The Grace of Grieving

God cares and suffers with us when we grieve. He grants grieving as a grace to help us deal with personal loss and to prepare us to comfort those experiencing loss.

Grief as a Gift

Christians grieve even with our hope in life beyond death. Losing a loved one brings great pain and indescribable sadness and loss. It is insensitive, unrealistic, and unbiblical to suggest that Christians do not need to grieve. Pretending one does not need to grieve is unhealthy.

God designed the grieving process as a way of coping with the death of loved ones and other tragic losses. Mourning and expressing one’s grief can facilitate healing. Minimizing or refusing to grieve delays healing.

Grief is the mental, emotional, and spiritual pain and sorrow enabling us to cope with serious loss. The depth of our grief depends on the intensity of our love for the person or thing that is lost. When the loss is anticipated due to extended illness, grieving takes a different shape than in cases of unexpected loss. In divorce, the hurt is permanent but it lacks the closure and finality of the death of a mate because conflicted consequences continue.

When a tragic loss occurs, grief is more consuming and devastating than we ever imagined. Words fail to express what we feel. Shock leaves us half-numb, making it difficult to comprehend what others say or to formulate our own thoughts in coherent sentences. However, the shock helps us survive the early hours and days. Continue reading

How Can I Know God?

A father asked what his daughter was drawing. She answered, “God.”

The father said, “Honey, nobody knows what God looks like.”

Without batting an eye, she responded, “They will when I get through.”

Can we know God? Is it possible to know about him without knowing him personally? Knowing God is the most important knowledge because ignorance of God leads to evil behavior (Romans 1:21-31; John 16:2, 3; 1 John 4:8) and bears eternal consequences (John 17:3). Knowing God personally is what really matters.

How we view life depends on how we view God. For those who do not know God, life is a confusing maze. Continue reading

The Dividing Line

What separates Americans into differing sides on issues? Divisions such as management and labor, urban and rural, red and blue states, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, do not accurately define today’s culture. Conservative Catholics, Protestants, and Jews join together in opposing abortion and other aspects of the progressive agenda. The basic question is, “Do we have absolute moral standards to guide our lives?” Continue reading

Grandpa’s Bible Club

005_5Today is Grandparents Day. For Christians who are grandparents here are some practical ways to lead our grandchildren in the ways of the Lord.

While at a recent concert a former coworker asked, “What are you doing for fun since you retired?”

Without hesitation I replied, “Teaching our grandchildren.”

In the summer of 2006, I retired from teaching at Ozark Christian College, having taught 40 years in Bible college. I had two primary goals I wanted to achieve in retirement: spending more time with family (especially teaching my grandchildren) and writing books and articles.

My maternal grandfather, John Gilson, had a significant impact on my life. I wanted to follow his example. My wife and I are blessed to have our four grandchildren live within three miles of our home. While we have had some health challenges, we want to make sure we spend time with our grandchildren and contribute to their lives. Continue reading

Evidence for the Resurrection

If Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity is true. If he did not, Christianity is nonsense. Jesus’ deity and role as Savior as well as the gospel message depend upon his resurrection. This important issue demands we give our best and most serious attention to the evidence. Convincing evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.

Exhibit A: Witnesses

Four eyewitnesses of the risen Christ—Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul—record written testimony within 20 to 60 years after the event. Luke and Mark affirm the resurrection in their Gospels receiving information from eyewitnesses. Other eyewitnesses saw Jesus alive—the 11 apostles, five specific women, Cleopas and a friend, James and more than 500 brethren (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, 21, Acts 1, 1 Corinthians 15). Continue reading

The Conversion of Seth Wilson

From the LOOKOUT: http://www.lookoutmag.com/articles/articledisplay.asp?id=361

Seth Wilson might be called “Mr. Ozark Bible College,” now Ozark Christian College. He served as dean from 1942 to 1979, as a teacher until 1991, and as elder statesman until his death December 11, 2006. Through his writing and speaking, his influence extends far beyond the college. The story of his conversion still inspires people today.

The Conversion of John Wilson

John Wilson, Seth’s older brother, came to Christ first and, like the disciple Andrew, brought his brother to Christ. John sold Bibles in the summer of 1931 around Hampton, Iowa. After hearing a Bible sermon by C. S. Kleckner, a minister in the Church of Christ, John said, “I must talk with you.” Continue reading

Three Images of the Human Body

From The LOOKOUT: http://www.lookoutmag.com/articles/articledisplay.asp?id=332

Ashamed of your body? Dislike your body? Preoccupied with your body? Is your body the most important part of you? Who influences what you think of your body? What is the Christian view of the body? We may view our bodies as a prison, as a god, or as a temple of God.

The Human Body as a Prison

Some pagans viewed the material world, including the human body, as evil. Plato thought the body hindered the soul from gaining truth, contaminating and imprisoning the soul. Epictetus saw himself as a “poor soul shackled to a corpse.” Seneca called the body a “detestable habitation” imprisoning the soul. Virgil spoke of the body as “blind darkness of this prison house.” Continue reading