Blog Posts by Dr. Gary Nelson

  • Without Any Hope

    "...without any hope..."

    "God said to me, "Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future... I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. I have promised that I would do this-and I will. I, the Lord, have spoken." Ezekiel 11 & 14)

    On Monday I sat in the rotunda of our state capitol as the governor proclaimed this week as "Suicide Prevention Week" in West Virginia, coinciding with the national and international observances. I serve on the board of directors for the West Virginia Council for the Prevention of Suicide so I was there to support the efforts of our group and many others who work to prevent more suicides. Bob Musick, the executive director, and the staff of our council have mounted a tremendous program aimed at educating the public and organizing efforts for suicide prevention. Since the publishing of my book on

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  • Entrust

    "...entrusted to your care."

    "Timothy, keep safe what has been entrusted to your care." (I Timothy 6:20)

    A few minutes ago I witnessed a very important moment in the lives of several children and their parents. I was standing at the door of our church's preschool, greeting the families as the children arrived for their very first day of the new school year. Some of the children went bursting into the classrooms with joyous expectation while others shuffled hesitantly some, very reluctantly. What struck me as so important this morning was not so much the reactions of the children, but rather, that moment when the parents had to let go of their child's hand thus entrusting the teacher with the care of their child. The child drops the hand of their parent and reaches for the hand of this new teacher who is about to give them a tour of their new classroom and help them with the next step in their life journey. What a significant moment - a parent letting go of their child and entrusting

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  • Refresh!

    "I will refresh those who are weary..."

    "I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger." (Jeremiah 31:25)

    This past weekend we celebrated the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year with a community gathering at our church. The festivities included live bands, an inflatable for the kids, popcorn, and lemonade. However, I think the most popular spot at the event was the corner where the local ice cream dealer was handing out free ice cream cones. There was never a lull in the action at his ice cream machine! As a matter of fact I know that there were folks who braved the line more than once. At some point I heard the number "6" used with ice cream cones! (Okay, I will confess to "2" over the three-hour event.)

    I believe there's something really special and almost magical about ice cream. I've never seen someone arguing or being mean while they were eating ice cream. I've never seen someone crying while they were eating ice

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  • How Clouds Float in the Sky

    "... how clouds float in the sky..."

    "Do you know how clouds float in the sky,
    the work of God's amazing skill?" (Job 37:16)

    How do planes stay in the sky? Regardless of the fact that we can explain it by airflow over wings and lift, I'm still amazed. Every time I get on a plane I look out over the wings. Forget needing a "bigger boat." I always feel like we need bigger wings if we're ever going to get that plane off the ground. I remember growing up in southwestern West Virginia and seeing very little in the sky above us except the things God had hung there like the stars and moon. Very seldom did we see an airplane. Curiosity makes its home with me so I was always anxious for a time when I could see more and wonder how. I guess that's why I was like a kid in a candy store when we lived in northern Virginia and the sky was filled with all kinds of airplanes and helicopters. I always looked up in amazement and wonder.

    Today in the age of technology we might be tempted to answer the

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  • Hate

    "...the fires of their altars."


    Do not worship the Lord your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the Lord hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars." (Deuteronomy 12:31)

    While recently driving through a very small town in West Virginia Patti and I came upon a group of burned-out buildings. Something about the starkness, disarray, and contrasts of burned wood and good wood caught my attention so I stopped to take pictures. A gentleman living across the street came out of his house to check me out so we struck up a conversation. It seems this fire was the work of an arsonist. As I looked at the strong beams that had once been carefully assembled with pride of workmanship I began to consider the heart of the builder of this structure versus the heart of the destroyer. One worshiped at the altar of construction with hard work, determination, and pride. The other worshiped at the

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  • Caught in the Act

    "...caught in the very act..."


    "Teacher, they said to Jesus, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our Law Moses commanded

    that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?" (John 8:4-5)

    Who, me? Busted - caught in the act - gotcha! No mistake about this mess, Pete was the one guilty of shredding a piece of styrofoam in the middle of the floor. He stole it from the basement as I was unpacking a box and dropped a piece of styrofoam packing on the floor. It's actually a game he learned to play with me years ago when I was using the same styrofoam to build a model train layout in the basement. If I left a piece on the floor Pete would steal it. My part was to yell, "Hey, that's mine," which made him even more proud of himself as he scampered away with his prize. So, when I caught him this time, all I could do was say, "You win," pick up the pieces, and make a mental note to myself not to drop more styrofoam.

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  • Melting Rocks

    "...changes rocks into pools of water..."


    "Tremble, earth, at the Lord's coming, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who changes rocks into pools of water and solid cliffs into flowing springs." (Psalm 114:7-8)

    When we think of rocks we think of strength, something so strong that we can use them for foundations of homes and skyscrapers. As I watched the waves pound these rocks on the coast of Maine I was reminded that the rocks were once part of the cliff where I was standing. With time and great power the waves and wind had whittled away at the cliff leaving rocks scattered along the way. With more time the rocks will be reduced to the sand at the base of the cliff, and with more time... I am always in awe of the power of the wind and waves. I am also in awe of the power of God to create and renew. Imagine, power such that the Psalmist cries, "Tremble, earth, at the Lord's coming, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who changes rocks into pools of water and solid cliffs into

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  • Wander Off the Road

    "...wander off the road..."

    "If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying,
    Here is the road. Follow it." (Isaiah 30:21)

    I guess there's no question why they call this Grandview National Park. We stopped at the overlook last week while we were visiting the park with some friends to see the show, Hatfields and McCoys. Looking at the photo you'll see the railroad track that runs by the river. I couldn't help but notice what a circuitous route the train has to follow, traveling way down the valley and around the mountain just to get back to a spot not that far as the crow flies from where it began. While we were there we watched a freight train work its way along the tracks by the river's edge.


    I don't know about you, but if I were traveling through the valley I'd probably be tempted to look for the shortcut. Why wander all the way around the river path if I could just cut straight up the side of the mountain and down the other side.

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  • American Restoration

    " restored my life."


    "I cried to you for help, O Lord my God, and you healed me; you kept me from the grave. I was on my way to the depths below,
    but you restored my life." (Psalm 30:2-3)
    I'm really relieved! I drove by a local lawn and garden store today where Babe and Paul Bunyon make their home. I was delighted to see that Babe had been restored to his rightful place after having been blown down a couple of terraces by one of the severe recent storms.


    For several days I drove by the store and saw poor Babe humbled, pathetically resting on his side with his stiff blue legs projecting weirdly into space. It's great to see the mighty Babe is back!

    I'm a fan of a television show called, "American Restoration," one of the History Channel's offerings. Folks bring items that are either already on the junk pile or one step removed from the heap to this fellow and his crew for restoration. What they are able to accomplish in returning the items to pristine condition is nothing

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  • A Hiding Place

    You are my hiding place...


    "You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble. I sing aloud of your salvation, because you protect me." (Psalm 32:7)

    A few weeks ago our neighbors went away on vacation so their grass grew a little taller than normal. When they returned and mowed the front lawn they discovered a mother rabbit had used their absence and tall grass as an opportunity to build a nest in a small hollow. Fortunately the hollow was deep enough that the baby rabbits were exposed but not harmed by the mower. A few days later the mother rabbit moved her babies to a new location.

    Isn't it amazing that most mammals are born in a state of "almost ready?" It's really another example of God's attention to detail in the divine plan for life. That time between birth and leaving the nest is an important opportunity for physical, mental, social, (and for humans, spiritual) maturation. There is lots to be learned that will contribute toward survival and success as adults in the

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(174 Stories)