Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We're living in increasingly tumultuous times. Middle East instability, severe weather, earthquakes, impending floods, terrorists, economic tremors, drug wars, political unrest, government shut-down - all these and more make one wonder what's happening to the world and whether or not the end is coming. (It didn't help that I just watched a movie where the world was incinerated.)

Some of you will say, "C'mon, Bob, when things get tough, people have always worried about that." That's true! Historically, whenever disaster or war or pestilence came upon a society, its people thought the end was at hand. Since Christ first spoke of His coming again, people of all ages have wondered whether the time is now.

Someday it will happen, so our Lord Jesus told us to be ready. The world will not last forever, and just as It's wise to remember one's own mortality, so we must not forget the world's mortality. We should live each day as if it might be our last.

How do we do that? What is the best way to live? Do we always need to think about the end? What about the young? Shouldn't they enjoy life and not worry about the end? Of course! All of us should enjoy the life God has given us. One's age should not determine whether one is happy or gloomy.

We often hear that in difficult times we should pray, then act. Prayer is action. Someone recently sent me an Email about the term ASAP. Besides its usual meaning, "As Soon As Possible," my friend said ASAP can also mean, "Always Say A Prayer." That's a good suggestion, because prayer is one of the best actions to do, in good times or in bad.

The apostle Paul urges us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray continually." The act of prayer means you trust God, and that you depend on Him. Prayer is an act of worship in which we may praise God, confess our sins, thank Him, or ask His help. We know God answers our petitions in His own way and time.

Prayer makes sense. Talking to God about the troubles around us is good action. Prayer strengthens our faith, calms our heart and lowers our blood pressure. Our prayers are heard by God - all of them. Proverbs 15:29 says, "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous."

Are you fearful? Pray! Are you sick? Pray! Worried about someone? Pray! Feel powerless? Pray! Concerned about the End? Pray!

Always Say A Prayer - ASAP!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today is Valentine's Day. Some historians state that this day originated from Valentinus, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He died on February 14, 269 AD, the same day that had previously been devoted to love lotteries on the Roman calendar.

There is a legend that Valentinus left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentinus". Other legends say that a man named Valentinus served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius and was jailed for defying the Emperor. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine, who has since been disignated patron saint of lovers. February 14 eventually became the date for sending love cards, messages, poems, flowers or candy to loved ones.

In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first Valentine cards, and commercial Valentines were introduced in the late 1800's. The town of Loveland, Colorado, has a very busy post office around February 14. Some local Colorado stores have boxes where people (my wife included) can deposit their Valentine cards which are then sent to the Loveland post office to receive their attractive Valentine's Day postmark. Grade school students usually exchange Valentines, handmade or commercial, with sentimental thoughts and sometimes candy attached.

Jesus urged His disciples in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” It really was a new command, because the prevailing attitude of the day was retribution - if someone hits you, hit him back! An eye for an eye! Jesus showed His followers a new way, one that brings peace among people, not more conflict. God's love for us in Jesus is the best gift we can give or receive on this day.

The greatest love is the willingness to sacrifice one's self for others.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Grandma was visiting her son and his family, and after lunch was playing with her granddaughter Rachel. At one point, Rachel got up from the midst of all her toys and announced she was going outside. Grandma said, “But Rachel, you need to put away your toys first.” Without missing a beat, Rachel replied, “I don’t have time,” and ran through the door and outside.

Rachel had just turned three! She was definitely not running on a tight schedule, so from whom did she learn to say that? From her parents, of course. Maybe she even heard Grandma say it.

I wonder if God might sometimes be surprised when He hears our responses to His requests. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all you who work and are tired, and I will give you rest.” We, of course, find all kinds of reasons not to. “I’m really busy today, Lord.” “I have so many important things planned.” “This is not a good time.” “I’m sure I’ll have more time later on.”

I wonder what God thinks of our schedules. (Yes, He really does have the ability to see what we do each day – He is God, you know!) If you think about it, He doesn’t really ask that much of us, just an hour or two to worship Him each week, and maybe a little time for prayer. All He’d like is time for us to rest with Him awhile from our busy schedules, a time to pick up our toys and give thanks we have them.

I wonder what God thinks when we leave Him out of our week. Or when we do things that are so bad for us. God says, “Be holy, because I am holy,” and we say, “But I have more fun things to do!” and run outside. Then later on we when get tired of our life, when the aches and pains hurt, or when we wonder what we’ve accomplished in life and life seems so empty, maybe then we think of God.

Remember what Jesus said: “Come to me all you who work and are tired, and I will give you rest.” Maybe His kind of rest is better. Maybe it will last longer, or will make us stronger and refreshed for the coming day. Maybe God really does know more than we do (Is that possible?). I wonder if Rachel eventually came back inside. (or if she eventually picked up her toys!)

Okay, God, I have some time now. What would you like to do?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Last week Carol and I attended a fine lecture by Dr. Paul L. Maier at Crown of Life Lutheran Church, in Sun City West. About 200 people heard Dr. Maier explain the blessings of having non-Christian "outside" sources which affirm the reality and authenticity of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

He stated that these are challenging times for Christians, since the faith is under fire from religious competitors, critics, sensationalist authors and hostile media producers. These often take delight in unveiling caricatures of Jesus rather than portraying Him accurately.

How are believers to defend the faith in this secular climate? Is it possible to learn more true details about Jesus of Nazareth than are found in the Bible? Are there any other proofs that the New Testament record is reliable?

The news here is good - three other sources affirm Christianity! Geography affirms the authenticity of rivers, mountains, cities and countries mentioned in the New Testament. The Bible is the only religious holy book which consistently speaks of places that do exist or have existed in the past. This is untrue of most other religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism or Mormonism.

Archeology, while a young discipline, again and again supports the locations, cities and even rulers mentioned in the Bible through the ongoing discovery of artifacts and inscriptions. A third source, historians, also support the truth of the Bible by the mentioning Jesus, His disciples and the Christian faith in manuscripts by such non-Christian sources as Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger and Josephus.

But is it necessary, someone asked, that we have such "outside" sources for Jesus to be authentic and real? Dr. Maier stated, no it was not necessary, but it is truly helpful. Because we have plentiful proofs of the existence of the people, places and events in the Bible, we can rest assured the rest of the story of God's redemption through Jesus Christ is real and true.

Thank God for all His blessings, including those from non-Christians!

(Paul L. Maier is a world-famous author of many books about the Christian faith. See them at your favorite library or book seller.)