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Posted 3/3/15 at 12:55 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
I’m writing this blog ten minutes after two nicely dressed Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my front door, a young man and a young woman, both in their twenties. I asked them who they were with, though I knew before asking, and the young woman said, “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Many years ago it was hard to get a straight answer from them, but that has changed.
As I always do, I gave them my Heaven booklet, several copies of which I keep at my front door for such visitors, as well as sales people, delivery people and anyone else I don’t know who drops by. As they walked away down the street I prayed for them, and saw the young woman open it and flip some pages. My hope is that they would see the parts about the New Earth, something Jehovah’s Witnesses talk about far more than evangelical Christians do. Of course, I don’t agree with everything they believe about the New Earth, and nothing they say about the basis of their salvation, but the subject of the New Earth is an entry point and a way of getting their attention. FULL POST
Posted 3/3/15 at 12:36 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Swagger: To carry oneself–walking, talking, daily activities–with an attitude of confidence, even boldness.
Here is our Scripture for today, class:
“Be strong and of good courage. Do not fear them. The Lord is with you. Since God is for us, who can be against us? I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!”
There! That’ll put the iron in your backbone, Christian.
Three quick little incidents need relating here….
–A year or two ago, while driving across several states to a meeting, I pulled off the interstate and into a gas station. After filling up, I strode into the store for a restroom break or a soft drink. A woman on the sidewalk watched as I approached the front door and said, “You walk with a swagger.” I smiled at that and said nothing.
Later, I wondered what exactly it meant. No one had ever said that to me. Was she picking up on my confidence, perhaps? As a rule, I have an abundance of that, methinks. FULL POST
Posted 3/2/15 at 2:20 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Today I stepped into a home I couldn’t believe somebody actually lived in. Not only because the shape in which the house was in, but because the size of it was nothing close to what this family of 9 really needed.
Two tiny rooms, three beds, one crib and a dining room table is all this family had to their name. I couldn’t believe how dirty everything was. I couldn’t believe how much they truly lacked. Today, my heart sank to a place it has never been before. I felt guilty for something I didn’t even have part in.
As I reflect on what I saw, I can’t help but realize how spoiled we are in the states. We have rooms that never get used, closets full of clothes we never wear, and pantry’s full of food we never eat. Let’s face it, our pets get better care than most people around the world do. I understand we may live in different cultures, but it still doesn’t make the sting of reality less painful. FULL POST
Posted 3/2/15 at 2:03 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
In an earlier article on this blog, we told how Judson Swihart’s book “How Do You Say I Love You?”was all the rage in the 70s and 80s, until Gary Chapman restated and refined his material down to “Five Love Languages.” Swihart’s book featured eight languages of love–meeting material needs, helping each other, spending time together, meeting emotional needs, saying it with words, saying it with with touch, being on the same side, and bringing out the best in the other.
When Margaret and I discovered the Swihart book decades ago and then did the assignment in the back to determine our love languages, we made some interesting discoveries. We found that hers were “helping each other” and “spending time together”. Actually, this came as no surprise. I had known for some time that nothing made Margaret feel more loved than when I pitched in and helped around the house and we spent quality time together.
The surprise was discovering my own love language. FULL POST
Posted 2/27/15 at 3:13 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
It’s been over a month now since the hospital called saying simply, “Sir, you need to come to the emergency room. Now.” Nothing more.
The lady said it twice. I got the message.
We had had no warning that my wife Margaret’s death was imminent. We had welcomed family in over the Christmas holidays and Margaret had been doing pool therapy at the rehab hospital. She wanted to be more independent and was driving herself from time to time. Twice recently she had said, “It’s time for you to buy another car and give me this one.”
“This one” was the Honda CR-V which, because it’s built a little higher off the ground than the Camrys we’ve driven for years, was easier for her to maneuver. A year or more ago, we had given our other car to our local granddaughters. Margaret was putting 5 miles a month, at most, on it and Abby and Erin needed transportation. When we began looking for cars, Margaret picked out this Honda with the understanding it was her car. I smile at that. “Her car.” To date, at 2 years 4 months old, the odometer shows over 72,000 miles, almost all put there by her preacher husband going hither and yon in the Lord’s work. Still, she knew it was hers. FULL POST
Posted 2/25/15 at 11:53 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
As of 2010, the average American credit card holder owed over $8,000 to credit card companies. And while those with extreme debt pull that average up, it’s equally true that those who pay off their cards in full every month pull it down. The average college student owes about $20,000 in student loans by graduation, some three times that much, plus another $3,000 in credit card debt on nonessentials.
Credit cards facilitate impulse buying, typically for unnecessary and self-indulgent purchases. When using credit, consumers buy more, buy what they don’t need, and pay more for it.
Like being handed the controls of a deadly weapon with a hair trigger, many people are propelled by their credit cards into irresponsible debt that entails exorbitant interest, often 15 to 20 percent annually. (Even when it’s under 10 percent, it adds up quickly.) The person with a $2,000 balance (at 19.5 percent interest) is told he can pay just $75. But he doesn’t realize that the first $32.50 of that $75 is interest! He goes right on charging “sale” items and digging an ever deeper hole. FULL POST
Posted 2/25/15 at 11:46 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
I love coming across powerful but brief summations of God’s story. Sometimes it’s a paragraph or story, but often it’s two or three or four words.
We must emphasize that these are not isolated exceptions to the overall message of Scripture. Instead, they are small insights into the entire theme of God’s word.
Continuing the series….
1) Romans 8:31 “God is for us.”
The entire 8th chapter of Romans is a mother lode of spiritual riches if one has ever existed. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote several books on just this one chapter. But please focus on verse 31. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
This is the hinge verse of that great chapter. For 30 verses, Paul has been declaring that God the Father is for us, God the Son is for us, and God the Spirit is for us. Then, in essence, in verse 31, he says, “What do we have to say about all this? Just this: If God is for us, then who in the world can be against us?” FULL POST
Posted 2/24/15 at 2:18 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Most people who’ve enjoyed the children’s stories of Beatrix Potter, C. S. Lewis, or others who wrote of talking animals have probably never seriously considered the possibility that some animals might actually have talked in Eden or that they might talk on the New Earth.
We’re told that in Eden the serpent was “more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made” (Genesis 3:1). More crafty suggests that some of the other animals were also crafty. Animals were smart, probably smarter than we imagine; the most intelligent animals we see around us are but fallen remnants of what once was. The serpent’s intelligence was demonstrated in reasoning and persuasive speech. People typically imagine that Satan possessed a dumb animal, the snake, but the text doesn’t say that. Today Satan can speak through a human being but not an animal because people can talk and animals can’t. But the fact that he spoke through an animal in Eden suggests the animal had the capacity to speak. There’s no suggestion Eve was surprised to hear an animal speak, indicating other animals also may have spoken. FULL POST
Posted 2/24/15 at 2:12 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Tomorrow Juli and I are leaving for Armenia with World Vision USA alongside a group of bloggers from around the country. Talks about this trip began sometime last year, and we’re all very excited to embark on this journey together.
None of us have ever met prior to this trip, but our passion to help the efforts of this organization are what will unite us together. World Vision is currently active in 13 different communities in Armenia, with sponsors from the United States helping support around 7,800 children.
We will be spending most of our time in the northern region of Armenia near Gyumri, where in 1988 a devastating earthquake left the surrounding area in shambles. FULL POST
Posted 2/24/15 at 2:00 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Vignette: noun; a short descriptive literary sketch.
These are short excerpts from Scripture’s narrative of the salvation story which I find fascinating and in many cases, parable-like because in a brief story or a few lines they encapsulate so much of God’s message. They are so short, however, they often get overlooked. Only those who stroll slowly through the garden of God’s Word, taking time to notice the petal of each flower, only they see and appreciate and benefit. (I’m thinking of several articles with perhaps 20 vignettes in all.)
Take a look at these and see if they aren’t loaded with importance….
1) Lazarus on the front porch in Bethany. John 12:9-11.
Brought back from the grave after four days of bodily decomposing, the man of Bethany required no book tour or television crew to attract a crowd. He sat on the front porch in a rocking chair–that’s how I figure it, at any rate–so that people arriving in Jerusalem for Passover streamed out the Eastern Gate, down the Kidron Valley, and over the Mount of Olives for a glimpse of the man dead four days! No one had ever seen such a thing. The crowds kept coming. FULL POST