Spiritual Issues

Power to Become a Son of God – When God is central in a human life, there is a steadiness and “a peace that passes understanding.” Unlike ideologies and philosophies, which change with circumstances like the weather, God never changes. A person who knows Jesus does not have to fear anything, not even death, because knowing Jesus is eternal life.
The Hope That Never Fails – “If I lift up my eyes to the hills, where shall I find help? Help comes only from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2. Hope. A very short, simple, yet powerful word. The dictionary defines hope as “the feeling that what is desired is also possible, or that events may turn out for the best.” To “give up hope” is to reach the end. To “keep on hoping” means there may yet be a chance, however small, that what is desired will come to pass.
Taxes to Caesar – In the days when Jesus lived on this earth, while He was teaching openly in the temple at Jerusalem only a few days before His death, there were many who tried to test Him, to catch Him in something He might say in front of the people. A question, simply put, was “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” (Luke 20:22) They knew that the dilemma posed by this question would be His undoing. It was deliberately intended to put Him on the spot in front of all the people, because no matter how He answered it, He could not win.
Playing Dressup – The house our family lived in had a room in the basement only four feet high. All our toys and games were in it. In one corner we had a steamer trunk filled with my mother’s old dresses, shoes, and hats. I could spend hours dressing up in the most outrageous combinations of colors, patterns, and styles as I pretended to be much older – and very sophisticated. Well, my childhood daydream suddenly ended when a sobering thought hit me. I have been playing spiritual dress up!
Of Noah, and God’s Broken Heart – As the father of two boys, I found a curious fact in the playroom: the whole world seems to love Noah and the Ark full of animals. In scene after scene, Noah and his family build an impressive Ark that sails the depth of the Deluge until the dove comes back with an olive branch, then returns no more. Noah has no enemies anymore, but legions of young admirers who know the story of how the human race was saved. But it turns out not to be just a happy tale of childhood.
Choosing the Unconditional Road – A friend of mine loves God, but wonders about the wisdom of His dealings with her. She says everything is okay, she’s even ready to go to the mission field, except that she doesn’t have a husband. Or a child. How could God leave these important people out of her life and maybe even out of His plan for her? She’s been waiting for a long time and nothing seems to change.
Spiritual Food – As children, our mothers would say, “Eat your vegetables!” I have since learned that certain foods help our body while others tear it down. We are not always aware that our bodies are constantly under siege by infection and disease. Daily dramas and battles play out in the deep places of our cells. This is also the case spiritually.
Examining the Blood – Christianity rests on the foundational belief that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ, whose blood atones for sin. The “power of Jesus’ blood,” however, extends far beyond a new believer’s initial experience of it. Just as blood constantly flows through our natural bodies to sustain life, the blood of Jesus continually courses in the spiritual being of those who have identified with His death and resurrection.
Starfish Wars – I heard an interesting ecology lecture about how starfish prey on mussels and how mussels survive their attacks. When a starfish targets a mussel, it first climbs up and sits on top of it. Then it spills poison on the mussel’s shell, while the mussel struggles to keep its shell closed. By the time the poison penetrates the shell, the mussel is exhausted, and the shell starts to crack open. Interestingly, many mussels are found inside the narrow cracks of rocks, for a simple reason: starfish cannot touch them there. This mussel story was a perfect picture of my own spiritual reality.
Israel Must Live! – Israel has a character of its own, a permanence that has endured persecutions of the worst sort and nineteen hundred years of displacement: it is the center of God’s plan. Jerusalem is once again occupied by the Jews and is a focal point of spiritual significance.
Religious Garbage (It Can Take Over Your Life) – I had an annoying habit my freshman year: I picked up litter. Not just mine. Everybody’s. I never felt very altruistic about it, though—only increasingly burdened.
Can You Defy Death? – I think back often on that brisk autumn morning during my senior year of high school when Mr. Holmes, the coolest English teacher in the school bar none, began a unit on death. “Death?” you might think, “What a morbid topic for high school seniors.” We thought so, too.
Should a Christian Celebrate Passover? – Why ask? Everyone knows that Passover is a Jewish holiday—perhaps the defining Jewish holiday. Israel’s Passover deliverance was so breathtaking that even Spielberg’s special effects in “The Prince of Egypt” do it scant justice. Passover is one of history’s greatest stories!
Real Food, Real Drink – For most of my teenage years, I was dissatisfied, always looking back and wanting what was. I would always compare the dismal present with the halcyon days of my youth. But by age 13, things changed, and one thing went beyond my control.