Joy In Heaven

     Luke 15 is the chapter of three lost things: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost boy. Each of the parables teaches us that God places different values on things than we do. The shepherd had lost but one of his ninety-nine sheep but he kept looking until he found it. The woman who lost one of her ten coins searched carefully even though she still had nine of them safely in her possession. Most famous is the father’s joy at the return of his prodigal son.

The Diminished Center

     Our society is seriously out of balance. Western culture had for years a rational center in terms of philosophy, culture and ethics. It was not perfect but there was a foundation present in the United States, Great Britain, Europe, Australia, and related cultures. That foundation was centered on the right of individual freedom, respect for the sacredness of human life, and the belief that truth is real and objective. People looked for the place God would have them reside. We have lost that center.

"It's all Relative"

     One thing that we know for sure is that people who sound smart are not always. There was a blip in the news recently about another observation and a series of calculations having to do with the coming together of two black holes in space. My physics is a bit rusty but the comments I heard were along the lines of this event offering further proof of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Smiles and Tears

     As many readers of these few lines know we make frequent trips to the South American country of Guyana. Over the years we have developed great friendships with people there. Romans 12:15 describes the essential elements of a good and proper friendship: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep.” On this trip we experienced both of these elements.

A Trip To Guyana

     On Tuesday, February 2 Randy Blacklidge, Mitch Fuller and I are boarding a plane to go back to the South American country of Guyana. As many if you who read these articles regularly the West Hobbs Street congregation has had a presence in that country since 1999. That year we made our first group mission trip to the New Amsterdam area. We help and support the congregation at Canje that resulted from those efforts. That congregation meets regularly in a good building on the main road in the area. Tony Kissoon is the preacher at Canje.

His Help Will Come

     Our ideas about the character of God are helped along to maturity by the work of the prophet Isaiah. “For whatever things are written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). He of all the prophets helps us understand the way God is and specifically how the concepts of grace and judgment are woven together in the Father and manifested in His Son.

Weight

     When I hear the word “weight” I think of two things initially. One is, of course, the fact that I’ve been losing (and gaining) the same twenty-five pounds for about forty years. The other thing I think about is the voice of Levon Helm singing the old (1968) song from The Band. It seems rather universal that the songs from our youth tend to stay in our minds. The weight around my middle seems determined to stay where it is also.

Happiness

     Christians know that the Biblical concept of happiness is much different from the idea embraced by many folks in this old world. Too often in today’s world happiness is equated with pleasure. We don’t need the Bible to see the problems with such an idea. This is a matter that goes right to the essence of what it means to be a human being. Our existence is not merely, or mostly, a matter of the physical. One of the things we learn as we get a little older is that the most important things in life are spiritual.

Out With The Old

     2015 is just about history and 2016 is just around the corner. “Out with the old and in with the new.” We repeat these same old sayings year after year for the simple reason that those old sayings are true. There is nothing we can do in the past and very little we can do about it. Except perhaps to put the past behind us and prepare for the future.

Another Year!

     Here we are near the end of 2015. It’s what everybody says, but it is nonetheless true that time just seems to fly by! But here we are in the last two weeks of December, getting ready for the holidays, family visits and, yes, the beginning of a new year.