Walking into my office downstairs I was immediately aware of a great aroma. That observation was quickly followed by one of relief. I had left my fragrance lamp on all night and that could have been a fire hazard. Fortunately, the melted eucalyptus/mint-laced wax cubes created a wonderful scent and nothing had overheated.
Psalm 141:2—May my prayer be set before You as incense, the raising of my hands as the evening offering.
2 Kings 4:43—But Elisha’s attendant asked, “What? Am I to set 20 loaves before 100 men?”
“Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said, “for this is the what LORD says: ‘They will eat, and they will have some left over.’”
Matthew 14:17—“But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him.
I had two speaking engagements on the same weekend that required me to wear my dress uniform with a bow tie for one event and a long tie for the other. The night before traveling, as I got into bed, I remembered I had only packed a long tie. I decided to get it first thing in the morning before Kathleen took me to the airport.
On several occasions, I have read or heard amazing testimonies of people who experienced God’s deliverance via angels from an enemy intent on their destruction. God’s Word extensively teaches us about angels with over a 105 references to them in the Old Testament and more than 170 times in the New Testament. The Bible teaches that angels:
Coffee Cottage is a popular coffee shop near George Fox University. One of their favorite draws for students is the free wireless service. Often I come in to find many tables occupied with folks writing papers or working projects on their laptops. But unless a person knew that wireless was free and available, they could work on their computer and have no idea they could access internet connection capability simply by asking for the password.
George Barna is a seasoned pollster and director of the Barna Group. His group’s survey results in 2006 reveal some disturbing trends. Listed below are three of the twelve most significant findings this year.
The Deschutes River in Oregon is 173.4 miles long. It runs through rugged forest and deserted desert sometimes cascading with terrific roar, sometimes ambling like some peaceful toddler. It is a great river to fish for steelhead and salmon. On the lower Deschutes people often come to whitewater raft. And for that experience, my son, Stephen and I, joined 17 folks from Southwest Hills Baptist Church.
William did an amazing thing this past Christmas. The eleven-year old son of Cindy and David carefully selected each Christmas gift for his parents and his older brother, Walt. The dynamics of this family are not unusual. The oldest son has close ties to his dad while the youngest is close to his mother. That is why William’s gift was so special. William desired to have a better relationship with his father. So he wrote David a touching letter that pointed out his own understanding of why their relationship was weak. Then he mentioned his desire to be close to his father. Inside the letter was $10 William gave to his dad to purchase a fishing pole so they could go spend time together as father and son—fishing.
I wish you could see what I see. Outside my study window, a squirrel sits in our tire swing. He bends his head beneath the black rubber but only for a moment. Quickly he pops back up and surveys the yard. This process repeats for several minutes until a small Voice reminds me of a vital truth. The squirrel knows he has natural enemies he must avoid to live; whether it is Bear, our good-natured Rottweiler, Mel, our stalking cat, or some dive-bombing hawk. There are no old, careless squirrels in our neighborhood.
She sits on the sofa biting down on the flesh of her left index finger. It’s an old habit and the sure indicator of mounting frustration. The pattern started near the end of college and extends through five jobs, a mediocre marriage and raising four children. Allisson hardly feels His presence anymore. She’s surrounded by friends and truth be told, spends hours each week instant messaging them or talking on the phone. She carts her kids to sports events. She’s seen every elementary play and never missed a parent-teacher meeting. Pastor Mike calls her first if the nursery helper calls in sick. She is the model of dependability. So why does Allisson feel dry like some sponge left in the sun? Why does she cry when her husband asks her what’s wrong?
Do you remember the 507thMaintenance Company and it’s infamous soldier—PFC Jessica Lynch? She was badly hurt, the sole survivor in her Humvee which crashed into a disabled truck attempting to escape an ambush. Lynch did not fight the enemy as the media first reported. But another fellow soldier did—PFC Patrick Miller. He won the Silver Star for his valiant efforts and a Purple Heart. Miller was fortunate to have survived and later as a captive to be rescued by a Marine patrol. You see he and those who could fight almost all experienced jammed weapons. Their rifles barely worked because they rarely cleaned and maintained them. It had been seven months since Miller last fired his M16! Evidently, the soldiers of the 507th took their weapons for granted. Their primary job was to repair and maintain equipment in the rear. They did not expect to be involved in any fighting.
In the early fall of 1976, homesick Panya Sawan walked the streets of Newberg, Oregon. While his feet moved his mind questioned if he made a big mistake. Yet, as much as he missed his family, the thought of returning to his Thailand home was equally painful. Would his family consider him a failure?
The bride stood beside the groom radiant. Sitting next to me, Dan wondered what chemical process takes place that allows a woman to practically glow! There was a spiritual vibrancy as well. It was obvious that Jason and Shelby were committed as much to glorifying God as they were to consummating their marriage. But I found it difficult to concentrate as the two lovers recited their vows.
My parent’s house was built with LP siding. In order to sell it, the siding had to be removed. So, three workers came and tore it off on a Saturday afternoon. They elected to wait to the next day to finish the job. On Sunday it rained. The water ran down the wall of the second-story dormer spotting the ceiling in the family room. So, Dad called the owner of the company. He brought in a painter to take care of the damaged spot. But this man was unable to match the new paint to the old color resulting in his having to paint the entire family room, hallway and kitchen. Then a damp patch of the ceiling spackle, too heavy with the extra paint, fell. Now a hole in the ceiling needs repair. Ever have one of those days?
My youngest son Stephen, and I, went with some friends to a Koi/Goldfish show. It was the first time we’d ever attended anything like this. We were quite amazed. Koi come in a wide assortment of colors and shapes much like the dress of their human fans. It was obvious standing around the varied pools, that most of these people knew a great deal about carp. Here some facts I learned and lessons that jumped to mind:
When we think of crystals we usually think of beautiful clear objects. The process of crystallizing according to The American Heritage Dictionary means “to take on a definite, precise, and usually permanent form.”
I wonder if every church has them. Their profile is not hard to spot. They wear the cloth of disenchantment with authority. They chaff at rules or the appearance of any type of rigidity. They love to question the motives of those who make decisions. They take pride if the crowd goes left in going right. They wear their stubbornness as a badge of courage and refuse to bend. Don’t ever tell them they must do something for the word “must” is a dirty word.
Have our brains turned to tofu? The fastest growing jungle in our world is not the triple-canopied tropical variety but rather the explosion of information that sprouts through every conceivable device. Consider the vast amount of data delivered via the internet, television, radio, and printed material and it is astounding that we are not mentally buried. How do we determine the difference between pyrite and gold?