Archive for April, 2022

Society as a whole in our nation gives evidence of crumbling because it is buffeted by many problems: materialism, alcohol and drug addiction, sexual license, greed and many other wrongful attitudes that create division. While authorities at every level are seeking for answers, God is waiting for us to discover the potential power for change and spiritual renewal that exists within the family structure. The family—the kind that has a dedicated Christian mother and father—is God’s not-so-secret weapon for meeting our nation’s needs.

If this is true (and it is), two important questions need to be raised: (1) Where is the key that will unlock the secrets and release the power and influence?(2)What one action would be the first step toward realizing the redemptive force of the family? The answer is quite simple: Rebuild America’s family altars!

It begins with families taking the time to read the Bible, sing and pray together. Today’s jet set family hardly finds the time to brush its teeth after each meal, so how can it find the time to pray? Is it not a matter of priorities? Do we not find the time to do what we consider to be important? If rebuilding the family altar is God’s not-so-secret weapon, we need to take a long hard look at the family and what God expects of it.

We need to know, first of all, that God doesn’t give the family the sole burden of transforming society. He, through His Son, founded the church and gave it a divine mission (Matthew 29:18-20). It is God’s will that schools bear their fair share of the responsibility for shaping the future of our nation. God also wills a place of influence for government—all the way from the local to the international level—and to organizations involved with the building of a just and peaceful society. Still, God’s primary organization for advancing His kingdom on earth is the family. That is why an ounce of mother is worth a ton of school teacher or policeman or preacher.

Apostle Paul gives us some important guidelines in the fifth and sixth chapters of the book of Ephesians for the way parents and children should relate to each other:

  1. Children should OBEY their parents. Parents who do not teach the value of obedience to their children make a dreadful mistake. Disobedient children tend to become disrespectful children and disrespectful citizens. Disobedient children do not always have an adequate role model. An unemployed janitor in Los Angeles found a bag of money on the street that had fallen from an armored truck. It contained $240,000. He called the FBI and gave them the package unopened. He said, “If I had kept that money, I would not be able to look my kids in the eye again.” Not all children have a father like that.
  2. Children should HONOR their parents. Honor should be shown in their heart, in their vocabulary, through their actions, and in their achievements, for this ensures God’s blessings upon them.
  3. Fathers should not provoke their children to be angry. A Chinese proverb says: “When a child is born into a family, a bow and arrow are hung before the gate.” Psalm 127:4 says basically the same thing.
  4. Parents should bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are to do this by having the Bible in a position of importance within the home, by incorporating love into every responsibility and activity and by being involved in the work of God’s kingdom. One mother had a sign over her kitchen sink that said, “Divine services held here three times a day.”

Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to focus on the Christian family: the responsibilities that its members have to each other, how it was designed by God to function and on its importance to society as a whole. What about your home? Is Christ at the center? If not, He can be.


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A newspaper headline originating in St. Louis, Mo., a few years ago literally jumped off the page at me. It was not found on the front page. The fact that it was found on any page is indicative of the kind of skewed priorities that are far too commonplace in our country.

The story involved a man and his wife who owned two dogs who appeared in Judge Dennis J. Quillin’s court seeking a divorce. Far too many couples in our country plan to spend their lives together enjoying many years of happiness decide some time later that marriage is not all they thought it would be. So, they throw up their hands, decide to say goodbye to each other, and head off into the wild blue yonder. Love was their quest, marriage was their conquest, but problems arrive and divorce becomes their inquest.

Couples appear in America’s courts every week seeking a divorce. What made news in the case in St. Louis is what Judge Quillin decided to do with the two dogs the couple owned. One dog was awarded to each partner – nothing unusual there. What was unusual is that Judge Quillin wanted to make certain that the two dogs did not have severe emotional problems as the result of being separated.

Yes, that is exactly what happened. Judge Quillin’s signed court order specified that the dogs following the couple’s divorce would meet on the following Sunday at a parking lot for an eight-hour get-together. On the day following their get-together they were to be carried to a veterinarian for a checkup and a determination of the emotional effects, if any, that they had experienced as the result of being separated.

As a Christian minister I have been involved in counseling countless couples who were having problems in their marriage. I have heard husbands complain that they were “in the doghouse.” I have heard wives say that their marriage “had gone to the dogs.” But the story of Judge Quillin’s concern for the psychological stability of the two dogs should be awarded a blue ribbon for absurdity to an asinine degree. It demonstrates why our country’s courts have more cases to try than can be intelligently handled.

The wire service from which the newspaper account was printed said absolutely nothing about being concerned for the emotional effect on the couple whose marriage was shattered. There was no mention whether or not the couple had any children. Children are generally the greatest casualties of a broken marriage. The only logical conclusion you can draw is that the judge was primarily concerned about the adverse effect on the two dogs that would be separated.

I appreciate the judge’s concern for the two dogs, for I like dogs – especially those that are friendly and wag their tail a lot. No one should mistreat animals for any reason. Nothing was said in the newspaper article about Judge Quillin’s sensitivity to the effect that the divorce would have on the couple. Maybe he and his wife had a dog, or possibly two or three dogs, that they loved. Could the problems that lead so many couples to want to end their marriage have become so commonplace to him that he was not troubled by the tragedy of broken families? If that is true, he needed to have a priority transplant.

You will have to agree that this divorce court story is a very interesting one. The veterinarian whose assigned task it was to evaluate the two dogs to see if they experienced an emotional trauma as the result of being separated will now be able to raise his fees. He will no longer be just a regular veterinarian.

I can see his business card now: “Dr. Marmaduke Fido, Animal Psychologist.”

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What is my name?

Your friends do not know my name, even though I have passed information to you on many occasions about several of the people you know. Your friends may not know my name. At least, I certainly hope not.

I am not interested in the welfare of people. Whether or not they succeed is of no concern to me. I care not if their marriage lasts until the middle of next month, or if the relationships within their home are filled with happiness. Other things such as my own affairs and involvements are more important to me.

I have no respect for justice. I damage and maim others without killing them. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and grow stronger with the passage of time. The more I am quoted the more I am believed. What I am known for is creating difficulty at every level of society. You will find me in homes, in every kind of workplace and in all of the places where people have leisure time.

My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me, for I have no face and do not want people to know my name. To track me down is sometimes difficult and often impossible. The harder you try to do that, the more elusive I become. I keep a lot of people busy.

Those who know me best generally do not mind their own business very well. The primary reason this is true is that they have little mind and no business. I am nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a name or a reputation it is never quite the same again. I am like mud thrown against a clean wall. It may not stick, but it always leaves a dirty mark.

I wreck marriages, separate friends and ruin careers. I sow discord within families, churches, other organizations and in entire communities. I cause sleepless nights, heartaches and grief. I make innocent people cry into their pillow. I make headlines wherever I go. Believe it or not, I have even been known to topple governments.

I can say very little or nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid. The reason I even exist is that some people believe that a fertile mind requires a lot of dirt. I always travel faster on grapevines that are slightly sour. So, what is my name?

From the way that I have described myself you don’t have to guess that I totally enjoy what I do. You have probably already realized that my name is IMA GOSSIP. My mother’s name is ENVY. My father’s name is PRIDE. I enjoy saying things about others in a critical way, whether what I say is true or not. It is not difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill, all you have to do is to add a little dirt. You are aware of the dangers caused by air pollution; you may not realize that ear pollution caused by gossip can also be dangerous.

Conversation is an exercise of the mind; gossip is an exercise of the tongue. One talebearer was enjoying the damage he does so much that he said to another: “I won’t bore you with the details. In fact, I’ve already told you more than I heard myself.” There would be no talebearers if there were no tale hearers.

A good description of the best way to handle gossip is found in Proverbs 26:20: “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” In other words, don’t do it!

Yes, my name is IMA GOSSIP. The reason I even exist is that those who share negative and hurtful things about others do not first ask these four very important questions: (1) Is it true? (2) Is it kind? (3) Is it necessary? (4) Will it honor Jesus Christ?

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John Owston shared a beautiful story in Proclaim Magazine a few years ago about a couple who had been married 40 years. George and Rosie were almost inseparable. They did nearly everything together except for one thing: attend church.

Rosie was a Christian; George was not a Christian. He was not antagonistic to Christianity; he just didn’t see the need to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He had no objections to Rosie expressing her faith in Christ by attending church on regular basis. He would drive Rosie to church every Sunday and wait in the car and read the Sunday newspaper. Members of the church frequently invited him to come inside the church to join Rosie and other church members in worship, but he would always say, “Rosie takes care of religion at our house.”

Then Rosie died! George wasn’t the same after that. As people would drive into the church parking lot they would look wistfully for George’s car, but it never showed up as it had on Sundays for the past several years. It was not until Easter Sunday morning that everyone said the same thing as they drove into the church parking lot, “Isn’t that George’s car?” Indeed, it was! He was not in the car reading the Sunday newspaper as he had always done. They found him inside the church sitting on one of the back pews!

When the last words of the pastor’s sermon were spoken the invitation hymn entitled “He lives!” was announced. As the last words of the closing stanza were being sung by the congregation George pushed his way out into the church aisle. As he did so, he raised his hands, and loudly shouted: “Rosie lives! Rosie lives!” He then walked out into the aisle and walked down to the front, gave his hand to the pastor and made a public profession of his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord.

George had not realized until that moment that it was possible for him to be with his beloved Rosie forever in the New Jerusalem that Jesus describes in John 14:1-6. He had spent 40 years sitting out in the church parking lot each Sunday reading the newspaper, not knowing or believing the central truth of Easter – that Jesus Christ lives! And because He lives all who believe in Him can have eternal life.

All those years while Rosie was inside the church worshiping and praising the Lord, she was undoubtedly praying that God would someday find a way to bring her beloved George into His fold. That did not happen until the Easter Sunday after she died. It had not happened when he was sitting in his car out in the parking lot. It happened when he was inside God’s House as the congregation sang the hymn “He Lives.” It was not until he believed the truth expressed in that hymn that he could shout, “Rosie lives! Rosie lives!”

As I approach another Easter Sunday, I am thinking of the thousands of fellow Christians who have touched, blessed and become a meaningful part of my life. I will, at the time of God’s choosing, see each of them in “that eternal city, in the heavens, not made by hands.” I especially rejoice in the belief that I can say of my faithful companion of almost 65 years, “Jessie lives!” and of my prematurely born twin sons — one of whom lived a half hour and the other an entire hour — “Len and Glen live!” What a wonderful day that will be!

The world in which we currently live is filled with division and darkness. It desperately needs to hear and to believe the message of Easter – the crucified and resurrected Lord lives. And because this is true every person who accepts Him as their personal Savior and Lord will have eternal life.

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