Life can be nasty at times. Things come our way that seems unfair and undeserved. We read God’s promises and wonder what we did wrong. This is more than just having a bad day, we’re talking bad that seems to have no end. We feel buried under the rubble of despair, hopelessness, depression, sorrow, worry, grief, anger, and injustice. In those dark days, life seems to have little value. David of Goliath fame had those days too. God had promised David a kingdom. He had conquered and seen victories by the hand of God. He gained notoriety and prestige in the eyes of the people. The king’s son was his best friend and Jonathan knew that David would one day replace his father. Jealous whispers turned the king against David to the point of wanting him dead. Instead of taking the fight to the kin
The man had been ill a long time. Thirty-eight years in fact. He had tried everything. Hoped that one-day a doctor, a priest, or someone would know how to fix him. But thirty-eight years is a long time. His chronic condition had worn his soul thin until there was only one small thread of hope left. To put it modern terms, he was hoping to win the lottery. That’s how unlikely his one last hope was. Discouraged and bitter he waited, there was nothing else for him to do. He saw others get better, win the lottery as it were. But no one took pity on him or helped him. So, alone in the crowd, he waited until one day someone walked up and asked, “Do you wish to get well?” The man’s answer to that question not only tells us about the condition of his heart but something about ours as well.
Say that you’re flying along at 36,000 feet and experience a bit of turbulence, a few pot holes in the sky. And let’s say that the captain can see an unavoidable thunderstorm ahead. Would you rather that he come on the intercom and say, “Sorry about that folks, nothing to worry about.” Or would you rather hear, “Ladies and gentlemen we have some weather ahead, please return to your seats and buckle in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” While we may not want to hear it we would rather know what is ahead. In the same way, Jesus didn’t mince words with the church at Smyrna and what was coming their way. Jesus’ second letter to the churches of Asia is addressed to Smyrna. Jesus wrote, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to li
One of the things Betty and I try to do while vacationing is find local places to eat at instead of always going to nationwide franchises. It's gotten a little easier to hunt out unique and excellent restaurants with GPS and various smartphone apps. Invariably though we’ll do a drive-by to see how busy they are. More than once we’ve pulled up to a place during lunchtime or the supper hour and seeing very few cars or trucks decided to try something else. But then there was a recent experience with a pizza place that shows that the crowd is not always right. Let’s just say that even though the dining room was full and their carry-out window was busy that we were not exactly impressed. Being part of a crowd often confirms something in us. It makes us feel more confident that we are on
A few nights ago Nik Wallenda, without safety net or harness, walked a tightrope between two Chicago buildings blindfolded. Sure, his feat was a stunt designed to get him in the record books and bring in a TV audience. But doesn’t life feel at times as if we are blindly balancing on a tightrope? One wrong move, one strong gust of wind, one moment of distraction and our world could come tumbling down. From the outside looking in it would appear that Nik is either crazy or has an incredible amount of trust in his own abilities to do the things he does. But Nik’s trust is not set in himself or his abilities alone. Charisma News quotes Nik as saying, "The source of my determination and inspiration starts with Jesus. I was raised to look to God to take me through any big challenge in my lif
What is it about humanity that desires peace and longs for conflict? We want our lives to be as peaceful as a mountain lake on a still day; perfectly reflecting the world around us. Yet, business, sports, novels, shows, even the news, must have conflict and challenge to hold our attention. Essentially, we find peace to be boring, beautiful perhaps, but tiring. There is a third element that must be considered to understand the desire for peace. The element of control. When our lives are filled with anxiety and worry, when there is trouble in the family, when our job is a frustrating mess, we may say we want peace but often we are really desiring control. Peace then is not defined by the absence of conflict but of maintaining some form of control in the conflict. Ever notice that when