Have you ever taken that perfect trip? No. There are invariably snags or shortcomings or schedule snarls to reintroduce reality to that dream vacation. The Christian walk is not some lilly-padded excursion. It is a sobering sojourn, with a departuring destination determined; but the directions, and the drive, will have detours, distractions, and discouragements. The Apostle Paul was mindful of the minefields which marred his mission. And his motivation? “. . . one thing I do . . .
Have you ever received a gift that you really did not appreciate? Were you desiring something “wanted,” yet were delivered something “needed”? The gift of grace in salvation is free (Ephesians 2.8), but it is not cheap! In fact, Paul writes, “. . . work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12). There is a cost to discipleship. One extraordinary couple who epitomizes this “giftedness” is Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada.
Lights come in different forms (incandescent, fluorescent, and LED) and functionalities (fixed, portable)--you name it, you will find it!! While each has its place for individual practice, ALL of them are pivotal in the intended purpose--to provide illuminated visual enlargement, enrichment, and enhancement. In a world of egregious darkness, the Gospel is THE Light which offers the avenue to, and the attainment of, eternal destiny.
“Jesus Loves the Little Children . . .” This is one song most of us have known since our early childhoods. Children were living object lessons in the Gospels for Christ’s teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven. Sadly, throughout the hallways of history, children have invariably been treated as collateral damage. In Poland during World War Two, there were unthinkable genocidal crusades against the will of the Jewish population.
He was not a mighty military man; in fact, he was always rather frail. He was not a polished politician. He was not even an effervescent executive. But he was a most enterprising individual in his field of expertise. Some, in fact, consider him to be “. . . the most remarkable American who has ever lived.” Emerging from a most underprivileged upbringing, he fought battles on par with the great commanders and generals.
The conventional axiom, “Good things come in small packages,” and the more cryptic aphorism, “Dynamite comes in small packages,” would seem to run counter to each other. The former refers to the matter of quality; the latter to quantity. But can they be woven together? Yes, they can, and a classic candidate for this synergism is 19th century missionary to China, Lottie Moon.
Have you ever fought a battle, or contended for a matter, which seemed too large to overcome? Did you feel that you were alone in the midst of the morass? What kept you tethered at the throttle, persevering and enduring? No doubt, it was the conviction that the cause was commensurate for the combat. There are many “heroes” in American history who have personified this paradigm; yet one stands out uniquely--Harriet Tubman.
Track athletes recognize the world of difference between the sprinter and the marathoner. Two divergent types of runners who train and compete dissimilarly. And yet, the prizes at their respective finish lines are quite the same. The trail to the trophy is worth the toil. In the Christian life, the treasured target is eternal life. Paul exhorted his Philippian brethren, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.14).
How would you respond if you discovered a rare jewel which seemed hidden, but was actually always in your possession? Would you not guard its virtues and gauge its value? A 16th-century theologian, named Martin Luther, discovered the treasured worth of God’s Word, much as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3.15--”[Wisdom] is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire compares with her.” In his quest, he reformed the place of the Scriptures among the common Christian.
The distinguishing delight, and prayer, of “bring[ing children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), is witnessing their own faith in Christ. But what about those who struggle toward transformation for years, if not decades? One case in point was Monica, a North African (present day Algeria) dedicated Christian married to unbeliever Patricius, a middle-income farmer. What would become of the spiritual path of their son, Aurelius Augustine?