• Discipleship

    Doubting Thomas

    Have you noticed the wide variety in personalities among people today? Some are extremely outgoing, and talkative, while others are shy. For some people the glass is always half full, for others it’s always half empty. While some are optimistic and positive, others tend to be negative, skeptical and pessimistic. Personalities were different in Jesus day as well, including among His followers. Peter, for example was extremely outgoing, positive and optimistic. On the other end of the spectrum was Thomas, whose name is often prefaced by the adjective “Doubting….” Peter Marshall labeled Thomas “the Galilean from Missouri.” Even today some people are extremely positive, and for them life seems filled…

  • Discipleship

    A Father’s Day Tribute

    One of the milestones in the month of June is Father’s Day. My father was one of the greatest influences in my life. Dad trusted Christ when I was seven, and he and I were baptized at the same service at Westwood Baptist Church near Birmingham. After serving in the U S Marines during World War II (The Black Sheep Squadron in the Pacific Theater, above), Dad spent 42 years working for the (Norfolk) Southern railroad. He began as a fireman, shoveling coal on steam engines, then was promoted to engineer. Dad was a hard worker, and put a lot of effort into his job. My brothers, my sisters and…

  • Discipleship

    Dealing with Guilt

    When we trust Christ as our personal Savior, the guilt of personal sin before God is forever removed! As Paul affirms, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). The Bible uses images such as “Our sins have been buried in the depths of the sea’ (Micah 7:19), “…remembered no more,” (Jeremiah 31:34), and our transgressions have been removed “…as far as the east is from the west.’ (Psalm 103:12) To gain an understanding of the significance of this phrase, picture a globe of the Earth. From the North Pole to the South Pole is a distance of 12,430 miles. Yet the Psalmist…

  • Discipleship

    Helping a Depressed Friend or Family Member

    Depression affects people from all walks of life, all ages, and all ethnic backgrounds. It can be extremely serious, but the good news is depression can be treated.  However, it’s important to recognize that depression causes great emotional pain and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Before we can help someone close to us who may be suffering from depression we must make sure we understand exactly what depression is. Depression exists on a continuum from “the blues” or “the blahs” to significant depression or even suicidal feelings.  While sin can lead to depression, being depressed is not a sin or an indication of being out of fellowship with God. In…

  • Discipleship

    Up From Depression

    Depression is one of the most common emotional problems of the twenty-first century.  According to Mentalhealthamerica.net, 6.7% of American adults suffer from major depression each year– more than 16 million individuals!  Depression affects people on a continuum, from intense discouragement or feeling “down in the dumps” to a loss of energy and motivation, or even a serious medical issue involving a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depressed individuals feel tired most of the time, sleep a lot—or fall asleep, then wake up and can’t go back to sleep, lose pleasure from daily life, and experience a lot of negative self-talk. Depression is sometimes described as an emotional shutdown. It causes…