In 2016, the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series (North America’s pro baseball championship) for the first time since 1908. After their win, people everywhere declared that “the Curse” had been lifted. The curse supposedly originated in 1945, when William Sianis tried to bring his pet goat into Wrigley Field during a game. Guards denied them access and Sianis reportedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”
The young man looked at me in wide-eyed fear. He could climb no further. “What happens,” he cried, “if I fall off the rock?” “The problem isn’t falling; the problem is hitting the ground,” I said, smiling. He sent an accusing stare in my direction.
Our lives began to fall apart when my daughter took her life,” the woman told me during a break in the conference we were both attending. “And then our second daughter spiraled into depression and started to ‘self-harm.’ After several months we discovered the reason why: While my husband and I were missionaries in Indonesia, two of our three children had been sexually abused at a mission-run school. We had given our lives to serve God. . . . Why didn’t He protect us?” I would hear similar stories at that conference—people who felt betrayed by God.
I started this year with great enthusiasm. Having mapped out a strategy for pointing the youth ministry at my church toward loving God and loving people, I shared it with some colleagues and off we went! Well, 6 months later, I did an evaluation and found we had made only minuscule progress. Discouragement covered me like a dark cloud.
While in college, the great missionary Adoniram Judson lost his faith when he fell under the spell of Jacob Eames, a deist who believed that God never interferes in our lives. When he was on a trip, Judson stayed at a village inn next door to a man who was dying. The man’s groans kept Judson awake and he began to think about death. Was he ready to meet God? The next morning Judson learned that the man had died. He asked the innkeeper if he knew who the man was. “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames . . . Jacob Eames.”
Not long ago, my wife, Miska, met a friend for coffee. As they sat at an outdoor café, a man in a white fedora walked back and forth near them—several times. He would go into the barbershop next door, only to exit a few minutes later and cruise near the ladies, giving them a smile or word. He was working it. On his final sweep, he paused to slide Miska a note on a yellow Post-it addressed to “Foxy Lady.” Part of me wants to punch the guy in the face. But I’d also like to shake his hand. While I would have liked for him to raise his fedora enough to notice Miska’s wedding ring, I appreciate his brazen courage. I, of all men, understand the beauty he encountered. I guess with some people, we simply can’t contain our delight. But the poor fellow didn’t stand a chance.
Walls are designed to keep people safe. But walls also divide, keeping people apart. The 96-mile (155 km) Berlin Wall kept the East Germans in. The Great Wall of China, which was believed to be 5,500 miles long (8,850 km) and is now estimated to be 13,170 miles long (21,196 km), kept enemies out.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, military chaplain Cary Cash served with the US military’s 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment as they battled their way to Baghdad. After the regiment secured Saddam Hussein’s Almilyah presidential palace, a young marine—ministered to by Cash—bowed and received Jesus as his Savior. Later, the chaplain baptized the young man in the inner sanctum of the palace. In his book A Table in the Presence, Cash writes: “A place that had been known for the presence of darkness and treachery had become a place of the presence of God—a table in the presence.”
Matthew 26:38-39: He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want Your will to…
1 John 5:4-5: For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
As children of God, who have been redeemed and made alive unto God in Christ, we must see ourselves as more…
An Old Testament proverb says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (Proverbs 26:11). And I’ll be the first to say, “Woof, woof.” More times than I care to admit, I foolishly feast on my own sinful puke—figuratively speaking. And it always leaves me (and others) feeling sick in the stomach.
What’s the deal? Why…
Fish on!” I’ve heard those words shouted many times while trolling for salmon on Lake Michigan. It’s the traditional way anglers announce that a fish has been hooked and the fight has begun.
On one occasion, the angler who grabbed the pole that was dancing wildly in the rod holder was my buddy’s teenage son, Jake. For 20 minutes, Jake…
Tough day ahead? Maybe a battle or two or? Maybe just a busy schedule robbing you of peace? Let God duke it out for you. I'm going to try to the same thing.
Let's fight our battles, big or small, the same way Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. (Read it for yourself— it's awesome!). He sought the Lord.