Only for the Lonely

Make every effort to come to me soon . . . . Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service . . . . At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. (2 Timothy 4:9, 11, 16–17)

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Fear

We were rapidly descending through a night of thick fog at 200 miles per hour, but the seasoned pilot of the twin-engine Aero Commander was loving every dip, roll, and lurch. At one point he looked over at me, smiled, and exclaimed, “Hey, Chuck, isn’t this great?” I didn’t answer. As the lonely plane knifed through the overcast pre-dawn sky, I was reviewing every Bible verse I’d ever known and re-confessing every wrong I’d ever done.

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Resentment

Leo Held was a paragon of respectability. He was a middle-aged, hard-working lab technician who had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular church-goer, he was admired as a model in his community. Until . . .

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The Un-bliss of Ignorance

DURING MY PASTORING DAYS in New England, I heard of a teacher who quizzed a group of high school students on the Bible. The quiz preceded a Bible-as-literature course he planned to teach at the Newton (Massachusetts) High School, generally considered one of the best public schools in the nation. Among the most astounding findings he got from the students: Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers.

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Looking for the Prize

GROWING OLD, LIKE TAXES, is a fact we all must face. Now, you’re not going to get me to declare when growing up stops and growing old starts. But there are some signs we can read along life’s journey that suggest we are entering that inevitable period of transition. Physically, the aging “bod” puts on the brakes. You begin to huff and puff when you used to rip and zip.

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Things That Really Matter

IF YOU FOUND YOURSELF near the end of your days, close to death, who or what would you most want by your side? That’s a compelling question, isn’t it? I know that as I grow older, much that I once attended to and perhaps even worried over through the years means very little now that I’m in my eighth decade. In those times of rare but necessary reevaluation, what’s really important comes into clearer focus.

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A Survival Secret

YOU CAN’T TURN ON the evening news without being inundated with painful reminders of the shocking disregard for God’s moral law in our culture. Surviving times as intense as ours cannot happen easily. Furthermore, it is not something we do corporately or, for that matter, publicly. It’s an “inside job,” this business of rising above and living according to God’s holy standard. The secret? Turning away from evil.

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An Urgent Charge

Paul wrote with urgency, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”

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The Greatest Influence

Several years ago someone interviewed the contemporary artist Marc Chagall for a PBS program. The young, arty interviewer started the session with a question about influences. His question was very long and involved and exhibited his own learning along the way, giving everybody, including Chagall, a lecture on the nature of influences on the artist.

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Bonus

Most people I know look forward to payday. You do too, right? For a week, or perhaps a two-week period, you give time and effort to your job. When payday arrives, you receive a hard-earned, well-deserved paycheck. I have never met anyone who bows and scrapes before his boss, saying, “Thank you. Oh, thank you for this wonderful, undeserved gift. How can I possibly thank you enough for my paycheck?” If we did, he would probably faint.

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