Side By Side

“Encourage one another daily.” Hebrews 3:13 The Greek translation for the word encouragement is parakletos, which literally means “called alongside to help.” It brings to mind the scriptural image of two people yoked side by side, as when Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29–30). This kind of encouragement includes offering an uplifting word, but it is more than that. Continue Reading

A Most Extraordinary Event

by Jo Ann Larsen Larry and Jo Ann were an ordinary couple. They lived in an ordinary house on an ordinary street. Like any other ordinary couple, they struggled to make ends meet and to do the right things for their children. They were ordinary in yet another way—they had their squabbles. Much of their conversation concerned what was wrong in their marriage and who was to blame—until one day when a most extraordinary event took Continue Reading

Empty Castles

“This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Luke 12:20 The utter folly of materialism hit home dramatically for me (JCD) during a trip to Britain years ago. As I toured the museums and historical buildings, I was struck by what I called “empty castles.” Standing there in the lonely fog were edifices constructed by proud men who thought they owned them. But where are those men Continue Reading

Hitting the Jackpot

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24 Do you ever dream of winning the lottery? It may interest you to know that about a third of all lottery winners go bankrupt within five years and that another quarter of these instant millionaires wind up selling their remaining payments at a discounted rate to pay off debts. People who are reckless with ordinary Continue Reading

The Tin Monster

“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 At least my intentions were good. I (JCD) once ordered a swing set for my children identical to a shiny display model I’d seen at the store. What arrived, however, was a long box containing roughly 6,324 pipes, 28,487,651 bolts, 28,487,650 screws, and a set of instructions that would have befuddled Albert Einstein. For the next two days, I sweated to assemble bent Continue Reading

BOUNDARIES – God’s Goal for Good Parenting

Ephesians 6:4 - “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Consider the following dialogue: Dad: “You’re letting our daughter do anything she wants.” Mom: “You’re too strict with her.” Dad: “She needs more discipline and structure.” Mom: “She needs more love and encouragement.” Dad: “She’s becoming irresponsible and out of control.” Mom: “She’s becoming insecure Continue Reading

Where Is Your Treasure?

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10 Money. Men and women have lusted for it, killed for it, died for it, and gone to hell for it. Money has come between the best of friends, fractured families, and brought down the proud and mighty. And it has torn millions of marriages limb from limb! According to Larry Burkett, founder and CEO of Christian Financial Concepts, 80 percent of couples seeking divorce say the Continue Reading

The Peanut Vendor

by Sam Kameleson Once upon a time, there lived a peanut vendor in South India. Every day he walked up and down the beach calling out, “Peanuts! Peanuts for sale! Peanuts!” The man was miserably poor. He barely earned half a living, hardly enough to feed his family. But at night he bragged to his wife and children, “I am the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company!” Eventually, the grinding Continue Reading

Our God of Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 The late entertainer Joe E. Brown once said, “I have no understanding of the long‐faced Christian. If God is anything, He must be joy.” How true! We have a God who loves us more than we love our children or even ourselves—a God who sent His Son to die for us and who has prepared a place in eternity just for us. He is indeed a God of joy—and we have much to be joyful Continue Reading

Watch Out For Traps

“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 We’ve found that retired couples and stay‐at‐home spouses are especially likely to fall into four traps that can take the joy out of life. Here they are, along with some suggestions for avoiding each trap. First is the trap of isolation. Don’t allow yourself to withdraw within your own four walls. Stay connected to people even when it’s easier to stay home. The Continue Reading