Twenty-six people died because they would not step on a picture of Jesus. In the 17th century some Christians were faithfully serving Jesus on an island in Japan. According to missionary Tim Johnson, a provincial leader, called a shogun, decided that these believers were a threat to the traditional culture, so he devised a fiendish trap. He placed a picture of Jesus on the street and demanded that the Christians in his province step on the picture in renunciation of their faith. When the test was finished, 26 people had refused. They were crucified at the water's edge for all to see.
Little eyes were looking over my shoulder at the gas gauge. Running out of fuel on an interstate highway was no one's idea of fun. There had been plenty of places to stop and get a fillup. If we ran out of gas, it would only be because of my own foolishness. So we pulled into a gas station at the next exit.
The 19th-century pastor Henry Ward Beecher told of a mother in the wild frontier country who was washing clothes beside a stream. Her only child was playing nearby. Suddenly she realized he was gone. She called his name, but there was no answer. Alarmed, the mother ran to the house, but her son was not there.
The longer I'm involved in ministering to drug-addicted people, the more I discover that God is in the rehabilitation business—bringing about personal change. Christian rehabilitation is unique, for it relies on Christ's power to change people from the inside out.
Two well-known people—John Wesley and Mark Twain—vividly exemplify the contrast between the godly and ungodly as portrayed in Psalm 1. When Wesley, who had been joyous, energetic, and effective even in his 88th year, was dying, he suddenly sat up, looked at the people weeping at his bedside, and said, "Best of all, God is with us."
The story is told of a mother and her 4-year-old daughter who were strolling through an open-air market. As the little girl stared at a large pile of oranges, a generous vendor took one from the table and gave it to her.
Pulling weeds from my lawn can be a struggle. Whether it's unearthing a string of ivy or digging up dandelions, it's often difficult to overcome God's curse in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:17-18).
Most of us will work a variety of jobs in our lifetime—some we love, some we would rather not talk about. I had my share of jobs as I made my way through college and grad school—from picking up old appliances to delivering coupon booklets door-to-door to washing dishes to construction to selling clothes.