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What Christian Happenings Would You Like to See More of in the River Region?









 

Pondering the Journey 

 

Sam Whatley is the author of a Kindle book, Pondering the Journey, available on Amazon.com. His e-book is a collection of columns that first appeared in Journey magazine and was published as a paperback in 2002. Sam lives in Montgomery, AL.

Monday, 08 May 2017 13:23

The Refuge

Written by Sam Whatley

I watched a movie recently called The 33. It is the gripping dramatization of the 68 days that 33 miners spent trapped in a collapsing mine in Chile in 2010. One thing that enabled these men to survive was their ability to reach “the refuge” through the falling debris. The refuge was a large room with a table, benches, and some semblance of food, water, and medical supplies. By severely rationing their little water and a few cans of fish, they held out there for the seventeen days it took someone to drill a hole through 2,300 feet of very hard rock. The tunnels around them continued to crumble. The mountain, itself, kept moving.

Monday, 03 April 2017 15:45

What If I Do This?

Written by Sam Whatley

Is curiosity a good thing? Is it wise to try out new ideas? Sometimes.

When I was about ten years old our science class studied the way mold spores grow in damp, dark places. The teacher suggested that we put some water on a slice of bread and put it in a dark place for a week. We were to check on it each day and record our observations.

Friday, 10 March 2017 08:50

Detours: Part of God's Provision

Written by Sam Whatley

We have all had to deal with detours in our lives, and not just on the highway. Detours are usually unexpected, unavoidable, and inconvenient. They are situations or events that take us in a different direction than the route we had planned. They can send us miles away from our goals and completely derail our time schedules. But sometimes they are a blessing, the means of God’s grace.

Monday, 30 January 2017 09:46

What's On Your To-Do List?

Written by Sam Whatley

I have noticed that some people are list makers and some are not. Some folks make a detailed grocery list before going to the store, while others get there and wander down every aisle. List makers are trying to be efficient, trying to do more in less time. So, they plan ahead.

Thursday, 05 January 2017 13:50

Transforming Throwaways

Written by Sam Whatley

I recently saw an exhibit called “Transformart” at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit is expansive. As you enter the three-room panorama of tropical animals and plants you hear the sounds of a waterfall and birds chattering. The centerpiece is a twenty-five-foot tree made from clothes. As you look around, you see that everything is created from items that most of us discard. There is a life-like sheep of computer cables and a giant bird of shoe laces. The neck and head of a giraffe made of broken pencils protrudes from the wall above you. Perhaps the most startling creatures of all are the animals created from hundreds of empty ammunition shells.

Monday, 05 December 2016 08:02

Work to Build, Prepare to Defend

Written by Sam Whatley

Much of life is about rebuilding. This is obvious the older you get. Once you are past forty something you start to realize that there is more sand at the bottom of your hourglass than there is at the top. When you are young you are trying to build your life. After middle age, you start trying to rebuild the walls that have fallen down from neglect. They may be walls of physical health, finances, family relationships, or your own spiritual walk with Christ. But those areas are going to require work and diligence to repair.

Monday, 07 November 2016 07:54

God's Fingerprints

Written by Sam Whatley

God’s fingerprints are everywhere, especially in the world of nature. This point came back to me as I watched a documentary about the migration of barn swallows from Africa to Europe and back.

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 12:34

Aliens and Strangers

Written by Sam Whatley

In the Book of Exodus there are dozens of commandments. One that catches my attention is Exodus 22:21, “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him for you were aliens in Egypt” (NIV).

Thursday, 01 September 2016 07:46

Convicted Both Ways

Written by Sam Whatley

When we accept Christ, our lives change. For some, this change is in stages over time. For others it is literally overnight. So, some folks can pinpoint the date they were saved and others cannot.

Monday, 08 August 2016 13:03

The Buddy System

Written by Sam Whatley

Last September I sat under a large oak tree and read a book. I usually find it relax- ing to get out in nature. I did not know that a life-and-death struggle was about to unfold in the limbs above my head. The leaves were falling, the birds were chirping, and suddenly a hawk swooped down onto a dove.

Friday, 01 July 2016 08:04

The Lone Ranger Is Not Real

Written by Sam Whatley

One of the first hit TV shows in the early 1950s was a western called “The Lone Ranger.” The premise of this series was that there was only one survivor after a patrol of six Texas Rangers was massacred. But no one knew that man was still alive. Badly wounded, this “lone Ranger” was nursed back to health by an Indian named Tonto, who became his companion.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 09:56

A New Season of Faith

Written by Sam Whatley

I saw a striking photo the other day. It showed the Schonberg Castle on the crest of a hill overlooking the Rhine River in Germany. The castle was built of stone more than eight centuries ago and bears the destruction of many wars. But in the middle of that yellow stone fortress is a red brick building about six stories tall. It sports rows of archway windows with dormers cut into the roof.

Tuesday, 05 April 2016 05:45

Two Families

Written by Sam Whatley

Jesus had two families. So have we.

Thursday, 03 March 2016 08:08

The Word in the Movie

Written by Sam Whatley

I saw a movie recently that illustrates two chapters of the Bible as well as anything I have ever seen. The chapters are Ephesians 5 and 6 and the movie is War Room. This movie is not to be regarded as Scripture, by any means, but it acts out a major foundation of truth found in Scripture. Family strife is spiritual strife. Family harmony is the conquering work of the Holy Spirit. Intercession through prayer is the key to the battle.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 07:51

The Tiger and the Goat

Written by Sam Whatley

In November 2015 in a safari park in southeast Russia, the zookeepers threw a goat in the pen of a Siberian tiger for the tiger to hunt and eat. But the goat showed no fear of the big cat.  In fact, he chased him out of his enclosure and took over his bed. The tiger, unbothered, moved to the roof. He did not consider the goat his prey. The zoo employees were stunned. Nothing like this had happened before. Within days the goat, named Timur, and the tiger, named Amur, became close friends.

Thursday, 31 December 2015 17:44

Forgiveness, the Healing Power

Written by Sam Whatley

The Lord is real keen on forgiveness. And, if you continue seeking God, He will speak to you about forgiving others. He may even choose to speak through you. 

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 13:47

The Knock at the Door

Written by Sam Whatley

In June of 1969 four coeds at Ohio State decided to pool their resources and sublease a duplex. The girls, unaccustomed to real estate transactions, gave one of the tenants moving out the money to cover the first month’s rent, without getting a receipt.

Sunday, 08 November 2015 20:39

The Unseen Hand

Written by Sam Whatley

Sometimes God speaks to us through the unusual happenings in nature. We may not, like Moses, see an unconsumed burning bush, but there are natural events that startle us and capture our attention.


I recently witnessed one of those as a leaf suspended in air.

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 14:03

The Bridge to God

Written by Sam Whatley

In the mid-15th century the armies of the emperor Tupac Inca swept down the western coast of South America conquering tribe after tribe. His empire would rival the Roman Empire in length and size. One of his greatest obstacles was the Apurimac River. This river splits two mountain ranges for hundreds of miles. In some places the mountains are four miles high and the gorges are a mile deep.

To conquer this land his armies had to crisscross the mountains and ravines. They needed bridges. But there were no trees for lumber and no metal for girders. At every place he needed a bridge, the emperor had hundreds of villagers harvest long grass, beat it flat, and twist it into cords the width of a finger. The cords were twisted into ropes and the ropes into cables as thick as a man’s thigh. The cables formed the ribs of the floor and the hand rails of massive suspension bridges, while ropes and cords connected the cables. Bush branches were plaited to create the floor.  When finished, these suspension bridges would accommodate dozens of men and llamas. But the bridges were always temporary.

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 07:25

Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

Written by Sam Whatley

Not long ago two friends of mine debated whether or not a Christian owns the money in his bank account. One said, yes, the money was a gift from God and it was his to choose how to spend it. The other said, no, the money was God’s and a Christian was only the steward of those funds. They agreed to disagree.

Obviously, this was a spiritual, not legal, debate. But it brought to mind a lesson from Jesus’ famous parable, The Prodigal Son. Look at how the two sons viewed their father’s property in Luke 15:11-32.

“Jesus continued: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.”

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 20:05

Starting Over, After Collapse

Written by Sam Whatley

Once upon a time a four-year-old boy sat in a kitchen doorway stacking columns of blocks to make an imaginary building. His dad was a carpenter and brought home dozens of board scraps. He called them blocks.

Tuesday, 07 July 2015 15:23

Meek, Like a Warhorse

Written by Sam Whatley

The Bible has been translated into English for hundreds of years by scholars and theologians. But occasionally it comes to light that our language has changed so much that another interpretation of a word may be more accurate. Some 30 years ago I heard that said about the word meek. 

 

Thursday, 04 June 2015 14:24

He Didn’t Say, “I Told You So”

Written by Sam Whatley

In the 1980’s Randy Travis wrote and recorded a hauntingly beautiful song called, “I Told You So.” It was very popular, hitting #1 on the country charts. The song describes the anxiety of a man as he ponders what his girlfriend (wife?) might say if he apologizes and offers to come back to her. He wonders if she would forgive him for leaving and attempt to find the closeness they once knew. But he is afraid that she might say, “I told you so, but you had to go.” She might tell him that she found someone new and that he would never break her heart again. The singer does not resolve the question, and you know he will only find out if he faces the one he has wronged.

Thursday, 07 May 2015 15:03

A Bride in Name Only

Written by Sam Whatley

In April, 1956 C. S. Lewis of England married Joy Davidman of the United States in a civil ceremony. But she became a bride in name only. And even that was a secret. Her British visa had expired and she was facing deportation to America with her two young sons, knowing that her violent, alcoholic, ex-husband would be waiting for them. She needed desperately to find another place to live and decided to become a British citizen.

Friday, 03 April 2015 18:39

Woodpeckers and Snakes

Written by Sam Whatley

Many mornings I am awakened by a burst of rapping as our local woodpecker, attacks a nearby tree. He’s a red-cockaded, not a red-headed, woodpecker. Instead of having a solid cap of red, he has a sliver of red that runs from the base of the eye to the back of the cap. Another difference is that the red-cockaded type pecks out a nest in live pines, rather than the soft wood of dead trees. But the dramatic difference is how they can decorate the base of a pine. Let me explain.

Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:42

Dropping Batons

Written by Sam Whatley

I know very little about Track and Field events, but occasionally a story from the Olympics catches my attention. When I heard about the American baton drops in the 4x100 meter relay races in 2008 in Beijing, I was intrigued, but not by the mishap itself.

Tuesday, 03 February 2015 06:11

Horses, Chariots and Names

Written by Sam Whatley

About 3,000 years ago King David recorded in Psalm 20:7 something we instinctively know to be true, but find difficult to understand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Saturday, 03 January 2015 12:38

Lasting Letters

Written by Sam Whatley

In the 1950’s Pat Boone hit the charts with a record called “Love Letters in the Sand.” He lamented about being in love, writing love letters on the beach, and watching the tide wash them all away. He sang about his love being untrue and laughing at his sorrow. Girls across America loved the song, bought records, and made the young singer a celebrity.

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