I love the story of Gideon: not the guy who keeps leaving his Bible in hotel rooms, but the Jewish judge who describes himself as “the least in my entire family.” God has called Gideon to liberate the Israelis from the cruel oppression of the Midianites. But to defeat the enemy of over 100,000 troops, God provides him with just 300 men. (Nope, I didn’t leave out any zeroes. That’s 100,000 v. 300!) And they’re probably the guys who get picked last in pick up games.

Totally inadequate?

God seems to delight when we feel totally inadequate. [Continue reading]

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My mother is a woman. My wife is a woman. My daughter is a woman. (See pic.) And I have three adorable granddaughters. So, a hearty happy International Women’s Day! Here are some of my favorite posts about women:

Am I a “feminist”?

A case for women in ministry

Daughter is one tough mother

Men and women are different from the neck up

No hablo, estrogen! Becoming bilingual in relationships

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Most days, I’m successful in navigating the emotional mines floating in my life with prayer, persistence and Prozac. I can’t deny the feelings, but I can also refuse to deify them. They are not my God, but bio-chemicals, sub-conscious reactions or, perhaps, the pizza I ate before bed.

So, I find myself paraphrasing Civil War Admiral Farragut’s order as his 18-ship fleet sailed into the heavily-mined port of New Orleans: “Damn the emotions! Full speed ahead!” [Continue reading]

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3 Ds of faith

March 5th, 2018 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Lois and I recently had a financial setback, which immediately sent me into full-blown crisis mode. Unfortunately, there’s a familiar pattern to my faith crises.

Doubt

I wish there was a more flattering word for it, but for about a week, I doubted that God had a plan and that he was already working for the good (Romans 8:28) to provide for us. It was up to me to keep us from living in a cardboard box! So, I frantically brainstormed ways to cut expenses and generate more income: sell my books on the street corner, pawn my guitars, and give up dark chocolate. [Continue reading]

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Celebrating Black History Month

February 26th, 2018 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Black History Month
To quote the early rap group, DCTalk, we’re all “Colored People.” So, I hope no matter what color you are, you’ll enjoy some of my favorite columns for Black History Month:

James Robert Watkins: ex-slave, author, soul brother I’m proud to call this social reformer family!

Martin Luther King Jr’s “Ten Commandments for Cultural Change”

Race relations by the numbers An award-winning cover story I wrote after a summer of racial unrest and violence

Top ten signs your church may be prejudiced

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The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church of Colossae, wrote “pray that I may proclaim [the good news of Christ] clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace.”

The Reverend—and revered—Billy Graham certainly fulfilled what “the Bible says.” He died today, February 21, 2018, at age 99. [Read my tribute to Billy Graham]

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Florida school shooting
Every mass shooting or terrorist attack prompts questions of how could the massacre have been prevented and, often, where was God during this horrific crime. Associated Press photographer, Joel Auerbach, captured the answer to the second question as a distraught woman with an Ash Wednesday cross on her forehead comforts another woman.

Until Jesus returns to restore peace and safety to this fallen world, Christians are his hands and feet here on earth: The woman in the iconic photo. Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach who was killed shielding students from gunfire. A long-time friend who knew Feis from church told reporters, “Aaron had a big heart, and he’s an extremely loving person, very quiet and a good sense of humor, but I’m not surprised that he did what he did,” LaGuardia said of Feis.

Unfortunately, we live in fallen world populated by people with moral and mental illness. (And God is no more responsible for evil then light is responsible for darkness. Darkness is the absence of light.) But followers of Jesus Christ offer his love, comfort and peace. The apostle Paul writes:

      All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

As I watch these tragedies unfold, it reminds me that Jesus died and rose again for a world desperately in need of love, peace and healing. And those marked with the cross are Jesus’ hands and feet to comfort and support those wounded in this life.

Copyright © 2018 James Watkins

Related posts
Dealing with school shootings
Dealing with terrorism
“Don’t be afraid”
I’m giving up fear for Lent
Is gun control the answer?
An Rx for gun control
“In this world you will have trouble”
Talking to your children about school shootings and terrorism
“There is no peace on earth”
“Threat level” solidly “green”

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February 16, 2018

It shows a lot of wear and tear: balding tires, dented fenders and a bit of body corrosion. The odometer has turned over 66 times, but I’m still driving my 1952 Model Watkins.

It’s traveled all over the world and faithfully gotten me this far on the journey—despite issues with clogged fuel lines, high engine pressure and some major body work (four trips to three body shops in just two months in 1991) plus, in 2008, 42 days up on the rack at an auto specialist to give the rattletrap new life.

The Model Watkins never was a beautiful, luxury model with sleek lines, aerodynamic design and lot of horsepower. It’s more of a Volkswagen van than a Lamborghini, but it’s gotten me safely from point A to point B on this anniversary of its delivery.

It’s always best to follow the owner’s manual and observe navigation system. So, after some wrong turns, dark detours and near-fatal crashes, I finally got out the manual and started listening to the GPS my junior year of high school. It’s not always taken me on a direct path—smooth roads or scenic drives— but I feel it’s gotten me safely to where I need to be at this point of the journey.

But here’s the best part: I am not my vehicle. We all are eternal drivers in temporal tin lizzies. So, I’m looking forward to eventually trading it in on a brand new model built to perfection, unlimited horsepower and infinite miles, but for now, I love traveling life’s highway with my family and friends—despite the sputters, knocks and occasional backfires.

      Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).

Thanks to each of you who have made this the ride of my life.

Update: February 16, 2018
Just got back from the repair shop for annual routine maintenance. I have a slightly leaky valve and a hose with a bit of a bulge, but all gauges reading normal. I should be good until my next yearly visit.

Related posts
Becoming like children (at 63)
I’m 8 pills old (at 53)
Introducing James Watkins 60.0 (at 60)
Over the Hill Onto the Mountain Top
Top ten signs Batman is turning 75
Top ten signs Han Solo has turned 70
Top ten wishes for my 50th birthday (at 50)
Your best year yet (at 62)

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‘There must be higher love’

February 14th, 2018 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Steve Winwood
Remember the 1986 hit song “Higher Love”? English rocker Steve Winwood won two Grammy awards singing:

      Think about it, there must be higher love
      Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
      Without it, life is a wasted time
      Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine

Believers in God may think they are experiencing that higher love. After all, the apostle wrote:

      God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16b).

You can’t get any higher than God! But God, the Son, teaches there is a high, higher and highest love! Continue reading

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Lent, not to be confused with that stuff in the dryer filter, is a time of spiritual preparation for Easter. It includes the 40 days (not including Sundays) leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. So, here’s some hope and humor for Christian “preppers.”

Forty days of hope and humor
Top ten things I’m giving up for Lent (4. Golf pants)
When praises turn to ash
Forty days of imitating Christ Devotions from my 2016 book, The Imitation of Christ
Easter cartoons
Easter eggs-pose’
Easter quips and quotations
Chocolate bunnies are good for you!

Looking for Jesus
Action-figure Jesus
The Easter story in chronological order
Knowing who we are One of Christ’s last acts revealed who he was
They just don’t make crosses like they used to

He is risen!
“It is finished!” was announced before Christ’s resurrection
When “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Comin'” just isn’t enough

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