Proverbs 1:32,33—For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger.
John George graduated into heaven recently. He was a man for whom I will eternally be grateful. At a time when I was a cocky senior at West Point, he accurately confronted me about pride and forever changed my life. John knew that the Bible warns us in Proverbs 16:18 that “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” His exhortation scared me to death that God would not use me for His kingdom.
Forty-four men wrote over a period of sixteen centuries sixty-six books that display coherent unity and progressive revelation from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible reveals God’s redemption plan for humanity. It offers the best leadership, marriage, child-raising, family-relations, financial, conduct, attitude, character, teamwork, physical, spiritual, emotional and wisdom-producing advice and instruction on the planet. Yet, I believe we would be shocked, if we knew how many Jesus-followers have never read through this supreme gift from God.
Colossians 1:9,10—For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
You could hear them screaming at each other five offices away. Heads poked out to see what was going on—I was afraid words would escalate to blows, but fortunately that did not happen. Don looked like he was going to have a heart attack, his face was beet red and he was shaking. Rich’s jaw was clenched and his palms rolled into fists but with three of us coaxing we managed to get them separated and back into their own offices.
I asked Rich what happened. He said he went into Don’s office to ask how Allie was doing on the project she was working with him. Don told him she was worthless and to get out of his office, he was sick of taking Rich’s broken employees and felt like Rich deliberately was out to make his life miserable. Rich said the way Don spoke penetrated his brain and hit his anger button. He knew Allie had her weak areas but he was proud of her hard work and resented Don’s judgmental attitude. Furthermore he didn’t appreciate the way the older manager always blamed people instead of trying to get along. So instead of finding a response to deescalate the tension, he spoke the first thought that raced across his brain, “Don you are a loser and I’m sick of trying to help you.” Those words brought Don out of his chair and began a two-minute shouting match.
Jadon is almost 21 months old and being his grandpa is one of life’s great blessings. Jadon’s first word was “ball.” Virtually as soon as he learned how to walk he began kicking balls. He will walk and run around the room for quite awhile either throwing or kicking soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls (well you get the idea) and it is amazing to see his coordination. Jadon’s first phrase was “I love you” which he learned from Mark and Sarah. But his first connection of two different words was “more food.” Mentally he figured it out that more combined with food communicated that he was still hungry.
A runner sees endurance as vital to finishing a race; a parent sees endurance as the ability to shepherd a child to adulthood. Endurance originates from the compound Greek word: hupo (under) + meno (to remain) to give us the concept continuing under pressure. It is much more than a physical resolve, it is a mental resolve. Without sufficient why, the what loses meaning and we are more prone to quit.
When we arrive in heaven will there be a Hall of Fame? Will we find an interactive display manned by select angels who share the stories of those living legends who served God exceedingly well? Conversely, will there be a Hall of Shame in hell for those who acted in the power of Satan? If Hitler was one of the worst men to walk the planet we might also find that his countryman Dietrich Bonhoefferwas an exceptional saint. This German Lutheran pastor and theologian could have successfully pastored in the United States or in Great Britain. Instead, he chose to go back to his country and preach and teach knowing that his life was in jeopardy.
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.
How often do you seek answers from the Bible so as to know what to do? For years Kathleen and I have not been able to sell our home and because of this our equity is tied up. Not having the ability to free up this money is frustrating. I wonder how many hours I have spent trying to identify a solution to our situation. Recently, I read in Psalm 16:5, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot” (ESV). What a great reminder that He is in control of my lot (in context lot refers to the future but here it makes a nice property statement)! He will resolve our housing situation when the time is right. Occasionally finding answers is not the issue. What I need is to be at peace with the Answer.
When I was in Junior High School, Billy Graham came to Seoul, Korea. I was able to sit on a platform not far from where the speakers stood and take pictures. At the time (early 1970’s), it was the largest Billy Graham Crusade ever. Looking behind the platform there on Yoido Island there was an immense sea of people. Dr. Graham explained to this spiritually hungry audience the meaning of the gospel. He quoted John 3:16, read other Bible passages, and outlined in simple terms God’s plan of salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans stood and moved forward when he gave an invitation. Countless faces were wet with tears of repentance. Perhaps heaven’s citizens stood and cheered as they watched this grand spectacle.
In reading through the Bible in 2009, my selected theme was truth. Earlier this week, Chris primed our pumps asking us what truth is. I am going to finish off the year sharing what I learned from this vital Biblical topic hoping that it encourages and challenges you as much as it did me.
Psalm 85:11—Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven.
He pulled out a large, black Bible, a beautifully gold tabbed one, and grabbed a pen. I watched from a row behind and to the left of him. Twice on our flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta, he pulled out his Bible and read—not just a cursory reading, I could tell he was intent on what he was studying. He wore neatly pressed tan slacks and a polo shirt—I would guess by his age he is in his fifties.
A nonfiction book that I highly recommend is Hard Faith. You can buy it off Amazon.com or purchase it directly from us. I love Hard Faith because I know the author Dan Berg and I’ve seen firsthand how he successfully overcame incredible pain and adversity with his wife. The only reason Dan is walking well today aside from the ever-present grace of God, is that he stuck to his values. He wore the robe of faith when the world suggested other attire.
In an age of relativism the roar of the crowd is to tame God’s Word. Two traps await Christians in this hostile environment.