From the “Hope & Humor” news desk: This past Saturday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration teased on Twitter that it will announce a “major science finding” at 11:30 a.m. EDT today:

      Mars is a mysterious world, tune in to NASA TV on 9/28 as we announce a major science finding

Whatever the finding may be—water, life or new McMars franchise—NASA will no doubt campaign to send a manned mission to the red planet. So, it’s time to go back in time for this major science post:

What will half a trillion buy?

January 2004

I’ve spent the week staring off into space wondering what I could buy with half a trillion dollars—the estimated cost to put humans on Mars. (That’s 500,000,000,000). Let’s see:

A brand new $45,000 BMW X5 SUV for every one of the 11,030,029 licensed drivers in California (includes dealer prep and destination charges).

Or a Sony 65-inch HD TV (and a Toshiba 42-inch HD TV with XBox video game system for the bedroom) for every housing unit in America.

Or 2,390,057 houses in the US at $209,200 (the median cost of an American home). Or 625,000,000 basic Habitat for Humanity homes in third-world countries.

Or pay four years of tuition at Indiana University for all of the 15,300,000 college students in the US. (Or send 5,856,996 students to Harvard for four years.)

Or provide $14,460 worth of prescription drugs for every one of the 34,578,000 Americans over age 65.

Or buy 555,555,555,555 Mars candy bars.

Or build and equip 16,358,580 medical clinics in third world countries (includes electrical generator for each).

Or support 1,600,000,000 third-world children for one year

Or pay for one manned mission to Mars!

Yep, on January 14 President George Bush told a crowd at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that he wants to see humans return to the moon by 2020. And then . . .

      With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond. Robotic missions will serve as trailblazers—the advanced guard to the unknown. Probes, landers and other vehicles of this kind continue to prove their worth, sending spectacular images and vast amounts of data back to Earth. Yet the human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied by even the most vivid pictures, or the most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves. And only human beings are capable of adapting to the inevitable uncertainties posed by space travel.

While a Bush administration official told the press, “The President is not expected to immediately discuss the cost,” others have offered their out of this world estimates to put humans on the red planet.

According to The New Republic a 1989 NASA estimate put the sticker price at $400,000,000,000 or $600,000,000,000 in today’s dollars.

But Konstantin Feoktistov, who worked in the Russian space program and now lectures at the Moscow Bauman Technical University, told a manned mission to Mars would cost $1 trillion. “Even if the surface of Mars were covered with gems and gold, a manned mission would still be too expensive because of such a great cost,” Feoktistoy said.

So, half a trillion is a conservative estimate.

To be fair, there are some down-to-earth benefits of space exploration. The space program has yielded breakthrough advances in communications, weather forecasting, electronics, and countless other fields. CAT Scanners and MRIs trace their origins to technologies engineered for use in space.

But $500,000,000,000 is a lot of money to invest in space when there are so many more practical (and life-saving uses) for that kind of cash right here on the home planet.

Or to put it another way, that amount of money would provide the President, each member of his cabinet, all twelve Supreme Court justices, and every one of 485 members of congress inpatient psychiatric care for 3,722 years. Now that might not be a bad investment!

Copyright © 2004 James N. Watkins

Notes (2004 prices):

United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Statistics 2000 lists 11,030,029 drivers in California. A BMW X5 lists for $45,330.79./P>

A Sony HD TV lists for $2,429, a Toshiba HD TV for 1,500, and XBox for $179 ($4,108). United States Census Bureau lists 119, 302,132 housing units. That comes to $490, 093,158,256.

Habitat For Humanity can build a home in a third-world country for as little as $800.

Society for College and University Planning 2003 reports 15,300,000 students enrolled in college. In 2000 four years tuition at Harvard was $85,368; four years at Indiana University $29,444 in 2000. And those are “out of state” costs!

World Hope can build and equip a medical clinic for $30,565.

World Hope can support a third world child $300 per year.

MediCare will cover $716 per day for psychiatric care.

If you agree that there are better ways to spend half a trillion, please share this on your social networks.


After a long day of writing or editing, my brain is SillyPutty by 6 pm, and so the only thing I want to do in the evening is crank up Pandora and play “Freecell.” But more than a mindless waste of time, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from the electronic solitaire game:

1. You don’t have to play the cards you’re dealt

Nope, when I start stressing about not seeing any possible moves, I click “New Game.”

Sometimes you have to do that in life. When your job becomes a dead end, when your hobby becomes a chore rather than a joy, when a friendship turns toxic, it’s perfectly okay to click “New Game.” (Okay, there are some things you’re committed to for life: marriage, parenting, your faith . . . But there few things you actually need to play until you cash in your chips.)

Which brings me to . . .

2. Lose quickly

There have been times I stuck with something that I should have let go of years ago. One summer in college, one of my parents’ friends talked me into selling encyclopedias door-to-door. It was completely the wrong work for my personality, so after selling just one set, I quit! So, sometimes it’s wise to lose quickly and move onto to something that has more potential for success. But also keep in mind . . .

3. You’re not going to win every game

If I gave up on writing after the first few (or 100) rejections from book and magazine publishers, I would have never ended up with over 2,000 published articles and 20 books. So realize that failure is often temporary, and it’s the long view that makes careers and friendships successful.

4. Sometimes you need a “Hint”

If you’ve hit a wall and can’t see any possible moves, maybe you need an objective person to help you see choices you’re overlooking. Get marriage counseling, take a gifts inventory, get a mentor for your business (I love mentoring writers). Sometimes we get so focused on the minutia of life, we don’t see the big moves that can get us out of a jam.

5. Always have a Plan C

I love that in FreeCell, you have four free cells where you can temporarily store cards that are blocking your progress. But you have to be careful that you always have a blank free cell or another move possible so you don’t get the dreaded, “There are no more possible moves.” Not only have a Plan B, but C, D, E . . .

6. The obvious move is not always the best move

Sometimes you have to block one possibility to open up a better possibility. Don’t move that nine up to the home row just now. You’re going to need it to get the eight off the ace. The “simple solution” often leads to complicated consequences!

And finally . . .

7. Always celebrate success

I love the animation at a “win,” when the cards cascade off the home squares and then bounce across the bottom of the screen! Celebrate your successes, because in life you’ll probably have more losses than wins.

When I finish a book chapter I have a Dove dark chocolate bar; when I get a book contract, I take the whole family—wife, kids and grands—out to dinner. (Most book contracts have afforded a trip to McDonald’s, but my latest book actually funded a sit-down dinner at a restaurant without a drive-through!)

So in summary, some good advice from Kenny Rogers: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” Have a winning week!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Please add any lessons you’ve learned from solitaire in the comment box. And if you found this post hopeful or humorous, please share it on your social networks. Thanks.


CoverIOCmedIOC Sample

On the eve of Pope Franicis’ visit to the United States, a question: What do Catholics and Protestants share in common?

First, The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language. The book has been honored for over 500 years from Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to which the current pontif belongs, to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

I’ve taken 90 of Thomas à Kempis’ “chapters” divided into devotional-length passages, organized them by the characteristics of Christ, and modernized the text into contemporary English. Here’s a sample chapter:



Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1–2

These are the words of Christ: “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness” (John 8:12). They teach us how thoroughly we must imitate his life and character if we desire true understanding and freedom from our own deceptive hearts and minds. And so, may we earnestly study and meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s teachings surpass all of the great holy writers of the past. If we have his Spirit, we find spiritual nourishment. Unfortunately there are many people who frequently hear the words of Christ but have little desire to follow them and so do not have the mind of Christ.

What does it profit us to engage in deep discussions about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit if we lack humility and are displeasing to God? Truly, deep and profound words do not make a person holy and upright, but a good life is what makes us dear to God. I would rather experience sorrow for my ungodly thoughts and actions than simply be skillful in defining “repentance.” If we know the whole Bible and the teachings of all the philosophers, what does all this benefit us without the love and grace of God? It is completely futile unless we love God and serve only him. This is the highest wisdom: to put earthly values behind us and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.

It is futile to strive for earthly things and to trust in riches that will perish. It is futile to desire honors and lift up ourselves. It is futile to be ruled by the desires of our physical body, for this will only bring misery in the end. It is futile to desire a long life and to care little for a good life. It is futile to concentrate on the here and now and not look forward to the things which are eternal. It is futile to love temporary things and not strive toward eternal joy.

Always keep this saying in mind: “The eye is not satisfied with visible things. Neither is the ear content with hearing.” And so, let us strive to turn our hearts from the love of things that are visible and concentrate on the things that are invisible. If we are controlled by our own physi¬cal desires, we will corrupt our conscience and destroy the grace of God. Book 1 Chapter 1

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Click for the story behind the book and how to pre-order for the January 12 release.

The Apostles’ Creed

Second, Roman Catholics and Protestants share a common statement of faith—written well before the Reformation. The Apostles’ Creed is first mentioned in 390 AD, although what we recite today was probably written in the 700s. (Martin Luther nailed his grievances against the Roman Catholic Church on the Witterberg church door over 800 years later on October 31, 1517, which instigated the Reformation in Germany.)

The Apostles’ Creed is widely used by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and many other denominations.

      I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

      I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

      I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic* church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

      * Lower case c meaning “universal” church

I trust that amidst the public appearances and pageantry, that the importance of imitating Christ is emphasized by pope’s visit.

Sense of humor

And I’m glad Catholics have a sense of humor. From Pope Francis to founder of

      I like to laugh a lot. It’s helps me feel closer to God and closer to other people. When we laugh with each other and not at each other, God’s love is present in a special way. Share your jokes and your funny stories: the world will be better, the Pope will be happy and God will be the happiest of all.

I hope he enjoys these . . .





Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Related posts
Genuine Jesus or Counterfeit Christ?
“The church is a whore . . .”

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90 Minutes in Heaven–or not?

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)


90 Minutes in Heaven opens this weekends at a theater near you. Based on the best-selling book by Don Piper, the film tells the story of his horrific head-on crash with a semi truck in which he is pronounced dead at the scene. Here’s how the book describes what happens next:

      For the next 90 minutes, Piper experiences heaven where he is greeted by those who had influenced him spiritually. He hears beautiful music and feels true peace. Back on earth, a passing minister who had also been at the conference is led to pray for Don even though he knows the man is dead. Piper miraculously comes back to life and the bliss of heaven is replaced by a long and painful recovery. For years Piper kept his heavenly experience to himself. Finally, however, friends and family convinced him to share his remarkable story.

So, is it possible to visit heaven and return to earth?

Here’s a chapter from my 2000 book, The Why Files: Is There Really Life After Death, which asks some tough questions for the many people who claim to have visited heaven and returned. (I posted this after the story of a four-year-old’s visit was told in the popular movie, Heaven Is for Real.)

[Continue reading]


It’s only temporary

September 15th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I have a friend whose answer to every difficult situation is “It’s only temporary.” That’s great advice as the economy continues to crumble, unemployment increases, homes are foreclosed, and pensions devalue. It’s only temporary.

Nothing lasts forever: finishing school, looking for work, working the grave-yard shift, potty training, junior high band concerts, raising teenagers, IRS audits, stock market meltdowns, medical crises, etc. It’s only temporary.

For those who trust in God, life itself is only temporary. Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Peter 5 this way:

      You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does (1 Peter 5:9b-11 MSG).

Second Corinthians 4:16-18 in The Message continues this theme.

      So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

It’s only temporary! Even junior high band concerts.

Copyright © James N. Watkins All rights reserved.

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September 13 is “International Chocolate Day.”

And this is not one of those made-up days like “National Bassoon Players Day.” No, this is a real holiday! The U.S. National Confectioners Association has proclaimed September 13 the official day to celebrate “the food of the gods” and to observe the birthday of Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company and the company town of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

So here are my favorite chocolate-covered columns and cartoons:


Dark chocolate is good for you
Here are reasons to heartily celebrate today::
• Dark chocolate protects against diabetes
• Dark chocolate improves brain blood flow
• Dark chocolate improves emotional well-being
• Dark chocolate lowers bad cholesterol
• Dark chocolate improves sex life
Read about the amazing medical benefits of dark chocolate. Really!


Exposé: Chocolate diamonds not real chocolate!
I know! I’m shocked too, but here’s some good news on chocolate diamonds.


Have a wonderful, chocolate-filled day!
Copyright © James N. Watkins


Comment below how you’re celebrating International Chocolate Day. And if you enjoyed this post, please share on your social networks. Thanks!


9/ll remembered

September 11th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Two small numbers—9/11—have become shorthand for an infinite number of emotions: the shock and disbelief of watching the terrorist attack on live TV, the horror of watching the twin towers collapse upon themselves, the national grief as the number of confirmed casualties grew to over 2,800, the growing realization that we are no longer beyond the reach of terrorist attacks, and perhaps most of all, the fact that those who remember where they were on that date, will never, ever be the same.

Shock. Anger. Disbelief. These are just a few of the emotions overwhelming victims of a terrorist attack. Here are some resources I hope will be helpful in responding to such tragedies.

Dealing with death and grief
“bin Laden, kiss my pass!” (September 10, 2003)
Talking to your children about terrorism

Hope amid horror (September 11, 2006)
What motivates terrorists?
Taking the terror out of terrorism

Can war on terrorism be won? (September 11, 2005)
How can we overcome evil with good?
We are strong! We will survive! (September 17, 2001)
What we haven’t learned from 9/11 (September 9, 2002)
Candle-lighting ceremony following terrorist attacks (September 11, 2001)

Copyright © James N. Watkins

What are your thoughts on the anniversary of 9/11? Please leave a comment below.


August 2017

David Meade, a “Christian numerologist” has predicted the end of the world as we know it September 23. In his self-published book, Planet X — The 2017 Arrival, he predicts that a planet called Nibiru will crash into Earth in October. However, he’s since moved the date forward to September 23. (The idea of an unseen planet crashing into earth originated with a Wisconsin woman, Nancy Lieder, who believes “gray extraterrestrials called Zetas” implanted a communications device in her brain through which she was warned of the impending collision.)

Meanwhile, Robert Binnion and Donna Larson are less specific, but have posted on separate “end of time prophecy” websites that 2017 is the year of the End.

According to The Sun, Larson “points to the Bible’s claims that man will rule the earth for 6,000 years before facing God’s wrath. By her reckoning, Adam was created in 3,983 BC—helpfully marking the six thousandth anniversary [in 2017]. The date also coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s birth and 50 years after the unification of Jerusalem.”

I have no obscure verse from Daniel or the Revelation to prove this, but I suspect that the enemy has used these false prophets since A.D. 365, to make a mockery of the very real return of Christ on a date “no one knows . . . not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24:36).

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. These false prophecies have been predicting specific dates and not one has come to pass. Nothing to worry about, people!”

Yep, pretentious “prophets” have predicted the end of the world on specific dates for nearly 2,000 years—and they’ve all been wrong!

Hilary of Poitiers announced the world would end in the year of 365. When it didn’t his student, Saint Martin of Tours, pushed the date out to 400. Other predictions followed of 500 (Hipplytus), 968 (German emperor Otto III) and Good Friday 992.

January 1, 1000 (Y1K)
Christians in Europe believed Christ would return on that date and gave their worldly goods to the church—which didn’t give them back, which probably led to the Reformation.

1000 +
More predictions followed of 1147 (Gerard of Poehlde), 1176 (John of Toledo’s prediction based on alignment of the planets), 1205 (Joachim of Fiore), 1282 (Pope Innocent III computing 666 years since the founding of Islam) and 1496 (Mystics who believed Christ would return 1500 years after his birth).

October 3, 1533
After “a careful study of the Bible and mathematics,” German mathematician Michael Stifel predicted a date for the end of the world. Stifel gathered his small group of true believers atop a hill near Lochau. When the end did not occur, he was placed in protective custody from angry villagers who had sold their homes and farms in anticipation of the end.

Scottish mathematician John Napier published The Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John. In it, he identified the Pope as the Antichrist and predicted the end of the world between 1688 and 1700.

October 13, 1736
British theologian and mathematician William Whitson predicted a great flood similar to Noah’s for October 13, 1736—obviously ignoring God’s promise not to destroy the earth by flood.

The announcement of Christ’s return was hatched in the English town of Leeds when a hen began laying eggs inscribed with the message “Christ is coming.” The hen’s owner had egg on his face when the hoax was eggs-posed.

March 21, 1843
More recently, William Miller predicted the world would end on October 22, 1844. Thousands of “Millerites” sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming. The failed prophecy was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” Undeterred, Miller reset the date for October 22, 1844. Greater disappointment!

Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world during this time. All failed.

On or before February 15, 1891
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, announced at a meeting that Jesus would return within 56 years or February 15, 1891.

In 1881, an astronomer predicted that the tail of Halley’s Comet contained a lethal gas known as cyanogen. And since earth would pass through the comet’s tail in 1910, The New York Times reported that Earth would be sprayed with the deadly gas.

Using a complex formula based on the “days” of Daniel 4, the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Bible and Tract Society predicted Christ’s return in 1914. When the date passed, leaders claimed Christ had “invisibly” begun His rule.

December 17, 1919
Meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that the alignment of six planets would “generate a magnetic current that would cause the sun to explode and engulf the earth” on that date.

March 10, 1982
In 1974, astronomers John Gribben and Stephen Plagemann predicted the “Jupiter Effect” in which planets would align on the same side of the sun unleashing solar flares, radio interruptions, rainfall and temperature disturbances and massive earthquakes.

May 14, 1988
Hal Lindsey, in his best-selling book The Late, Great Planet Earth, predicted Rapture in 1988—one generation or 40 years after the creation of the state of Israel.

October 11, 1988
Edgar Whisenaut, a NASA scientist, sold over 4 million copies of 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988. His second book, 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1989 didn’t sell as well.

1994. May 21, 2012, October 21, 2012
Harold Camping, of Family Radio, urged listeners to abandon the church and prepare for Christ’s return in 1994. That, obviously didn’t happen, so he revised the date to May 21, 2011, which he claimed is exactly 7,000 years since Noah’s flood. When the multi-million-dollar ad campaign failed to deliver, Camping confidently announced that Christ had indeed returned “spiritually” and would return “physically” on October 21, 2012. Critics claim this was his twelfth false prediction. To his credit, ten months after the 2011 prediction proved false, Camp acknowledged that he had been mistaken, that his attempt to predict a date was “sinful,” and that his critics had been right in pointing to the scriptural text “of that day and hour knoweth no man.”

The UFO cult, Heaven’s Gate, believed an alien spacecraft was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp—due to pass by earth in 1997—and so 39 followers attempted to join the spacecraft by committing mass suicide on March 26, 1997.

French astrologist Nostradamus (1503-1566) alluded to Armageddon in his vague symbolic poetry when he wrote, “The year 1999, seventh month/From the sky will come great king of terror.”

January 1, 2000 (Y2K)
Alarmists claimed a dating glitch would cause computers around the world to crash causing widespread disaster.

September 10, 2008
Alarmists worried that when Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator, became operational, it would create a black hole of earth.

December 21, 2012
Since the Mayan calendar ended on this date, many believed this meant the world would end as well. Of course, the ancient Mayans couldn’t even predict their own demise when Spanish conquistadores and their allies conquered them in the 1600s!

September 2015
John Hagee, TV preacher and author of the best-selling book, Four Blood Moons, believed “something dramatic [will] happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world” based on four recent lunar eclipses. Others were more extreme in interpreting the significance of four lunar eclipses producing a reddish glow (“blood moon”) occurring so close together. They believed the world will end in a massive meteor strike on the earth between September 22 to 28 of 2015.

Nope! Not one of those predictions came true! Here’s one that will:

If someone is predicting Christ’s return on a specific date, you can be sure they are wrong!

Click for more cartoons

Three times within just ten verses, Jesus declares:

      “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24:36).

      “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

      You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44).

All these so-called biblical “scholars” are boys crying wolf, so that the world scoffs—not only at their predictions—but the truth that Jesus himself has promised he will return to earth. So, here’s what we can know:

We are told to . . .

pray for His soon return (Revelation 22:20)

pray for workers to reap a great harvest of followers prior to His coming (Matthew 9:38)

be found alert and praying when He does return (Ephesians 6:18)

“Lord, come quickly!”

Copyright © 2009, 2012, 2015 James N. Watkins.

Update April 2018
Meade is at it again. This time convinced the world will end April 23, 2018! Apparently, he has never read Acts 1:6-7:

      So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

      He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know” (Acts 1:6-7 Emphasis mine).

That’s pretty clear! And here’s a big but:

      “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

What if we spent our time instead of trying to discern when Jesus will return, we spent it telling our family, friends and others—here and around the world—that they can know Jesus today?!

Related post
Should Christians get caught up in “rapture”?

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I can’t do all things!

September 7th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)


Hi, I’m Jim. I’m not content.

There, I’ve said it. I hope you don’t think any less of me.

There have been times my books have won national awards. There have been times my books have sold negative numbers. (I didn’t know that was even possible! It means more book stores sent them back than sold them.)

There have been times in my life when I’ve bought vehicles with cash. There have been times when I’ve had to hock our car to pay bills.

There have been times when our chest freezer was full to the top. There have been times when the cupboard was bare except for a can of green beans and a box of macaroni and cheese. (“Thank you, Father, a royalty check arrived just in time!”)

There have been times when I’ve been healthier than a horse. There have been times—such as after 42 radiation treatments for cancer—I’ve been sicker than a dog.

And, to be honest, I much prefer the former to the latter!

While “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) has been applied to accomplishing personal achievement goals, to raising money for the church building fund, and to a thousand other situations, it has nothing to do with those things. (Christ can’t—or more accurately, won’t—make me an Olympic medalist, super model or nuclear physicist.)

What Christ gives us is the strength to be content in all situations! Here’s the context. (And we always get in trouble when we take scripture out of context!)

      I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (4:11-13).

I’m doing a bit better at contentment. I’ve learned that I grow to be more like Christ during the times of need than in the times of plenty. During my “successful” years I certainly didn’t resemble the Christ I was trying to follow. It has only been during my “failure” years that I have come to have a Christ-like compassion for my fellow strugglers.

Christ is giving me strength to be content. (Well, at least to be more content.)

Copyright © James N. Watkins


Top ten posts: August 2015

September 1st, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from August 2015

10. Who is the supreme super hero?

9. The real “female Viagra”

8. Cure for common cold: sex

7. Does DNA disprove evolution?

6. God is never late, but he sure is slow

5. Hope and humor cartoons

4. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

3. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

And, the number one post in August 2015 . . .

1. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

(See list at right for the latest posts.)

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