“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2 ESV).
Sometimes, even in the midst of terrible tragedies, things happen that reinforce one’s faith in people. Perhaps I should have said “especially in the midst of tragedies” because it is the response of Christians to victims of disaster that has prompted the above thought. Continue reading Ready for every good work
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV).
This week I received an email from a friend in Katmandu, Nepal which included the following paragraph: Continue reading Shaken
“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14 NKJV).
Travelers often get into awkward situations simply because they are not familiar with the customs and practices of their hosts. This happens regularly when one is visiting people of his own nation, even from his own family. It often causes much more serious consequences when one is in another nation with a very different culture. Continue reading Expectations
Perhaps the most remarkable person to work at a Christian college was Zelma Lawyer, but she was not a professor, she was a “dorm mother.” For decades she “mothered” young women at Abilene Christian College with an iron hand and a loving touch. But she was much more than a mere “dorm mom.”
Zelma Lawyer was a hero. Continue reading She married a missionary
“So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 NKJV).
In my opinion perhaps the greatest challenge to missionaries is the development of indigenous leadership in areas where the church is young and opportunities for training are limited. How quickly can a new convert develop the spiritual maturity required of elders, deacons, and preachers? How quickly may we begin to trust those of different cultures of which our understanding is imperfect? Just when should we begin to push for independence and self-reliance on the part of mission churches? These are difficult questions with few obvious right answers. Continue reading Potential
“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13 NKJV).
It has become very evident to me over the years that conditional statements are often not recognized as such. This may be cultural, or in other situations may be influenced by lack of education or even by personal prejudices (we often do hear what we want or expect to hear, don’t we?). Continue reading If
“The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord God, You know'” (Ezekiel 37:1-3 NKJV).
Has the world ever seemed to be in worse crisis than it is right now? Admittedly our perspective is narrow and our experience is limited. One cannot really compare different eras and millennia objectively because we simply don’t have all the necessary information. Continue reading God knows
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.’ . . . To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children.’ . . . Then to Adam He said . . . ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life'” (Genesis 3:14, 16, 17 NKJV). Continue reading The cost of transgressions
“As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter'” (Romans 8:36 NKJV).
The email from Bangladesh stated that the preacher for one of the congregations there had been called out of his house by a group of eight or ten men and threatened, “You stop preaching here in this village or we will hurt you.” His response was to leave the village for a couple of weeks, then to return and resume his work. Continue reading More than conquerors
“You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together” (Deuteronomy 22:9-11 NKJV).
Westerners visiting so called third world countries will often note the different standards of sanitation which prevail there. The use of polluted water, the profusion of garbage and litter, and neglect of what the visitor considers common hygiene prompt the reaction that “those people are just not clean.” The assumption often follows that they are merely lazy. Continue reading A commitment to purity