Dear Preachers

Please stop teaching that the principles in the Bible have many interpretations relative to a person’s circumstances in life. To any thinking Christian, you sound ridiculous. It sounds like you believe that God’s written word for mankind can be stretched like taffy to accommodate human appetites. If you teach that God waffles about the way…

Sweet Things

I am reminding myself today to soak in the fine things, the sweet things. Like taking strength from the bearhug of a grown-up son. Or drinking in the silly smiles of a granddaughter as she kisses my unshaven cheek again and again. I can ignore these moments like a reflexive breath or I can savor…

“Wigwam” Woman

In Fairbanks, you didn’t expect a smile and “Good afternoon!” from Irene, even on a warm and cheerful day. You risked being pummeled with curses if you tried to force a conversation. Unlike the weather, Irene’s face seldom changed from a scowl as she ambled down the street to her “wigwam” at Noyes Slough. She…

Havoc

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake rattled our windows today. This temblor was a portion of left-overs we often feel, since the destructive 7.1 shaker on November 30, 2018. It was an eerie feeling, counting the seconds while the earth grumbled under the house again. In 2018, our 7.1, four-minute quake flung dishes and pans helter-skelter onto…

Treacherous Beauty

Accuracy in maps can determine the life or death for an Alaskan traveling in the bush. Based upon our maps, planes skirt mountain peaks, hikers avoid impassable gorges, and kayakers classify a river’s difficulty by ratings whether it’s “still and gently moving water” or “unnavigable whitewater.”            Yet, no seasoned Alaska traveler relies on maps alone.…

Is This the End of the Line?

The phrase “the end of the line” infers finality. Hitting the wall. Cessation. Did you know that, at one time in history, God’s plan to redeem mankind appeared to be at “the end of the line?” (II Kings 8:16-11:16 and II Chronicles 22:10–23:15) Around 840 BC, bloody political intrigue pursued the monarchs of Judah. King Jehoram…

Mastering Monument

            “We’re going up that?”             My hunting partner, Joe, studied the treacherous Monument Trail like a pugilist gauging combat. Standing in the bed of his bright yellow, 1949 one-ton Ford, I searched for hand holds. Monument sneered down at us, and suddenly Joe hopped behind the big black steering wheel and slammed the iron…

Acre of Iron

A lament for Alaskan elders who still burn wood for heat, stock their freezers with caribou and silver salmon, and never throw anything out — in case a neighbor needs it.       Oh, how things have changed in Alaska——–             Mr. Percival lives in what neighbors call the “junk yard.” His ramshackle workshop squats near…

Smoking Chaff of 2021

Peter was having another difficult day… At a fish fry, Jesus and he were exploring the depths of his commitment when Peter asked about the future of his young friend, John. “What about him, Lord?” Peter attempted to deflect attention away from himself, but Jesus didn’t take the bait. He responded, “If I want him…

Tsunami of Grace

In these days of uncertainty, I’ve been soaking in Romans 5:20-21 lately.——— It says: God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s…

Never Aground

            In the early 1900s, the captain of a steamship feared running aground in Alaska waters more than gale-force winds. He might brave a storm — but grounding on ice or a hidden reef not only wrecked a shipmaster’s vessel, but also his reputation.             Only 16 lighthouses had been constructed along the 47,300 miles…

Jingle for Someone

I recall the first Christmas we were on our own. I awoke early on Christmas morning, and quietly left the bedroom before my 9-year-old sister stirred. My mother, my little sis and I had been sleeping in my parents’ king-size bed, still grieving since the divorce a few weeks earlier. I pulled on my cowboy…

Peerless

A 55-year-old memory trotted through my brain a while back… ©Richard Drebert —— I huffed clouds of breath as I pedaled to McFee’s Dairy before school. I was 10 years old, and proud to clear 35-cents-an-hour PLUS a bowl of Malt-O-Meal and crunchy cheese toast — my pay for scrubbing concrete floors in the milking-barn.…

Run to the Roar

When an aged lion grows too weak to kill his prey, he still hunts. He crouches in the tall grass watching a gazelle graze, while the rest of his pride stalks the quarry. The gazelle bounds off, easily outdistancing the pride, while the old hunter watches. In the gazelle’s path, the feeble old lion lingers.…

In the Furnace of “Why?”

Sweating in the late afternoon, Sanhedrin agents shouldered among shopkeepers, tax collectors and fishermen in Peter’s living room. The high priest had tasked them to investigate an itinerant rabbi. His flock was calling him “The Lamb of God,” and some even dared to call the man “Messiah.”  The threat of a violent purge hovered over…

Burden of Decision

At times I have chosen a way that I believed completely right, only to discover that the information that I used for judgement was incomplete. I am learning that God uses my inadequate insight to accomplish his purposes anyway… We often think we know, based upon information snatched from the airwaves. Taken from convoluted fiber-optic…

Science in Believing

You probably have more time to reflect upon your life lately. Perhaps, you too, are feeling that everything you observe or do is stamped with the barcode: “Eternal” or “Temporary.” We sometimes forget that an eternal world exists around us. God calls this dimension the “unseen,” and, contrary to modern thought, there is science in…

Aligning to Convictions

If we knew King David’s history — adultery, family upheavals, excessive bravado, volatility, bad decisions — would we vote for him if he were running for office? Yet David was a man whose personal odyssey aligned with God’s historic intentions. Many of us would hesitate to vote for this mercurial man, if we failed to…

Beyond Effort

Isa. 64:4: Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. In other words, his way of deliverance will shock you. You will find no logic in it. Acting on your behalf has its origins…

Rescue from the Plague

The pandemic of 1347 called the Bubonic Plague killed up to 30 million people in Europe alone. The name “buboes” described a victim’s infected lymph glands that swelled and turned to blackish boils. The cause of the Bubonic Plague remained a mystery until 1894, when scientists discovered that fleas and rodents infected by the Yersinia…