Tag Archives: faith

The Prayer Journal: Fading Into Smoke

The latest installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining in, click here for the previous chapters.


Thursday, November 15, 1917 – Faithfulness

“Hey, Brickman, what do ya think of all that fuss going on in Russia?”

Richie was sitting on his bunk and quickly closed the journal with a snap, sliding it under his pillow next to him. He turned to the marine who had addressed him. “What do you mean?”

“You know, the Bolsheviks, they took over their government a few days ago. Read in the paper that they’ve always been against the war. You don’t think they’ll pull out on us, do ya?” The soldier’s fingers pinched the cigarette out of his mouth as he blew a puff of smoke. The cloud dissipated into Richie’s face, but he’d been around the smell so much he hardly noticed.

“Well, if they do, that’s be a whole lot of freed-up Germans headed our way,” Richie replied. “I’m sure that’s what Kaiser Bill has been hoping for, so he doesn’t have his Huns fight on two fronts. But hey, by the time the Germans get here we’ll be on the line ourselves. Less targets for the Russians means more Huns for us.” Richie felt like kicking himself; he wanted to say something that sounded tough, but it came out sounding naïve.

The solider took another deep inhale of his cigarette and then flicked the glowing butt aside; it rolled till it hit Richie’s boot. The solider breathed out the smoke through his nose. “Yeah, I guess.” With that he stood to his feet and walked away.

Richie stared at the end of the cigarette next to his foot. He used to smoke. Used to drink and cuss, too. Gave them up after going to church. Sure, it had been hard, but he was a changed man.

The marines made that change a lot harder… (Read more)

The Prayer Journal: Part 5 – What Is Best

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Monday, May 14, 1917 – Wisdom

May lifted her pen from the page and her eyes from looking at her desk. She quickly scanned her classroom of students who were applying themselves diligently to the spelling test she had handed them moments before. She smirked. When May had been a student she had not realized tests were as much for the teachers as they were for the classroom. Silence is a beautiful thing.

Taking advantage of this rare reprieve, she took a moment to consider the events of the past weekend. The parade had been wonderful, although she was not sure if she would have felt the same if she had not spent it with Richie. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but his imperfections only attracted her to him more. One example was his overly talkative nature; that was all the better for May as she preferred listening anyway. Their conversations that day had felt so natural, so normal that it was startling. In a good way, of course.

I’ve noticed that I rarely pray for wisdom when events go awry. Usually in a difficult time I know what I lack: faith, patience, submission, or something else like that. Yet when my path is dry and sunny my plea is wisdom without fail. I wonder why?

“God will grant you what you request, but it usually isn’t in the way you think, just to remind you that He’s God and you’re not,” her grandfather used to say. “When you realize you need faith, God requires that you believe He will give it. When you realize you need patience, God will see if you’re willing to wait on Him for it. When you realize you need to know how to pray… (Read more)


The Prayer Journal: Part 4 – Sweet Answers

The Prayer Journal: Part 3 – Diligence But No Direction

The Prayer Journal: Part 2 – Doves and Serpents

The Prayer Journal: Part 1 – To Continue a Legacy


The Prayer Journal: Part 4 – Sweet Answers

The 4th installment of my son’s fiction blog series.

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May’s bedroom door flew open as she entered, lit lantern in hand. Her face glowed like the firelight she held. Closing the door so the latch clicked into place, she practically raced to her desk where her journal lay open from the writing earlier that day before she had left for dinner. She sat down and picked up her pen. Her smile beamed as she brought her pen down to write, but then hesitantly she halted.

She leaned back in her chair and laughed. “When I have problems, I’m as well-spoken as Billy Sunday. And now when I can’t keep from smiling, I have no words to say.”

May shook her head and started writing anyway; she could at least start with her date.

Monday, May 7, 1917 –

She left the space blank where she would normally write her topic of prayer. Before her dinner it was clear what she needed. Now that her prayer had been answered, what should her prayer be?… (Read more)


The Prayer Journal: Part 3 – Diligence But No Direction

The Prayer Journal: Part 2 – Doves and Serpents

The Prayer Journal: Part 1 – To Continue a Legacy


It Is Not About Going to Heaven

Cross & Crown

Not only is Easter not about the Easter bunny, colored eggs, jellybeans or chocolate, but Easter is also not about having our sins forgiven so we can go to heaven. It’s not about us. It’s about reconciliation. It is not about religion. It’s about a relationship.

In an attempt to evangelize and convince people to become a Christian, some Christians have been taught to use the tactic that asks a non-Christian, “If you died today, would you go to heaven?” as if that is the goal and the Gospel itself. I understand that people are generally more interested in getting to heaven than in having a relationship with a God they don’t know or of Whom they have a skewed perception. Most people are at least vaguely aware of the concept of heaven and hell, and most would like to avoid hell if at all possible.

But even paradise isn’t really paradise without someone to share it with.

I understand why some Christians use the tactic to gain an audience, but I have also heard from people who have been offended by Christians who tell them if they don’t accept Christ, they are going to hell. Yeah, like that wins them over. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Jesus ever doing that, and if we are supposedly following Him as His disciples, aren’t we supposed to be following in His footsteps? Sure Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven, but He was full of grace and love when dealing with those He was trying to reach.

One of the things Jesus said to the disciples in the upper room, during the Last Supper before His crucifixion, was meant to give comfort and hope. Although it was about heaven, it was more than that. He said:

“’Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’” —John 14:1-3

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for our sins so we could go to heaven.

He died so that we can be reconciled to God.

He died to break the curse of sin and separation.

He died so that we can be adopted as sons and daughters and

live forever

with Him.

D.A. Carson said:

“We go to heaven, not to be saved, but to see Jesus’ glory, because God has determined, because of His love for His Son from before the foundation of the world, that His Son’s glory would be displayed. Now, I know that’s bound up with our salvation… but unless you see that this is not simply so that we will be saved, but so that we will see Jesus’ glory, then even heaven itself becomes slightly domesticated by some assumptions that we are at the center of everything, when it’s Jesus who is at the center of everything.”

When we try to convince someone that Jesus is the way to get to heaven and make heaven the focus over a restored relationship with the God who loves us, we do a disservice.

It is not about going to heaven. It is about getting to spend an eternity with the One who is love.


If you liked this, you might also like… Happy Resurrection Day!

Not Sweating the Journey

20140207-055556.jpgI am on vacation, visiting my mom and friends in my old hometown. While traveling yesterday on the last leg of my flight, the flight attendant, while giving the customary welcome and flight instructions stated our destination then second guessed it. She unclicked the intercom button, softly laughed, and asked the passengers nearest her if the stated destination was the right one before proceeding with the flight instructions. She knew she was on the right plane, and although she’d briefly forgotten the details of the trip, she trusted the pilot and co-pilot to get us there. The only thing she really concerned herself with was fulfilling her purpose.

The incident made me think of our Christian experiences. Although we may not know the details of our journey through life, we trust we’re on the right path, and we trust our Pilot and Co-Pilot.

Because of Jesus

Golden Eye

My eyes were opened to the truth that, because of Jesus, I am now holy, righteous, and pleasing to God.  I didn’t have to earn God’s blessings.  I’m already blessed because of Jesus Christ.  All I had to do was believe.”  —Joshua Tongol

Misty Road

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One of the interesting things about this quote is that it was said by Joni Eareckson Tada, who suffers with quadriplegia.  If she can have faith to believe, take God at His Word, and take the next step, how much more can we?


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For anyone who may be feeling cast down and in turmoil today.  There is hope.

The Object of Our Faith

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Wisdom Wednesday: Evidence


“Yea, a man may say, ‘Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” —James 2:18

Have you ever been taken, cheated, deceived?  Having wisdom can help us avoid being deceived.  It usually takes about seven years before a date palm starts producing fruit when planted by seed, and only about 50% of the seeds will produce a female tree which can produce fruit.  Not only that, but if you don’t know the difference between palm trees, how would you know if yours will grow dates and not areca nuts?  So just because someone claims a palm tree will produce dates, it is best to see some evidence before buying the tree or the land it is on.

The principle holds true with people as well.  People may say they are one thing or another, and some will be whatever is needed or popular at the time instead of being authentic.

“For every tree is known by his own fruit.”  —Luke 6:44

“…it’s what you do that defines you.” –Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins

“Yea, a man may say, ‘Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  —James 2:18


Although we are not saved from the penalty of sin by the things we do or do not do, but rather by what Jesus did for us, if we say we believe in and are followers of Jesus but don’t do what He said, where is the proof that we are actually His followers?  Many have been hurt or deceived by people or organizations claiming to be Christian.  While we are not to live lives of paranoia and suspicion, we are instructed to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

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