Monday, September 27, 2010


Maybe you've seen the photo - an old woman sitting in an alley near an overturned garbage can. She is eating some food she'd found in the garbage - and she is smiling. Most of us won't eat food we accidentally drop on the floor, but this woman didn't care who touched it last. She was hungry and had found food. We hear daily warnings about obesity and the need to eat right, and yet this woman seems satisfied with her few mouthfuls of someone else's food.

There is much talk now about our struggling economy and the cost of living going steadily higher. Many people are anxious about their livelihood, and job notices, even the most humble, are leading hundreds of people to apply. Economists cite statistics on foreclosures and bankruptcies, and, of course, Washington politicians promise to fix it all for us. 

Is it possible, in the midst of gloomy times, to heed the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:25, "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on"? Can we really have that kind of faith? Our Lord is not telling us we don't need to work, nor are we to be unconcerned with what we eat or wear. He was warning against letting money or possessions rule us instead of trusting Him for our needs.

When Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33), He is urging us to recognize that no matter how much effort we expend to make a better life for ourselves and our families, true contentment comes from knowing it is the LORD who provides for our needs. And since God is our Heavenly Father who truly does love us, we will have enough!

"Lord, I believe - help my unbelief!"  (Mark 9:24)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


What does a person do when he's made a billion dollars and owns part of the American dream? What does he do next? In one man's story, he gives it all away, because he found all his wealth and achievments didn't matter as much as his relationship with God.

In 1985, Tom Monaghan had everything a man could want or imagine. He was wildly rich, owning Domino's Pizza, an enormous collection of classic cars, several Frank Lloyd Wright houses, an entire island in the Great Lakes, boats, planes, several smaller companies, and even the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

But something changed Tom Monaghan's heart and moved him to sell all he had and give his money away. Today he is a devout Christian who heads a religious foundation that distributes his former wealth to many human needs. He has built a half dozen churches in Central America, a Christian University, and supports conservative Christian causes however he can.

When he was four and his father died, Tom began life an orphanage, foster homes and even a juvenile detention center. He finished last in his High School class, and served in the Marines and barely made it through college. In 1960 he borrowed money from his brother to buy a pizza place in Ypsilanti, Mich. This single store ultimately grew into Domino's Pizza and propelled Tom to power, possessions and prestige. But with all his successes and influence, Monaghan became a prideful and demanding man. After reading C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, he decided to give up his worldly goods and rededicate himself to God.

Repentence is a powerful force that changes people. Few people will ever achieve the worldly success of Tom Monaghan, but all of us can be eternally blessed by repentence. Jesus died for the sins of all, young and old, rich or poor, and the Holy Spirit can re-make us into new people.

Praise God that He loves us enough to change us for the better!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


During the past week, tragic events may have given us cause to look at our own life. The anniversary of 9-11-01, as well as the nearly two hundred homes destroyed by fires in Colorado and California should make us consider what we value. Houses, skyscrapers and even nations can be rebuilt, but not lost human lives. 

In southern Germany near Heilbronn is the city of Weinsberg whose main attraction is the ruins of a medieval castle, named "Weibertreu." How this ancient castle got its name is a true story of courage, love and understanding of what is important.

In AD 1140 the Weinsberg Castle was besieged by the army of King Welf, and the Staufers who possessed the castle eventually had to surrender. According to recorded history, the king planned to kill all the Staufer men, but he granted the women and children of the castle free departure, and they were allowed to take with them whatever they could carry on their backs. Although the castle contained great riches, when the castle gate opened, the conquering army saw the women of Weinsberg carrying, not jewels and gold on their backs, but their men. 

So moved was the King by the sight of these women carrying husbands, brothers and neighbors, that he adhered to his word and let them pass. These women became known as "treue Weiber" ("loyal wives"), and the castle ruins of Weibertreu are still today a reminder of those who value human life above riches.

If a wild fire was coming and you had only a short time to leave your home, what would you take with you? What would pack in your car? Hundreds of people recently had to make such decisions. In these shakey times of terrorism, unemployment, shakey economy and political chaos, each of us ought to take stock of what is important in our life, and give thanks for it. 

Thanks be to God that we have the unshakeable things of God that cannot be taken from us - His grace, faith and forgiveness. Thanks be to Jesus Christ that He carries us on His back past our enemies and into a life of peace and joy with Him. 

"O Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


How does prayer work? Does God answer our specific prayers? What did Christ really mean when He said, "All things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive"? (Matthew 21:22)

James Gilmour, a missionary to Mongolia, was once asked to treat some wounded soldiers. Although he was not a doctor, he did have some knowledge of first aid, so he felt he could not refuse the request. He dressed the wounds of two of the men, but a third had a badly broken thigh bone. The missionary had no idea what to do for such an injury. Kneeling beside the man, he prayed, asking the Lord for help. He didn't know how God would answer his prayers, but he was confident that God would supply his need.

He couldn't find any books on physiology in the primitive hospital there, and no doctor was near. To complicate matters, a crowd of beggars came to him asking for money. He was deeply concerned about his patient, yet his heart went out to those ragged people.  Hurriedly he gave them a small gift, plus a few kind words of spiritual encouragement. 

A moment later he stared in amazement at one weary beggar who had remained behind. The half-starved fellow was little more than a living skeleton. Gilmore suddenly realized that the Lord had brought him a walking anatomy lesson! He asked the man if he might examine him. After carefully tracing the femur bone with his fingers to learn how to treat the soldier's broken leg, he returned to the patient and was able to set the fracture correctly. Years afterward, Gilmour often related how God had provided him with a strange yet sufficient response to his earnest prayer.

When we raise our petitions to the Lord, we, too, can be certain that He will help us -- even though the answer may come in a way we might least expect. Not all prayer will be answered the way we think it should be; and in fact, most will not. But God does hear all our prayers and answers them in His best way. Jesus told His disciples, and also us: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

God's answers are always best!