The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here were some winners:
*Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
*Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 a.m. and cannot be cast out.
I want to share with you a moment burned into my mind as a poignant testimony to generosity. My daughter, Sarah and I, experienced this moment in the city of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, in 2002. In the course of ministering to a small church in this town located at the top of the Andean mountains, we met street children who were collecting trash or anything of value they could find on the streets, in order to garner a handful of coins.
Although home to one of the deepest silver mines in the world, Cerro de Pasco’s 70,000 inhabitants are mostly poor. One would think that any money a child could scrape would be zealously guarded and used for food or clothing. But these joyful children tithed from what they had in order to give to missionaries. It was a demonstration of the poorest giving to the poor to honor and expand God’s work. Someday I hope to learn how God blessed them!
Genesis 26:21,22—Then they dug another well and quarreled over that one also, so he named it Hostility. He moved from there and dug another, and they did not quarrel over it. He named it Open Spaces and said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
The Philistines inhabited the land of Canaan and because water was precious in that arid region there was competition over who controlled it. In the passage above, Isaac, the son of Abraham could not escape quarreling with Philistine herdsmen who, envious of his wealth, claimed any wells Isaac’s servants dug up as their own. They should have been thankful for more sources of water. Instead, by their hostile actions, they were sending a message to Isaac—“Get out of our land.”
Karen worked at Bethel Chapel in the children’s department for two years and was pretty good at her job. When she first started working there she was attracted to her boss, until she found out he was married. Then she did the appropriate thing and simply focused on her work. Her boss, Fred, learned that she was a single mom and he and his wife did their best to help her out. At some point in the process of helping, he became attracted to Karen. Soon, everyone in the office noticed Fred was spending a lot of time with her. Gradually she grew embarrassed by his increasing attention. He continuously texted her, often walked her to her car after work, and was overly aggressive about finding out about her personal life. Though the church office was filled with gossip about Fred and Karen, no one confronted Fred.
Often I find Christians in the United States discouraged, wondering why it seems like there is little activity by God in our land. There is a sense that our nation is increasingly secular and a growing unease. I believe that materialism is a far greater threat to the growth of our faith than outright opposition. Why do I say this? My friends who face suffering, prison or the loss or rights because of their walk with God actually find renewal and supernatural strength in the testing of their faith. While those who live in comfort find it hard to die to self and actively proclaim truth. Yet contrary to what many of us may be thinking—there is a major work of God going on around much of the globe.
Here’s a fantastic way to test your life pace. How long can you wait without uttering derogatory words or pressing your hands against the wheel, behind a car that is not moving when the traffic light turns green? Today on my way to a function, the red light changed but the car to my left did not move. In less than four seconds horns were blowing. At the next light I did not move fast enough and again there was honking. I guess the drivers in Houston have even less patience than the drivers in Portland. So what’s the big hurry?
Solomon writes of the bride who is awakened to the sound of her beloved knocking at her door. Unfortunately she takes too long to answer . . .
She was a wealthy woman of the best kind— thoughtful and generous. She noticed a man of God in need and she fed him. As he often frequented her town, she talked her husband into building a home addition so the man would have his own room furnished to meet his needs. Grateful for her kindness, the godly man asked her what he could do for her. She declined his offer. So he asked his helper what could be done for her. He noticed that her husband was old and she had no children. So he called her to his room and as she stood in the doorway told her she would have a son the following spring. She asked him not to lie to her, but sure enough she gave birth to a boy. Years later the woman’s son became ill and died. His mother immediately traveled to Mount Carmel where she found Elisha, fell on the ground and grabbed his feet.
Have you ever gone through periods in your life where you knew what God wanted you to do but were afraid to obey because of circumstances? I have a friend whose marriage is going badly. He knows from the counsel he has received and from God’s Word that divorce is wrong and, in his situation, not an option. But his wife treats him badly and he is tired of trying to improve their relationship. He is reluctant to apply any advice he receives. He says it is time he took care of himself and was free to do what he wants to do. So he filed for divorce and bought a new car thinking now his problems should end.
Luke 6:47,48-- I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.
My office is the scene of constant battle. On the front line of my desk, two forces are engaged—the Pile Army led by General Intentions versus the Orderly Army led by General Tidy. The Pile Army constantly bombs the white-painted plain where I work with papers, books, writing instruments, mail, business cards, pictures and occasionally food and drink. Tidy is outgunned, outmaneuvered and so seldom wins victories that his army is often prone to quit fighting. Bills, deadlines and voting ballots are sporadically missed—all casualties beneath the deadly aim of Intention’s battle captain—Procrastination. On occasion, when I take trips, my wife visits the frontlines and brilliantly supports the Orderly forces with such pragmatic movements that I can actually see my desktop when I return.
My house has been on the Oregon market for ten months and counting. Recently, my wife and I decided to pull the listing. Now we are faced with several decisions. Do we rent? Do we try and sell with a different realtor? What other options are there for this morass of uncertainty?
Labor Day is a holiday celebrated in America the first Monday in September. It is unclear who first conceived of this day but for over 100 years it has served as a tribute and dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Regardless of what country we live in, work is an important facet of our everyday lives.
1 John 4:7, 21-- Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God . . . And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.
The air is thick with smoke. Against the whizzing bullets of death a small patrol of rangers races up a desolate slope of carnage. Their mission is to take out a machine gun nest that has wasted the ranks of two squads previously attempting to seize the hill. Halfway through their inspiring charge, the patrol leader pauses. He rethinks his mission, reevaluates the situation and is overcome with the deafening voices of fear that permeate his head like some bewitching chorus. He tells his men to take cover behind the stones and wait. He cannot move forward.
My two sons and I enjoy watching Star Trek Voyager. We regularly follow the space adventures and mini-plots that revolve around the homesick Voyager crew desperately trying to reach the Alpha Quadrant. As I sat down to view a new episode I felt a direct nudging by the Holy Spirit to go and pray.
Nehemiah 9:19-21--You did not abandon them in the wilderness because of Your great compassion. During the day the pillar of cloud never turned away from them, guiding them on their journey. And during the night the pillar of fire illuminated the way they should go. You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst. You provided for them in the wilderness 40 years and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.
Many people have studied the life and ministry of Jesus. There is much written about His three-fold ministry of teaching, preaching and healing revealed in the gospels. But it seems to me that Jesus’ most important work was His fourth ministry of training! Where would the world be today had He not invested His life in the lives of His followers? John Maxwell, a superb trainer of leaders says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
Readiness means much more than having our bags packed. Quite frankly, there are many Christians who seem to have made the necessary requirements to obey God’s call. They have the knowledge, the equipment, and the backing of others. Yet God will not bring into service those He sees as unready. They will never sit foot outside their own encampment. He will leave them not because they didn’t prepare but because of the attitude they project.
Judges 7:4--Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, ‘This one can go with you,’ he can go. But if I say about anyone, ‘This one cannot go with you,’ he cannot go.
Bruce Thielemann tells the story in Christus Imperator of a king long ago who organized a great race within his kingdom. All the young men in the land participated. A bag of gold was to be given to the winner, and the finish line was within the courtyard of the king's palace. During the race the runners were surprised to find in the middle of the road leading to the king's palace a great pile of rocks and stones. But they managed to scramble over it or to run around it and eventually to come to the courtyard.