Archives: May 2009

staying together

Last year, a woman named Joan opened a letter from a local law firm and immediately burst into tears as she read its contents. The letter stated that her divorce from husband John "had been completed." She was in disbelief—the couple from Sheffield, England, had been happily married for 36 years!

It was later discovered that the law firm had…

unseen

I never thought of myself as having control issues—until I got married. Somehow blending two lives into one exposes how much we want things our way. From the way I like the covers tucked (or not tucked) at night to how we made decisions, I wanted things done in a way that made me feel comfortable. Exposing my need for…

May 29, 2009

The former president of South Korea committed suicide last week amid allegations of improper financial dealings. What words would you use to lift the spirits of someone who wanted to take his or her own life? What verses from the Bible could encourage them?

God is doing something

A silent heaven," it has been said, "is the greatest mystery of our existence."

Have you ever prayed and felt as if heaven were silent? Have you seen injustice and wondered, Where is God? Have you ever asked the question, Does it pay to live a righteous life? If so, you're not alone.

When Habakkuk looked at his broken and unjust world,…

real food

Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink (Isaiah 55:1).

In the May 13 ODJ article, I wrote about an African boy named Saddam who had spent 4 years of his young life on the streets of Kampala, Uganda. A few weeks ago, I took Saddam and four of his housemates to the only movie theater in Uganda so they could see The Chronicles…

May 27, 2009

A recent Gallup poll found that nearly 90% of people around the globe believe that the next five years will be as good or better as life today. What gives you hope as you look to the future?

running

I have a confession to make. I hate to run.

Some people enjoy jogging to stay in shape. Others put themselves through rigorous months of training to run long-distance races. While I admire their discipline, it's definitely not for me.

A friend who is an amateur marathoner told me that during the last 6 miles of a race everything below…

who is my neighbor?

Who is my neighbor?" is an important question for a Jew. Surrounded by enemies—Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans—for centuries, the Jews of Jesus' day sneered at the Samaritan half-breeds who threw caution to the wind and married foreigners.

"Who is my neighbor?" is an important question for us. Surrounded by nations of needy people—eating mud pies in Haiti, drinking contaminated water…

life words

Words have power. A wounding word can pierce deeper than physical pain. I still remember moments in junior high when my undesirable physical traits became objects of ridicule. Too many of us carry the harsh, violent, or demeaning words of a parent or coach or friend—spoken long ago. Whoever said "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will…

God's visit

If you take a trip to Israel, will you plan to visit Nain? Probably not. This ancient village (now known as Nein) isn't located on any major roads running through the Jezreel Plain. It's not likely that many tourists visited this off-the-beaten-path destination during the time of Jesus either. But it was in this small, obscure village that the Savior…

eight feet

1182769_loadingRacing through the Atlanta airport, I could feel my feet pounding the floor as my husband and I ran to catch our flight.  Up the gangway, through the terminal, and down the escalator.  As we neared the gate, two young guys joined us in their own sprint to the check-in.

Silence greeted us all.  The clocks reading a full eleven…

rated R for violence

The youth group was shocked at their leader's claim: "The Bible is full of R-rated stories." "Really? Where?" they asked. "I'm not telling you," he said.

It's true. The Bible is rife with sordid stuff. In fact, God told Israel to "completely destroy" the inhabitants of the Promised Land and take their place in Canaan (Deuteronomy 20:17-18). Why? Because of…

moving stones

Are some seemingly impassible stones looming in your life today?

In a recent sermon, Jeff Manion, Senior Teaching Pastor at Ada Bible Church, used the stone that was rolled away at Jesus’ tomb as an interesting illustration. He noted that the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body prepared their spices and went to the tomb without knowing who would move…

May 22, 2009

Kris Allen, a believer in Jesus, recently won the American Idol competition in the US. As the competition between him and another contestant was coming down to the final vote, he said, "For me, I hope that having the Christian vote doesn’t help with anything. I hope it has to do with your talent and the performance that you give…

the good news

"I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins. . . . He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day" (vv.3-4).

A close friend of yours is seriously ill. One day you receive a call from her doctor—an urgent message…

Related Topics

> christian living

Blending In

While on vacation, my daughter and I strolled on the beach in the cool of the evening. Interrupting her mid-sentence, I tapped her arm and pointed. “Look over there!” What appeared to be sand moving back and forth proved—upon closer inspection—to be a tiny crab scuttling across the beach. Its beige color, tiny size, and quick reflexes provided protection against being seen, much less caught. The small creature wanted to survive, not stand out.

Banished Words

Each year Lake Superior State University in the US publishes a list of words they believe should be banished because they’re so annoying. Topping their list in 2013 was selfie, a term that received more nominations than any other. Other contenders included twerking, hashtag, and twittersphere. This list of words is a reminder that language is always changing and can persuade, impress, or annoy us.

Where’s Your Garden?

My friend enjoys painting, but this sensitive soul often feels guilty when she’s working in her studio. She wonders whether she should be doing something more “Christ-like” with her time. How can I be taking up my cross if I’m doing something I enjoy? Have I become too focused on the stuff of this world?

> daily devotional

Thirsty?

It seems to me that there are three primary things in life that make people feel good about themselves: wealth, good looks, and knowledge. With this trio a person can feel significant (because people will flock to you for good and bad reasons) and secure (because you think you have some semblance of control).

Freedom from Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, stress- related illnesses cost the US economy $300 billion in medical bills and lost productivity every year. Forty-four percent of Americans feel more stress than they did 5 years ago. Family relationships, job-related challenges, and even academic studies are a few stressors that weigh citizens down.

Portrait of Jesus

So what did Jesus look like? Did he resemble actor James Caviezel who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ? Probably not. Something like Warner Sallman’s famous portrait Head of Christ? Uh, no—don’t think so.

> ethics

rotten fruit

There’s a “quick sale” area in my local supermarket where fruit is offered at a huge discount. If not sold quickly, the fully ripened edibles will become soft, flabby, and infected with fungus.

judgment of justice

An acquaintance of mine, who is highly intelligent and has a philosophical bent, also carries antipathy toward God and religion. He enjoys being provocative, recently quoting the second-century philosopher Epicurus who said: “There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.”

if My people

I was speaking with three friends about the lamentable condition of our country. They mentioned the continued practice of abortion, the rise of homosexual marriage, and the debt crisis. One friend cited 2 Chronicles 7:14, and said that our nation’s problems will only be solved when our country turns to God. I said that would be difficult to pull off, as our nation believes in the separation of church and state. We cannot compel Muslims, Buddhists, or atheists to worship Yahweh. Nor would we want to. Life goes badly—both for those inside and outside the church—whenever Christianity becomes the religion of the state.

> faith

Freedom from Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, stress- related illnesses cost the US economy $300 billion in medical bills and lost productivity every year. Forty-four percent of Americans feel more stress than they did 5 years ago. Family relationships, job-related challenges, and even academic studies are a few stressors that weigh citizens down.

Don’t Hesitate

Scientists conducted a social experiment with two groups of commuters at a train station. They asked one group to start conversations with their seatmates. They instructed the other group to remain silent. The commuters who talked while traveling said they had a “more positive experience” than those who did not. Initially, commuters believed starting a conversation would be hard, but they found that most people were happily willing to talk.

Demonstrated Faith

Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arch communities, has spent his life loving those often ostracized by society. L’Arch creates living communities for those with disabilities or those who, because of their need for intense care, would be institutionalized if they didn’t have such a home. Vanier talks about how the communities are centered around the most basic acts of caring for the physical body—bathing, dressing, and feeding residents who can’t do those things on their own.

> health

Real Rest

During the long, harsh Alaskan winter, Denali National Park rangers rely on teams of sled dogs to help them patrol the vast, snowy wilderness. Dogsled patrols can last up to 6 weeks, and the dogs are always raring to go.

sweet sleep

Recent research concluded that Americans are among the world’s worst when it comes to sleep deprivation. The published statistics reveal: The US (along with France and Taiwan) ranks among the top three most sleep-deprived nations in the world. Indians (54 percent), Americans (49 percent), and Singaporeans (43 percent) reported not getting enough rest due to being too worried or stressed out. Most sleep-deprived Americans (66 percent), however, can’t sleep because they’re anxious about finances and paying their bills.

Your Body

I like to write out my thoughts before I type them. But when I use an old pen that rolls roughly across the paper, my thoughts thump along in fits and starts. When I can’t squeeze the ink out, I can’t squeeze the words out, and I quickly toss the pen aside for a better one. A free-flowing pen opens my mind, and the words often come pouring out as fast as I can write them.

> relationships

Don’t Hesitate

Scientists conducted a social experiment with two groups of commuters at a train station. They asked one group to start conversations with their seatmates. They instructed the other group to remain silent. The commuters who talked while traveling said they had a “more positive experience” than those who did not. Initially, commuters believed starting a conversation would be hard, but they found that most people were happily willing to talk.

The Last Stop

My friend says our lives are like trains. We make various “stops” for school, college, job, marriage, and family. At each stop we spend time with others who have stepped off. When we graduate or change jobs, we say goodbye to the people at that junction and step back onto the train. Only a handful of people stay with us all the way to the end. These are the most important people in our lives, the people who receive most of our time and attention.

What We Talk About

In Britain we love to talk about the weather. We talk about it with people we know and with those we’ve just met. The subject is raised at the start of business meetings and over the dinner table. Sometimes touching on the weather is merely an icebreaker, a way to start or develop a conversation. Often, however, it’s merely a way of being somewhat friendly, but at the same time avoiding any real intimacy, depth of relationship, or feeling of commitment. So discussing whether it’s sunny or rainy keeps us at a distance but extends a form of friendliness.

> Topic of the Day

> touch-your-world