Archive for the 'relationships' Category

(Posts Archive)

Personal and Family Matters

Students of first century Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture point out that in the days and lands of the Bible it went without saying that the value of the individual was a family matter. Name, identity, and honor were closely connected to parentage, tribe, and what a father, mother, son or daughter contributed to the […]

Surprised by a Snake

I have friends who like snakes and know a lot about them. They see them as amazing creatures with an important role in the food chain of insect and rodent control. I feel about snakes the way I do about poison ivy. That’s what I  bring to the strange-sounding words of Jesus when he says, […]

Unimaginable— Part 1

Childlikeness renews wonder that childishness reasons away. But if that’s the case, it may not be readily apparent in the the Apostle Paul’s often quoted, “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” What is clear is that, whatever Paul meant […]

Child-Like-Ish

What’s the difference between being childlike and childish? One gets higher marks than the other. We seem to speak warmly of childlike wonder, trust, and innocence while being less approving of those who are childishly impatient, demanding, and self-centered. According to the New Testament, God became a child who, upon becoming a man, overheard the […]

Pr…ying Mantis

Look who showed up in my yard the other day. But is it a preying or praying mantis? Found out that, even though it is a natural predator it is a—praying mantis. Also learned that “mantis” comes from the Greek word for “prophet” or “fortune teller” and that Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers by early […]

Looking for What’s Missing

In the previous post, “What’s Wrong With this Picture?” the close up of the ant sculpture in the Atlanta Airport shows what happens when perspective is missing. My guess (trying to read the lines, and between them) is that when Paul says to the divisive church in Corinth (inconsiderate of one another, and drinking to […]

Looking for a Way Forward

As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting or commenting as often on this blog which is no longer connected to Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries). Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for […]

Tired in Trying

After a wind storm took down big limbs and snapped trees in our neighborhood last week, my neighbors and I wore ourselves out trying to get down a heavy wild cherry branch that was hanging dangerously just beyond the reach of our ladder and ropes. Yet, as I think back on it now, our physical […]

Forgiving Ourselves

We’ve talked in the past about what it takes to forgive ourselves. When we did, some of us had mixed feelings. On one hand who hasn’t beaten up ourselves for things we’ve done in the past? But then comes the question of whether forgiving ourselves is like playing God? And, with yet another twist, if […]

Has God Said?

The question has a history. Before it was first asked, human experience was limited to a paradise of undisguised trust and innocence (Gen 2:25). Then… from behind the mask of one of God’s own creatures, the hellishly subtle question was asked, “Has God said….?” In the next few words, Genesis gives us a hint of […]

Inside Out and Outside In

Am reading a book by a young author who decided to take her lack of religious faith undercover into the heart of the evangelical world, with the intent of writing about her experience. The woman admits struggling for awhile with the lies she knew she was going to have to tell to pull off her […]

While we Wait

In “He Still Moves Stones”, and as quoted in his “Grace for the Moment” inspirational guide, author Max Lucado suggests that, “Sometimes God is so touched by what he sees that he gives us what we need and not simply that for which we ask. It’s a good thing”, Lucado adds, “For who would have […]

The Gift of a New Testament

In our last conversation, Bill mentioned a book by Gaylord Enns called Love Revolution. I remember reading it some time ago, finding it to be a surprisingly important book, and then forgetting about it. So went to my shelves this past week, found it, and have been mulling over it ever since. In this book […]

When God Withholds

In Haddon Robinson’s booklet on The Lord’s Prayer, he quotes from George MacDonald’s comment on Luke 18:1. The section that Haddon quotes ended with the thought, “God withholds that man will ask.” I thought the quote was so thought provoking that I went back to the original source and am copying what I found here. […]

Hope in Regret

According to his mother, ML was a wonderful son who, at 14, turned to alcohol and drugs. In the years that followed, he made a series of troubled choices. Caught in a downward spiral, he eventually was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. To his parents’ relief, he got a suspended sentence and seemed to […]

The King of Hearts

According to an online news source, a couple of regular customers of a Loveland, Colorado, fast-food restaurant, ages 52 and 85, ended up in court after disagreeing over a parking space. Assault charges were filed after the younger man swung open the door of his vehicle knocking the older to the ground. As in all […]

A Week of Mixed Emotions

This has been a week of loss and sadness—mixed with anticipation— for our Discover the Word radio team. On Friday’s program of last week Haddon Robinson announced that the limitations of his recently diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease are making it necessary for him to step away from 23 years of leading conversations of Bible study with […]

Jacob’s Legacy

In All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare gives us the thought that “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Two centuries later, a French author by the name of Victor Hugo showed his readers that a legacy of honesty—without grace—can turn us into devils. In his 19th-century novel Les Misérables (i.e., The Miserable), Hugo […]

In Low Visibility

Was too preoccupied during the week to stay with the conversation as it unfolded. But I’ve had a chance this morning to catch up and appreciate the way you’ve interacted with one another. Am guessing that others who came and checked in without posting found something helpful (as i have) in the thoughtful ways you’ve […]

Jacob’s Sleepless Night

When a loving father lets his little boy tackle him to the ground or match muscles in arm wrestling, we don’t expect to see dad suddenly subject his young son to a painful arm twist or body slam. So why then do so many of us feel roughed up, abandoned, and even left for dead […]

Ligers and TomTatoes

Two recent news articles describe attempts to alter nature.  One tells the story of a 922 pound cat that made it into the 2014 edition of Guinness World Records. Hercules is a Liger, a cross between a lion and a tiger that lives at a Myrtle Beach wildlife preserve. According to the cat’s owner, ligers […]

Politically Correct?

In reading over the conversation about the last post, I’ll admit that I too have been bothered by what Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes. Am thinking there are some of us who would rather that our daughters or wives not hear Solomon saying,  “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

Notes on a Diplomat

Last night I had a chance to hear a lecture hosted by our regional World Affairs Council. The speaker was an articulate member of the international diplomatic core who walked us through the complex issues of: Rhetoric and reality—the difference between what is said and done. Interests vs values—the tendency to act in the interpretation […]

Samson and Jesus

Samson is one of the most interesting people of the Bible. Like the Philistine Goliath, he’s remembered for his legendary physical strength. After killing a lion with his bare hands, he took on a whole army with the jawbone of a donkey and, in his last act, pushed down the pillars of a huge temple […]

Norway’s Trial of the Century

In July of 2011, a 33-year-old Norwegian bombed an Oslo government building and then gunned down scores of guests at a Labor Party youth camp. Seventy-seven people died, and many more were injured. Prior to the attacks, the young gunman wrote a lengthy manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. In chilling detail, he […]

Yom Kippur 2012

Today is Yom Kippur. An article in the Washing Post describes what it means this year as a nation recognizes its sins, in the presence of its enemies. Also known as The Day of Atonement, this is a day of national repentance with a view toward national forgiveness and deliverance. I’ve often been moved by […]

Abandonment

In a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explores the question of whether the corporate genius ever got over the fact that he was given up at birth by his biological parents. Isaacson quotes co-workers and friends who believe Steve Jobs struggled with a lifelong fear of abandonment. They recall not only his […]

Gold for Claressa and Flint

Never thought I’d find myself choking back cheers of joy watching a 17 year old girl box her way to Olympic Gold. But that’s what happened last night as I watched Claressa Shields beat an opponent almost twice her age. Wasn’t raised to anticipate celebrating a woman boxer even though I was raised to read […]

Giving Facts a Chance

In the early 1950s, a small Chicago-based religious sect predicted that the world was going to end on December 21, 1954. Their leader claimed to have received this information from an alien reincarnation of Jesus who went by the name of Sananda. Their prophecy caught the attention of researchers from Stanford University, who decided to […]

A Family’s Honor and Issues

We’ve often heard that the Old Testament primarily uses the Father-child relationship to picture God’s relationship with a nation (Hos 11:1). It is  a collective, chosen family that is given the hope of a mysterious King/Son who then in turn is referred to as “Everlasting Father” (Psa 110:1) ( Isa 9:6). But it is primarily […]

The Ostrich and the Cross

Your responses to the previous question have been so good! Let me see if I can pull our thoughts together and move us a bit further. Together, we have found a man named Job at the end of his moral and mental sanity. His stature as the wealthiest, most influential, and most blessed man in […]

Our Fathers

On StoryCorps, a project of National Public Radio, I heard 73-year-old Walter Dean Myers tell a story that he says has forever changed the way he remembers his father. Myers, an author with almost 100 books to his name, recalls that at 14 he already had a love for writing. Since his parents didn’t have […]

What is a Personal Relationship With God?

While taking note of the trial of Anders Breivik, one of the issues that has come up is the fact that many people in Europe and America  identify themselves as Christians in a cultural sense, without meaning that they are claiming a personal relationship with God. As a friend of the blog clarified, many believe […]

The Roar of Deception

In October 2011, 56 wild animals terrorized the town of Zanesville, Ohio. The owner of an exotic animal park, troubled by legal challenges and neighbor complaints, had lashed out against the community by deliberately opening his cages just before dark. Local authorities responded by warning neighbors, barricading roads, and closing schools. After a couple of […]

What’s Not to Like Here?

Have you ever noticed that some of us seem to have a  low and suspicious view of human nature, while others find something to like and love in everyone? Jesus seemed to do both. Sometimes he’d call those who came to hear him evil people who knew how to do good things  (Matt 7:11).  Or […]

Hating Religion and Family

One more look at the hate religion but love Jesus comparison. What if we hated religion the way Jesus asked us to hate the members of our own family? May sound like a stretch. But Jesus seems to consider hatred of close relatives a condition of his kingdom. While fulfilling the law that requires us […]

What About this Rumor?

Imagine hearing that the leaders of a major church denomination have decided to ask all of its members to stop using the word “holy”. With a little research we confirm that the report is true, that the denomination’s elders are discouraging the use of the word and are even recommending a rewording of the Apostle […]

Fair Calls and Due Process

I remember hearing my dad describe how surprised he often was to hear the second side of a conflict. He said that when a co-worker came to him with a complaint about another, his first impression was to think the person really had a case. But if he took the time to hear the other […]

Famous Pairs

Famous pairs usually have something in common. They are the right combination of two people who help one another do together what they could not have done on their own. A short list might include: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Abbott and Costello Car Talk’s Tom and Ray Sherlock Holmes […]

So What’s New?

The marketers of Nikon technology have done what clever advertisers often do. Whether intentionally or not, they have found a way of using words to tap into a  spirituality that is much greater than the product being sold. I found this example of “I AM changing everything” on a Singapore billboard. Readers of the Bible […]

Hearing the Roar

By now many of us have heard the tragic outcome of the 56 wild animals let loose from an exotic animal park by a Zanesville, Ohio man– before killing himself. According to news reports, 49 of the animals, including a wolf, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, and 18 Bengal tigers, have died. One grizzly […]

Reference Points

Traveling in Asia with co-workers, have been reminded again of the value of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty. Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either. Even more impressed with the deepening impression of what, in […]

What Is Biblical?

What makes something biblical? The easiest answer may be that, “If something is found in the Bible, it’s biblical.” But that means polygamy, slavery, and genocide all qualify. Another approach is to say that an idea or practice is biblical if it is consistent with the values and nature of the Bible. That’s probably a […]

More than Ten Suggestions

Down through the years some of us  have pointed out that God didn’t give Moses The Ten Suggestions. With similar conviction we rightly recognize the importance of being obedient to God. Many have also observed that the only real solution for the world will come in a day when God’s Messiah rules the world with […]

The Name that Matters

Am in the recording studio this week recording conversations with Alice Mathews and Haddon Robinson for our Discover the Word Radio series. We are currently working through the Sermon on the Mount and have gotten into “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13). In the process, we have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the […]

Debt and the Story of Human History

A column in the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy responded to the S & P’s downgrading of US Credit rating with an article called “How Debt Has Defined Human History”. Author, David Graeber, describes how ancient civilizations developed elaborate systems to manage credit and debt. He maintains that such systems depended on the insistence that there […]

Being a Man

Some of King David’s last words were a challenge to his son. To Solomon, who would inherit the throne, he said, “Take courage and be a man” (1 Kings 2:2 nlt). What was this father saying? What did his son hear? Just as importantly, what do we hear in those words? Thousands of years later, […]

What Makes Jesus Good for Us?

Who can measure the importance of the statement: “The Word became flesh, and lived among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)? Think about the implications of a statement that does not simply say that “The Word was full of truth”, or that “The Word was full of grace.” Imagine what Jesus might have […]

Unexpected Answers

The Bible answers the most important questions we can ask: Where did we come from? What matters? Who can we trust? Who is God? Is he good? Who is Jesus? Why did he die? Did his life end in failure? How can we be counted among his followers? How should we treat our enemy? Where […]

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