The fog will clear

A few days ago, early in the morning, I glanced out my back window toward the apartment building where my son Joel and his family live. They’re living here for a year and found an apartment a couple of blocks away. But their building was gone! I did a double-take and noticed that a heavy fog had rolled in. Nothing could be seen beyond my backyard.

In less than an hour, the fog had lifted. My son’s building and everything else were in place.

The doubts of life are like that morning fog. Continue reading “The fog will clear”

Worthy to be treated shamefully

Can you imagine being arrested for simply telling others about Jesus? Although this does happen in some areas of the world, this is not something that most Christians think much about. Yet this was something that the Christians had to face in the months and years following Jesus’ resurrection.

Those first few months had to be exciting – the Day of Pentecost and 3000 became Christians, the miraculous healings, the boldness of the apostles, the fellowship and generosity of the Christians. Yes, there were causes for anxiety when Peter and John were arrested and Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for lying to God. But on the whole, it had to have been exciting! It finally reached the point that signs and wonder were being done frequently. Continue reading “Worthy to be treated shamefully”

The gift of suffering

A young woman sat in my office, hurt and scared. Her husband had abandoned her. She had two small children, no job, and an education that had been interrupted for that marriage and those kids. What would she do?

I said the things preachers say, read a Scripture and prayed, but felt I had been inadequate.

Afterward, however, I began to think. I knew another woman in the congregation, an older woman, who had suffered something similar. I phoned the other woman and asked: “Can you do me a favor?” Continue reading “The gift of suffering”

Our secure hope

Sometimes we may think that we have it bad as Christians living in the 21st century. Our society seems to be turning against anything having to do with Christianity. But when we compare our situation to those living in the first century, what we go through is insignificant.

Nero was the ruler in Rome. He persecuted Christians, resulting in the deaths of many Christians – including, we believe, the apostles Paul and Peter. As the persecution began, Christians found themselves alienated from those around them. How do you face this type of aggression day after day?

Peter began his first letter by reminding them of all that they had because they were Christians. Continue reading “Our secure hope”

Living a godly life

What do you say to someone as your life comes to its close?

As Paul wrote the second letter we have to Timothy, what memories he must have had of this younger man. He had taken Timothy with him on his travels and Timothy had learned from Paul to the extent that Paul could leave him to get on with the work that needed done for the Lord.

Yet there is always something more to say, some advice that you think the other person might need once you are gone. Listen as we read some of what Paul wrote as he knew his life was almost over. Continue reading “Living a godly life”

The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people

A few school teachers seem to delight in failing students. They make up trick questions, use questionable methods, and prefer murky objectives and subjective grading. But God wants to give every child of his a passing grade, if we will but respond positively to his testing.

The Lord works for our success. He wants us to grow and be like him. He has our best interest at heart. God is good and desires to bless. “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests hearts” Proverbs 17.3. His testing has a good purpose. He hopes to bring out the best in us. Continue reading “The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people”

Plodding or planing?

As I ended my day-long seminar last Saturday on the biblical model for the church, I felt my mind moving up into another level. The words came more easily, the phrases were more elegant, the ideas flowed almost flawlessly.

Such a shift into a higher plane of communication occurs rarely. Most times, my teaching plods along. Much mental effort is required to put the points across. Continue reading “Plodding or planing?”

Conduits of unexpected blessing

What thoughts do unexpected blessings trigger? Perhaps our human nature gravitates toward wondering what unanticipated blessings might come our way.

Jesus, however, flipped our desires around when he taught it is more blessed to give than to receive.  Our lives should be like a street through which God’s blessings pass, not dead end cul-de-sacs. So how might God’s people help others in unexpected ways? Continue reading “Conduits of unexpected blessing”