January 28, 2016

NOTICE

New posts to the Contemporary Parables website have been discontinued: however, all 230 previous posts are still available below. 

Blessings,

Bruce Westerdahl, Parable Scribe

January 25, 2016

Worry II

Long ago, I read about a group of students who were asked to list their worries on a form which was folded and placed in a box. The papers were shuffled, and everyone selected a new list of worries. When they read what others were worried about, most agreed they preferred to have their own worries back. The lesson: We may not want the worries we have, but if we are going to worry, we prefer to have our own.
Worry, also known as angst or anxiety, is a sad state of feeling which can cause ulcers, high blood pressure, strokes, angina, migraine headaches, indigestion, tremors, fatigue, insomnia, depression, diarrhea and a host of other symptoms. It can also lead to alcoholism or drug addiction.
Some of the most often mentioned reasons people worry are appearance, finances, relationships, health and the future. Other reasons noted are the economy, employment, death and responsibilities.
In just few simple yet powerful lines from a song based on Psalm 27, God’s poet David revealed how he was able to confront worry.  
“The Lord is my helper, and therefore shall I never fear. The Lord is my high tower. In Him will I be confident. The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?”  
Like David, may we all face our problems with courage and strength because we have faith and trust in God.   


January 8, 2016

Don't Let the Devil Steal Your Joy III

Ask the average person if 2015 was a good year for the people of the world, and you will probably get a negative response. And why not  considering  all the natural disasters, terrorism. mass killings, growth of ISIS and civil wars during the past twelve months. Obviously the Prince of Darkness was active in 2015.

But according to Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, “2015 was the best year in history for the average human to be alive.” Really? Here are just a few examples of the facts Kenny offers as evidence:
The mortality rate from famine and undernourishment is down.
Childhood illnesses of all kinds have dropped dramatically.
The number of electoral democracies is at an historic high.
The world is better-educated, better-fed, healthier and freer.
Violent crime in America is down.
Female literacy reached new heights.
Peter Diamandis, named one of "The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders" – by Fortune Magazine in 2014, claims that “90% of the news in the newspaper and on television is negative . . .” 

If we only pay attention to the negative reports the media love to stress, and if we are constantly preoccupied by our own personal misfortunes, we will be in a state of depression and despair all the time.

St. Peter said that “Satan walks around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and deprive of all joy and pleasure.” St. Paul commanded us to “put on the armor of God” to battle the evil one. 

Last month,we heard from friends and loved ones who wished us a Happy New Year. So what will it be for you in 2016?  Will you allow the negative  to determine your mood or will you look for the positive in your own life and throughout the world? 

January 1, 2016

Those Who Mourn Will Be Comforted

Recently, our church choir rehearsed a song titled Blessed by Pamela Stewart and Brad Nix. The first line of this meaningful hymn is: 
“Blessed are the broken hearts, betrayed by pain and loss.”
Those words reminded me of friends who mourn the loss of someone dear to them, and I wondered, “How are my friends blessed?”

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that those who mourn “will be comforted.”

Many biblical scholars maintain that Jesus was referring to those who grieve because of their sins. I agree with others who believe Jesus was speaking about anyone who mourns for whatever reason.

The second line of the song Blessed is, 
“I was once forsaken and alone upon a cross.”
Jesus knew how it feels to be abandoned and deserted. His closest companions during his ministry disowned him, and even God allowed him, in his humanity, to experience the sense of abandonment and isolation that humans feel when loved ones leave us.

But in the end, Jesus was not abandoned, and the cross on which he died became a symbol, not of death, but of eternal life.

I believe those who mourn will be blessed and will find peace if they will only believe in the promises of the Savior.