I am pleased to publish this guest post from my friend Brenda Purcell
During the civil war in Guatemala, Pastor Miguel Cojti was preaching in his church. In the middle of the service, three soldiers came through the doors and pulled Pastor Miguel out of his pulpit.
They proceeded to take him out to a field and said they were going to kill him. They said that it was because he preached that there was a Heaven and a Hell and only by trusting in Jesus would a person be able to live at peace with God.
One of the solders protested and said that there was no Hell, that Hell was here living on this earth and experiencing all that was happening in Guatemala.
Had I knownit would sour a relationship that I treasured, I would never have sent that comment.
But let me back up and give you some quick background…
My wife Peggy and I have known “Jenny” (not her real name) since she was nine years old. For seven years, she and her two sisters were a regular part of our family.
We first met them when their mom was recently divorced and needed help with child care. So Peggy and I picked the girls up after school several days a week and kept them until their mom got home from work.
Over time, we became really fond of those girls. They spent weekends with us about once a month, and several times joined us on short camping vacations at Indiana State Parks. We joked that they were our “part-time daughters.”
We went to their school plays, made birthday cakes for them, and just generally enjoyed the blessings of having some new youngsters in our lives after our two children had sprouted their wings and left our nest empty.
Most of you are familiar with George Bailey, the neighborly president of Bailey Savings & Loan played by James Stewart in the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
George Bailey was generous, helpful, and genuinely concerned for the welfare of his customers – his neighbors – and he helped make Bedford Falls the kind of town where you’d want to raise your family.
Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter
Surely you also remember the movie’s villain, Mr. Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore), a miserly old grouch who owned most of the rest of Bedford Falls and used the advantages of his wealth to, well, take advantage of people.
Thanks to the unavoidable economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy is facing a tsunami wave of bad debt. So we are getting ready to find out just what kind of lenders we have in the USA these days.
And right now, the financial services industry is looking a lot like Mr. Potter. Continue reading →
In light of recent events, I am sharing the all-time most popular post of my blog. This tale of trials and deliverance seems so timely right now. Originally published August 20, 2015.
Please allow me to share my tale of woe.
The past five years have been tough for the Smith family. Lots of unpleasant things have happened to us.
Forgive me if it sounds like I am looking for sympathy…that is not my intent. But I do believe that this true account of our season of trials provides a great excuse to brag on the Lord a little.
March 2011 – I had my second heart attack (see Another Routine Day in the ER) which maxed out our health insurance out-of-pocket expenses for 2011. (Out-of-pocket maximums that have more than doubled since the implementation of Obamacare, but don’t even get me started on that!)
Summer of 2012 – a dear friend of mine, a very sweet woman whom I had worked with for 12 years, became gravely ill with cancer and had to undergo a year’s worth of chemo, radiation and surgery.
December 2012 – I had another surgery right before Christmas to remove a small cancerous tumor from my bladder. This surgery was followed by check-ups every three months with an urologist who used a “not-slender-enough-to-suit-me” scope to inspect my bladder and search for any recurrence of the cancer. (I will leave the unpleasant details of these inspection procedures to your imagination.)
Needless to say, we again maxed out our out-of-pocket medical expenses for 2012! Continue reading →
I warn you, this story will sound strange. But this is just the way it happened.
For many years, I was hesitant to share my testimony with people because it was so unusual, and because it was such a precious memory for me.
Then in 2011 I joined a week-long mission trip to Guatemala. One of my assignments during this journey was to share my testimony with several groups of elementary school children.
This forced me to condense the story of my first meeting with God into a four minute presentation that was simple enough for young children to understand.
So I invite you to pretend you are a Guatemalan third-grader, and join me on this G-rated stroll down memory lane to the Spring of 1980…
When I was growing up, I often wondered about God. How could anybody really KNOW if God was real? How could you KNOW if he heard your prayers? I could not imagine how it was possible to know such things. Continue reading →
Martinsville, Indiana—David is a doctor. He helps treat cancer patients, who are among the most vulnerable during this COVID-19 outbreak.
That’s why it is so ironic that he should be harassed by a bigot at a local gas station.
Last Friday, Doctor David made a routine stop at the Marathon station on Burton Lane in Martinsville for fuel. Then he walked inside to buy a cup of coffee.
WISH-TV news reports that “when he went inside the clerk immediately started yelling at him, asking if he was Chinese, and told him to leave.”
The report quoted David’s retelling of the incident: “He continued to ask where I’m from and yelling at me. And then I told him that I am from Korean descent but was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and haven’t traveled out of the country in many many years. And he just went off.”
The clerk kept getting angrier and told David to “get out, and never come back.” Continue reading →