Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Bold Faith

As Jesus began his ministry, hoards of people flocked to him.  One, a leper, said “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean.”  This was not a question, it was a statement of fact.  The man believed it.  There’s no element of doubt in his words.

At Capernaum, the Roman officer with the sick servant did even better than that.  When Jesus offered to go to the servant, the officer said, “Just give the order, and my servant will get well.”  He knew Jesus didn’t even have to be there. Furthermore, once Jesus pronounced the servant healed, the officer had no proof that it had in fact happened, but he went on his way in complete confidence nonetheless.

What is this mysterious element called Faith?  Why do some people have it, and some not?  Why do some of us have faith, but not a bold confidence in that faith?  The leper and the Roman officer were not simply *hoping* that Jesus could do the job.  They KNEW it.

We need a confident faith.  Not just the theoretical confidence that we have in our heads when we think about our beliefs, but the confidence that keeps our chins up and and feet steady on a day-to-day basis, regardless of our circumstances.  A faith that serves us “where the rubber meets the road.”

Thank God He is worthy of that kind of faith.

from Mark, Chapter 8, Good News Bible.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Start with the Rocks

Lately, it seems that every day has one thing in common – laying in bed at night, realizing that the most important things I had wanted for that day were failed.  Sticking to the diet, exercising, and worst of all, Bible reading, were once again neglected in a day filled with work, cooking, cleaning, relaxing. Starting each day with good intentions, and finishing in failure, for various “good reasons”, was getting frustrating.  As Bill Murray said in “Groundhog Day,” “I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

This morning I was thinking about a sermon Pastor Chris gave years ago.  He told the story of a man being given a pile of rocks, a pile of smaller stones, and a pile of sand, along with a vessel in which to place them.  The man poured the sand in the container.  He put the stones on top. He added the rocks next, but there wasn’t enough room.  After trying to rearrange the large rocks in several different ways, the man decided the container was too small and gave up.

Another man came along, emptied the container, and started over.  He put the rocks in first, followed by the stones.  Some of the smaller stones fell in the crevices left by the rocks.  He then poured the sand on top, and it trickled down, filling in any open spaces between the rocks and stones.  Everything fit neatly.

Pastor likened these items to things that were important in our daily lives – the rocks being the most important, and stones of lesser importance, and the sand of still less important things. When the really important things in our life have top priority, everything else falls into place.  As I lay there in bed this morning, I decided to brew up some coffee, and start my day with the Bible, taking up where I left off months ago.

I read the short Book of Haggai (part 1, part 2) – and it dealt with God’s people putting their own interests ahead of God, and as a result, they were not prospering.  Hmmm... is this a coincidence?

These people would work and work, and their harvests were bad.  They had a little of everything they needed, but not enough.  It took God, through Haggai, to make them step back and look at the big picture – they pursued their own wants and needs first, while God’s temple was still in ruin.  Get up, He told them, and fix My temple so you can worship Me properly!  And they did.  Kind of like putting the rocks in the container first.

I redesigned my “To-Do” list today.  It now has three headings: Rocks, Stones, Sand.  Rocks has only two items – 1) meaningful, uninterrupted prayer, and 2) a manageable amount of Bible reading.  Sand left over from today will go in tomorrow’s list.  But I’ll know my foundation will be built on Rock, each and every day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pride and Grace


I finally recognized a lesson that God has been trying to get through my thick head.  I know all about God's grace, at least being on the receiving end of it.  Knowing you've fouled something up, having no good excuse for it, and experiencing that God has given you the forgiveness you need is an incredible feeling.  I can attest to what a wonderful gift it really is.  But like any gift, it might be free for the recipient, but it cost the giver something to give.  It cost God too, and He gives it without being begrudging.  

I've been in a position to give out that same kind of grace a million times over the course of my life, but I have not, through my own dense-headedness, been able to recognize it as a true grace-opportunity.  I have readily recognized it as an excuse to be angry, or to acknowledge my right to a little justice, should I decide to do so.  Or, I could give out forgiveness for entirely prideful and self-serving purposes.   

I believe that you can't experience true grace - giving or receiving - as long as pride is in the way.  Over the course of the last month, God has gifted me with the same situation repeating itself over and over again, until I finally saw it for what it was, and dealt with it accordingly.  I got a raw deal from someone I’d spent a lot of time helping.  It hurt.  It was very deflating.  It wasn't fair.  And one of the people involved asked for my help a short time later.  I ignored her plea, thought she surely must be crazy, and held a silent grudge.  I swore Hades itself would freeze over before she got any assistance from me.  And I got kicked in the teeth again, same person involved, same situation.  I knew my previous reaction was wrong in the eyes of God, so this time I doled out a little punishment by waiting before I begrudgingly (and minimally) helped.  I got a bigger kick in the teeth in return (I guess God wasn’t satisfied with my meager efforts).  This time I finally saw the situation as a textbook Grace-Opportunity, directly from the God of the Universe.

Did I feel she deserved my grace?  Absolutely not.  But thank God we don't necessarily get what we deserve in life; and those that hurt us, in reality, have very little to do with it anyway.  This was a matter between God and myself.  I will readily admit that despite finally seeing the parallels between my appreciation for receiving grace, and my responsibility for giving it out as well, I found it distasteful to comply.  And it took me several tries to do it without any thinly-disguised malice.  But now that it's done, I feel changed for the better by having done it.

Hopefully I won't need to repeat this lesson yet again, at least not with this particular person and situation.  And next time someone flings a little deceit and pain in my path  (there will no doubt be a next time) I pray for a better initial reaction.  The hardest part, for me, has been, and will be, recognizing it as a Grace-Opportunity, and knowing that God has put it there for my benefit. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First, not Last

Sometimes, as we watch all of our options for help disappear, it makes it even easier to see what we really need – A loving, all-powerful God, waiting to be seen as our first option for help, not our last.  :)

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Shield of Faith

I’m one of those people who have a hard time with “will power.”  Seems like no matter what I try to do – lose a few pounds, break a bad habit – Satan knows exactly when and how to dangle a temptation in front of me.  Sometimes I have more resolve than other times, but almost always, I feel overpowered.  And no wonder!  I am!

Yesterday, I heard a message on the radio from Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries.  I have to pause here and mention that I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever with Dr. Stanley or his ministry.  I just happened to catch him on KTIS in Minneapolis one day, and enjoyed what I heard.  I try to catch his show when I can.  And yesterday, I did, and I’m really glad.

I have read the wonderful passage in the Bible on how to resist Satan in Ephesians 6:11 - “Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.”  (Good News Bible) I especially love Ephesians 6:16 - “At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.”  Oh, how I love the thought of being able to take refuge behind a protective shield, while those flaming arrows of temptation, selfishness, and pride hit with a “thud” and drop to the ground!

The only problem for me was that I didn’t know what the shield of faith looked like in practical terms.  What specific steps do I take to put on that shield every morning?

Dr. Stanley’s broadcast yesterday addressed this issue in concrete, specific terms.  If you don’t have a concordance, get one.  Use it to look up Bible references to your particular struggle.  See what God has to say about it, and commit the passage(s) to your memory and your heart.  When Satan sees that you’re having some success at doing good, and comes to ruin it, meet him with scripture.  You’ll be armed and ready.  Don’t argue.  Don’t debate.  Just tell him simply that “this is what God says, and I have faith in God.”

After thinking about it awhile, I realized that this was the exact strategy Jesus used when Satan fired flaming arrows at Him in the desert.  So this morning, I will put on my shield of faith, and hit the ground running.  I can.  I have the confidence of God’s word!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Keep Your Eyes on Me



One of the things I find most fascinating are peoples’ faith stories – their personal interactions with the God of the universe.  I’ve had only a couple of these intense, life-altering experiences myself, but they are moments that keep coming back to me in significant ways.

Now, when you start telling people you’ve had a personal interaction with God, many of them roll their eyes or wonder if there’s something wrong with you, or chalk it up to a dream.  I’ve had my share of strange dreams - I’ve driven a dump truck to work, I’ve lived in a box at my old house, grown power tools in my vegetable garden – so I know a dream when I see one.  But this felt nothing like a dream, not while it was happening, and certainly not afterward.

Quite some time ago, I went to bed one night, extremely upset about something that happened at work.  I knew I’d be up all night ruminating it, and fretting about it.  I’m sad to say, prayer, or God in general, never entered my mind.  I closed my eyes, and after a few hours of tossing, turning, and anguishing, found myself on a subway car, which was interesting since I’ve never been on a subway car.  I walked through the crowded corridor looking for a quiet place to sit, but didn’t find one, so I moved to the next car, and the next, and the next, looking for my quiet place to sit down and get some sleep.  The crowd began to thin out eventually, and on an otherwise empty car, I passed a gentlemen sitting on one side of the aisle, absorbed in his newspaper.  I walked past him a couple of rows to the end of the car, and started to take a seat.  As I took a passing glance back at the man, he looked up at me with a smile that was pure evil, and a blood-chilling look in his eyes.  I knew at that moment there was no place I could go to get away from the torment.

As quickly as that happened, I looked the other direction and saw another man, this one radiated extreme strength, and extreme tenderness at the same time.  My eyes were locked in awe with His.  I started to look away from Him long enough to see Satan take his newspaper and leave, but He took my face in His hands and turned it back towards Him, and said, “Keep Your Eyes On Me.”  At that point, I drifted off into one of the most peaceful, restful nights of sleep I’ve ever had, worries or not.

Call it a dream if you like but I’ve never gotten such good counsel from a dream, and I’ve remembered that advice many times over the years.

1) Run from evil.

2) Remember, there’s only one place to find real refuge from anything life has to dish out.

3) Satan will try to torment you, but in the end, he knows he’s no match for Christ.

4) No matter how weary and beat-down you are, He is tender and knows how to take care of you. 

5) And most of all, Keep Your Eyes on Him.

Monday, June 28, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough, Chapter 1


At the moment, my Going has gotten Tough.  I’ve been struggling with a situation that I need to handle, and soon, with no direction, and no peace about it.  A month or two ago, I obtained a booklet from RBC Ministries (, written by Joe Stowell, a past president of Moody Bible Institute, titled “When the Going Gets Tough.”  ( There has been a lot written on this topic, but since it is personally applicable to me at the moment, I decided to sit down and read the first chapter.

Mr. Stowell begins by pointing out some important things about tough times.  First, he says, we must understand that our difficult times are not random, and God has not abandoned us to whatever happens to come along, but rather provides support and “something solid to hold on to” until the roller coaster ride is over.

The second main point is that we need to do two things: understand what’s happening, and then begin healing.  And it’s on the first part, understanding, that Mr. Stowell expounds in this chapter.  He explains that the Greek word for trial means “to examine or test for the purpose of proving or revealing something about the thing tested.”

Aha…  It’s when we have trouble that our true character is being exposed in the way we act and react.  Our character is also being examined, certainly by God, but hopefully by us as well, as part of the process of growing.  We get an opportunity to see how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.  Am I behaving in a Christ-like way?  Just how selfish am I?  Am I forgiving?  Manipulative?

It never occurred to me that difficult times might be a yardstick, in a sense.  It’s like an algebra test in high school, only on a much bigger scale.  This test is something I’ve been studying and practicing for, and here’s my opportunity to get a grade that’s pleasing to God.

This has been very helpful in making a Plan of Action for my current situation.  I know exactly what to do, and if it gets me into hot water, which it might, I also know exactly what to do.  The experience still won’t be pleasant, but is made much more do-able knowing that God is watching, and that this test is of His design.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thank you, Little Christopher

Many of you know we lost our little grandson, Christopher, back in April.  I am amazed at how God can take these circumstances and use them for His good purposes.  Over the last two months, I have watched beloved family members decide that Jesus Christ offers what they need; and we’ve found a church home that both challenges and comforts us. 

God wants us to share our faith, but it’s not always easy to know how to do that.  Today, I had the opportunity to share Christopher’s story, not once, but twice, and tell how God has worked through that little boy’s short life.  What a wonderful vehicle for not only keeping Christopher’s memory alive, but for sharing the hope and the sustenance that can only be found in a relationship with Him.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where’s the Hope? It’s right here.



Sometimes, when Hope seems to have taken a vacation, it pays to remember three things:

1) God is all-powerful.  There is nothing beyond His domain.  He can command the mountains to crash into the sea; He can command the sun to rise in the west; He can command a tumor to disappear completely; He can solve any financial crisis with a snap of His Divine finger.  He can bring people into your life and out of your life with ease.  There is nothing so powerful that God cannot accomplish it, and accomplish it quickly and incredibly easily.

2)  God knows everything.  He knows everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, and everything that will ever happen.  He knows what you do, He knows how you feel, and He knows what you think.  He knows all of the repercussions and consequences, both good and bad, that comes with every single thing we do.  Equipped with this kind of knowledge, no decision He makes can be a bad one.  Not with a viewpoint encompassing all of Eternity.

3) God loves us more dearly than anything we can imagine.  The most precious and deep of all loves in our human existence cannot compare to the love God feels for us.  Human love is fickle, but not God’s.  God’s love goes deep and strong and forever.   Death can’t stop it, it can only enhance it.  His heart breaks for us in our sorrows, and overflows with joy for us in our worship of Him.

Given these three facts, it’s hard to still feel hopeless.  If things don’t go our way, it’s because a God who knows best, and loves us incredibly dearly, has said, “That’s not the best way.  Trust Me, and hold on to Me.  Someday, you’ll understand.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Excuse Me, Have You Seen My Gentle Spirit?

It seems to be missing.  It started trying to escape yesterday, and I kept grabbing it and pulling it back, but every time I let my guard down, it was slipping out the door again.  It finally broke loose and away it went, and I haven’t seen it since.


Every time I read about how God wants women to have a Gentle Spirit, I wonder why, then, didn’t He give me one?  Instead, I got a strong-willed, oftentimes surly and cantankerous spirit, short on patience, and long on wanting what I want, when I want it.

Most of the time, I can do what a gentle spirit does.  I’d have to give myself a good, solid “B” for effort, but the situation reminds me of the phrase “putting lipstick on a pig.”  Every so often, when I’ve had my fill of whatever life is dishing out, my Gentle Spirit heads for the door, and the Pig, sans lipstick, takes over.

I have to wonder, is there a point at which you quit doing what a gentle spirit does, and start becoming what a gentle spirit is?  Does it take practice?  Have I come farther than it seems?  Is the battle ever really won, or will that pig always be waiting in the shadows?

I have a hunch that prayer and perseverance are the answers.  And that the pig is always waiting.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Making Sense



Our little grandson, Christopher, was born last night, six weeks early.  He took all of us by surprise.  He left this world as quickly as he came into it.  This time last year, things were much as they are now, at least in terms of how many of us in our family. But how different it is now…

I firmly believe that if something happens, it has passed through God first and got His divine “O. K.”  He doesn’t do things haphazardly.  He gave us this baby, never intending for us to keep him.  Even considering all this, I still can’t help but wonder why.  Why are there two devastated parents, taking life one minute at a time?  Several grandparents who feel so helpless… Why are family dynamics making a terrible situation worse?  God is asking us to go through an awful set of circumstances.  There’s a reason, and I wish I knew what it was.  Perhaps this time next year I’ll be able to look back and see how God used this tiny little child to accomplish something that needed to be accomplished.

In the meantime, I’m grateful for the Kick In The Pants that God so often gives us when we need it.  Just last week, after putting it off for so long, we decided to schedule a 4D ultrasound.   Now, these are our only pictures of Christopher alive.  Thank God He didn’t let us procrastinate any longer.  

We’ll continue to try to make sense out of this, but I have a feeling it’s going to take a lot of time.  And in the meantime, faith will have to bridge the gap.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wanted: Preaching

Great preaching seems to be hard to come by these days, at least in the churches I’ve sampled lately.  I didn’t think I was asking for a whole lot.  And I acknowledge that it’s easier to critique a sermon than to write and deliver it effectively.  My main complaint: Fluff.

Fluff doesn’t offend anyone.  It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, albeit a short-lived one.  Fluff doesn’t take too long, either to write or deliver.  A good dose of fluff can be dished out in 15 minutes or less, and even Uncle George won’t have time to fall asleep.  Fluff is probably good for the offering plate too, I suspect.

But you won’t grow on fluff.  We need some “meat”, served up directly from the Bible.  We need to see that the same concerns of that time are relevant to today; we need to see Biblical characters struggling with the same issues that we struggle with, and we need to see how God instructs us on those issues, and to see what happens when we heed that advice.  And what happens when we don’t.

Those types of sermons may offend some people – or they may convict those people to make changes.  I don’t know how many people read the Bible outside of church, but I suspect for many, church is the only place they are going to learn what God says, and they need to learn it all.  We can’t please God if we don’t know what pleases God, and finding out what we’re doing isn’t pleasing to God might hurt our feelings.  But even that is accompanied by the promise that God will give us what we need, and that the ending of the story is awesomely good.

I don’t recall God sending forth His prophets with the stern warning not to offend anyone, or ask anything of them, just leave them with a good happy feeling.  I want a church sermon that will leave me with something to ponder all week, and that will ultimately help me change my life in some small way that God would approve of.  I want some instruction; I want to learn, I want to grow.  But I don’t want any Fluff.

And so the search goes on…


Monday, March 15, 2010

Just Ask Joseph

One thing you can say about life is that it isn’t going to go smoothly.  Somehow, many get the (mistaken) idea that we’re going to get on the right track, and life will proceed in that manner until it’s over.  If we do things right, life goes relatively smoothly, right?  Just ask Joseph about that…

He started out well enough – coming from a wealthy family, and being the favorite of his father.  Can’t ask for a better start in life!  The next thing he knew, he was sitting in the bottom of a well, wondering what the heck would happen next; and shortly thereafter, his social status took a real beating. 

I once saw a cute little saying painted on a flower pot: “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”  Joseph must have seen that too.  Bloom, he did, in Potiphar’s house.  He took what he had, and did the best he could with it.  And just when things were looking good – along comes Mrs. Potiphar, and the next thing you know, Joseph’s in the bottom of yet another pit, this time prison.  And what did he do?  He bloomed again. 

You can’t say much for Joseph’s luck, if that’s what landed him in such dire straights.  A lot of people wouldn’t be very happy that they had worked so hard, only to find themselves getting kicked in the teeth yet again…

One thing I haven’t found in the scripture is the part where Joseph whines, and he did have cause to whine, if you ask me.  I can’t find the part where he says, “Oh, Why did You do this to me, God?  Haven’t I served you well?  What did I do to deserve this?”  But God had a bigger view; he was putting Joseph right where he wanted him – where he needed him.  If Joseph had stayed in his family’s comfortable home, neither they nor their countrymen might have survived the terrible famine.  It’s a good thing Joseph didn’t curl up in his pity pot and lay down to die when his world fell apart - either time.

Someone once said, “It’s not how many times you fall down that count, it’s how many times you get up.”  And when things went bad, Joseph did just that: he got up, and got about the business of honoring God in all he did.  And he was blessed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Top 10 Predictions for 2010

 I did not write this, and do not know who did.  A friend recently sent this to me, and it really brought to mind the continuity of God's love and protection.  In this world of things that change in the blink of an eye, God doesn't.  It's nice to have one thing to count on.

Top 10 Predictions for 2010

       1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
       2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth...
       3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
       4. God will still honor the praises of His people.
       5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
       6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
       7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
       8. There will still be room at the Cross.
       9. Jesus will still love you.
      10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

           Isn't It Great To Remember Who Is Really In Control, and that; "the Word of the Lord endures forever..
           I Peter 1:25

Friday, February 12, 2010

A few observations on Faith

What happens when you have faith:

1) God takes care of your needs.

Matthew 6:30
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

2) Your faith will heal your body and soul

Matthew 9:22
Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.

Acts 3:16
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Matthew 9:28-30
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored.

Luke 18:42
Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."

Mark 10:51-52
"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

3) You'll be a blessing to others

Matthew 15:28
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Matthew 8:5-8, 10, 13
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

4) You'll do great things.

Matthew 17:20
" I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Matthew 21:21
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.

John 14:12
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

5) You'll be right with God.

Matthew 9:2
Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

Mark 2:5
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

Acts 15:9
He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

Luke 5:20

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Luke 7:50
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

What happens when you DON'T have faith?

1) You'll be afraid.

Matthew 8:26
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Matthew 14
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

Mark 4:40
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

2) You'll doubt.

Matthew 16:8-10

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

3) It holds you back.

Mark 6:4-6

Jesus said to them, "Prophets are respected everywhere except in their own hometown and by their relatives and their family."  
He was not able to perform any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We're All Looking for Something

I was out running errands the other day when I heard a piece on the radio about whether or not Donovan McNabb, the football player, would be returning to his team next season.  They all debated and speculated, and finally the guy introducing the story said he'd be back - not for this reason, or that reason, but because McNabb had consulted a psychic, and the psychic told him good things were coming for him.

The psychic hands out some vague, generalized "prediction", takes the guy's $50, and he goes away feeling like he has a direction in which to go, and some reassurance that he's doing the right thing.   He has someone to have faith in.

I think everyone is looking for guidance, protection, hope and security - some sort of way to get a grip on this crazy ride we call life.  The directions we look to have these needs met is astounding - psychics, drugs, support groups, worshiping nature, self-hypnosis, to name just a few.  But why don't people think of God to fill this role?  He's right there, always available, and free!  And you can't beat His reliability!  But for too many people, God is a vague entity, somewhere in the back of the mind, not really taken seriously.  I was in that role once, and turned to a lot of these other things to find a lens under which I could make sense of the world, never seriously considering that the God who made all this would be the best One to help me understand all this.  I lived that mindset, and I still can't come up with a good explanation for why.  But there are people dying every day who have never taken God up on His offer to guide their lives and offer His protection, and it's a sad situation. What's the magical thing to say to open their eyes to see, and their ears to hear?  Perhaps, ultimately, it's not a job for a mere mortal.  All we can do is to plant the seeds which, under the right Gardener, will sprout.