My son Bryan was invited to share his story at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He was one of two featured speakers on a night when almost every participant in the room shared some kind of disability. Disabilities included Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), asthma, depression, cancer, arthritis, etc. Each person was asked to write a poem about their challenges and to highlight what was bad as well as what was good. Then, throughout the evening, volunteers could come to the front of the room and share what they wrote.
My parents are living on a farm in Zolfo Springs with my brother Nate and his wife Melissa. Recently, their guard dog Shepherd went missing. Less than a week later, Nate’s longtime companion, Minnie, was hit and killed by a truck on the road outside their home. As my parents were out walking alongside a ditch looking for Minnie, a car stopped and the driver asked what they were looking for. A conversation ensued in which the driver asked about getting permission to fish in the farm. Dad explained that he was the owner and he would agree for Alex and his wife Elisa to fish as long as they were willing to let him share with them about Jesus. They decided that was a fair arrangement and after fishing a couple of times at the pond and catching nice Bass, Alex one afternoon sat down on the farm porch and conversed with Dad about John 3:16. He ended up placing his faith in Jesus.
Matthew 6:10—Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It would be interesting to take a poll in order to discover how many of God’s children suspect that He does not hear them when they pray. I would guess the percentage might be fairly high. Personally, I’m convinced that God does listen to us when we pray. He has acted in many instances in direct response to a plea from my heart. I’ve felt His hand on my life protecting me and giving me strength knowing full well that others were praying for me. I’ve seen Him answer my parent’s prayers or other family members with specificity that is thrilling. I’ve watched Him heal suffering people through prayer. I’ve seen Him bestow peace to those in the midst of horrible pain and turmoil. He hears!
There are those who scoff at the reality of demons. The whole notion of religion or the existence of God seems like relics of an antiquated belief system. Tell that to the four men who on September 20, 2011 stood around Vlad and prayed for him, watching as he writhed on the ground as one and then another demon left him. Two days later Vlad called Dad and said he was again under attack. So the two met near my parent’s home and walked together up a nearby mountain.
Acts 2:12,13--They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What could this be?” But some sneered and said, “They’re full of new wine!”
It is my goal to read 24 books each year. Part of this discipline involves choosing books that cover a wide range of subjects. There is no end to the number of good books one can read. Scientists tell us we use so little of our brain. I discovered how little my brain was when I journeyed into the realm of Probability and her cousins Electrical Engineering and Thermal Dynamics. But I also learned how much greater my mind could be stretched than I would have dared imagine. It is better to be challenged in what is difficult than to be difficult about being challenged.
Matthew 23:23,24--Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!
Is there anything mankind cannot accomplish? Pick up a newspaper and you are likely to find an advertisement for a seminar hosted by a professional motivator who will take your life to new dimensions with his or her “can’t lose” methods. Christianity is not immune from this phenomenon. The hot message today revolves around “You can do it—and we’ll show you how!” There is a subtle danger to this approach . . . The how or what takes priority over the who!
Philippians 4:13-- I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Romans 8:38,39--For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you know how to tell the difference between a real Rolex watch and a fake one? A fake Rolex can be purchased inexpensively in Bangkok, Thailand and several other Southeast Asian countries. Those who don’t know much about watches may think they are getting the real thing. Others buy them for the image they project. But it’s easy to spot a phony watch. On a real Rolex, the second hand rotates in a smooth steady fashion—the workmanship of master craftsmen. The second hand of a fake Rolex jumps from position to position.
Perhaps one of the dangers of living in the “information age” is that we glorify the brain--our computer, library and communications control center. Misguided brain glorification can result in serious spiritual muscle fatigue. For example, knowing becomes more valuable than doing. Faith accordingly, is defined as knowing God. We have the cerebral awareness that our salvation comes through His Son, Christ. We determine that by reciting a formula in which we confess our sin and invoke the name of Jesus we shall be saved. We therefore base our salvation on an intellectual assent to God’s plan. But faith is not simply an intellectual act.
The Sergeant Major looked over the railing as soldiers from his unit went over the edge. He had over twenty-five years in the Army but he had never rappelled before. As we stood in line, I saw no trace of fear in his eyes. He sought no excuse to leave the tower and climb back down the wooden steps. Instead he placed his trust: in the instructors who taught him how to tie a specially configured rope seat around his waist; the confident rappelmaster who double-wrapped his lines around a small metal D-ring and sent him off the platform top over the wall; the belay man 45 feet below, who was poised to pull his rope taut and break a possible fall; and the all important rope itself which would hold his weight and allow him to descend safely.