Aug. 24 I am blind and currently on SSDI, a much better program than SSI. I started a PR firm with five partners and hope to earn enough to get off government assistance. I can make roughly $1,400 a month and not lose benefits. A blind friend on SSI says she loses benefits any time she makes money. That encourages fraud because it penalizes work and saving money.
—Andre Traversa, Chicago, Ill.
Thanks for raising the alarm about the federal government’s disastrous disability programs. As with so many well-intentioned government programs, something good turned into something entirely different.
—Ken Walker, Huntington, W.Va.
I know a man who lived in a house with no utilities and operated a tiny business in his living room. In the late 1970s a county social worker offered to cover his rent if he moved to a better apartment, but he would have had to give up the business to qualify. He refused, and now his business has several employees. The government should not pay people not to do what they should be doing.
—Peter Stull, New York, N.Y.
Aug. 24 Joel Belz’s comments about sexual compulsion are very instructive. It seems more and more people are unable to manage their sexual instincts. Like the Israelites, we are far from God and it will take catastrophe to turn us from our wicked ways.
—David Hillquist, Arcadia, Mo.
You say that sex is “the most broadly volatile” of God’s gifts, but of course God does not cause us to sin. God’s gift of sex is pure, holy, and to be enjoyed within marriage.
—John Shoaf, Gladwin, Mich.
I agree that compulsive sexual behavior has cost us all greatly, but compulsive behaviors related to alcoholism and drug addiction are not very far behind. Society pays a horrendous price for these behaviors in terms of healthcare and the many victims of automobile accidents, for example.
—Gordon Jones, Fort Mill, S.C.
Aug. 24 There is so much wisdom in the saying, “Pick up a shovel.” I don’t get many opportunities to do big things, but how many opportunities for doing small things do I let pass because I don’t pick up a shovel?
—Ed Marino, Townsend, Mass.
This column pierced a calloused spot in my heart. I’ve been a missionary for almost 30 years. Important work fills my time. I rarely send birthday cards, and reunions and parties hardly ever make my calendar. For many years I’ve kept the niggling inner protest safely locked away—until now.
—Jim Manley, Meridian, Idaho
Last year I spent nine painful months at home after back surgery and a serious infection. Church friends, neighbors, and family gave me strength and joy each day with calls, prayers, cards, and visits with food. Thanks for noting how “something is better than nothing.”
—Joan Martin, Marietta, Ga.
Aug. 24 John Piper’s answers were scriptural, insightful, and uplifting.
—Carol Larson, Rochester, Minn.
It just touches me deep down that there are still people like Piper who are passionate and willing to talk about God still being on the throne.
—John Palms, Dinuba, Calif.
Aug. 24 I too like to grow a variety of plants. I enjoy the smell and feel of soil while also dealing with the challenges of the curse upon creation. Although you did not capitalize the genus name of the harlequin bug, that did not distract from this excellent musing.
—George A. Damoff, Farmers Branch, Texas
Next year Mindy Belz should find out what the harlequin bug eggs look like and look for them early. Just like sin, if we kill them in the egg stage then the adults cannot do their damage.
—David Boyd, Greenville, S.C.
Aug. 24 Thanks for the obituary of Chinese pastor Samuel Lamb. I once heard him tell how he was taken off hard labor and became the prison barber. For the next several years every prisoner came to him every month. Each one sat in his chair and heard his witness for Christ. Isn’t that just like God?
—Maurice Bender, Winter Garden, Fla.
Aug. 24 Racism can go away, but it will take a spirit of forgiveness for each other and a commitment not to teach prejudice. It would also be very helpful if the media would state the news without speculating about motive. Their handling of the Zimmerman/Martin case brought back a lot of very bad memories of my own prejudice that I have been trying to overcome for 50 years, and the president didn’t help.
—Rich Thorne, Bettles, Alaska
Aug. 24 Thank you for the story about Daniel and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and their daughter Abigail. I smiled and prayed for baby Abigail through my tears, both in joy for her survival and in the pain of losing my baby girl to Potter’s Syndrome 16 years ago.
—Wendy Loveland, Russellville, Ark.
Aug. 10 Regarding the comment that WORLD should “get off the politics thing,” I love the magazine. Let the ostriches go somewhere else.
—Kurt Meyer, Chantilly, Va.
Aug. 10 This column enabled me to tear up the many notes I’d scratched on scraps of paper trying to express some truths for someone in our lives. You said it all and backed it up with solid truth from Scripture.
—Diane Mumau, Hellertown, Pa.
Many American Christians seem to need a reminder of the price Christ paid, giving up His life to give us life, and that we need to give up our lives for Him.
—Bill Orf, Orwigsburg, Pa.
July 27 Thank you for your excellent coverage of Turkey. My wife and I have become very close to a Muslim Turkish family living in the United States. They are hospitable, kind, and quite proud of the secular democracy under which they grew up. They stand with the protesters back home.
—Dean Davis, Carbondale, Ill.
July 27 I was almost in tears at the end of this column. Many Christians are so insular they are of no use in helping to reach the current generation. We are called to be salt and light, not a cozy spiritual cabin in the middle of nowhere, and if we are obedient we will get our hands dirty. Not only should we back up people like Doug TenNapel, many of us need to be more like him.
—Jess Steere, Berea, Ky.
July 27 Thanks to Andrée Seu Peterson for the forthright reminders of those, from the apostle Peter to more recent pathfinders of the faith, who have clearly marked the shipwreck shoals.
—Roger Hudgins, Bartlesville, Okla.
June 15 This column on marriage moved me to tears. I will be dwelling for a long while on Jeanne Damoff’s advice to young couples: “God really is sovereign, loving, and good, . . . nothing you would choose for yourself could ever surpass the beauty and wonder of the gifts He has prepared for you.”
—Heidi Chin, Salem, Ore.
Submitted by Steve Klar
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