Quit Hitting Your Donkey!

 If you are literally hitting a donkey, then please stop now! But I’m quite confident that most people reading this blog don’t own a donkey, and you are wondering why you have even read this far. But please read on. You might not own a literal donkey, but by the end of this blog, you may discover you not only have a donkey, but you have yelled at, kicked, and been quite angry with it. With that in mind, let’s look at Balaam and his talking donkey. Now a talking donkey might evoke images from Shrek for many, but thousands of years before Eddie Murphy put words in a donkey’s mouth, God did in the story of Balaam. You can find the story in Numbers chapters 22-24. The story begins with messengers from a pagan king going to Balaam and asking him to curse the Israelites for a fee. Balaam puts the messengers up for the night and inquires of God about their offer. God clearly informs Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” God’s instructi

Give thanks in all circumstances?

 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”                             I Thessalonians 5:18  What are your thoughts when you read that verse? Are thinking,  Oh, no! Please, not the “give thanks in all circumstances” passage . I get why you might think that. The convulsions of chaos, war, and moral depravity afflicting our world feed fear rather than thanksgiving. Your circumstances may contribute to that as well. Financial stress, physical illness, and relational conflict pose a constant challenge to those words of Paul penned to the Thessalonians. Give thanks in ALL circumstances. Really? We might hope the Greek provides some loophole in this exhortation and the ‘all’ doesn’t actually mean all. Sorry, but the Greek language offers no such out. All means all. So how do we obey such a radical and challenging exhortation? We look to Jesus. This morning for my devotions, I read the story of the Last Supper in Luke 22. Now I’ve read this

What Our Culture Needs

In the ’60s, the Beatles claimed “All you need is love” and the hippie generation sought to live that out. However, many found that answer wanting and looked for more as depicted in the recent movie “The Jesus Revolution.” The '80s worked out the final vestiges of the cold war, resulting in the collapse of the Berlin Wall and what many believed was a new era of world peace. As technology advanced and moved society forward, scientific truth became the answer to all humanity’s woes. The '90s birthed a new era of informational exchange exponentially accelerating the rate at which the pool of human knowledge expanded as well as the rate lies could be spread. Facts and fiction could now be shared with a few strokes on a keyboard in an email. The dawn of a new millennium ushered in unprecedented connections through social media and smartphones. Now so-called truth experts could peddle their claimed knowledge through multiple platforms around the world. In our current era, however, tr

When God Laughs

 Did you know that God laughs? That’s not something we think about often. You may have never thought about God laughing. Many hold this image of a stoic God that never even smiles let alone laughs. And you think that would be the case, right? I mean the challenges of this world are far too serious to laugh about. We have violent crime on the rise, inflation woes, immorality not merely accepted but applauded, people and institutions actively opposing the teachings of God’s word, and the list goes on. The mess of this world is no laughing matter so most of us never think of God laughing. But God Himself, in His word, tells us that He does indeed laugh.   So, what would God be laughing about? What would God find so humorous that He bursts into laughter? It’s probably not what you would laugh about. In fact, what God laughs about might be giving you ulcers right now. What makes God laugh? We find the answer in Psalm 2 verses 1-4. Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain

A New Year...yet the same (making 2023 more than just another year)

 How can you make this New Year more than just another year?   New Year’s Eve fosters fond memories for me every year. Growing up, my family would gather friends that had three sons of their own to ring in the New Year together. We alternated which house would host the event and all five of us boys would have blast. I remember eagerly waiting for my turn to play pong on the computer. Odd as it may seem, being able to control a digital line on a screen with a paddle controller mesmerized me. We would play on the Macintosh computer, outside in the snow, and games like operation. Then we snuck into the mysterious a crawl space where we would go and play. It was only four feet high but there were a couple of lights and some toys. The perfect kids’ hang out—parents wouldn’t easily fit!   Not a New Year’s Eve goes by without me reflecting on those childhood memories. Yet with all the hoopla and expectation that went into celebrating the New Year, there never seemed much new about it. Aft

Where are you?

You’ve asked that question countless times, I’m sure. You’re in the store and can’t find your spouse, child, or friend so you call out, “Where are you?” You’re getting picked up by someone who’s fifteen minutes late so you call and ask “Where are you?” You get a call from a friend and the background noise nearly drowns out their voice and you ask, “Where are you?”   You and I have asked that question numerous times over the years. It reveals our limited knowledge. We don’t know where someone is and want to find out for whatever reason. The question makes perfect sense coming from the mouth of humans such as ourselves. But in Genesis 3:9 it comes from the mouth of an all-knowing God and seems quite strange.   The setting is the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned by eating fruit from the tree that God had told them not to eat. They succumbed to the serpent’s temptation, rebelling against God’s authority. They knew it was wrong because the moment they heard God walking in the ga

What are you dealing?

 This past summer I bought a new car. I’ve always enjoyed shopping for a new vehicle. In college, a friend and I would go around test driving vehicles just for the fun of it. I enjoy viewing the styling of different vehicles, driving and experiencing the performance, and I don’t even mind visiting with sales people either. I can find out a lot of interesting insights about people and sometimes the small talk can lead into spiritual conversations. I know it's not for everyone, but I enjoy car shopping.  And w hen I find a car salesman who owns the brand he's selling, my confidence in the brand is bolstered. It’s one thing for the sales person to say a vehicle is great and a whole other level of sincerity if he personally owns that brand. I went to a Honda dealership and visited with one of the sales reps there about a Honda Civic. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any on the lot, but the salesman showed me his personal Civic that he had bought recently. That told me a lot about