He was not mentioned but he was there

By Johnny O. Trail — Esther is a small book found in the Old Testament that many have read throughout the millennia. It is interesting to note that the word for “God” is not found in this ten-chapter book. While God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, one finds him providentially working in the lives of his people.

The book of Esther and the lives of the people mentioned therein illustrate some powerful biblical principles. Some of them are:

  1. Esther demonstrates how the prideful reason about themselves.
  2. God providentially works in the lives of those who are his people—in Esther’s age and ours too.
  3. Obedience is necessary to effectuate the salvation of God’s people.
  4. Hatred and racism are age-old problems that all generations of people have had to face.
  5. The prideful will fail whereas the humble will find refuge and protection in God’s care.

Continue reading “He was not mentioned but he was there”

Posture is important

Those weeds are a pain in the neck….and back….and knees. For those of us with physical impairments, there are methods to compensate for those aches and pains.

Scattered around the overflowing flowerbeds in our yard are multiple milk crates, turned upside down and carefully placed among the plants. They allow me to reach the weeds and plant the flowers without bending at the waist or kneeling.

Often you may find a “reaching tool” lying on a bench or leaning against a fence. Continue reading “Posture is important”

Logically right but spiritually wrong

“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.

Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.

Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”

He must increase

It hurts when you have worked hard and been overlooked, or when you have toiled in anonymity and were never thanked.

There is humility, and then there’s false humility. The Bible demands one, but actually, not the other.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you, do not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment …” (Romans 12:3). Continue reading “He must increase”

Dark side of humility

Scripture commands us to be humble but that doesn’t mean everyone is doing it properly. Let’s see how we’re hurting ourselves spiritually by misunderstanding what God intended.

Humility brings wisdom and honor (Proverbs 11:2; 18:12). It’s the foundation of all Christianity. Righteousness can’t occur without it. But how is humility being manifested in the lives of Christians? Continue reading “Dark side of humility”

The flavor of crow

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

If there is one thing American society needs in particular, it is humility. (A warning: this is not only a post about the words of Christ, it is also thick with sports talk – at least, the first part).

For Christmas this year, my wife got me a framed picture of one of my childhood heroes: Walter Payton.

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Not everything about Payton’s life was admirable, but certainly as a football player, there was none like him. And one thing that I personally appreciated was that he didn’t showboat on the field. Continue reading “The flavor of crow”

Are we grateful or entitled?

Entitlement is something we feel we deserve because of who we are. Similar to gossip or lying, it’s something others have. We’re never guilty. Yet, it’s more entrenched than most in America realize.

Comfort is addictive. We’ve had it for years. Food, shelter, security and spending money are ubiquitous. We’ve no reason to expect anything else. Gifts are under the tree, a feast is on the table, decorations sparkle around us. Same as it ever was. Continue reading “Are we grateful or entitled?”