Christianity as Seen by the World

How do leaders and influential groups in the world view Christians? How do Christians view themselves? How does God view His people?

As a leader, a seminary teacher, and a medical professional, I keep abreast of events throughout the world. To do so, I review news on many websites every day (see the Virtual Business and Intelligence Center), and read the Economist, a highly regarded British news magazine, every week. The 18 September 2015 cover story was an article entitled “Two Mexicos”, but what struck me was the cover image, contrasting the two Mexicos. The upper half of the image showed a man playing a guitar, three cactuses, a well-appointed factory, and a smiling statue. The lower half of the image showed a man holding a rifle, three crosses, a ramshackle house, and a frowning statue.

Continue reading “Christianity as Seen by the World”

The Hand of God When We Are Suffering

Tragedy and suffering are inevitable parts of life in this world. Justice is always delayed, and is never perfect in this world. We have pain in this world, but take heart, Christ has overcome the world.

America has been riveted by the trial of George Zimmerman for the 26 Feb 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin. Race, Zimmerman is a white Hispanic and Martin was black, has played a major role. The all female jury rendered a final verdict of “not guilty” on all charges, which ranged from second degree murder to manslaughter. Some people are elated and others are furious, as is inevitable in such a highly charged case.

Continue reading “The Hand of God When We Are Suffering”

Suffering and the Book of Job

We all suffer, and many of us suffer most of the time. How can we live despite the pain?

The Background of the Book of Job

Uz was the first born of Nahor, brother of Abram (Genesis 22:20-21). Since Terah, the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran, lived near Ur of the Chaldeans, it is likely that Uz did as well. Job was probably a child of Uz, living in the lands of his father. Alternatively, the “Land of Uz” could have been near ancient Edom in modern day Jordan. Notably, Genesis 31:53 refers to God as “the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor.” Since Job was not a child of Abraham he was by definition a Gentile, and the Book of Job is therefore the only Gentile book in the Old Testament. Given the timing it is likely that Job was a contemporary of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson.

Some argue that Job is not history but rather a fable. Bible writers treat Job as history (Ezekiel 14:14, James 5:11) and there is no reason for modern readers to behave differently. Job may have been written by Job in his later years. If so, it is the only Old Testament book written by a Gentile.

Continue reading “Suffering and the Book of Job”

Encouragement When Nothing Seems Right

Nearing the end of a career can be heart-wrenching. Have I done anything worth doing? What am I going to do now? Why did I do so much wrong?

Last week one of the women who works for me was despondent. She is approaching retirement and has worked on a major project for many years, but some people in another organization seem to oppose it at every turn. “It has become hard to come to work” she said, “and it is hard not to think that most of my efforts for the past five years in this area have been in vain.” This woman is a true professional and her discouragement was palpable. I replied with one of the most encouraging passages in Scripture, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap.” I reminded her of the good she was doing and her personal excellence in doing it. Nonetheless, she found it hard to be encouraged. “How can you be so sure,” she demanded, “that this will turn out alright and that my work has not been for nothing?” I replied with a favorite story of mine that demonstrates how tiny causes, given the right timing and conditions, turn out to have huge effects.

Continue reading “Encouragement When Nothing Seems Right”