We need deep roots in faith, family, and friends, to allow us to weather the storms of life. Otherwise, we will fall.
On Thursday, November 15, a ferocious ice storm hit southern West Virginia, downing trees, knocking out power, and causing major property damage across several counties. Our family lost power for over 30 hours, and six large trees came down in our yard. The children were cross, sitting in a cold, dark house and unable to get on the internet. More importantly, they were unsettled. To them, electrical power is a fundamental fact of life. It is always there – you flip a switch and…shazam! When you need power, it is suddenly there. They could not imagine living like my grandmother, raised in rural southern Arkansas, whose only power was fire in candles, oil lamps, and stoves… or sunlight.
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No one’s birth is an accident. The hand of the Sovereign God governs all.
A recent op-ed bemoaned Brexit and the state of the British government. The English author opined that the prime minister was weak, Parliament was fractious, and once respected democratic institutions were losing public trust. Against this gloomy backdrop, one which has persisted for decades, the British monarchy has rarely been so popular. Why, the writer asks, should a democratic country so revere its constitutional monarchy, which after all selected its leaders not by merit but by an “accident of birth?”
The phrase “accident of birth” has been used a lot in the past 20 years, often to make prosperous people feel badly about prospering. People say “You were born (white, Asian, male, female, rich, American, European, etc.), but your success is merely an accident of birth. You didn’t do it, and you have no right to be proud of it.” Former US President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build it” gaffe during his 2012 reelection campaign is a variation – partly true, but partly false. The claim “your prosperity is merely an accident of birth” is also used against selected (usually materially successful) members of traditionally disadvantaged groups such as African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The poor can airily dismiss the rich, even as the rich have airily dismissed the poor, with this handy phrase.
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She moved out just over one year ago. Things had been tense for several weeks, especially since her sister had visited. We didn’t know why, but I could hear the tension in Jane’s (not her real name) voice, and see her almost continually locked door in our basement. We tried to understand why she seemed to grow more distant, but the closer we tried to get, the farther she moved away.
Jane was a young Christian Persian woman who I had met on a mission trip to Central Asia in 2011. She had come to New York City in September 2013, lived in rooms rented from families, and ate out. She linked up with the Persian community and enjoyed the night life of the Big Apple. Perhaps to save money, Jane moved to Virginia to live with us in December 2014.
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The anointing of God, so vital to saints of old, is available and active today. Seek it out from the godliest person you know, and you will be blessed.
Tim was retiring from the US Air Force and moving out of the national capital area. He had had a stellar career and had been seeking civilian work. He showed great confidence in the future, but as the weeks passed, worry crept into his face. Tim, his wife and daughters moved out of their rental house and moved in with extended family, but several job opportunities had faded away.
They visited with us after Vacation Bible School one afternoon, as we were going through the same transition. As Tim and his family were leaving, my family gathered around to lay hands on them and pray. We prayed for their journey to Texas, their search for a new house, their transition to new schools, a new church, and a new community, and most of all, for a job. Once we finished, I turned to Tim and said “Congratulations, you have received the anointing of the Spirit for this task in your life. You will be successful.”
Continue reading “The Anointing”