Have we surrendered?

By Johnny O. Trail — The book of Judges offers some interesting history about the Israelites and the relationship they had with the Philistines. Samson had humiliated the Philistines by destroying their standing crops with fire. Since Dagon was a god of grain, this was a direct challenge to their deity. The biblical text says in Judges 15.4-5,

“And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.”

This outrage was swiftly answered by the Philistines. They sought out Samson at Etim and asked the Israelites where he might be found: Continue reading “Have we surrendered?”

Please don’t squeeze the bonbons!

At the check-out at the bread store, I saw this little sign above a basket of goodies: “Please don’t squeeze the bonbons.” I asked the cashier what that was about.

“Oh, you wouldn’t believe how many people squeeze them — not just children either — the adults do, too!” she said. (Is this just a Brazil thing?)

So why would an adult squeeze a bonbon? Are they resisting temptation to buy one? Are they checking for freshness? Or do they have some secret hatred of humanity, trying to destroy the enjoyment of a bonbon by others? Continue reading “Please don’t squeeze the bonbons!”

Make a truly great decision

It is easy to think this life is what is important. We may be tempted to think this life is all there is. It isn’t.

Many are swept up in politics, world events, trouble, flood, famine, and war. The newspapers are full of the negative things that happen every day. After a while, we may become convinced those things are more important. They aren’t.

Jesus had his problems with the self-important Pharisees. They wanted to kill him because of his teachings and his growing popularity. Jesus said the game the Pharisees were playing was not important at all (Luke 12:1-5). Continue reading “Make a truly great decision”

Monday editorial flitter

Great day yesterday with the saints in Taubaté and Urbanova (SJCampos). Here’s the skeleton outline of the message I shared in both places, on the death of Christ as the creator of unity.

¶ If a writer should wait until he’s in a good mood to write and has only positive things to say, Jeremiah would never had said a word to Baruch. Of course, it helped that he was inspired.

¶ “For who scorns the day of small things?” Zech 4.10a HCSB. May God burn this into our foreheads, mine especially. Not a good idea, such scorning, when God is in it. Continue reading “Monday editorial flitter”

In the world, not of the world

This is a phrase we often hear concerning Christians: we are in the world but we are not to be of the world. The fact is that we live on the earth – we are in the world. But Christians are to be different from those we live among – we are not to be of the world.

The idea of God’s people being different from those who don’t follow God seems to have always been there. Abel obeyed God in his sacrifice while Cain did not. Noah built an ark while everyone else questioned what he was doing. Abraham was given a special symbol – circumcision – to show that he was different and that he and his descendants followed God. Continue reading “In the world, not of the world”

Just where is the real world?

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NKJV).

I spend a lot of time in what are often referred to as “third world countries.” This designation primarily reflects levels of economic development, with the third world lagging well behind other nations in terms of wealth, standard of living, technological development, education and other similar categories. Continue reading “Just where is the real world?”