Tag Archives: Bible

Make the finish line

make the finish lineThe Christian life is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

The marathon — 26 miles — is divided into two parts: 1) the first 25 miles, then 2) the last mile.

Forget about who’s first. Just finish the rest. Too many Christians burn out, get confused, get bitter or otherwise fall out of their orbit.

He who persevere to the end shall be saved. — Matt. 24:13.

Those people who are dying from Ebola… We know them.

aid to Ebola region

Cheryl Tormey (behind) and Dal Basile, Lighthouse Medical Missions volunteers, with food to be shipped out to Sierra Leone.

With Ebola on the one hand and beheadings on the other, Santa Monica-based Lighthouse Medical Missions cancelled its Fall trip and instead is sending a container of food and medical supplies to West Africa this week.

Dr. Robert Hamilton – a Santa Monica pediatrician who’s braved dangers since 1998 to provide care to some of the neediest people on the planet – was originally eying a trip to Lebanon to care for Syrian refugees. But then jihadists began killing Westerners in retaliation for the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State.

On the other hand, the usual Fall trip to West Africa was also ruled out because of rampaging Ebola infections.

So Dr. Bob, as locals affectionately call him, figured he could do the most good by simply sending supplies to Sierra Leone, where he has contact with 100s of pastors and church members who virtually work as permanent Lighthouse staff to help local needs 365 days a year. Lighthouse Medical Missions has realized 20 clinics, almost all in Africa, at a total cost of $1.5 million, Dr. Bob said.

Read the rest of the article and find out how to pitch in:  Help with Ebola.

Faulty (human) reasoning

faulty reasoningNicodemus can’t understand being “born again.” How can a man enter his mother’s womb and be “born again?” he asks.

Judas Iscariot reasoned that it was time to cash out on Jesus. He reasoned Jesus wasn’t going anywhere after all, and that he should make the most of three years of following the loser named Jesus.

Job’s friends reasoned against their friend. Instead of consoling him, they blamed him. You must have sinned because look at the proof: God’s not with you anymore.

The very same logical fallacies atheists accuse us of using, they too use! (When a pseudo-intellectual brandishes an exotic Latin fallacy, it tends to quiet the non-Latin speaker.)

As Christians, we too can “reason” ourselves out of the will of God. We can “reason” our way of out going to church, tithing, outreaching, our marriage, etc.

To avoid this pratfall, bathe your decisions in prayer. Make sure you don’t spend your time praying trying to convince God that He ought to approve your previously determined decision.

Even in the second watch of the night

second watchAs a sandanista, Alex had a super strict commander. Good thing too, because other platoons woke up to find two-thirds their throats slit. The contras in the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s took advantage of any platoon with sleeping guards. They slipped in, put one hand over the sleeper’s mouth and with the other cut his throat. It was a noiseless death that allowed them to move to the next and the next, killing 100s, and slink out before dawn. Because Alex’s commander maintained strict discipline, his platoon never fell victim. They were vigilant.

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. – Luke 12:38 NIV.

As a Christian, I feel like I’ve dropped my guard, eased off the gas pedal — now in the second watch of my life. I’m 47.

On my first watch, as pastor in Guatemala, I was diligent in prayer and the word. Forced to return to the United States four years ago, I don’t get much “playing time.” Consequently, I’ve toned down the regimen. And I feel bad.

We go through different seasons in life. In my “first watch,” the souls of Guatemala took priority. Now in my “second watch,” my kids get it. God is doing wonderful things in their lives. Can I keep following hard after the Lord?

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If you seek, you will see

See seek

Prepare to prevail

prepare prevail

There’s no monkeying around. If you want to win, you have to work at it. No matter what you do. Don’t practice until you can do something. Practice until you cannot fail at something.

Romancing Ruth

RuthShe chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?

Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.

Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.

God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.

When others doubt you…

genuine person

Genuine yet regarded as an impostor — 2 Cor. 6:8 NIV

Despite your sincerest efforts, people will doubt you. It happened to the Apostle Paul. He was accused of being a false apostle because he didn’t want gentiles to get circumcised. (He was vindicated by the head honchos in Jerusalem, but still itinerant preachers cast doubt over his person.)

If it happened to Paul, to Job, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, to Amos, to David, to … to JESUS, why be surprised if it happens to you.

This is not to say that you, or anyone, is perfect. It is only to say that we live in a fallen world, and we are not the only ones to possess a cynical sin nature. Others can view us how they want.

In those moments, may our God strengthen us to keep fighting the fight of faith, to keep trying, to not give up.

Surviving well

surviving wellIt’s not just a matter of surviving but surviving well.

They didn’t even smell of smoke. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been thrown into the fire by the despot. While inside, they walked around with Jesus and suffered no harm. King Nebuchadnezzar beckoned them out. Astonished, he forgot all about their disobedience in not bowing to his idol. He recognized that Jehovah was the only true God.

They not only survived, but they survived well. No smell of smoke on them.

Joseph survived prison well. He didn’t execute bitter revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery.

As the years pile up, we pass through evil, wrongs perpetrated by family or friends. The challenge is not go cynical. The challenge is have the light-hearted delight for life of a child still.

Going on 24 years of marriage

marriage anniversaryIt’s one thing for young pups in love to send each other “forever” memes. We need to see older mature (?) married couples still in love. My wife and I celebrate 24 years this month. Praise God! It is not always easy but always worth it to work on it instead of throwing it away. My kids agree too.