My romantic view of a stable vanished when I visited a camel and watched him project bodily filth in the direction of onlookers. My childhood notion that the first Christmas was all joy for the main characters evaporated too. Mary and Joseph experienced a bevy of challenges including fear, betrayal, and misunderstanding. In other words, the first Christmas included real people with real problems—people like us. That makes Joseph’s faith all the more inspiring.Continue Reading
Unsafe people live, work, and worship among us. They insert themselves as experts on social media. They may appear friendly and helpful. But a dark streak lurks beneath their scrubbed exterior. How do we recognize unsafe people?
Laban, whose name means white, was a dark cloud in Jacob’s life. Laban betrayed his own daughter as well as Jacob by switching brides on Jacob’s wedding night. He cheated Jacob, changing his wages ten times. His story helps us identify the unsafe people in our lives. Let’s take a closer look at Jacob’s father-in-law and employer for twenty years.Continue Reading
When we lived in California, Larry and I sometimes attended the evening services of a church other than our home church. The pastor knew the scriptures inside and out and used them to expose the worldly ideas promoted by our culture. After we left California, we heard him speak at a church in Oklahoma. I commented to Larry he seemed different. Kind of cocky.
I still ordered his teaching tapes and followed his ministry. Then I learned he’d resigned from his church. Tragically, this brilliant leader had stepped into another kind of trap. He’d become emotionally involved with a woman who’d come to him for help.
His failing not only betrayed his wife, church, and family, he betrayed his community and all who followed his teaching. I grieved as though a close friend had died. How could someone who accurately handled the word of God fall so far?Continue Reading
Have you ever wondered why God allowed the COVID-19 virus to stop the whole world—and your world in particular? Or perhaps your life has been hijacked by another issue. Has He lost control? What good can come from this?
As one who values efficiency, I don’t respond gracefully to setbacks. I prefer McDonald’s jingle, “You deserve a break today.” But biblical and secular history show life doesn’t flow in a straight line. Like a good novel, real life packs in its share of twists and turns.
So how should we respond to obstacles? Ecclesiastes 7:13 offers this intriguing advise.
Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?” (Eccles. 7:13 NLT)
“Accept the way.” If I know God is behind something, that is one thing. But does this verse include things that happen because of sin, storms, and sickness?
Learning Curves in the Road of Life
Some setbacks come from inexperience. God created growth to be a process. We glean some lessons only through living. So instead of bemoaning life’s learning curves, lean into them. Collect all you can from the delays.Continue Reading