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Friday, May 30, 2008

A Turn for the Worse

A former friend has bolted from the faith. He grew up in a devout Christian home, attended a prominent Bible college, and shared God’s Word passionately. Today, he promotes atheism.

I don’t know what changed this person’s heart and mind, because he refuses to respond to my phone calls and e-mail messages. Perhaps some Christians’ unkind remarks contributed to his retreat from the faith. Or anti-Christian philosophy may have invaded his thinking. Whatever the underlying cause of his turning away from the Truth, the results are tragic.

The Bible alerts us to the fact that “in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Even one of Paul’s close associates succumbed to the lie that what the unregenerate world system offers is superior to what God offers. Paul wrote: “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10). In his first letter to Timothy he identified Hymeneaus and Alexander as men who shipwrecked the faith by abandoning faith and a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19, 20).

We must not claim to be immune to the possibility of taking a similar turn for the worse. Pride goes before a fall. The best safeguard is vigilance. We must keep our eyes on the Lord and “fight the good fight of faith, holding on to faith and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:18, 19).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A New Friend

At lunch yesterday Gloria and I saw a customer hand a book to our waitress. I asked her whether the customer had written it. “No,” she replied, his daughter wrote it. She is a famous Christian writer.”

“Who is she?” I asked.

“Beverly Lewis.”

“I know who she is.” I explained, “She and I had a book signing at a Christian bookstore, but the line at her table was much longer than mine.”

The waitress wanted to know what books I had written.

“Mostly biblical, theological books, but I have written a couple of others—one for golfers and another for dog owners. Do you play golf or own a dog? If you do, I’ll give you a book.”

She answered, “No, but I would like one of your other books. I use books like that for the papers I write for my classes at Pike’s Peak Community College.”

“Okay! Next time we eat here, I will give you a book.”

Soon we were chatting with Bev Lewis’s father. He explained that they had lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so Bev’s books based on Amish life were authentic. He also told us he is writing a book.

We learned he had lost his wife about a year and a half ago after 58 years of marriage. He had been a pastor for many years, having gone into the ministry in 1948.

I shared with him that Gloria and I will celebrate our 50th Anniversary June 7 and I am currently serving a church in Penrose, having entered the ministry in 1958.

So there we were, a couple of old preachers swapping stories while our food was getting colder with each story. It was a good lunch!

Later yesterday, several anniversary cards arrived in the mail. One was from George and Laura Bush.

It was a very good day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Sunday morning attendance was low yesterday morning. Likely a number of families went camping. Our church is located close to the Arkansas River, Royal Gorge, and beautiful mountains. The area attracts many tourists and locals to fish, hike, bike, ride the rapids, and enjoy the majestic scenery. The low attendance was not surprising.

So there was ample room in church for the two visitors that arrived after I had started the morning service. But a couple of members chased them from the sanctuary and out the front doors. The unwelcome guests were dogs. We had left the church’s front doors open because the weather was pleasant. Apparently, the dogs had interpreted the open doors as an invitation to check out our worship service. Perhaps they had hoped we would sing the dogsology. At any rate, they helped make Memorial Day weekend even more memorable than anticipated.

Our flag is flying in front of our house this Memorial Day. I hope yours is too. We owe so much to our military men and women. Many of them paid the ultimate price to keep us free. Those who are serving our country in faraway places are sacrificing for us. We owe them our prayers, our support, and our thanks.

The greatest sacrifice of all sacrifices was the one Jesus made on the cross on our behalf. He voluntarily laid down His life to give us eternal life. Let’s remember this sacrifice with deep gratitude today and every day.