to dine at Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50), word spread. A woman who is identified as “a sinner” comes to see Jesus. But she is not content with standing on the periphery, or peering in to get a fleeting glimpse. She moves through the crowd to the feet of the Savior. Weeping, she wipes the tears off his feet with her hair, kisses his feet, and pours over them expensive ointment.

The reaction by Simon was one of disgust and rejection. He rejects Jesus as a prophet because he certainly doesn’t know who is touching him for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39). Continue reading “A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon”

Mansions

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3, NKJV).

Several years ago a younger visitor commented about his modest aspirations for a house. “I don’t want anything fancy, just a simple place kind of like your house.” Though I would agree that my house is not fancy, it represents many years of saving and working and is likely the largest and last house I will own. I was a little shocked at this example of the next generation’s definition of “starter home.” Of course, that particular individual may not be a true representative of his generation. Continue reading “Mansions”

Give thanks

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:1-2 NKJV).

When I first began traveling to Nepal almost 30 years ago I was told that, until recently, there had been no word for thank you in their language. After exposure to western vacationers following the opening of the country in the 1950s, someone coined the word dhanobhad to translate the English term “Thank you.”

Words express ideas or concepts and denote objects and actions familiar to those who speak a given language. If a society uses something, they generally have a word for it. Continue reading “Give thanks”

Man sitting on ground looking at mountains and lake

‘In his right mind’

“And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the ‘legion;’ and they became frightened” (Mark 5:15).

Sometimes you just can’t win. The demoniac from Gerasea (or Genneserat, see Matthew 14:34) had lived for some time in the tombs, isolated from normal society because of his bizarre behavior (Mark 5:2-5). He was rejected and feared by the villagers about him. But when Jesus cast the demons out of the man, restoring him to his right mind, the people were even more frightened. Actually their fright at this time was directed towards Jesus rather than the former demoniac, but it was this man’s now normal behavior, at least in part, that caused their reaction. Continue reading “‘In his right mind’”

Ingrate!

Parents who wanted their children to have what they were deprived of often discover it growing among the toys and privileges.

Christians who help the poor sometimes see it in the scowls at the same time the hand is extended.

Friends who share the amazing gift of God’s grace with their loved ones see it in the face of those who find salvation a small thing. Continue reading “Ingrate!”

The greatest challenge

Surrounded by immorality, a Christian fights an uphill battle to remain pure. But that is not his greatest challenge.

In a world awash in words and alternative philosophies, a Christian struggles to get the divine Word out. But that is not his greatest challenge.

In the rush of daily events, a Christian vigorously defends his time alone with the Lord. But even that is not his greatest challenge.

This is an opinion, and you are more than welcome to differ with me, but I think I have good evidence (in my own life) to back it up. Continue reading “The greatest challenge”

Squelching worry

A life free from worry.  Any takers?

We know we ought to embody Jesus’ teachings to abstain from worrying about tomorrow.  Disciples are not to be anxious about life. In fact, in his parable about the Sower, Jesus described the cares of this life as one of those distracting forces that can stifle God’s word within our lives.

Yet, achieving a worry free lifestyle may not be as easy as understanding the goal. How often does expending energy focused upon “I’m not going to worry” only seem to heighten the problem? Fortunately, scripture and research converge suggesting some strategies forward.  Here’s one of them. Continue reading “Squelching worry”