Encouragement

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NKJV).

When Moses, the Man of God, died at the end of Israel’s wilderness travel, the young man Joshua was elevated to the leadership of the nation. At the time of his appointment he was told to “be strong and of good courage” by three different beings: first by Moses who appointed him (Deuteronomy 31:7), then by God himself (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9), and finally by the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (Joshua 1:18). Continue reading “Encouragement”

Upgraded!

“But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:10-11 NKJV).

When I handed in my boarding pass to go onto the airplane in Doha, Qatar, on my most recent flight, I was told to wait a moment. The agent went to the counter, exchanged my economy pass for a business class seat and returned to give it to me. Continue reading “Upgraded!”

Nowhere to turn around

“Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17 NKJV).

I set out to direct our group to a favorite place in Dhaka. We had a new driver, and most of the Banglas with whom I was traveling had not been in Dhaka very much. Therefore I, the foreigner, turned out to be the one who knew the route, or at least that is what we thought. Continue reading “Nowhere to turn around”

The accepted time

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the time of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Most Americans who travel to “far places” experience various types of culture shock. One of the most common and severe is that related to a different perception of time. We tend to be clock and calendar oriented. One hour means 60 minutes. An appointment for 4:00 p.m. is expected to commence at that point in time or in very close proximity to it. Other peoples in the world simply do not work to the same kind of schedule. Continue reading “The accepted time”

You can get there from here

“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).

It seems that every time we begin preparing for another trip, connections are harder to find. Many airlines have abandoned routes, consolidated flights, and otherwise reduced options. Sometimes we get the impression that “we just can’t get there from here.”

Once we get into the countries it may get even worse. Roads are often damaged because of landslides or flooding; sometimes travel is halted by strikes and political unrest. On one recent trip there were severe shortages of fuel which made even local short-distance travel very difficult. Continue reading “You can get there from here”

Memory

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).

Another year is coming to a close. Next week we will celebrate a new beginning, but we will also observe an ending. 2016 will be no more. Our relationship with the past is complex and often difficult. We find ourselves torn with conflicting needs, and advised by contradictory proverbs. Continue reading “Memory”

What do we not know?

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples'” (Luke 11:1 NKJV).

Let me preface my comments by stating that I have attended worship assemblies in the church since infancy. My father was an elder and Bible Class teacher. I have attended Christian elementary and Junior High schools, as well as Christian universities. I have also served as minister, evangelist, and missionary for almost 50 years. Continue reading “What do we not know?”

Certainties

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement … ” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV).

This week I have learned of the death of a friend’s father on the other side of the world. Such news causes one to reflect on mortality and related issues. We have all heard it, and probably said it ourselves: “Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.”

Usually this is said with at least the tip of tongue in cheek. Yet most of us concede there is a lot of truth to this proposition from both perspectives. It is true that death is universal (i.e., certain), and taxes seem to be almost as much so. It is also true that not many other things seem to possess the same inevitability. Continue reading “Certainties”

Infirmities

“You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” (Galatians 4:13-14 NKJV).

It is a common, though not commendable, human tendency to be repulsed by obvious physical deformities. The handicapped and injured among us are often greeted by rude stares, grimaces, averted eyes, and even worse evidence that their condition is offensive to “normal” people. Continue reading “Infirmities”