In my community we hear very little in the media about the homeless situation until winter approaches and then people and organizations scramble to keep transients from freezing — tents, sleeping bags, blankets and food. I don’t want to downplay the efforts of people helping those in need; however, at some point the homeless, like the Prodigal Son, have a responsibility to make different lifestyle choices. Reading the parable, I suspect that if the owner of the pigs had given the prodigal some of the pig’s food to eat this lost son might not have returned home to his father. In my mind the items collected for the homeless may be no better than the pods used to feed pigs. “So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death” (Luke 15:15-17 NIV)!
August 22, 2017
Some believers look at the recent eclipse as an end-times sign. Jesus said, “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’” It remains to be seen whether or not this event is a precursor of the Lord’s return as mentioned in Scripture. However, I have to give these folks kudos for looking into God’s Word rather than simply looking at the sun to experience the solar eclipse. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt 24:29, 30-31 NIV).
August 21, 2017
I didn’t try to find special glasses, construct a homemade viewing box, or consider driving hundreds of miles to get the best view of the full eclipse. No doubt there will be plenty of news video available to show the event. However, I do find it interesting that people are going to such lengths to look at the sun…yet so many ignore the Son. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 NIV).
August 18, 2017
The other day a friend asked me if I wasn’t about ready to retire. I had to laugh because career-wise I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I started collecting Social Security before I began writing for an online newspaper, so now receiving Social Security and also having to pay into it at the same time. The retirement question made me think of God sending Moses back to Egypt to free his people from slavery. “Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh” (Ex 7:6-7 NIV). I can almost hear the Hebrews telling Moses, “Aren’t you about ready to retire?”
August 17, 2017
President Trump has a thick skin when it comes to his critics. However, I also see him as thin skinned when it comes to his desire for praise. While many people crave praise from men, in Trump’s case it’s as though if people won’t praise him, he will simply praise himself. It occurs to me that President Trump may in fact, “…love praise from men more than praise from God” (John 12:43 NIV). To his credit the President is a quick study and a fast learner, but when it comes to his love of the praise I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a Road to Damascus encounter with the Lord to get his attention.
August 16, 2017
Recently a local resident, who is an in-your-face community activist and a constant thorn in the side of many, had a fire in his home. The man’s caustic and condescending character has left him with a bad reputation and when his children tried to raise funds for him on social media one Facebook post simply said, “karma.” Most of us cherish our reputation among people of like precious faith; however, we often underestimate the importance of a good reputation in the world. Although Paul was speaking directly to overseers and deacons, his words are applicable to all believers. “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Tim 3:7 NIV).
August 15, 2017
I have a hard time being around people who are boastful and talk about themselves all the time. The Apostle Paul was compelled to boast even though he knew there was nothing to be gained by it, but unlike most of us, Paul boasted about the things that showed his weaknesses (2 Cor 11:30). On a human level this just makes me laugh. Most of us can’t even acknowledge we have weaknesses, much less boast about them. So often I fail to grasp that the Lord’s power is made perfect in weakness. Paul said, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10 NIV).