“Rise in the presence of the aged,
show respect for the elderly and revere your God.
I am the Lord”
Leviticus 19:32 (NIV)
From time to time I have the privilege of visiting with someone who is in their 90’s. It is a special treat for me to listen to them speak of how the Lord has walked with them through a long and productive life.
Recently I visited a couple who are into their 90’s. The wife has been tired and sleeps a lot. She did not appear during my visit until I was about to leave. As I spoke to the Christian gentleman I listened to him reminisce about his journey through over 70 years of walking with his Good Shepherd.
I had known this man for perhaps the last 20 years or so. I knew of his devotion to the Lord and His people. Although he had been a highly successful business man he never lived in a manner in keeping with his financial capabilities. His home through the years was modest and his present car is 15 years old.
Continue reading '90 years old and going strong!'»
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones…he will certainly
not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
When I was speaking at a College and Career week at a camp, in the Muskoka district of Ontario, I had an unusual experience. I was up front leading the young adults through a Bible study and I happened to glance out the window of the lodge and saw a truly wonderful sight that almost caused me to stop speaking.
What I saw and heard was a man dumping cans of garbage into the back of a camp truck in order that he could take it away to the dump site. Now nothing is wonderful about someone cleaning up the garbage. In fact it is so common a sight that we do not stop to look at it. We certainly do not remember it.
What was amazing to consider was a remarkable detail in the situation. The man who was being a garbage collector was also the pastor of a very large and prosperous church in Toronto. Somehow it seemed inconsistent for such an important and revered person to stoop to the task of removing the smelly refuse on behalf of the camp.
Continue reading 'A Garbage Collector?'»
“…for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
Psalm 103:14 (NIV)
The person had been an oldest child in the family and the parents had their hearts set on this child doing a degree in business administration and one day taking over the large family business. All through the child’s growing years the parents spoke incessantly about how the child was a prodigy and destined to take the business community by storm. I only had brief encounters with the young person so I do not recall hearing what their own ambitions were as an adult.
Occasionally the child showed signs of dysfunction that were glossed over by the parents. They dismissed the absences from church as necessary for study and obtaining the highest marks needed for scholarships and the challenges of higher education.
Then the child “disappeared” for a year and the excuses were vague and without detail of any sort. When the child returned to the neighbourhood their physical appearance and stilted speech gave evidence of a disturbing reality. This young person was suffering terribly and everyone wondered what was wrong.
Continue reading 'Whose Life Is It Anyway?'»
“I have told you this so that my joy may
be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
John 15:11 (NIV
I recall “eavesdropping” on a presentation to a women’s meeting at a church where I ministered many years ago. The speaker was a fine Christian woman who had an energetic and highly enthusiastic manner of speaking.
I only listened in for a couple of moments but the lady posed the question, “God wants you to be happy, doesn’t He?” In the next few sentences it quickly became clear that the speaker saw God as some form of celestial Santa Claus who showered His children with everything their hearts could desire. It was a matter of just asking for what you want, health, wealth, perfect children, good in-laws, or whatever.
It all sounded too good to be true. In fact it was too good to be true. Jesus never wanted us to consider Him as a “sugar daddy” or some celestial lackey whose sole purpose in life was to give us whatever our greedy hearts desired.
Continue reading '“God Wants You To Be Happy, Doesn’t He?”'»
“Why did I not perish at birth…?”
Job 3:11 (NIV)
Some very sincere followers of Jesus have the notion that they should never search for the meaning of things in life. They have the idea that to ask questions is clearly a demonstration of a rebellious spirit. This is the reason that some believers will not study at university because their faith may be challenged and they have no answers for the inevitable questions that would be asked on a university campus.
It is really sad that some followers of Christ refuse to grapple with the hard questions that life throws at us regardless of the direction from which the questions come. We may find questions arise in our minds when we suddenly have health issues, a failed marriage, are the object of gossip, and so on.
Be assured that sometime, somewhere in life, you are going to run into more questions than your understanding of life and God can answer.
When you are overwhelmed with trials that is not usually the time to try and find the answers you did not seek when life was good. You may cry “Why?” when your world collapses but you are not in a good position to search for answers right then.
The tough questions that thinking people ask should be heard by us when life is on an even keel and things are manageable for us. Then we may ponder the difficulties we face as believers and the faith we profess.
Continue reading 'Is It Wrong To Question God?'»