TurkeyFlag

Shock. Disbelief. Horror. Anger. Grief. These are just a few of the emotions overwhelming everyone affected by today’s attack on the Istanbul, Turkey, airport. Here are some resources I hope will be helpful in responding to this attack by heartless terrorists.

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

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

Responding
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)

My thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and, especially, with family and friends of those killed.
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Copyright © James N. Watkins

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June 26, 2016

Hi, I’m Jim. Welcome to my online magazine. As Finding Dory opens in theaters, this week’s issue looks at finding God’s will.. (Just keep swimming!)

You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources.

Enjoy some hope and humor,
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God’s will is not lost: for those trying to find it

Are you wondering what God has in store for your life?

      What classes should I take?

      Should I marry? Whom should I marry?

      Should I get a job and move out of my parent’s basement?

      What job should I go after?

      Now that I’m unemployed, what job should I go after?

      Should I buy a new car or fix up the 1980 Pinto?

      Should I move into assisted living or move in with my son in Peoria?

      Should we pull the plug on Grandpa?

It would be great if God was still in the business of talking verbally to His kids. God talked with Adam and Eve in “the cool of the day.” He spoke to Moses from a burning bush and Mount Sinai. He talked directly to His prophets.

So, we sometimes feel we’re left in the dark. [Continue reading]


Back to the future

Since we can’t see one single nanosecond into the future, we back into the future, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have direction. I love what Philip Yancey writes in the booklet Guidance (Multnomah, 1983):

      I had always thought of guidance as forward-looking. We keep praying, hoping, counting on God to reveal what we should do next. In my own experience, at least, I have found the direction to be reversed.

      For me, guidance becomes clear only as I look backward. At the moment, my future is a big blur. Guidance becomes evident only when I look back, months and years later.

[Continue reading]


But wait. There’s more!

Here are some you posts on God’s will:
Does God make crank calls?
How to decide what’s right or wrong for you
Which path is the “right” path?


jimshortstheology

Cartoon of the week

Get your daily dose on Facebook and on the archives. And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016.


Quips and quotations on questions

The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. Hudson Taylor

When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track. As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it conducts to the open sea. F.B. Meyer

“Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestion, but a command. I divided time into days and nights, so that you would have manageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you, but its sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame. You stagger under the heavy load, which I never intended you to carry.” Sarah Young in Jesus Calling

Don’t look at the future—that can be frightening. Look back at all the ways He has provided for you. That’s faith-building. Steve DeNeff

Read more quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


Photos from MorgueFile.com

If you enjoyed this week’s issue, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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June 19, 2016

Hi, I’m Jim. Welcome to my online magazine. This week’s issue looks at big questions: unanswered prayer, unfulfilled promises, unpunished evil. (And click if you missed last week’s Dad’s day issue.)

You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources.

Enjoy some hope and humor,
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despair

When faithful question faith

According to Jesus, John the Baptist was the greatest human who ever lived!

      “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11).

He was filled with the Holy Spirit—even before his birth (Luke 1:15).

He lived a disciplined life.

      “He will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks” (Luke 1:15).

He preached that Jesus was the Messiah.

      The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel” (John 1:29-31).

He saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus; heard the Father call Jesus his Son.

      Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God” (John 1:32-34).

      After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:16-17).

That’s quite a righteous resume! But look at this passage from Luke:

      John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’” (Luke 7:20).

What?! Despite being filled with the Spirit, plus seeing and hearing proof of Jesus’ divinity, and preaching that Jesus is the Messiah, John questions everything!

John was in prison for preaching against Herod’s affair with his sister-in-law, Herodias, whom he had then married. Herod, the Roman leader over Judea, was notorious for having prominent members of his family, including second wife, Mariamne I, executed for treason. He was so despised that Josephus reports Herod commanded a large group of distinguished men to come to Jericho, and he gave an order that they should be killed at the time of his death so his death would bring grief to his subjects. With Herod’s history, John surely felt his imprisonment would lead to death.

I’m not sure what caused these serious questions. (Trials and tragedies are often the catalysts for questions.) I am sure that it’s perfectly normal to occasionally question my faith. If someone Jesus esteemed as “none greater” had questions, then I am not such a heathen for my doubts and questions. Good to know!

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins


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Unanswered prayer, unfufilled promises, unpunished evil

Have you ever struggled with the questions of unanswered prayer, unpunished evil, and unfulfilled promises? If so, you’re in good company! Three thousand years ago, the psalmist Asaph struggled with those very questions. He poetically—and honestly—revealed his own dark doubts, crippling confusion and constant questions.

But the psalms of Asaph, provide some clues for dealing with these questions. Notice, I wrote “clues.” The Bible—and this book in particular—are not “answer books.”

Read my sample Introduction for my book proposal for Three Questions: Unanswered Prayer. Unpunished Evil. Unfulfilled Promises..


But wait. There’s more!

Here are some you posts on big questions:
God is never late—but he sure is slow
Hope in a hand basket
“In this world you will have trouble
Why? Some thoughts on life’s tough questions


jimshortstheology

Cartoon of the week

Get your daily dose on Facebook and on the archives. And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016.


Quips and quotations on questions

There are many things that I don’t understand. Billy Graham

A god that can be understood is not a god. Somerset Maugham

Trying to comprehend God and His ways is like algae trying to pass an algebra exam! JNW

My faith does not rest on God’s promises. My faith rests upon God’s character. Faith must rest in confidence upon the One who made the promises. A. W. Tozer

Faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. Philip Yancey

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul (Romans 15:13)

Doubts are the ants in the pants that keep faith moving. Fredrick Beuchner

Read more quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


Photos from MorgueFile.com

If you enjoyed this week’s issue, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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June 12, 2016

Hi, I’m Jim. Welcome to my weekly online magazine. It’s just one week to Father’s Day, so here here’s my salute to dads.

You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources.

Enjoy some hope and humor,
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DadAndNewborn

God is a proud father

You can always spot a new father. He’s the one with the high-priced digital camera, an “It’s a Girl/Boy” button pinned to his chest, and a look-what-I-did grin on his face.

It’s hard to believe it been over 35 years since my last trip to the maternity ward for the birth of Faith and Paul, but my pride in my children has never been greater. We have a hallway of childhood and adult photos, words of their wisdom in my journal and 35 years worth of Father’s Day cards in our fire-proof file.

According to the prophet Zephaniah, God is also proud parent:

      He will take delight in you with gladness.
      With his love, he will calm all your fears.
      He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Wow! God the Father takes “delight” in his children. He “rejoices” over them “with singing.”

In Job, we find that God is boasting about his child to Satan. And Jesus reminds us that there is rejoicing in the eternal maternity ward when just one sinner is “born again.”

God delights in our praises, just as we delight in handmade cards and special gifts. (I now have a “Hello Kitty” gift bag that is filled with wonderful heartfelt gifts from my grandkiddos.) He also delights in who we are!

He must have that look-what-I-did when we come to him as humble children. And while we are singing praise choruses, he rejoices over us with his own chorus of praise.

Originally appeared in Light from the Word in 1991.


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Archaeologist discovers ‘Proverbs 32 Man’ manuscript

This just in! Archaeologist discovers long-lost “Proverbs 32 Man” passage. I am pleased to post this exclusive excerpt just in time for Father’s Day:

Who can find a virtuous man, for his price is far above a Hollywood hunk’s movie deal.
The heart of his wife doth safely trust in him, for his Internet browser history is free of anything degrading unto her or unto other women.
He shall do her no harm, so that she need not fear unfaithfulness or violence all the days of her life.
He worketh hard to provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of his household.
He is like a FedEx truck bringing food and household products from afar. [Continue reading]


But wait! There’s more . . .

Here are some of my favorite Father’s Day columns from the archives:

My real job
Nope, it’s not writer and speaker

The papoose-driven life
Lessons learned from a four-month-old grandaughter

Son of a saint!
When godly parents have not-so-godly children

“Spray paint” parenting
The secret is thin coats of moral and ethical lessons

Talking to your kids about S-E-X
Children will learn about sex—from us—or the bus!

Talking to children about war, terrorism, school violence . . .
It’s a frightening time to be a child—and a parent

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Top ten things my dad taught me
(Yep, that’s my dad above.)

You may be a parent if . . .
. . . you’ve ever uttered one or more of these classic lines


jimshortschildren

Cartoon of the week

Click for more cartoons on dadhood! Get your daily dose on Facebook and in the archives. Plus follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016.


Quips and quotations on fatherhood

You can tell what was the best year of your father’s life because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out. Jerry Seinfeld

My daughter got me a “World’s Best Dad” mug. So we know she’s sarcastic. Bob Odenkirk

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. Mark Twain

The only way I can describe [fatherhood]—it sounds stupid, but—at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, you know how his heart grows like five times? Everything is full; It’s just full all the time. Matt Damon

When you have kids, there’s no such thing as quality time. There’s just time. There’s no, “Ooh, his graduation’s better than going to the mall.” It’s all kind of equal. Changing her diaper and her winning a contest—it’s all good. Chris Rock

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Billy Graham

Read more quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


Photos from MorgueFile.com

If you enjoyed this week’s issue, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

June 5, 2016

Hi, I’m Jim, and welcome to more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at! It’s June, so here here’s my Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer issue:

You can also access more than 300 posts on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources.

Enjoy some hope and humor,
jimlogo2


beach

Laziness is a virtue

Ah, those “lazy, hazy days of summer.” Time to laze in the hammock and ponder the importance of . . . well, lazing in the hammock.

Laziness, you see, is a vital virtue! Think about it over a tall glass of lemonade. Where would we be today without this important quality? “Necessity” is not the “mother of invention”! (Maybe a sister or a second-cousin, but not the mother.) Laziness is the mother of invention! [Continue reading]


bigbellygamefaqscom

Top ten clues a man should wear a shirt in summer

I have in my right hand, direct from the home office in hot and humid Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category:

10. Take a tape measure. Drop it on the floor. If you can’t pick it up without bending your knees, put on a shirt.[Continue reading]

But wait, there’s more . . .

Vacations are not a vacation if . . .
Traveling the world on one tank of gas


jimshortshappyplace

Cartoon of the week

Get your daily dose on Facebook and on the archives. And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016.


Quips and quotations on summer

That awkward moment when you write a super long, heartfelt note in someone’s yearbook and they write “Have a Great Summer!!” Inspired by The Wonder Years

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you. Erma Bombeck

A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp. Raymond Duncan

If you are not barefoot, you’re overdressed!

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter. Henry David Thoreau

It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility. Yogi Berra

It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do. Walter Winchell

I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer. Come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches. Oriana Green

Read more quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


If you enjoyed this week’s issue, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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