If it pours

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint-hearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. . . . It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? . . . For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:3-4, 7, 11 ESV).

I am known as a dedicated coffee drinker. Not only that, but I prefer dark-roast coffee, brewed to be rather strong. My philosophy on coffee, I often say, is, “If it will pour, it will drink.” That is, if it is liquid enough (i.e., thin enough) to pour out of the pot, it is liquid enough to be swallowed. Continue reading “If it pours”

Rough road ahead

By Johnny O. Trail — On I-24 going toward Clarksville between exits twenty-four and nineteen, there was an electric road sign that read “Rough Road Ahead.”  This stretch of highway has been problematic for years.  It continually washes out and needs constant patches and repairs.  Suffice to say it is a very rough road—our vehicle’s suspension and tires can attest to that fact.

Would it not be nice if we had various road signs in our lives to warn of “Rough Roads Ahead”?  In the lives of many, this would be a continual warning about situations they encounter down life’s pathway.  What type of signs might one see in their travels?  Of course, signs only work when they are read and heeded. Continue reading “Rough road ahead”

Solomon’s love song

When we think of Solomon there are probably two things that come quickly to mind. We think of his wisdom, which he asked God for, and we think of his wealth. We might also remember that he built the first temple for the glory and worship of God.

What often does not come to mind was that he was a prolific writer and in particular, a writer of Hebrew poetry. We have recorded that “He composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing animals, birds, insects, and fish” (1 Kings 4:32-33 NET). Sadly, we don’t have most of these writings preserved. Continue reading “Solomon’s love song”

Wonderful differences

After God completed his creation having made humanity both male and female, God saw it was very good. The differences between men and women range from our psychological make up down to our physiology.

When comedians highlight the stark contrasts in how we think, perceive and interact with our world, audiences break forth in hearty laughter. Why? Because they recognize the truth in these stereotypes. We are different.

Expressions like, “Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them,” give voice to spousal tension and frustrations. Yet, God saw all these differences as being very good! In fact, it is because of these differences that marriage can be a tool promoting spiritual development.    Continue reading “Wonderful differences”

Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation

By Johnny O. Trail — Mickey and Linda were married for around 60 years./1 Linda was immersed into Christ from an early age, but Mickey was not a member of the church.  For many, many years she and others patiently prayed for him and engaged him in various Bible studies.

When I started at the congregation where Mickey and Linda attended, I was blessed to become friends with them early in the work.  Since my grandmother’s maiden name was “Jacobs” and Linda’s was too, I always called her “Cousin” when she came into the building.  As I watched them over the 10 years that I was a part of their congregation, their love for one another was very apparent.  There was always a twinkle in his eyes and in hers when they were together.  Still, she had a persistent fear—”would Mickey obey the gospel before his life was over?” Continue reading “Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation”

26 Biblical points on sex and marriage

To accompany a recent sermon on sexual immorality, I wrote the following summary points on sex and marriage, focusing especially on the former. They have been translated from Portuguese.

These are basically bullet points designed for people who are coming to know God’s will. They’re designed to be starting points for further study. Continue reading “26 Biblical points on sex and marriage”

Five (unpopular) things Jesus said about divorce

“…from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8)

In 17 years of ministry (part and full-time), I have met with numerous married, and to-be-married couples. One thing I’ve found by this experience is that to-be-married couples generally understand the concept of adultery, and see it as a legitimate – if not the only – reason for divorce. Even if their Bible knowledge is somewhat limited, or they are not Christians, they will often say that this is the only legitimate grounds for a biblical divorce. I have this in writing from almost every couple I’ve married.

Yet, in nearly every troubled marriage that I’ve tried to help, one or both have a completely different, and non-biblical view of divorce and/or adultery. Continue reading “Five (unpopular) things Jesus said about divorce”

Unselfish love doesn’t need Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday where we focus on those we love.

It’s a romantic time that should bring joy to those who have good relationships. For those who don’t, well, it’s kinda cruel.

Of course, the holiday is economy driven and we fall in line and spend our money. Nevertheless, the day is important and we should express our fondness for that special person. Continue reading “Unselfish love doesn’t need Valentine’s Day”

A wee view of heaven

What will it be like in heaven? Despite the word “heaven” being used so often in the New Testament (around 240 times), there are very few descriptions of what heaven will be like and even fewer that talk about what it will be like to be in heaven. I am confident there is a reason for this: how do you describe something that is so much more wonderful than anything on earth, using purely human terms? Continue reading “A wee view of heaven”

Of weddings and baptism

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal (the NIV says ‘pledge’) to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21 ESV).

I often say to a couple who wants to get married that I am far more concerned with their marriage than I am with their wedding. It’s funny how people put so much emphasis on one day, and so little on what follows. They need to be prepared for life together, too! Continue reading “Of weddings and baptism”