You Are Not Alone

Sometimes life gets us good.  Sometimes we get dealt a card that we wouldn’t ever have chosen to get dealt in a million years.  Sometimes God brings us through situations and experiences in life, and we look back now, with it behind us, and wonder how on earth we got through it.  Sometimes we look back, and wonder why we ever had to go through it to begin with.

Those bad experiences are, in effect, allowed by God.  Maybe not caused by God in general, but at minimum, allowed.  Sometimes, and perhaps more often than that, we never get to know why.  But let me offer up one perspective that we can have after we’ve come through those hard times…

Simply put, we can Continue reading

Is God Forgotten?

Google has nearly 5.2 million digitized books now.  Recently, they came out with a database called Google Books Ngram Viewer, which is a ‘digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as well as a year-by-year count of how often they appear…(it) consists of the 500 billion words contained in books published between 1500 and 2008 in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.’[1] It really is a fascinating thing, and someone can easily waste hours searching and comparing words and phrases off all kinds.  Of course, if that sort of thing interests you.

I thought I would take a crack at it and search for four key words: Jesus, Christ, God, Christian.  I searched between 1800 and 2008 and the results were very telling…

From the early 1800’s, books that mentioned God (out of the four words searched) ranked the highest.  Christ came in second, Christian came in third and Jesus, oddly enough, came in fourth.

But, by the late 1800’s, you begin to see a drop in the use of all of these words.  By 1900 the use of those 4 words in books had dropped more than 60% in 100 years.  The lowest seems to hit Continue reading

It is well with my soul

Horatio Spafford, a prominent Chicago lawyer in the later 1800’s, decided one year to take his family to England for vacation.  As it were, due to business as a lawyer, he was delayed when they were set to sail from the U.S. to England, so Horatio decided to send his wife, Anna, and their four daughters, ages 11, 9, 5 and 2, ahead.

On their journey over the Atlantic, their steamship was struck by an iron sailing vessel, causing massive damage to the ship and it sank.  Two hundred twenty-six people lost their lives that fateful day, including all four of Horatio and Anna’s children.  Anna survived, and upon reaching England, sent a telegram to Horatio, beginning with the words, “Saved alone.”[1]

Horatio then set sail to England.  As he was crossing the Atlantic near the area where the ship sank and his children died, Horatio penned these words[2]: Continue reading

What’s Done is Done; A New Year Ahead

“What’s done is done.  There is no need to speak to Edmund about his past.”[0]

In C.S. Lewis’ Narnia film, one character, ‘Edmund, has recently betrayed his family and followed after the evil witch. Even though he has been disobedient, King Aslan sends his forces to rescue Edmund from the clutches of the evil witch. Immediately after Edmund has been rescued, we see Aslan talking with Edmund on the hill just before they return to the group.  As their private conversation ends, Aslan and Edmund walk back down to camp where Aslan says to Edmunds siblings, ‘What’s done is done.  There is no need to speak to Edmund about his past.’[1]

When I saw this movie recently, that line seemed to stick out for me.  I was reminded of how easily we, as humans, can fall in to Satan’s trap of self-denial, self-condemnation, self-destruction, thinking about the sins we’ve committed in our lives, the shameful things we’ve done in our past, the times we slip up and sin again and again.  We even get caught in the disgruntlement of life, the stress of life (ranging from work, family, children, money and friends to car crashes, stubbed toes, broken glasses and on and on).   We can be really hard on ourselves… and others.  It can demobilize us to move forward in life, because we’re so scared of what we have done in the past and that we’ll be found out, or we can’t heal and move on, or become chronic healers, or because we’re so focused on the stresses right in front of us and we lose sight of the bigger picture. Continue reading

Coexistence, Tolerance and Truth

A few years ago, I began seeing bumper stickers surface the read, “COEXIST”.  The font of each letter was a symbol for various religions.


I suppose one of the original objectives when this was created was to say that there are many religions in the United States, and we should all coexist, amidst the differences.


If this was in fact one of the original perspectives, I venture to say what happened very, very shortly afterwards was a slightly different viewpoint thinking that there are many different religions in the U.S. today, and we should all agree that they are all equal… that they are all fundamentally the same… that they are all right

But then something happened… something else surfaced more recently.  Because to say we should coexist, and believe that all of our religions are the same, or, all right, doesn’t quite stand on its own two feet. Continue reading

A Social Networking Prayer

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow a trumpet before you like the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they will be praised by people. Truly I tell you, they have their full reward! But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be done in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  And whenever you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their full reward! But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Mat 6:1-6 ISV)

What do these verses mean to us?

Perhaps we read it and think, ‘Yes, that’s right, don’t be like those guys… thank the Good Lord I’m not like that!’ …or are we like those guys?

‘I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about praying aloud for all to hear so they will know how Holy I am,’ …or do we do that, maybe even unknowingly?

‘I sure don’t flaunt my giving (something, not just money) in front of others when giving to God’s house, or the poor, the hungry, a friend, a stranger, or those in need,’ …or do we somehow find a way to flaunt the fact?

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them…”

Let’s think for a minute…  Are we sure to tell people how often we study God’s Word or do our devotional?  Do we tell people how to act right when they’re out of line, and then share with a bunch of friends how we rebuked or admonished that person in love?  Do we proclaim our love for God in a group of friends during conversation, or maybe even for no apparent reason?  You get the idea…

Do not misunderstand me.  What I am not saying is Continue reading

Who Are You

Billy Nicholson, an American Evangelist in the early 1900’s, tells a story of a man he once led to Christ on a street corner.  After leading the man to the Lord one day, he asked the man if he would come to the prayer meeting that night.

“Well, I’ve never been to a prayer meeting, I wouldn’t know what to do!” the man says.  Mr. Nicholson tells him it’s alright and hands him a Bible.

“Read the book of Acts when you go home and you’ll know what a prayer meeting is all about,” he says.  So the fellow went home and did as such.

That night, the two of them are at the prayer meeting.  Everyone is praying aloud, praying long prayers of petition and so forth, until later in the meeting, Billy pokes the man and asks him, “When are you going to pray son?”

“Well I don’t know what to pray,” the man said.

“Just say whatever comes in to your mind,” Billy says.

So the man began praying, “Dear God, dearest God… I want everybody in Hell to know who I am…” Billy gasps and grabs the man by the arm and leads him out of the room.

“What sort of a joker are you?  Everybody has been spending several minutes wanting to be known in Heaven, and here you are, wanting to be known in Hell.”

“I told you I didn’t know how to pray,” the man says.

Full Armor of God

“But what kind of a prayer is that?!” Mr. Nichols says.

“Well, Mr. Nichols, I read the book of Acts like you told me to, and in that book is a story about the sons of Sceva who are casting out demons.  One of the children of Sceva says to a demon, ‘In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out!’  Then the demon spoke back to the sons saying, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?!’(1) Mr. Nichols, I want the devil to know who I am!”(2)

Who are you?  Does the devil know who you are?

Now, I wouldn’t recommend going out and picking a fight with Satan himself.  He walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour.  You don’t have to seek him out… he’s seeking you out… or is he?

Are you living your life for Christ to such an extent that the devil feels he needs to take you down, or, are you living a life, safe and secure in your own eyes, that he doesn’t even need to bother with you?

Let me restate that… do you live a life for Christ, or do you live a life for yourselves, comfortable enough with the thought that your own soul is bound for Heaven, and you needn’t do anything more?  Do you seek God daily?  Do you live… truly live for Christ daily?  If not, why would Satan need to bother with you?  You’re no threat to him.

But for the one’s who wish to truly live for Christ, don’t go to battle alone.  Don’t get so focused on the mission that you forget who you’re on the mission for. Continue reading