Showing posts from April, 2017

Praying in Public

Once in a while I meet people critical of public prayer claiming it contradicts Jesus' teaching that praying to the Father should be in secret (Matthew 6:6). Christians do need personal time with the Lord. Still Jesus often prayed in public like when He multiplied the loaves and fishes (Luke 9:16) and when little children were brought to Him (Matthew 19:13). The reason Jesus rebuked the Pharisees' public prayers was because their motive was to be seen by men.  Consider what has happened with U. S. public schools since prayer was removed from classrooms over 50 years ago. Darrell Scott, father of slain Columbine student Rachel Scott, wrote the following poem that he read before Congress...  Your laws ignore our deepest needs,  Your words are empty air.  You've stripped away our heritage,  You've outlawed simple prayer.  Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question "Why?&quo

The Fig Tree

One sign often cited by Bible prophecy teachers that we are living in the last days is Israel becoming a nation again. This is interpreted through Jesus’ Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24 (also mentioned in the gospels of Mark and Luke)… 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.  33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!  34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.  35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away People have differences regarding how long a generation is in Scripture. Some have defined that as 40 years, 70 years, or 100 years. One fellow prophecy buff suggested it could last as long as the man’s lifespan during a particular time period. Other Old Testament passages associated God’s people to fig trees… “And Judah and

Pay Your Taxes

IRS building in Washington, DC Every year by April 15th (unless that day lands on a weekend like this year), Americans are required by law to have tax returns filed for their previous year’s income. Occasionally I have met Christians who question the validity of paying taxes. One of them even promoted a website claiming that paying income taxes is unconstitutional. Taxation has existed since Old Testament days. In Genesis 41:34, Joseph advised Pharaoh to impose a 20% tax on all food in preparation for a coming famine. God used the Egyptian government to save the lives of many people. In Luke 3:13 when tax collectors came to John the Baptist to be baptized they were told, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Notice John didn’t tell people not to pay taxes. In Matthew 22 the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus replied in verse 21, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Teacher of the Ear

Jace Lahlum at a water ski club reunion There’s a popular bumper sticker that says, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Most of us can recall having a favorite instructor while growing up. Mine was one I had as a high school sophomore in Moorhead, Minnesota. Despite enjoying math during elementary school and junior high, I was never fond of geometry. Just before starting tenth grade, my parents and I met with a guidance counselor to discuss my schedule. Mom and Dad sided with my resistance to geometry but the counselor insisted I should take that subject. During the first day of the 1979-1980 school year, I entered a second-floor classroom for my third-period geometry class. After the bell rang, in walked 35-year-old Jace Lahlum. To my surprise, this teacher had an energetic personality unlike any I’d seen before. Halfway through that first class, I realized Mr. Lahlum looked and sounded like comedian Steve Martin. If he put on a white suit, dyed his hair, and stuck

It Can Wait

Although God desires everyone to have a long life (Psalm 91:16), we still reside in a fallen world where some people die because of another individual’s negligence.  This past Wednesday, a tragedy occurred in Texas that should remind us all of the dangers of distracted driving. The 20-year-old driver of a pickup truck crashed into a church minibus near the town of Concan. 13 of the 14 passengers on the bus died from the accident. The pickup driver survived but is hospitalized. A witness told the Associated Press he had followed the pickup driver for several miles as it moved erratically and repeatedly crossed the center line of a two-lane highway. Jody Kuchler made calls to the sheriffs of two counties urging them “to get him off the road before he hit somebody.” Kuchler ended up witnessing the collision. After checking on the bus occupants, he spoke with the pickup driver who told him, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was texting.” Many of us have gotten in the habit of imm