Sunday, December 24, 2017

To Those Who Did Not Disappear

I'm a Christ follower. This does not mean that I am perfect, far from it actually, but it does mean that my life has been changed because of my belief and devotion to Jesus Christ. (That's why I love this quote by D.T. Niles, "Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.") He has rescued me from the punishment of my sins and given me a eternal residence in Heaven. Without Him I would have no hope.

This blog post is for those people who might be reading it after an event called the Rapture. As a Christian I believe that in the future Jesus Christ will come back for His Church (which is His followers) and in the twinkle of an eye take us to be with Him in Heaven. This letter is for anyone who was left behind and who wants to learn the truth about what really happened to all of the people who just disappeared from this planet.

Friday, December 15, 2017

10 Good Reasons to Read God's Word

by Stormie Omartian (From The Power of Praying)

10 Good Reasons to Read God's Word

1) To know where you are going. (God's Word will guide you - Psalm 119:133)

2) To have wisdom. (Knowledge of God's Word is where wisdom begins to grow in you - Psalm 19:7)

3) To find success. (When you live according to the teachings of the Bible, life works - Joshua 1:8)

Friday, December 08, 2017

He Is Good

There have been many times in my life that I have begged God to intervene in my circumstances.

I'm going to repeat those words, many times.

Mostly they were circumstances of my own making. Sometimes they were the result of the curse of this world and the evil that is the temporary ruler of our planet. But sometimes the seasons of suffering were the results of the plans that God chose to change me into the person He desires me to be. "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

If it helps, here are some truths that I have learned through a lifetime of being molded by His hands.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Redemption R' Us

I can't tell you how many times I wish God had made another way into heaven. This idea of giving up my life sometimes seems way to difficult. I mean yes, I sinned. Everybody sins. Are you telling me that we are all missing the mark? That the only way to gain access into heaven is to believe and give my life over to Jesus Christ? To trust in His grace and the sacrifice that He gave for my sin?

What if there was another way?

Imagine that God has setup an account for everyone at Redemption R' Us. You simply make an appointment when you reach the age of accountability discuss your eternal situation with your infinity adviser. 

Here is how I imagine that conversation might go.

Friday, November 24, 2017

If You Come Back

I can tell it by the look that's in your eyes
You've been hurt many times before
When I say this time that it's real
You're gonna say you're just not sure

Countless nights wrestling with your fear
Pain and tears are your closest friends
Reliving the past, it's all you really know
While your future hangs out at the door

I know now you just don't need me
Go ahead and fly away
And if someday you come back
I’ll be here hoping you stay

Friday, November 17, 2017

Murder In God's House

The name Thomas Becket may not be familiar to you but he is part of a fascinating and gruesome story that culminated in his death in the Canterbury Cathedral.

The year is 1155 and Thomas Becket was on the fast track to riches and power. Henry II, King of England, had just promoted him to the role of Chancellor and he had become one of the King's trusted advisers. In 1162, Theobald, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury died. Henry saw this as his chance to promote one of his own men to this powerful position and so he selected his Chancellor, Thomas Becket.

I think it is important to this story to realize that Thomas Becket was not born into royalty, he was the son of a merchant. His talents and work ethic had enabled him to the reach the position of Chancellor to the King and all the power, riches, and fame that this position included. This is a man who owed his king all that he had. His loyalty was expected after his rapid rise to power.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dead Man's Hand

Who didn't love playing Cowboys and Indians when they were young? My brother and I would spend hours with our friends, hiding behind trees and rocks or finding the perfect hiding place, (which would then prove to be so boring that you had to announce your presence to someone!) but the goal remained the same - kill before being killed.

It's funny to try to describe to children of this generation how we used to take sticks, divide into teams, pick a side (Cowboys or Indians) and then proceed to hunt each other down by shooting the other person with our wooden branch.

Let me stop here and emphasize the honesty aspect in this game for those who have had no real experience playing this game. No one wanted to play with someone who never admitted they had been shot. The ethics of the game relied on the sportsmanship of all who were playing. It was a very precise way of determining the character of the neighborhood kids who were participating. And this proved to be an handy metric for our future relationships . . .

Friday, November 03, 2017

On Seeing

Of that which I can see, I long to see no more.

Of that which I cannot see, I crave to see more clearly.

Of that which I can only imagine, I pray that it becomes my reality soon.

Ephesians 3:20

Thursday, October 26, 2017

God Showing Off

In the book of Romans there is a powerful statement about God's glory, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

This verse is preceded by a warning about the wrath of God against people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. "Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." (Romans 1:19) This theme of God revealing Himself through creation is echoed in Psalm 8, "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established, what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them." (Psalm 8:3-4)

It is vital for us to realize that God's creation is not identical with God. God reveals Himself through the physical world where He communicates things about Himself that humans would not otherwise be able to discover.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dads and Daughters

I will never forget the moment when my wife opened the bathroom door and said, "I'm pregnant!" Shock. Fear. Wonder. Reality. And I never doubted, from the very beginning, that we would have a girl.

Most of us are familiar with the science that the father partly defines the baby's sex by contributing either a Y chromosome (for boys) or an X (for girls). I didn't know until later that the father's hormones also play a factor in the sex of the baby. But the bottom line is I always knew I was going to have a daughter.

Early in my wife's pregnancy a friend passed along this statement, "A father should be his son's first hero, and his daughters first love." God designed the bond between father and daughter to be special, protected, for her to get a picture of Father God from the daughter's earthly dad. I determined before my child was born that she would always know she was lovely and loved from the first breath that she took.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Ransom That Cost It All

As we approach the holiday season this may seem like a unusual topic to discuss during this time of year. The death of Jesus is not usually mentioned during Christmas, shouldn't that be reserved for Easter?

Christmas, as wonderful as the celebration can be, still signals the birth of Christ , who was born to die. There are plenty of New Testament verses, some from Jesus Himself, discussing His ultimate destiny on earth, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) is one of many verses on this topic. From the moment sin infiltrated earth, God implemented His plan to purchase our freedom and free all creation from the effects of sin. Which brings me to one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 49.

"Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together! I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre." Verses 1-4 I find so interesting, check out the Psalmist exclamation points, illustrating the importance of the words to follow, and that this wisdom to follow is for everyone, with no exceptions.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"Ask for whatever you want Me to give you."

As a child I loved the story of God appearing to Solomon in a dream. Solomon had just been named the King of Israel (God's people) by his father, David. Solomon traveled to Gibeon, which the Bible tells us was one of the high places near Jerusalem, and offered over a thousand burnt offerings as a sacrifice to God. That night God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, "Ask for whatever you want Me to give you." (1 Kings - Chapter 3)

I have often wondered if the story "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp" which is part of the collection of stories in the book, "One Thousand and One Nights" was inspired by this scripture. An all-powerful deity granting the wishes of a mere mortal is a story that will always captivate our imagination. Which brings us to the questions, "What would you wish for if the Creator of the universe asked you what you wanted?"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Like A Rolling Stone

As a musician there are some songs that you just sit back in wonder at the construction and marriage of the lyrics and melody. Bob Dylan is one of those songwriters that can weave a story in a song with unprecedented skill. One of my favorite songs of his is, "Like A Rolling Stone." But before we take a look at those lyrics I want to share one of my favorite stories about the recording of that song.

A 21 year old studio musician showed up on the second day of production of the song, "Like A Rolling Stone." His name was Al Kooper and he was a guest of the producer of that session, Tom Wilson. His hope was to play guitar but he quickly realized that the current guitar player, Mike Bloomfield, was way better than he was. So when the organ player on the session moved off of the organ to record some piano tracks Al begged Tom to let him play the organ. Wilson responded, "Man you're a guitar player, you can't play the organ", but at that moment someone called Tom out of the room and Al saw his chance. He went into the studio, sat down at the Hammond B3 organ, and when Tom returned he yelled at Al, "What are you doing?" (Which you can hear on the raw tracks of the recording). However, Tom Wilson was a gracious man, didn't call him out and let him stay.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Early Telephone Etiquette

It is unfathomable in this day and time to imagine life without our phones. How quickly society adapted to this technological device, and even though it seems like mobile phones have been around forever, the first cell phone call ever made was in less than fifty years ago. (April 3rd, 1973 for those trivia buffs out there) But before mobile phones we had land-line phones. Less than one hundred years ago only thirty-five percent of houses in the United States had a phone. That number would stay at less than eighty percent until the early 1970's. To recap, less than fifty years ago, twenty percent of all households in the United States did not have a phone.

In the early development of the telephone there arose a disagreement between Alexander Bell and Thomas Edison on the proper etiquette when answering the phone. Alexander Bell used "Ahoy", which derives from the Dutch greeting, "Hoi". Thomas Edison on the other hand preferred to use the word, "Hello". "Hello" won out when the District Telephone Company in New Haven, Connecticut endorsed Thomas Edison's greeting over Alexander Bell's.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Body, Soul and Spirit

I am a spirit, who has a soul, that lives in a body. You are a spirit, who has a soul, that lives in a body.

Jesus had just finished ministering to one of the largest crowds in his ministry, over five thousand people, who had gathered just on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He had fed the entire group using a little boy's meal of five barley loaves and two fish with twelve baskets left over after everyone had eaten their fill. The people exclaimed, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!" 

Knowing that they were gathering to make Him their king, he boarded a boat to cross the sea to Capernaum. When the crowd discovered that Jesus wasn't there, they followed him saying, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus replied, "I know you are seeking me, not just because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you . . . it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6)

Talk about not taking advantage of your fame . . . 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weighing The Cost

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Joseph Whelan, S.J.

Joseph Whelan, S.J. was a Jesuits priest who gave an address in 1981 that included the quote above. It is an hopeful, compelling declaration of love and vocation but is it wisdom?

My personal experience is that as my devotion to God has increased, my life has become more difficult and complicated, not clearer as the prose above proclaims. Wrestling, not resting is more the norm when it comes to spiritual matters and much discernment is required to honor my promise to God made many years ago. Yet, this shouldn't be a surprise. Jesus was pretty clear that if you chose to follow Him, life was going to become difficult, full of persecution and dividing those who love God from those who don't. Check out Jesus's words in three encounters with people expressing their desire to follow Him. (Luke 9: 56-62)

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Prison Break That Wasn't

Paul in the Bible lived a life radically different than his life before giving his life to Jesus Christ. Paul, or Saul as he was known before his encounter with God, was a man of means, a man of destiny, a man of influence and who made it his life work to eradicate the Jewish zealots who were threatening Roman rule in what is now Israel.

Then after his conversion we see a different man, a man now on a mission for His Savior, a man who made it his life work to spread the gospel of Jesus throughout the world. This same man who hunted down Christians now is starting churches throughout Asia. This man who worked at the pleasure of the Emperor of Rome would later be thrown in a Roman jail at the request of that same Emperor. What an exchange we witness in the book of Acts! Everything he was, he was no more. His passion, his priorities, his citizenship, everything changed after meeting Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer Storm

Like a summer storm
You blew into my town
Stealing love from perfect strangers

Then you glanced my way
Moment sealed with your kiss
And I can still recall the feeling

You had the perfect smile
To go with the perfect words
My heart was filled with your wonder

You said, "Let's go live our dreams"
Won't hold nothing back
I'll be yours in every season

Like a summer storm
Out of nowhere you were born
Changing everything that you touched

Full of fury and grace
The way you touched my face
And my world was changed forever

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Inventor of Coca-Cola

Today's post is about the inventor of Coca-Cola, John Pemberton. John spent most of his childhood in Rome, Georgia before entering Medical College and earning his medical degree in 1850. After a brief stint practicing medicine and surgery, Dr. Pemberton opened up a drug store in Columbus, Georgia.

Then came the Civil War and Pemberton enlisted, serving in the Third Calvary for the Confederate Army. In 1865 he suffered a saber wound to the chest during the Battle of Columbus. During his recovery he became addicted to the morphine that he was using to ease his pain. This started Pemberton on a desperate search for an alternative to morphine that would allow him to cure his addiction.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Table Talk

Sometimes when I think of great figures in history, I don't tend to give them attributes with which they deal with daily life. I think of them as moving from great task to world-changing task without a thought about their daily bread, housing, or raising their children. One such man is Martin Luther. There is the hurdle of the century which he lived first of all, from 1483 until 1546.

It is difficult for me to imagine life in that century, physically, mentally or spiritually. Let's discuss the spiritual environment of the day for now. The Catholic Church reigned throughout most of the Christian world. Bibles were few and those rare copies were found in churches, not in homes. Most of the general population couldn't read or write and mass printing was just beginning to make books available for public consumption for those would could. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Broadcasting The Games

I'm not sure how old I was when I received a tape recorder for Christmas. I do recall the euphoria of stealthy placing my microphone around the corner of a door and recording conversations that in the past had been off-limits to my childhood. This became rather tame when in playing back these conversations I realized that adults were much more boring that I had anticipated. It was clear that there had to be better uses for this technology.

Being a fan of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, I decided that recording my own audio drama would be the best use of my new gift. This goal proved elusive as well, casting and directing proved too challenging for my neighborhood recruits.  It became clear that whatever product I was going to create, it was going to be up to me and me alone to make it entertaining.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Parables of Truth

Jesus told parables filled with eons of truth. Layers upon layers of meaning are interlaced in all of the teachings of Christ. Though we tend to imagine our reality as black, white and gray concepts that is not what Jesus taught. He did not, for example, say, "the only way to the father is through me, except." The laws of his Kingdom are absolute. His Church, is absolute. And if Jesus taught in absolutes and we as fallen creatures do not obey his commandments, we are by definition living in chaos of our own creation.

There is no such thing as mildly living on the outskirts of chaos, just as you cannot be slightly, purely white. The gift of salvation from Jesus Christ re frames our existence. With the Holy Spirit we have access to the mind of God. We have the Words of God to base our decisions. We have the gift of God that we can accept to ensure our eternal salvation. Every Christian is commanded to spread the Gospel using their own gifts and talents. When the enemy attacks God's children he uses the same tactics he has chosen since the beginning of time. Confusion and diversion. Confusion about the character of God. Diversion from the mission He has charged us to complete. Black and White.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Path of Least Resistance

General George Patton and General Omar Bradley. At the start of World War II, Bradley was a subordinate to Patton, both in experience and in rank. Yet by 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower had selected Bradley over Patton to lead the invasion of Northern Europe. What caused this shift of power?

Believe it or not, two separate incidents were the catalyst for Patton's reduction of responsibilities during the middle of WWII. To understand the motivation behind Patton's actions, let's revisit a directive that he issued to the Seventh Army, "It has come to my attention that a very small number of soldiers are going to the hospital on the pretext that they are nervously incapable of combat. Such men are cowards and bring discredit on the army and disgrace to their comrades, whom they heartlessly leave to endure the dangers of battle while they, themselves, use the hospital as a means of escape. You will take measures to see that such cases are not sent to the hospital but dealt with in their units. Those who are not willing to fight will be tried by court martial for cowardice in the face of the enemy." General George S. Patton - August 5th, 1943

Monday, July 17, 2017

My 5 Favorite Movies

Top 5 Favorite Movies. Note: The benchmark I used to determine this list is the re-watchable factor. All of these movies I can watch over and over and over. So without further ado . . .

1) Patton - Best war movie of the most interesting American general (In my opinion) in history. George C. Scott was awesome in the role of Patton and the music was awe inspiring. The shots placed you right in the middle of WWII and didn't shy away from the brutality of war. If you have 3 hours, well, 2 hours and 52 minutes, this is the movie I'd pick.

2) Sneakers - Widely panned during its release over 25 years ago its surprising how well this movie has held up over time. But its really the cast that elevates this movie. Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Akroyd, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix and Ben Kingsley highlight this team of security intrusion experts. The writers (who wrote the movie "War Games" a decade earlier) do a great job with the MacGuffin, the magic codebreaking "Setec Astronomy" box. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Man Who Called Down Fire

One of my favorite parts of playing D&D was facing dragons. When you and your band encountered a dragon this was always an awe-inspiring collective moment, I mean, what can you hope to do against a creature that can breathe fire?

God has used fire throughout history to execute his wrath against sinful people. In fact, the Bible records at least six times where God sent fire from heaven. One of the most famous times was in His judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah. After allowing Lot and his family to be rescued, God sent fire from the heavens to devour these cities. But did you know there is a story in the Bible where a man called down fire from the heavens?

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Losing Side Who Re-Wrote History

There are few instances in history where the loser of a war ends up writing the legacy of that conflict. The hurdles are almost insurmountable which would allow the romanticizing of the loser but we have one such example right here in the United States.

When I was young we would often play war in the woods behind our house. The opposing forces never changed, it was either Cowboys versus Indians or the North versus the South. If you were assigned to either be a Cowboy or an Indian it wasn't such a big deal. But to have to fight on the side of the North took a lot of convincing and I can't remember how many times when whoever was picked for the north left to go home rather than fight for the Yankees.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

How's that for a confusing title? Just like that title I have found some of the most confusing teaching in my Christian life has been discerning the will of God. I've never heard God's audible voice but I have had His Spirit confirm with my mind when I spend time in His Word and prayer. Here is the short version of this blog, First, do everything that you already know that God wants you to do. This includes studying the Bible, praying, serving, sharing your faith, being active in His church and being thankful for His blessings in your life. Remember, God will not give you more opportunities until you are faithful in doing the things He has already taught you. He knows that not only will you not be ready for His call, you probably won't even recognize His call. Second, ask God to reveal His will for your life. If you ask, He has promised to answer. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5) Third, recognize that God is more than capable of blocking doors that He doesn't want you to open. Walk toward your goals, asking God for confirmation and for Him to make clear if you are going in the wrong direction. His Spirit resides in you and is more than able to communicate with you through studying His Word, prayer, other believers and any other divine intersections He chooses.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Founding Document of The Church (Part II)

Have you ever struggled with your self-esteem? I used to be a musician and even though I didn't enjoy the spotlight, I did enjoy the immediate gratification that came from people who enjoyed my music. Today we can search for that need for acceptance and approval in not only relationships but through social media. But that is a double-edged sword that can at the drop of a hat turn turn your social fortunes from worship to hated. And unlike any other time in history, we can't seem to remove ourselves from the misfortune of reading and viewing posts that shape not only our world views but our emotional health.

So how can we reclaim our emotional health? We need to re-calibrate our emotional health by regaining our spiritual balance. Only be viewing ourselves the way God views us can we be the persons He created us to be. And why is that so important? Because each of us is gifted to perform unique tasks for the Kingdom, and without an proper understanding of our role and importance the work will go undone.

The Book of Ephesians provides us with the blueprint for a healthy self-esteem. We just have to understand who we are at our core to achieve the life balance that God wants each of us to possess. God's Word and my obedience to His teaching is the antidote to this world's dependence upon gratification and narcissistic behavior. Okay, so enough talk - let me show you God's solution to this problem.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Founding Document of The Church (Part I)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." (Ephesians 1:3-4)

Before we can unpack the wonderful blessings of the  first chapter of the Book of Ephesians, we need to understand the phrase, "in Christ".  [Side note: one of my favorite songs is by a group called Big Daddy Weave called, "In Christ". I'll wait while you give it a listen.]

That song has some great wisdom including these lyrics, "In Christ I can do all things / In Christ I mount up on eagle's wings / In Christ I wait for a great reward / That I have in store / In Christ I have His righteousness / In Christ I have what I confess / In Christ I don't worry about all the rest / Cause everything I need to be is in Christ."

But what does that mean, to be in Christ?

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Commitment

I have always loved to write. I wrote countless stories as a child, in all kinds of genre. I like to think that my skills as a writer have improved since then, but honestly I have no point of reference other than my own to validate this belief. What is not in doubt, however, is my love for what I believe is the most elegant way of communicating.

When God chose to reveal His truths to mankind, he chose to use written words to give us His promises. The stories of saints of old are set to words that we can still read about today. Words have shaped families, careers and nations. That is why I think to be a wordsmith is one of the most divine callings you can have.

Even though I have always loved words, my verbal communication skills are at best passable, at worst, a deficit. I have always loved to read, I love to learn new words and their meanings, but for some reason that does not carry over to my ability to verbalize my thoughts clearly. Maybe its because I've always been more comfortable behind the scenes, whether it was playing in a band or sharing my thoughts, but the bottom line is that I have never excelled in my oratorical abilities.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Comfort Food

There's a reason why it's called "comfort food". Praise God for southern cooking!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

God's Advice When We Struggle To Sleep

The Bible talks about sleep many times. Over and over again, Jesus tells us not to be worried or anxious about our lives. What we will eat, or what we will wear, even what tomorrow will bring, which is a huge reason we don’t sleep. 

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)

One of God's greatest gifts to us on this side of eternity is His peace. 

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Jesus also says He will give us rest. And as I've gotten older rest has become even more important to my sanity . . . so this is a verse I pray on a regular basis! 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Transforming Power of Jesus

One of the things that I could never reconcile when I was striving to put distance between God and myself was the Word of God. I just couldn't figure out why God would include some of the stories of people who did horrible things to other people, which sometimes included their own family. Man-made religious beliefs always put their founders and stories in the best light possible. But that's not the case with the Bible. In the book of Genesis alone we read about the moral failures of Lot, Cain, and  Abraham. Their mistakes are laid bare for the world to see. So let's look at Genesis 38, as we read about one of the most dysfunctional families and their misfortunes that you'll find in all of scripture. 

First a little bit of background:

Judah, who's name means thanksgiving or praise, was the fourth son born to Jacob and Leah. From birth his family situation was not ideal - Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah by Leah's father and the Bible said that Jacob hated Leah because of that deception. When Jacob was finally given his true love, Rachel, the gulf between Leah, her kids, and Rachel and her two sons was immense. Jacob, who was also known as a wheeler and dealer, (See Genesis 32:30 for just one example) didn't even bother hiding his favoritism for Rachel's oldest son, Joseph. To the point that finally, in a calculated fit of rage, Leah's sons decided to kill Joseph and rid themselves forever of Jacob's favored son. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can I Really Expect God to Protect Me?

[This article is reprinted from 2005 | Author: Nancy Guthrie]

My bible study group assignment was to read Psalm 91 and express how it had been true in my life.

"He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. … For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone." [All Scripture citations from the New Living Translation.]

At first blush it sounds really good, but that day I had to say what I really thought. Through tears I told the group, "I don't get how this is true. He did not rescue us from a fatal plague. He did not keep us from striking our feet on a stone but, in fact, allowed much worse than that."

In the year preceding we had buried my daughter, Hope, who was born with a rare metabolic disorder and had a short and difficult life. At that low point in my grief, I simply wasn't willing to gloss over the nice-sounding verse. I couldn't reconcile this passage with my experience, with reality. But I wanted to. I wanted to figure out how the scriptural promises of protection apply not only to me, but also to anyone who suffers, especially now, the thousands who have endured homelessness, disease, and death in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to know, Can I expect God to protect me? And if not, what are these promises of protection in the Bible all about?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017