From nobodies to somebodies

Most of us daydream about suddenly discovering that we are heirs to a fortune we never knew of, and that we are no longer nobodies. That was how the gospel seemed to those who first heard it. In a world where rank counted for everything, the opening words of John’s Gospel proclaimed that ‘To all who received Jesus into their lives, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ Nobodies were in a moment transformed into somebodies. Even today, with all our rights and freedoms, so many of us suffer from a crippling lack of self-worth. How wonderful it is to learn that through faith in Jesus we are nothing less than the dearly loved children of God, irrespective of how others may see us or even of how we tend to value ourselves.

Posted in Children of God, God's love, New Life, New love, New start, Transformation, Transformed mind | Leave a comment

Agnosticism versus Christianity

Harry Ironside, a well-known preacher of yesteryear, was once challenged to a public debate by Arthur Morrow Lewis, a well-known unbeliever. The subject was to be “Agnosticism versus Christianity.” Ironside accepted the challenge with one condition: and that was that Lewis should bring with him one person who had been addicted to alcohol and one person who had been enslaved in depravity, and who were now freed from their past because their lives had been turned around by unbelief. And if he did produce two such persons, Ironside promised to bring one hundred people who were once just such lost souls and had found new life and joy in Christ Jesus. Well, it was the agnostic who pulled out of the debate.

Posted in Agnosticism, Christianity, New Life, Transformation | Leave a comment

‘Once I had everything but money. Now I have nothing but money’

In her day Betsey Patterson was regarded as the most beautiful woman in America, so much so that Napoleon’s youngest brother became infatuated with her and married her. Well, that was just the start of a remarkable life, but in her later years she wrote to a friend saying: ‘Once I had everything but money. Now I have nothing but money… I am dying of boredom. I am tired of reading, and of all my ways of killing time… I am too old to flirt, and without this stimulus I die.’
Such was the melancholy confession of a woman who had great beauty of body, but no inner beauty of the soul – that which the Bible describes as ‘The unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’

Posted in Beauty, emptiness, inner peace, inner yearning, Soul | Leave a comment

The Golden Rule and the secret of happiness

Bernard Rimland, of the Institute for Child Behavior Research, was fascinated with the subject of what it is that makes for happiness. So, he conducted a study on the principle of the Golden Rule – ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ He asked participants to list ten people they knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish. He found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish and that those whose activities were devoted to bringing themselves happiness were far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy. He concluded that Jesus was right; the Golden Rule is the secret of happiness.

Posted in Golden Rule, Happiness | Leave a comment

The promise and power of faith

Charles de Gaulle, the famous French leader during World War Two, had a child who was severely mentally handicapped. But he loved her dearly and, no matter how bad things were in France, he would always make time to be with his wife and their daughter. Every night, after they’d put her to bed, his wife would say: ‘Why couldn’t she have been like the others?’ Well, as predicted, the little girl died in her youth. They had a private graveside service, and, after the priest had pronounced the benediction, everyone departed except his wife. De Gaulle went back to her and said: ‘Come, Evonne. Did you not hear the blessing of the priest? Now she is like all the others.”
The Bible says that Jesus will one day transform our mortal bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. That is the promise and power of faith!

Posted in Death, Eternal life, Faith, Heaven, Hope of Glory, Life, Life's journey | Leave a comment

Dissolving into nothingness…or?

In parts of Africa they have a unique funeral custom whereby mourners stand around the casket and then, on a given signal, put a piece of peppermint into their mouths. As it dissolves they are reminded that life for that person is over and has dissolved into nothingness. In our society, also, there are people who believe that physical death means the end of everything. But for most of us – and for most people everywhere – there is an innate sense that this is not so, and that personality does not end at physical death.
For Christians, that sense of continuance goes even further. Nothing says it better than those words from the Bible which say: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those that love Him.’

Posted in Death, Eternal life, Eternity, funerals, Life | Leave a comment

Though I may not see and think of him, he never stops thinking of and loving me.

Writer Philip Yancey found an old photo of himself as a small child, which his mother kept amongst her treasured memories. It puzzled him why she kept that one when there were so many better pictures. She told him it was the one that his father had had fastened to the iron lung in which he’d spent the last months of his life. Lying there, paralysed by polio, with his son banned from the hospital, his only contact had been that photo hung directly before his eyes. Yancey says that photo is now the one link that connects him to the stranger who was his father; the man but who spent all day, every day thinking of him and loving him. And from that, he says, I have come to a deeper understanding of the love of God who, though I may not see and think of Him, never stops thinking of and loving me.

Posted in God's love, God's presence | Leave a comment