Chasing empty things

BY JOHNNY O. TRAIL — What is success? The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” People have varying definitions of what successful living is all about. Sadly, many are chasing a definition of success that has no spiritual underpinnings.

Those living in the age of Samuel were guilty of chasing “vain” or empty things, 1 Samuel 12:19-21. These Israelites were guilty of chasing vain things when they departed from following the Lord God with all their heart. They wanted a king so they could be like all the nations around them, 1 Samuel 8:5. The crucial point they missed was that they already had a king—Jehovah God, 1 Samuel 8:7. In their request for a human king, they rejected the king of the Universe!

Christians do the same thing when they allow their affections to be divided. Paul cautioned the brethren at Colossae against this very problem. He writes in Colossians 3:1-3, Continue reading “Chasing empty things”

Where never is heard…

How should you respond when someone has a negative assessment of your work or your character? Did you know that critics in history have, wait for it, sometimes been wrong?

You are not a failure just because someone said you are. You are not a failure just because you made a mistake. You can become something of value in spite of what others may think of you, if you possess the right degree of determination, and if you turn your life over to the God who can change you for the better. Continue reading “Where never is heard…”


“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”

Who deceived whom?

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, ESV).

Linda had been a cheerleader, perky, petite and pretty. She was always surrounded by admirers; a myriad of boys would have been thrilled to have her just acknowledge them. She didn’t have to work hard at school, or on her personality. She had all she needed — pretty blue eyes and a personality as sweet as cotton candy, and perhaps as substantial.

Sarah had been the “plain Jane” in high school, quiet and competent. She rarely stood out in class, in fact worked at not standing out. But she buried her brown head in books and studied. By the time she graduated from college, she had exchanged the horn-rimmed glasses for contact lenses, but more importantly, she had begun a career in advertising, and had become an interesting person, with depth and keen perception. Continue reading “Who deceived whom?”