Archive for Questions

Uncle Charlie’s Purple Poodle

 

“My uncle Charlie took his black poodle to the veterinarian the other day.”

“No, Hon, uncle Charlie’s poodle is brown not black.”

“He’s my uncle; I know his poodle is black!”

“I distinctly recall its color!”

Pettiness.  That’s right.  This couple is involved in pure pettiness.  Who cares if the poodle is black, brown or purple?  We still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet.  But we do know that these two people are very small.  Self-interest occupies their attention; selflessness never enters their mind.

Friends, God put us on earth so we could contribute to one another’s welfare.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” Philippians 2:3-4. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others, 1 Corinthians 10:24.

Arguments over petty issues reveal that we remain self-centered.  God plainly wants us to be others-centered.  Why is it so easy to be self-centered?  Because we aren’t God-centered.

You see, God-centered people trust God to meet their needs.  This trust frees us from depending only upon humans.  When people fail us, we remain confident in God.  We don’t use petty arguments to force others to meet our needs.  God is going to take care of us even when humans fail us.  We give ourselves to blessing those who fail us.  God-centeredness always keeps us selfless.

Incidentally, I still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet, LOL.

Doing Good When It Isn’t Easy

It’s fun to do good when doing good is easy.  When rewards for well-doing abound, we rejoice in our labor.  We gladly look forward to carrying out our responsibilities and finishing “to do” lists.  Work seems like recreation. Read More→

Taking Care of the Place You Live

 

“Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me,” 2 Timothy 4:10. What?  How could this fellow worker and friend of the great apostle Paul just walk away from his love for Jesus?  How could someone who preached the Gospel and frequently fellowshipped with Paul, love this present sinful world?  How could he possible turn away from the Jesus who forgave his sins and baptized him into the Holy Spirit?

Demas failed to take care of the place he lived.  No, I don’t mean his house or apartment.  I mean his mind, his thought life.  We all live in a place humans call “mind.” Our bodies are mere vehicles that carry our mind here and there.  Truly, what we think is where we live.

Scripture tells us to take care of the place we live by meditating on God’s Word.

Read the Word, hear it preached and discussed.  During your day purposefully recall passages of Scripture and think about them.  This meditation on God’s Word releases God’s refreshing power in you.  Strength, encouragement, joy and fearlessness control you.

Refuse to allow mean, hateful, lustful and ugly meditation into the place you live.  Screen the ideas and desires that knock on the door of your mind.  Say “no” to everything that contradicts his Word or upsets your spirit.  As we take care of our thought life by comparing our meditation to his Word, we will enjoy living with ourselves, our words will bless people and God will be proud to call us his own.

 

Feeling Positive About Your Loss

After his team lost a game, I heard a basketball coach say, “I’ve never felt so positive about a loss.” I don’t know if the man was a Christian, but his statement is very Scriptural.  Every born again, Jesus-loving Christian can have the faith to feel positive about the losses that life brings. Read More→

In the Process of Succeeding

The four Gospels show us twelve apostles who stumbled through life from one failure to another.  Yes, they did some things right but the Gospel record emphasized their failures.  Then we turn to Acts and see the apostles racing from success to success.  Why such a contrast between the Gospel narrative and the Acts record?  I think God planned this to show us that we are in the process of succeeding. Read More→

When You Don’t Feel Blessed

Two thousand years ago God’s people felt unblessed.  Sure, they repeatedly read the promises God pronounced upon their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but where were the blessings?  A foreign government manipulated their lives and ruthlessly repressed all yearnings for independence.  Poverty afflicted almost everyone and religious leaders used their influence for self-gratification. Read More→

Seeing the Cure Without Understanding the Cause

“If you understand the problem, you’re halfway to solving it.” Ever hear that before?  Such beliefs teach us to rack our brains so we can understand the cause of problems.  We expect that understanding the cause automatically leads to the solution.

It doesn’t always work that way!  Striving to mentally grasp the cause of life’s problems often intensifies the problem’s adverse effect on us.

True, when repairing an automobile we must first discover what’s broken.  Replace the defective part and, presto, it works again.

What must we do when the cause of life’s problems defies human understanding?Open Bible

Quit depending on your ability to understand causes.  You may think, “That suggestion is crazy!  How do you expect me to not depend upon on my own understanding?” Start depending on God’s superior, infinite understanding.  He knows everything about everything including all the hidden causes of each problem in the entire universe.  So, when all our worry and anxious thoughts fail to understand causes, it’s time to obey Proverbs 3:5: “Do not lean on your own understanding.” “Well,” you may wonder, “what should I do with my human understanding?”  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

No one event constitutes a lifetime.  Therefore, we should move on with life and not dwell on individual events.  Don’t fear events or they grow out of proportion to their actual importance.

Depending wholly upon God’s understanding redirects your attention from causes to cure.  The cure is a Person we call Heavenly Father.  Don’t we call on him during life’s difficulties and frustrations?  Why not call upon him when you can’t comprehend causes of struggles, difficulties and heartaches?  Let him figure it out!  He is more than willing to help humans who admit their inability to understand causes.  Don’t be distracted by “impossible to understand” causes.  Just look up to your heavenly Cure.

Please remember, “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed,” Isaiah 49:23. God is the cure which annihilates incomprehensible causes.

God Sends Four Trains and One Plane

 

One dark evening in 1991, I sat on a park bench atop Prayer Mountain.  No, not Pastor Cho’s Prayer Mountain in Seoul, Korea, but a 20-foot high mound located in a tiny Japanese garden near our home in Tokyo.  The pine and oak trees that towered overhead made the evening appear even gloomier.

But the worst gloom was inside me.  I felt so shattered.  The focusing muscles around my eyes filled my days with pain and fatigue.  Office work was torture and writing, impossible.  I simply didn’t know what to do.  So I decided to give up my missionary assignment and return to the USA.

Back to the Tokyo version of Prayer Mountain.  About eighty feet to my right lay a train track for diesel-powered engines.  Two hundred feet to my left lay tracks for electric-powered trains.  Well, God decided to exert his almighty sense of humor to perk me up.

I heard in the distance the distinct whistle of a diesel freight train.  Then a clattering electric passenger train approached; a second passenger train came from the opposite direction on another track, and, believe it or not, a third passenger train showed up.  A diesel freight train about eighty feet to my right and three electric passenger trains on my left!  The noise level soared.  But that’s not all.  A large twin engine U.S. Navy plane roared overhead.  I hadn’t heard such noise in all my life.

“God, time out!  Even you can’t hear me over this noise!”  I began laughing at the circumstances orchestrated by the Lord.  Only a supreme Creator could synchronize the arrival of four trains and an airplane at a tiny Japanese garden in Tokyo.

As the noise subsided and the evening calm returned, his presence visited me.  My inner gloom evaporated as I considered the great love of the Lord who sent four trains and an airplane to remind me of his control.  Is God good or what!

The One who always gives me the best of everything also  equips me to give the best of myself to him!

Your Other Atmosphere

Our Creator chose to envelop earth in an atmosphere we call “air.” Air surrounds and sustains us, refreshes us and protects us from harmful sun rays.  Air makes life possible.  Two gases comprise the bulk of our atmosphere: nitrogen, about 79% and oxygen, a little more than 20%. Read More→

Our Gigantic Opportunity

How big is your God?

“He builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth; he calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land,” Amos 9:6.

He sustains “all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1:3.

How big is God?

Well, he “fills everything in every way,” Ephesians 1:23. Read More→