It's pretty common these days for people not to answer their phone calls until they know who is calling. But the person who refuses to return phone calls is just plain—well, rude. It's as if the caller is not important enough to deserve a return call.
Recently someone asked me, "How do you decide what ministry opportunities to accept and what ones you should say 'No' to?" The question is fair enough. My husband and I receive many invitations to minister each year—more than we can fulfill. We have to make hard decisions whether to say "Yes, we'll be there," or "No, I'm sorry we won't be able to do that." Here are some principles that h...
For a long time now I've been fascinated by a verse I found in Psalm 131. It's the second verse, where the psalmist writes, "…I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother…is my soul within me."
"Why? Why did Dennis have to die?" The question screamed in Jean Galang's mind. This 14-year old boy had all of life ahead of him. So many hopes, so many dreams. But now, in the church's summer camp, of all places, Dennis had drowned in the swimming pool. In a daze of disbelief and heartbreak, the camp was shut down and everyone went home.
The disheveled man had been washed up on a small, uninhabited island—the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Every day he prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. And every day he scanned the horizon for help, but to no avail. Eventually he managed to build a little hut out of driftwood where he could store his few possessions and get some protection from the sun and rain. At least now he somewhere to call "home."
People still talk about a sermon illustration my Dad used many years ago. As people walked into church that Sunday morning, they saw a small table sitting beside the pulpit. On it were some small food cartons, a bowl, a measuring cup and a large spoon. What in the world was all of this doing in church?
She lived in Joppa, a coastal town on the edge of the sparkling Mediterranean. Day after day after breakfast she picked up her needle to create coats and garments that she had envisioned in her mind. The Bible tells us her name was Dorcas, and she "was always doing good and helping the poor" (Acts 9:36). Actually, we don't know if she made clothing for the poor or rather used the profits from selling her handiwork to h...
For years my mother faithfully subscribed to the homemaker's Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I used to look forward to turning to the last page of each issue to read a column that Bill Vaughan wrote under the penname Burton Hillis. His witty observations of everyday life touched a warm spot in the hearts of his readers.
A mother whose name we don't know wrote the following,
My little girl went out the door;
I hugged and squeezed her just once more,
Reminding her as oft before,
"Remember to say thank you."
And then the thought occurred to me,
I'd better check again to see
How long since I on bended knee
I wonder if your past is keeping you from being your best right now, in the present. Past sins do that, you know. David Eckman writes,
Sin walks us into a huge warehouse filled with video clips of us and says, “This is your life. We have thousands of clips of your failures. Many of them are so embarrassing that you wouldn’t want to show them to your children. That is all you are, and we have the record of it. So you might as well...
Strolling through the mall one day, I caught sight of a T-shirt with a catchy slogan that read, "The future is so bright, I need shades."
Usually we think of "patience" and "waiting" as passive terms. If you were to define waiting, you might say that waiting is "doing nothing until something happens." And you might define patience as "being willing to do nothing until something happens." Right?
A pastor tells about the time his young son burst into his office after the morning session at the church's preschool.
In Robert Morgan's small but very practical book called The Red Sea Rules he tells about a time when he was exceptionally worried about a situation that faced him. While reading his Bible, he came upon the words "Leave room for God's wrath" (Romans 12:19). The context is that we shouldn't try to get even when someone harms us, but instead leave room for Him to settle the score.
Years ago I noticed that a preacher had chosen as his sermon topic "God's Salad Bowl." When I saw the title, I wondered what on earth he was going to talk about. But when I listened to his sermon, I found out. He spoke about the many times the phrase "let us" is used in the New Testament—such as, "Let us stop passing judgment on one another" (Romans 14:13) and "Let us be alert and self-controlled...
The scene took place in Bethany at the home of Simon—in the Bible he's called "Simon the Leper," perhaps because Jesus had healed him of that horrible disease. At any rate, he was giving a dinner party for Jesus just days before Jesus would give His life on the cross. We don't have the entire guest list, but we know that Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were present, along with at least some of the discipl...
Sue Augustine writes, "I had to chuckle when I read what Elisabeth Elliot said about our words: 'Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut!'"
Then Sue continues,
Over the years, I have learned to pray, "Lord, walk beside me with one hand on my shoulder and the other over my mouth!" On days when my emotions threaten to rage out of control, my family members often overhear my hollering. "Oh,...
Some people say, “All roads lead to God, so it doesn’t matter which religion you follow so long as you’re seeking God.” But a famous prophet in Old Testament times strongly disagreed. He declared that the God of the Bible is different from all other gods. He asserted that no other god exists who acts on behalf of the one who believes in Him.
When we lived in Asia, one of the surprises was that when we gave someone a gift, that person might or might not say the words, "Thank you." Since saying "Thank you" is such an automatic response in the western world, I was uncomfortable when I didn't hear those words of response. Did the person not like the gift? Did I choose the wrong time to give her the gift? Or was it wrapped in the wrong color of paper?