What is in a name?

“When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David, . . . and said, . . . ‘Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him’” (1 Samuel 25:23-25 NASB).

A man prominent in certain circles in Nepal is well known for ascribing nicknames to associates. Unfortunately, being of rather satirical humor, those nicknames are often somewhat derogatory and are not always appreciated by those to whom they are given. That, of course, is not unusual with respect to nicknames; many people are known for traits, habits, or attitudes of which they are not necessarily proud. Grumpy of the “7 Dwarfs” in Snow White’s story comes to mind. Continue reading “What is in a name?”

How did that happen?

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8 NKJV).

I count myself among those who marvel at how or why things happen the way they do. We live in a tremendously advanced age with regard to technology and scientific accomplishment. In my lifetime we have broken the sound barrier, put human beings in outer space, walked on the surface of the moon, and sent craft into the farther reaches of our solar system. And that does not begin to list the many advances in personal comfort, medical knowledge, and thousands of other important developments. Continue reading “How did that happen?”

Messengers of good

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘ Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7 NKJV).

One great blessing to the modern missionary (or any traveler to remote places) is the capability of immediate communication almost everywhere. Thirty years ago I might be able to contact my family at home one time in a month. Now I can call or email almost as frequently as I choose, from nearly anywhere I might be, and do so at a fraction of the previous cost. Continue reading “Messengers of good”

Memories

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3 NKJV).

As I go back through some of the pictures I have taken over the past 30 years of traveling in other countries, many memories come to mind. Some are of events. Many have to do with places I have been to and seen. Most of those memories, however, are of people whom I have encountered. These vary from near-hostile confrontations to casual business dealings and to deep and abiding friendships and fellowship in Christ. Continue reading “Memories”

Seeing and believing

“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples, therefore, said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe'” (John 20:24-25 NKJV).

Few proverbs are stated with more confidence than “Seeing is believing.” But is it really? Several years ago I read a statement from a noted author he knew of only one person who claimed to have seen a ghost. The interesting thing was that this person did not believe in ghosts, even after he had “seen” one. Obviously, he doubted the authenticity of his sighting and thought it must be explainable in some other way. Continue reading “Seeing and believing”

Heritage

“But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you” (1 Kings 21:3 NKJV).

Real estate is considered to be one of the safest and best investments one can make. This is true not only in developed nations but worldwide. As the earth’s population increases dramatically, its available space remains fixed. Until oceans are filled or space is colonized, the land we see is all that we will have. That makes usable land highly sought after. In Bangladesh for example, land prices in even rural settings are comparable to costs in significant cities of the U.S. There is just not enough to go around, so demand is great. Continue reading “Heritage”

Shrinkage

“Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need” (Exodus 16:17-18 NKJV).

Over the years I have traveled in more than a score of countries and to five of the world’s seven continents. I am an unapologetic souvenir shopper and have brought back probably hundreds of carvings, boxes, shawls, art works, pieces of clothing, and other “doo-dads,” including at least a few things from everywhere I have been. Continue reading “Shrinkage”

Which is the real thing?

“Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For though he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:3-6 NKJV).

I once had my email hacked while I was out of the country, then used to try to raise money fraudulently by writing to my home congregation in my name, saying I had an emergency and needed several thousand dollars to be sent to me immediately. Those in the church office recognized the appeal as false because, as one reported to me later, they asked, “Have you ever seen anything written by Mike with that many grammatical mistakes in it?” Maybe all that high school and college English had some value after all. Continue reading “Which is the real thing?”

Identifying the main point

“And the disciples came and said to him, ‘why do you speak to them in parables?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:10-11 NKJV).

Some time ago I took a series of pictures in the late afternoon as I was walking back across a field following some baptisms. Looking at those pictures now I find myself wondering just what it was that I was primarily trying to capture. Was it the setting sun, or the empty field? Perhaps it was simply the fading light at that special dusky time of day. Continue reading “Identifying the main point”

Bearing others’ burdens

“Bear one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).

Some jobs are difficult if not impossible to do alone. Loading bundles of roofing tin and steel pieces intended for framing into a truck is one of those, at least if it is to be done by man-power alone. Things for which one is not strong enough can be easily managed by two or more working together. Continue reading “Bearing others’ burdens”