David Gunardi, Associate Pastor
Pastor David Gunardi was ordained in 2011 as a Teaching Pastor at Life Change Baptist Church
His mission in life is to equip and assist others in a healthy and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ until they become a mature disciple.
He is married to his best friend since middle school, Widya. Together they have been serving the Lord faithfully.
A man who had been married more than thirty years to his childhood sweetheart, said, "I still like to hold my wife's hand." He went on, however, to admit that he enjoyed holding his wife's hand for a different reason than he had when he was a teenager. "When we were kids," he reflected, "I got an electric spark when I touched her hand. Now my life seemed filled with too much electricity, and I get a sense of peace when I hold her hand."
The touch of a hand can mean more than "I love you." Sometimes it can mean, "I care," or "I need you," or simply "I'm here."
The roots of love become branched and intertwined over time. Many sources of love and intimacy come into play. Sometimes those are rooted in compassion, sometimes in a sense of doing what is right. Sometimes they grow from giving help, other times from receiving help.
Take a fresh look at your spouse today. Find something new to appreciate. You may very well find yourself falling in love all over again.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
I will betroth you to me forever, I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. Hosea 2:19
Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most powerful preachers in American history, gave this illustration in one of his sermons:
"The lobster, when left high and dry among the rocks, has no sense and energy enough to work his way back to the sea, but waits for the sea to come to him. If it does not come, he remains where he is, and dies, although the slightest exertion would enable him to reach the waves, which are perhaps tossing and tumbling within a yard of him.
"There is a tide in human affairs that casts men into 'tight places,' and leaves them there, like stranded lobsters. If they choose to lie where the breakers have flung them, expecting some grand billow to take them on its big shoulders and carry them to smooth water, the chances are that their hopes will never be realized."
Laziness is doing nothing, hoping nothing, being nothing. Patience, on the other hand, doesn't mean not doing anything. It means working on in hope that what you're waiting for will eventually come to pass, but you will continue to work on even if it doesn't.
Laziness is often mistaken for patience.
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
After the fall of France in World War II, a fable began to circulate about the fate of England. The story was told that in July 1940, Hitler and Mussolini invited Churchill to Paris for a secret conference. They met at a tea table beside a famous carp pool. The Fuhrer opened the dialog: "England is finished, Churchill! Sign this document admitting defeat and all Europe will have peace tomorrow!" Churchill said quietly, "I don't agree that we have lost the war."
Hitler pounded the table and cried, "Ridiculous!"
"Why not settle this with a wager?" Churchill asked.
Hitler responded, "What's the bet?"
Churchill said, "see these big carp in the pool? Let's wager that the first to catch one without using customary fishing equipment will be the winner."
Hitler and Mussolini agreed and the Fuhrer quickly pulled out a revolver and emptied it at the nearest fish. The water deflected the bullets. Next, Mussolini jumped into the pool and tried to catch a carp with his bare hands. He failed.
"Your turn, Churchill," said Hitler.
Churchill began to repeatedly dip his spoon into the pool and toss the water over his shoulder. "What are you doing?" cried Hitler. Churchill replied, "It will take a long time, but we are going to win the war!"
Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings.
When Michigan played Wisconsin in basketball early in the 1989 season, Michigan's Rumeal Robinson found himself at the foul line with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. His team was trailing by one point, and Rumeal knew that if he could sink both shots, Michigan would win. Sadly, Rumeal missed both shots. Wisconsin upset the favored Michigan, and Rumeal went to the locker room feeling devastated and embarrassed.
His dejection, however, led to a positive move on his part. He determined that at the end of each practice for the rest of the season, he was going to shoot 100 extra foul shots. And shoot 'em he did!
The moment came when Rumeal stepped to the foul line in yet another game, again with the opportunity to make two shots. This time there were only three seconds left in overtime, and the game was the NCAA finals! Swish went the first shot . . . and swish went the second. Those two points gave Michigan the victory and the collegiate national championship for the season.
Have you just failed at something? Don't give up. Instead, work harder. Success is possible!
When I was a young man I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn't want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work.
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
In A Slow and Certain Light, Elisabeth Elliot writes: "When I lived in the forest of Ecuador I usually traveled on foot...Trails often led through streams and rivers which we had to wade, but sometimes there was a log high above the water which we had to cross.
"I dreaded those logs and was always tempted to take the steep, hard way down into the ravine and up the other side. But the Indians would say, 'Just walk across, senorita,' and over they would go, light-footed and confident. I was barefoot as they were, but it was not enough. On the log, I couldn't keep from looking down at the river below. I knew I would slip. I had never been any good at balancing myself ... so my guide would stretch out a hand, and the touch of it was all I needed. I stopped worrying about slipping. I stopped looking down at the river or even at the log and looked at the guide, who held my hand with only the lightest touch. When I reached the other side, I realized that if I had slipped he could not have held me. But his being there and his touch were all I needed."
A major source of comfort in prayer is simply realizing that God is present.
Prayer is not only "the practice of the presence of God," it is the realization of His presence.
Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy.
The story is told of four scholars who were arguing over the beauty and accuracy of various Bible translations.
One scholar argued for the King James Version, citing its beautiful, eloquent old English.
The second scholar advocated for the American Standard Bible. He cited its literal-ism, the way it moved a reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original texts.
The third scholar said he preferred the translation by Moffatt. He praised its quaint, penetrating use of words, the turn of a phrase that captured the attention of the reader.
After giving thought to each of the lengthy and impassioned arguments presented, the fourth scholar said, "Frankly, I have always preferred my mother's translation."
Knowing that his mother was not a Bible translator, nor a scholar, the other three chuckled and said, "No, seriously ... " The man stood his ground. "I stand by my claim," he said. "My mother translated each page of the Bible into life. And it was the most convincing translation I have ever seen."
Her children stand and bless her ...
Many people revere Francis of Assisi, the thirteenth-century saint known for his very simple lifestyle and deep love of the poor. He founded the Franciscan order, restored numerous dilapidated Italian chapels, and helped countless needy people.
What most people don't know, however, is that Francis spent most of his life not in doing good works, but in prayer. St. Bonaventure wrote about him, "Whether walking or sitting, within doors or without, at toil or at leisure, he was so absorbed in prayer that he seemed to have devoted not only his whole heart and body, but also his whole heart and time." Francis regularly set aside hours throughout the day which he called "appointments with God," and he never missed one, even though he had serious eye, stomach, spleen, and liver problems. On one occasion, as Francis traveled through the large town of Borgo on a donkey, people pressed in upon him from all sides to touch his garments. Francis was so absorbed in prayer that when he arrived at his destination some time later, he asked when they were going to get to Borgo!
No matter how busy we are, we must never become too busy to pray. It is our prayer life that gives lasting meaning to everything else we undertake.
Most men forget God all day and ask Him to remember them at night.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
A businessman was once very concerned about his ability to sell a warehouse property he owned. Since he had last surveyed the building, vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash throughout it. The building had been empty for several months and needed other repairs due to weather and general lack of maintenance. As the man showed a prospective buyer the building, he took great pains to assure him that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, mend the roof, and clean out the garbage. He felt as if he was apologizing at every turn for the condition of the building, but wanted to present the best possible face on the potential sale.
To his surprise, the buyer finally said to him, "Listen, forget about the repairs. I'm going to build something completely different on this land. I don't want the building. I want the site."
So often we attempt to present to our Creator what we think is good --- justifying our actions, promising to do better, trying to put the best spin on the state of our souls. In the end, what He wants is us. When we give Him ourselves, He gives us the very best He has.
Don't ask God for what you think is good; ask Him for what He thinks is good for you.
After this manner therefore pray ye...Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Imagine for a moment that your bank suddenly announced this as its new policy:
Every morning your account is going to be credited with $86,400. You can carry no balance from day to day. Every evening, your account will be cancelled and whatever amount of your account you have failed to use during the day will be returned to the bank.
What would you do? Why, you'd draw out every cent of the $86,400 each day, and spend it, save it, or invest it as wisely as possible. Before long, you could be a very wealthy person, indeed!
Actually, you have a bank account with a similar policy. It is called "Time." Every morning, you are given the prospect of $86,400 seconds. At the close of that twenty-four hour period, the moments you have failed to withdraw and invest to good purpose are ruled off your ledger. Time carries no balances from day to day. It allows no overdrafts. Each day, a new account is opened to you. If you fail to withdraw and use the day's deposit, the loss is yours.
Those who truly love life use time to the maximum. They make their days count rather than counting their days!
When we love something it is of value to us, and when something is of value to us we spend time with it, time enjoying it and time taking care of it.
And I will gladly spend and be spent for you . . . .
2 Corinthians 12:15
After Thomas Edison's fame had become international, he was advised to have scientists come to his lab and help him understand just why some of his inventions had worked. Edison didn't see much use for it, but being open-minded, he consented to the idea. As a result, a brilliant research scientist from Germany came to his lab to explain to him the principles behind some of his innovations.
Edison handed the man a globe that had been twisted into a gourd-like shape and said, "Give me the cubic content of this."
Weeks passed, and eventually Edison sought out the man to ask him why he hadn't replied. The scientist began to give him a lengthy explanation about the difficulties of solving such a problem with higher mathematics. Edison then picked up the globe, took it over to a nearby sink, and filled it with water. He poured the water into a measuring tube, and holding up the tube he said, "This is the cubic content."
The solutions to most problems are probably far more simple than we think they might be. They usually stem from an understanding of basic principles, the whys of life.
The person who knows "how" will always have a job. The person who knows "why" will always be his boss.
How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
We can learn a great deal from the Alaskan bull moose. Each fall, during the breeding season, the males of the species battle for dominance. They literally go head-to-head, antlers crunching together as they collide. When antlers are broken, defeat is ensured since a moose's antlers are its only weapon.
Generally speaking, the heftiest moose with the largest and strongest antlers wins. Therefore, the battle is nearly always predetermined the summer before. It is then that the moose eat nearly 'round the clock. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the victor. Those who eat inadequately will have weaker antlers and less bulk. The fight itself involves far more brawn than brain and more reliance on bulk than on skill.
What is the lesson for us? Spiritual battles are inevitable. We each experience "seasons of attack" in our lives. Whether we are the victors or the victims depends not on our skills or brainpower but on our spiritual strength. What we do in advance of the war determines the outcome of the battle. Now is the time to develop enduring faith, strength, and wisdom. Now is the time for prayer, reading, and memorizing God's Word. Then, when the opportunity comes, you'll be prepared.
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
Make the most of every opportunity.
In recent years, nearly every community in the United States has been equipped with a 911 emergency phone system. The newest version of this system are state of the art. All a person has to do is dial those three numbers and he is instantly connected to a dispatcher.
The dispatcher's computer screen identifies the number from which the call is being made, the address, and the name by which the telephone number is listed. The system is simultaneously connected to the police department, fire department, and paramedics. A person using the 911 system doesn't even need to utter a word in order for help to be activated and dispatched to the scene.
The Lord has long had His own 911 system ---- a system more foolproof, failproof, and faithful than anything man can hope to design. When we "dial" 911 prayers, we are sometimes hysterical, or we don't know the right words to convey the deep need we feel. But God hears. He already knows our name and all about our circumstances. He knows the precise answer to our need even before we voice it. His help is on the way the very moment we turn to Him.
Every good and holy desire, though it lack the form, hath in itself the substance and force of a prayer with God, who regardeth the very moanings, groans, and sighings of the heart.
...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Shortly after graduation, Joe and Lana married. One of their first marital discoveries was their very different understanding of "being on time." Not wanting to end the honeymoon stage too early, Lana found herself mildly complaining about Joe's being late. But Joe never took the hint, and soon her complaining turned to outright criticism.
On the surface, there may not seem to be much difference between exposing a problem and criticizing, but in a relationship. the choice of words can bring very different responses. Criticism attacks someone's personality and character. When Lana criticized Joe, she would say, "You're only thinking about yourself!"
Putting an issue on the table for discussion in a positive manner in the first step toward finding a resolution. A person who asks gently, "Does it embarrass you when we are late?" is opening a dialog for finding the solution to the problem. Criticism only wound the spirit, puts the other person on the defensive, and usually ends up in a no-resolution argument.
Watch what you say! Criticism can cause a wound that takes years to heal, but a kind and gracious attitude in problem-solving can save you years of tears!
Stack every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.
Correct, rebuke and encourage --- with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2
Astronaut Shannon Lucid was not supposed to set an American record for time spent in space. However, her assignment was extended one and a half months because of technical difficulties with shuttle booster rockets and two hurricanes. The result was that Lucid stayed in space 188 days, setting a u.s. space endurance record and a world record for a woman. She returned to earth to high accolades from politicians and NASA officials, as well as to the loving arms of her family members.
What many reports failed to note in the wake of Lucid's record-setting stay on the Russian space station Mir, was the excellent reputation that Lucid had with her Russian hosts. That reputation was based not only on her technical expertise as an astronaut, but on the fact that her Russian counterparts never once heard her complain during her six-month stay. Every time Lucid was notified of a shuttle delay, she took the news in stride.
Valery Ryumin, a Russian space manager, noted that Lucid reacted like Russian cosmonauts do when their missions are extended: Russians deliberately choose cosmonauts "who are strong enough not to show any feelings" when receiving bad news.
Complaining not only makes you feel negative, but it spreads your negativity to others. Even an unpleasant or disappointing situation can become positive when you have a good attitude and speak uplifting words.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings.
Charles G. Finney, a young apprentice lawyer, was sitting in a small-town law office in the state of New York early one morning. He was all alone when he sensed the Lord speaking to him.
"Finney, what are you going to do when you finish your course?" He said, "Put out a shingle and practice law."
"Then what?" He replied. "Get rich."
"Then what?" He said, "Retire."
"Then what?" "Die."
"Then what?" And he spoke his next words with a tremble in his voice, "The judgment."
Finney left the office immediately and ran for the woods a half mile away. He prayed there all day and vowed that he would not leave until he had made peace with God. He had studied law for four years, but he emerged from the woods that evening with the high purpose of living to the glory of God and enjoying Him forever. God began to use him in a mighty way, not as a lawyer, but as a preacher. He brought thousands of people to a conversion experience over the next fifty years of his life.
Any career can be a way of bringing glory to God, as long as you know you are working to further His kingdom, and not simply to build one of your own.
Three qualities vital to success: toil, solitude, prayer.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
A little girl was eating her breakfast one morning when a ray of sunlight suddenly appeared through the clouds and reflected off the spoon in her cereal bowl. She immediately put it into her mouth. With a big smile she exclaimed to her mother, "I just swallowed a spoonful of sunshine!"
A spoonful of sunshine just may be the best "soul food" that a person can have in a day. A prominent surgeon once wrote, "Encourage your child to be merry and to laugh aloud. A good, hearty laugh expands the chest and makes the blood bound merrily along. A good laugh will sound right through the house. It will not only do your child good, but will be a benefit to all who hear, and be an important means of driving the blues away from a dwelling. Merriment is very catching, and spreads in a remarkable manner, few being able to resist the contagion. A hearty laugh is delightful harmony; indeed it is the best of music."
An old poem advises: If you are on the Gloomy Line, the Worry Train, or the Grouchy Track, get a transfer! It's time to climb aboard the Sunshine Train and sit in one of its Cheerful Cars.
The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirits.
In 1873, a Belgian Catholic priest named Joseph Damien De Veuster was sent to minister to lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. He arrived in high spirits, hoping to build a friendship with each of the lepers. People shunned him, however, at every turn. He built a chapel, began worship services, poured his heart out to the lepers, but all seemed futile. No one responded to his ministry and after twelve years of struggling, Father Damien decided to leave. As he stood in dejection on the dock waiting to board the ship, he looked down at the hands he was wringing and noticed some mysterious white spots on them. Feeling some numbness, he knew immediately what was happening ---- he had contracted leprosy!
Father Damien returned to the leper colony and to his work. Word spread quickly and within hours, hundreds gathered outside his hut, fully identifying with his plight. A bigger surprise came the following Sunday. When he arrived at the chapel, he found it full! Father Damien began to preach from the empathy of love rather than the distance of theology and ideas, and his ministry became enormously successful.
Those who receive your love today will be much more interested in hearing about your faith tomorrow.
The measure of a man is not how great his faith is, but how great his love is.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
In December 1994, the Air Force Times reported that Army soldier Joseph Cannon, who had just ended a six-year career, had not received a single military paycheck since boot camp. Officials said that Cannon's records were lost at his first duty station and he had never complained. He missed 144 paychecks, totaling more than $103,000! It seems Cannon had lived in the barracks, eaten only in the mess halls, and when he had special needs he had borrowed a few dollars from relatives. Once observer noted, "It appears he thought his room and board were the payment the military offered, so he took it all in stride and never felt deprived or overlooked. He figured somebody 'higher up' would take care of him as long as he took care of his job."
While Cannon's example may seem a major injustice or simply an example of "ignorance gone to seed," his simple trust in authority is endearing. It takes great wisdom for most of us to discern exactly when to request more and when to accept what we have in life.
To everything there is a season....Perhaps our prayer should be: "Tell me, Lord, what season am I in?"
To everything there is a season...a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
Two hunters chartered a plane to fly them into a remote region in Canada so that they might hunt for elk. The plane returned for them a few days later. Indeed, the hunt had been successful --- the two hunters had six elk to show for their effort.
When the pilot explained to them that his plane could only carry four of the elk, the hunters protested, "But the plane that we chartered last year was exactly like this one. It had the same horsepower, the weather was similar, and we took out six elk then."
Hearing this, the pilot reluctantly agreed to load all six elk. The plane struggled during takeoff, but was unable to gain sufficient altitude to climb out of the valley. It crashed near the top of a mountain. To their great fortune, all three men survived.
As the hunters stumbled out of the wreckage, one of them asked the dazed pilot, "Do you know where we are?" He mumbled, "No." The other hunter, however, looked around and said confidently, "I think we're about a mile from where we crashed last year!"
Mistakes are meant to lead to wisdom, not to future error.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
"Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms,"Rose once said,"I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity --- a very, very challenging and exciting thought for a mother." Feeling this duty, Rose became a natural and determined teacher of her children, leading them by discovery, story, example, and inspiration to fulfill their own destinies.
Rose engaged her children in conversation about history and politics, and when guests visited their home, she expected her children to ask questions and offer opinions. Even though the family was wealthy, the boys were expected to fix their own bicycles and were required to earn their own pocket money. She gave each child a sense of independence and privacy, yet dressed them with similar clothes so they would feel a part of a whole family unit. Rose expected her children to be self-confident adults and independent thinkers, with compassion for those less fortunate.
And she succeeded. Among Rose Kennedy's children, son John became President of the United States, son Robert, Attorney General, and son Theodore, a United States Senator.
A mother is not only a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
Honor your father and your mother, so you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
In Rock-Solid Marriage, Robert and Rosemary Barnes write: "Last summer we went with a close friend to his ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. At our friend Gary's insistence, we spent one whole day climbing the side of a mountain to get to see something he wanted us to see. We were both just exhausted, and it got to the point that we really didn't care what was in that special valley. It couldn't be worth all that pain we were going through. He just kept insisting. 'Trust me,' he kept saying, 'you'll be glad you did this when we get there.'
Three hours later, when our feet were blistered and we were dying of thirst, we finally reached our destination. Lying down on a side of a mountain, we were looking at the most beautiful valley and lake I had ever seen. The climb was long and it was agony, but it was more than worth it. Gary was right.
In the beginning, God established marriage. It wasn't meant to be easy; nothing worth having is. It was meant to be fulfilling and completing. It takes work, but it's almost as if God is saying, 'Trust Me, it's worth the effort!'
A marriage may be made in heaven, but the maintenance must be done on earth.
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace will be with you.
Grace Hopper was born with a desire to discover how things worked. At age seven, her curiosity led her to dismantle every clock in her childhood home! When she grew up, she eventually completed a doctorate in mathematics at Yale University. During World War II, Grace joined the navy and was assigned to the navy's computation project at Harvard University. There she met "Harvard Mark I," the first fully functional, digital computing machine. Once again, Grace set about to learn how something worked.
Unlike the clocks in her childhood home, however, "Harvard Mark I" had seven hundred fifty thousand parts and five hundred miles of wire! While most experts believed computers were too complicated and expensive for anyone but highly trained scientists to use, Grace had her own idea. Her goal was to make them easier to operate so more people could use them. Her work gave rise to the programming language COBOL.
As late as 1963, each large computer had its own unique master language. Grace became an advocate for a universally accepted language. She had the audacity to envision a day when computers would one day be small enough to sit on a desk, more powerful than Harvard Mark I, and useful in offices, schools, and at home. At the age of seventy-nine, she retired from the navy with a rank of rear admiral. But more important to her, she had lived to see her dream of personal computers come true!.
"Anything is possible if you have faith."
Many years ago in South Africa, a man sold his farm so that he might spend his days in search diamonds, He was consumed with dreams of becoming wealthy. When he had finally exhausted his resources and his health, and was no closer to his fortune than the day he sold his farm, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
One day, the man who had brought his farm spotted an unusual-looking stone in a creek bed. He placed it on his fireplace mantle as a conversation piece. A visitor noticed the stone and examined it closely. He then stated his suspicion that the stone was actually a diamond. The farmer, very discreetly, had the stone analyzed, and sure enough, it was one of the largest and finest diamonds ever found.
Still operating under great secrecy, the farmer searched his stream, gathering similar stones. They were all diamonds. In fact, his farm was covered with diamonds just waiting to be picked up! The farm the diamond-seeker had sold turned out to be one of the richest diamond deposits in the world.
The lessons of wisdom can often be learned in the relationships and experiences we encounter every day. Ask God to reveal to you what you need to know in order to live the life He desires for you to live. The resources you need are probably right there in front of you.
Wisdom is the wealth of the wise.
For the value of wisdom is far above rubies; nothing can be compared with it.
A designer in Dallas, Texas, was once asked by a client to build a large, elaborate model. It was one that called for several building interiors and hundreds of human figures. The model was to be created in a scale of one inch to five feet, which meant that each of the human figures was only a little more than an inch in height. Each one had to be hand-painted, using a brush with a single hair.
As the designer hunched over his table one day, painstakingly painting the figures and then carefully gluing them in place, one of his employee asked him, "Don't you find this tedious?"
The designer replied, "Tedious? My goodness, no! I've loved making and painting models ever since I made my first model airplane at age seven. I just can't believe someone is actually paying me to do this!"
Whether you work with your hands or your mind, loving what you do is the secret to having "fun" while you make money. Indeed, work will cease to be "work."
A kindergarten teacher once said about her class of five-year-olds, "They build and tear down and rebuild more in a day than most construction workers do in weeks, but they never call it work. They call it play!"
Find out what you love to do and you will never have to work another day in your life.
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Harry Houdini, who won fame as an escape artist early in the twentieth century, issued a challenge wherever he went. He claimed he could be locked in any jail cell in the country and set himself free within minutes. He had a long track record of doing just that!
One time, however, something seemed to go wrong. Houdini entered a jail cell in his street clothes. The heavy metal doors clanged shut behind him, and he took from his belt a concealed piece of strong and flexible metal. He set to work on the lock to his cell, but something seemed different about this particular lock. For thirty minutes he worked without results. An hour passed. This was long after the time that Houdini normally freed himself and he began to sweat and pant in exasperation. Still, he could not pick the lock.
Finally, after laboring for two hours, Houdini --- feeling a sense of failure close in around him --- leaned in frustration against the door he could not unlock. To his amazement, as he collapsed against the door, it swung open! It had not been locked in the first place!
How many times are challenges impossible --- or doors locked --- only because we think they are? When we put our minds and energy toward them, we often find the impossible tasks turned into achievements.
Clear your mind of can't
I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.
When Walter Wangerin was a boy, he told all of his friends that this father was the strongest man alive. Then came the day when Wally climbed to the top of the backyard cherry tree. A storm blew up suddenly and Wally was trapped. Wind ripped through the tree with such velocity that it was all Wally could do to hang into a branch about ten feet above the ground. "Daddy!" he shouted, and instantly, his father appeared. "Jump," he yelled up to Wally. "Jump, and I'll catch you."
Wally was frozen in fear. His big, strong dad looked quite small and frail down there on the ground, two skinny arms reaching out to catch him. Wally thought, If I jump and Dad doesn't catch me, I'll hit the ground and die! "No!" he screamed back. At that very moment the limb Wally was clinging to cracked at the trunk. Wally surrendered. He didn't jump --- he fell --- straight into Dad's ready arms. Crying and trembling, Wally wrapped his arms and legs around his father. Dad was strong after all. Up to that point, it had only been a theory. Now, it was a reality; it was experience.
Prayer is about surrendering our will to His, yielding our strength to His, giving up our desires to take on His, and surrendering when He asks us to jump into His waiting arms.
Just when I need Him, He is my all, answering when upon Him I call; tenderly watching lest I should fall.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
When Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the presidency, one of his archenemies was Edwin Stanton. Stanton hated Lincoln, and used every ounce of his energy to degrade Lincoln in the eyes of the public, often using the bitterest diatribes in an attempt to embarrass him.
In the process of choosing his cabinet after his election, Lincoln selected various members and then faced a decision about the important post of Secretary of War. He chose Stanton! The president's inner circle erupted in an uproar when they heard his choice. Numerous advisers came to Lincoln saying, "Mr. President, you are making a mistake. Are you familiar with all the ugly things he has said about you? He is your enemy. He will sabotage your programs."
Lincoln replied, "Yes, I know Mr. Stanton. But ... I find he is the best man for the job."
As Secretary of War Stanton gave invaluable service to his nation and his president. After Lincoln was assassinated, many laudable statements were made about Abraham Lincoln, but the words of Stanton remained among the greatest. Standing near Lincoln's coffin, Stanton called Lincoln one of the greatest men who ever lived and said, "He now belongs to the ages."
The bridge you burn now may be the one you later have to cross.
If it possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Anita Septimus has worked as a social worker for HIV-infected children since 1985. In the first few months she worked with her tiny clients, three of them died. Despair began to overwhelm her. She made a commitment to stick with the job for three more months, during which time she could not get a friend's words out of her thoughts, "You have not chosen a pretty profession."
She had to admit, her friend was right. It took resolve to accept that fact and simply do what she could to help families make the most of what remained of their children's lives. She is still there.
Over the last ten years, her clinic has grown considerably. Today, Anita and her staff care for more than 300 families with AIDS children. They go into their homes, teach infection prevention, and help the parents plan for the future. The children are regularly taken on trips to the zoo, the circus, and summer camps.
One AIDS baby wasn't expected to see her first birthday, but she recently celebrated her tenth. Such "long-term" clients give back to Anita what she terms "an indestructible sense of hope" --- a precious gift!
Life is a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you can only spend it once.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
A nurse named Carol was once the victim of an elaborate hoax. A con artist came to her claiming to know a famous rock star. He asked the nurse to loan him her car so he could bring the rock star from a nearby auditorium to visit the quadriplegic children and adults under her care. He was so convincing and gave so many details that Carol allowed him to take her car. Not only did Carol lose her car, but she lost the respect of many of her patients whom she had told about the impending visit.
When the rock star heard how his name had been misused, he decided to take action. Without media attention, he made a surprise visit to the hospital. He met Carol and with her by his side, he spoke warmly to her patients, signing autographs, passing out copies of his latest recording, and giving away posters as he greeted each one personally.
Nurse Carol said after his visit, "You should have seen the smiles on their faces. He's more than a rock star to them now. He's become their friend."
The "onstage" character played by many people is not the same as the person's backstage persona. It's backstage character that truly counts, however. And in the end, it's the only character worth playing!
Character is what you are in the dark.
The integrity of the upright shall guide them ....
When British minister W.E. Sangster first noticed an uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg, he went to his physician. It was found that he had and incurable muscle disease that would result in gradual muscular atrophy until he died. Rather that retreat in dismay, Sangster threw himself into his work in British home missions. He figured he could still write and that he would have even more time for prayer. He prayed, "Lord, let me stay in struggle.....I don't mind if I can no longer be a general." He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer cell throughout England. When people came to him with words of pity, he insisted, "I'm only in the kindergarten of suffering."
Over time, Sangster's legs became useless. He completely lost his voice. But at that point he could still hold a pen and write, although shakily. On Easter morning just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter, saying, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, "He is risen!' --- but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."
The person who is called is the one who hears God's call and responds with a resolute, "Yes," of his circumstances.
(The called man) sees himself as a steward... He's obedient rather than ambitious, committed rather than competitive. For him, nothing is more important than pleasing the one who called him.
We obey his commands and do what pleases him.
I John 3:22
Although taken captive as children, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were so wise that as adults, they were put over the affairs of the Babylon province. Then the king they served built a gold image some 100 feet high and placed it in their province. He invited the empire's leaders to a dedication of the image and gave a command that when a tribute of music was sounded, all should fall and worship the golden image. Whoever didn't do so would be thrown into a giant furnace.
The music played, and all fell on their faces . . . except Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were Jews, and had been taught from earliest memory never to worship a graven image. Word of their refusal quickly came to the king, and in a rage, the king summoned them. The three leaders didn't hesitate in saying to the king, "We will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image." (Daniel 3:18).
Furious, the king had the three cast into the fire, only to find that they did not burn. They emerged unscorched! The "no" of these faithful men resulted in the king decreeing that no person in the land speak anything against their God. And Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah --- whom the king called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego --- were promoted.
If your answer is "no" than make it mean something.
"No" is one of the few words that can never be misunderstood.
But let your statement be "yes, yes" or "no, no" . . .
On Halloween night in the year 1900, a ten-year-old boy in Abilene, Kansas, was so angry his face turned crimson. His older brother were heading out to go trick-or-treating, but he had to stay home. "You're too young to go out," his father told him. The boy burst into tears, ran into the yard, and began punching the trunk of an apple tree.
He later wrote, "My dad suddenly had me by the collar and I was getting a tanning." Then he was sent to bed. As he lay sobbing in his room, his mother came in and offered this advice from the Bible: "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city." (See Proverbs 16:32.) These words, coupled with the spanking, stuck with the young boy. In fact, as he recalled them as a seventy-six-year-old man, President Dwight Eisenhower wrote in his memoirs, "I have always looked back on that conversation as one of the most valuable moments in my life."
A spanking should be more than punishment---it should be a lesson in behavior that your children understand clearly. Make sure your children know why you are spanking them, and what it is that you desire for them to learn from your action.
Many parents are finding out that a pat on the back helps develop character---if given often enough, early enough, and low enough.
Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
This story is told of a foreman who went to check on the labor of several workers at a building site in medieval France. He approached the first worker and asked, "What are you doing?"
The man snapped back, "Are you blind? I'm cutting these impossible boulders with primitive tools and putting them together the way I've been told. I'm sweating under this blazing sun doing this back-breaking work and it's boring me to death."
The foreman quickly backed off and retreated to a second worker, asking the same question, "What are you doing?" This worker replied matter-of-factly, "I'm shaping these boulders into usable forms, which are then assembled according to the architect's plans. It's hard work and sometimes it gets repetitive, but I earn five francs a week and that supports my wife and children. It's a job. Could be worse, could be better."
Feeling somewhat encouraged, the foreman went on to a third worker, asking, "What are you doing?" The worker lifted his eyes to the sky and said, "Why, can't you see? I'm building a cathedral for God!"
The meaning you give to your work or study today will directly impact the satisfaction you feel at the day's end!
It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men....It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23, 24
Spiritual giants in every age have agreed about prayer: more is better. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, spent one to two hours a day in private communication with God. Both Martin Luther and Bishop Francis Asbury believed two hours of prayer a day was a minimum. The great Scottish preacher Jon Welch regularly prayed eight to ten hours a day --- and then often awoke in the middle of the night to continue his conversation with the Lord.
None of these men were ivory-tower contemplatives with nothing else to do. Asbury, for example, traveled some 300,000 miles, mostly on horseback, to build the American Methodist Church. All advocated that a person combine prayer with work, including praying as one works.
Today, many parents lead such busy lives they often think they have no time for prayer on behalf of their families. Yet, the most potent thing a parent can do is to pray. As you drive to work, walk from place to place, do mundane chores ... talk to God at length about each child. Thank God for your children. Listen to His advice. The change is your child and your relationship with your child is likely to be remarkable, even miraculous!
The most effective thing we can do for our children and families is pray for them.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
John Wanamaker was an amazing man. Many people in Philadelphia know him today for the store that bears his name: Wanamakers. But John Wanamaker was also a Postmaster General for many years, and he founded a Sunday school that ultimately had four thousand scholars: attending it. Someone once asked him, "How do you find the time to run your Sunday school in addition to your business and other obligations?" Wanamaker replied without hesitation, "Why, the Sunday school is my business! All the other things are just things. Forty-five years ago I decided that God's promise was sure: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'"
Once of the ways a man can check his priorities is this: What things do you not need to put on your calendar or daily planner because they are so much a habit in your life that you would never forget doing them? Is regular church attendance that way for you? What about time spent in prayer, reading Scripture, and reflecting on God's Word? What about participation in a ministry outreach, a Bible study, or prayer group fellowship? Ask yourself today, What habits are first in my life?
Seek God first and the things you want will seek you.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
In the early days of the formation of the United States, a stranger once asked how he might identify George Washington among those present at Congress. He was told, "You can easily distinguish him when Congress goes to prayer. Washington is the gentleman who kneels."
Washington had a long-standing reputation as a man of prayer. At Valley Forge, he frequently found rest and relief in prayer. One day a farmer approaching the military camp heard an earnest voice. When he drew nearer, he saw Washington on his knees, his cheeks wet with tears. The farmer returned home and said to his wife: "George Washington will succeed! George Washington will succeed! The Americans will secure their independence!"
"What makes you think so, Isaac?" his wife asked. The farmer replied, "I heard him pray, Hannah, out in the woods today, and the Lord will surely hear his prayer. He will, Hannah; thee may rest assured He will."
One person, willing to humble himself and pray can leave a legacy of faith and hope, giving courage to future generations.
No Christian is greater than his prayer life.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary man, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
In 1877, George Eastman dreamed that the wonderful world of photography might be accessible to the average person. At the time, photographers working outdoors had to carry multiple pieces of bulky equipment and a corrosive agent called silver nitrate. Eastman theorized that if he could eliminate most of this equipment, he would have something.
Working in a bank by day, he spent his nights reading books on chemistry and magazines about photography. He took foreign language lessons so he could read information published in France and Germany. Then with a partner, he began his own company in 1881. Almost immediately, a problem arose with the new "dry plates" he had invented. Eastman refunded the money to those who had purchased them and returned to his lab. Three months and four hundred seventy-two experiments later, he came up with the durable emulsion for which he had searched!
Eastman spent many nights sleeping in a hammock at this factory after long days designing equipment. To replace the glass used for photographic plates, he created a roll of thin, flexible material now known as film. To replace heavy tripods, he developed a pocket camera. By 1895, photography was at last available for the "common man."
George Eastman's long-term vision kept him motivated even when four hundred seventy one experiments failed. Keeping your ultimate dream in mind, set short, attainable goals; and before you know it, your vision will be a reality!
You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The story is told of two farmers who lived next to each other, with nothing but a river dividing their property. One day when the corn was ripe, the cows of one neighbor got out of their pasture and crossed the river into the other farmer's waving field of corn. They trampled and ruined about half an acre of the crop. The farmer who owned the damaged corn crop rounded up the cattle and put them in his barn. He made his neighbor pay dearly for every ear of corn the cows had destroyed before he would return them to him.
That fall, the hogs of the man whose corn had been eaten got out and crossed the river into the potato patch of the neighbor. They obliterated it. The hog owner saw his hogs and the damage they were doing, so he got his gun and hid himself. He vowed that if his neighbor harmed his hogs, he would shoot him. When he saw that his neighbor had no intention of hurting his hogs, he was surprised. He said to him. "You have something I do not have. What is it?" The neighbor replied, "I am a Christian."
That night the unregenerate man and his wife crossed the river and visited their neighbors. Both were converted before they left his home.
Anger is a stone thrown at a wasp's nest.
Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools.
"You see, God, it's like this: We could attend church more faithfully if your day came at some other time. You have chosen a day that comes at the end of a hard week, and we're all tired out. Not only that, but it's the day following Saturday night, and Saturday night is one time when we feel that we should go out and enjoy ourselves. Often it is after midnight when we reach home, and it is almost impossible to get up on Sunday morning. And you must realize that you have picked the very day on which the morning paper takes the longest to read - the day when the biggest meal of the week must be prepared. We'd like to go to church, and know that we should; but you have just chosen the wrong day."
This tongue-in-cheek excuse for poor church attendance speaks well of the excuses we use to justify our unproductive behavior. Many of us need to own up to the fact that we are not succeeding because of our own laziness, errors, or lack of vision.
Charles W. Morton, an editor for Atlantic Monthly, once wrote about a Harvard freshman who came to the Dean's office to explain his tardiness in handing in an assignment. "I'm sorry, sir, but I was not feeling very well." The dean replied, "Young man, please bear in mind that by far the greater part of the world's work is carried on by people who are not felling very well."
Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
But they all alike began to make excuses.... I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet. Luke 14:18, 24
In 1947, Dr. Chandrasekhar was scheduled to teach an advanced seminar in astrophysics at the University of Chicago. At the time, he was living in Wisconsin, doing research at the Yerkes astronomical observatory. He faced an in-the-dead-of-winter, twice-a-week, one-hundred-mile commute to teach the class, but he nonetheless agreed enthusiastically.
Registration for the advanced seminar, however, fell far below expectations. In fact, only two students signed up for the class. Other faculty members expected Dr. Chandrasekhar to cancel the course so as not to waste his valuable time. He determined, however, to continue with the course and give his very best to the two students registered.
Those students, Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee, made his effort worthwhile. Ten years later, in 1957, they both won the Nobel prize for physics. Dr. Chandrasekhar later own the same award in 1983.
Ends and means are not meant to exist in conflict. Good means to good ends are what God challenges us to find and to do, regardless of the personal cost, the effort required, or a lack of public acclaim. The best pursuit of the best ideals is what makes for integrity.
The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7
Top corporate executives base the vast majority of their decisions upon information that is fed to them up through the ranks of workers, managers and vice presidents.
Head coaches frequently rely upon their assistant coaches to do the daily work of helping players improve their game and practice drills.
Military generals and admirals make decisions based upon the intelligence information gathered by those who are often of much lower rank.
Each of us relies upon others to have input into our lives so that we might make wise decisions and display sound moral behavior.
A very mature college freshman once said to her academic advisor, "Please tell me who the best professors are so I can take their courses." The advisor smiled and replied, "But shouldn't you be more concerned about getting the courses you need to complete your major?" The young woman replied, "I think if I start taking classes from the best professors, I'll know better what major I want!"
Surround yourself with people of excellent character who are well-trained, and are willing to give you their best advice. You'll advance much faster by listening more and talking less.
Let the wise also hear and gain in learning. Proverbs 1:5
Spiritual giants in every age have agreed about prayer: more is better. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, spent one to two hours a day in private communication with God. Both Martin Luther and Bishop Francis Asbury believed two hours of prayer a day was a minimum. The great Scottish preacher John Welch regularly prayed eight to ten hours a day -- and then often awoke in the middle of the night to continue his conversation with the Lord.
None of these men were ivory-tower contemplatives with nothing else to do. Ashbury, for example, traveled some 300,000 miles, mostly on horseback, to build the American Methodist Church. All advocated that a person combine prayer with work, including praying as one works.
Today, many parents lead such busy lives they often think they have no time for prayer on behalf of their families. Yet, the most potent thing a parent can do is to pray. As you drive to work, walk from place to place, do mundane chores . . . talk to God at length about each child. Thank God for your children. Listen for His advice. The change in your child and your relationship with your child is likely to be remarkable, even miraculous!
The most effective thing we can do for our children and families is pray for them.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
A very successful Christian businessman had one son. He was very proud of this boys, who seemed to have grown to be a well-educated and well-respected gentleman. Then one day, the son was arrested for embezzlement and upon trial, was found guilty. All through the trial and up to the rendering of the verdict, the young man appeared unconcerned and nonchalant. He seemed more proud than humbled or broken by the experience.
Then the verdict was brought in. The judge told the young man to stand for the sentence, which he did --- still somewhat cocky in demeanor. He glanced around the courtroom and to his amazement he saw that his father was also standing. His father had realized that he, too, was involved --- not with what the boy had done, but with what the boy had become.
The young man saw his father --- an honest man with a clear conscience --- bowed low with sorrow and shame to receive, as though it were for himself, his son's sentence.
The son wept bitterly, and for the first time, truly repented of his crime.
The future of a boy cannot be separated from the present --- or the presence --- of his father.
It may be hard on some fathers not to have a son, but it is much harder on a boy not to have a father
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Have you ever watched an icicle form? Did you notice how the dripping water froze, one drop at a time, until the icicle was a foot long or more?
If the water was clean, the icicle remained clear and sparkled brightly in the sun; but if the water was slightly muddy, the icicle looked cloudy, its beauty spoiled.
Our character is formed in the same way. Each thought of feeling adds its layer of influence. Each decision we make---about matters both great and small---contributes. Every outside influence that we take into our minds and souls---be they impressions, experiences, visual images, or the words of others---helps build our character.
We must remain concerned at all times about the "droplets" that we allow to drip into our lives. Just as habits born of hate, falsehood, and evil intent mar and eventually destroy us, acts that develop habits of love, truth, and goodness silently mold and fashion us into the image of God.
When you build a clear, sparkling character, the light reflected through you will pierce the darkness around you.
Character is what you are in the dark.
The integrity of the upright shall guide them.
Shortly after Booker T. Washington became head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking past the house of a wealthy family. The woman of the house, assuming Washington was one of the yard workers her husband had hired, asked him if he would chop some wood for her. Professor Washington smiled, nodded, took off his coat, and chopped the wood. When he carried the armload of wood into the woman's kitchen, a servant girl recognized him and rushed to her mistress to tell her of his identity.
The next morning, the woman appeared in Washington's office. Apologizing profusely, she said repeatedly, "I did not know it was you I put to work."
Washington replied with generosity, "It's entirely all right, madam. I like to work, and I'm delighted to do favors for my friends."
The woman was so taken with his manner and his willingness to forgive that she gave generous gifts to the institute and persuaded many of her wealthy acquaintances to do likewise. In the end, Washington raised as much money for the institute from this one act of chopping wood as he did from any other fund-raising event!
A great leader is never beyond hard work. The willingness to serve others is the essence of true leadership.
A great man is always willing to be little.
"But the greatest among you shall be your servant."
William McKinley served in Congress before he was elected the 25th President of the United States. On his way to his congressional office one morning, he boarded a streetcar and took the only remaining seat. Minutes later, a woman who appeared to be ill boarded the car. Unable to find a seat, she clutched and overhead strap next to one of McKinley's colleagues. The other congressman hid behind his newspaper and did not offer the woman his seat. McKinley walked up the aisle, tapped the woman on the shoulder, offered her his seat, and took her place in the aisle.
Years later when McKinley was President, this same congressman was recommended to him for a post as ambassador to foreign nation. McKinley refused to appoint him. He feared a man who didn't have the courtesy to offer his seat to a sick woman in a crowded streetcar would lack the courtesy and sensitivity necessary to be an ambassador in a troubled nation. The disappointed congressman bemoaned his fate to many in Washington, but never did learn why McKinley chose someone else for the position.
Act of kindness can lead you to prominence. Then, from that position of prominence, you can be kind to even more people!
You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late!
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today."
With the national coffers depleted from costly wars, King Frederick William III of Prussia found his nation seriously short of funds as it attempted to rebuild. He refused to capitulate to his enemies, and he couldn't face disappointing his people. After considerable thought, he asked the woman of Prussia to bring their gold and silver jewelry to be melted down and used as exchange for the things the nation desperately needed. As each woman brought her jewelry, she was given a "decoration" of bronze or iron as a symbol of the king's gratitude. On the decoration was inscribed, "I gave gold for iron, 1813."
The response was overwhelming. The women came to prize their gifts from the king more than their former jewels! The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. In fact, it became highly unfashionable in early nineteenth century Prussia for women to wear jewelry, but very fashionable to wear a cross of iron. It was from this that the Order of the Iron Cross was established.
The meaning of life does not lie in the possession of things, but rather, how we use things to brings true meaning to life!
Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.
The he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." Luke 12:15
Legend has it that a missionary was swept overboard while traveling on very high and rough seas, and was subseguently washed up on a beach at the edge of a remote native village. Nearly dead from exposure and lack of food and fresh water, he was found by the people of the village and nursed back to health. He lived among them for twenty years, quietly adapting to their culture and working alongside them. He preached no sermons, and made no personal faith claim. He neither read nor recited Scripture to them.
But . . . when people were sick, he sat with them, sometimes all night. When people were hungry, he fed them. When people were lonely, he gave a listening ear. He taught the ignorant and always took the side of the one who had been wronged.
The day came when missionaries entered this village and began talking to the people about a man named Jesus. After listening for awhile to their story, the native people began insisting that Jesus had already been living in their village for many years. "Come," one of them said, "we'll introduce you to Him." The missionaries were led to a hut where they found their long-lost companion!
Why we work always determines how we live.
It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23,24
A young woman was packing a suitcase for a long trip. She said to a woman who was watching her, "I'm just about finished. I only have to put in a guidebook, a lamp, a mirror, my favorite love letters, a microscope, a telescope, a volume of fine poetry, a song book, a few biographies, a package of old letters, a sword, and a set of books I have been studying." The onlooker gasped, "How do you intend to get all that in your suitcase? It's almost full now!"
The young woman replied, "Oh, all that won't take much room." She then walked over to a table, picked up her Bible, placed it in her suitcase, and closed the lid. Winking at her friend, she said, "And I even got in a loaf of living bread, too."
The Bible says of itself that it is "fresh" with every reading --- it is never stale. The Bible is always applicable to life, no matter where one lives. And the truths of the Bible are unshakable --- they will last forever and never go out of style. Voltaire once said that in a hundred years, the Bible would be a forgotten book, found only in museums. When the hundred years were up, however, Voltaire's home was occupied by the Geneva Bible Society!
What is a home without a Bible? 'Tis a home where daily bread for the body is provided, but the soul is never fed.
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
A man's car once stalled in heavy Friday-evening traffic just as the light turned green. All his efforts to start the engine failed. A chorus of honking rose from the cars behind him.
Feeling just as frustrated as those other drivers eager to get home or to their weekend destinations, he finally got out of his car and walked back to the first driver and said, "I'm sorry, but I can't seem to get my car started. If you'll go up there and give it a try, I'll stay here and blow your horn for you."
The person who is chronically impatient rarely makes another person go faster or arrive earlier. Rather, the effects are nearly always negative --- to others as well as to the impatient person. Accidents occur more frequently in haste. Ulcers, headaches, and other health problems develop more quickly. And relationships can become more readily strained.
As an antidote for impatience, try giving yourself "ten more minutes". Get up ten minutes earlier every morning, leave ten minutes earlier, arrive ten minutes ahead of schedule, and so forth. You'll likely arrive at the end of the day feeling much more relaxed.
The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
The difference between success and failure is often the ability to get up just one more time than you fall down!
Moses easily could have given up. He had an "interrupted" childhood and lived with a foster family. He also had a strong temper, a stammering tongue, and a criminal record, but when God called to him, he ultimately said yes.
Joshua had seen the Promised Land and then been forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years with cowards who didn't believe, as he did, that they could conquer their enemies and possess the land. He could have given up in discouragement, but he was willing to go when God said to go.
Peter had a hard time making the transition from fisherman to fisher of men. He sank while trying to walk on water, was strongly rebuked by Jesus for trying to tell Him what to do, and denied knowing Jesus in that hour when Jesus needed him most. He easily could have seen himself as a hopeless failure. But when the opportunity came to preach the Gospel before thousands on the Day of Pentecost, he responded.
No matter what you've done, what mistakes you may have made, what errors you may have committed, you're not a failure until you lie down and quit.
The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn't hear the referee.
Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. Proverbs 24:16
A minister was scheduled to speak at an all-day conference. He failed to set his alarm, however, and he overslept. In his haste to make up for lost time, he cut himself while shaving. Then, he discovered his shirt was not ironed and scorched it because the iron was too hot. To make matters worse, as he ran out to his car he noticed that he had a flat tire.
Disgusted and distraught, by the time he finished changing the tire he was an hour behind schedule. Nevertheless, the minister felt encouraged when he was finally "under way." He figured that if he hurried, he might be only a few minutes late for the first session. He raced through town, failing to notice a stop sign along the way. As he rushed through it, he caught a glimpse of a policeman, who sure enough, stopped him.
Jumping out of his car, the agitated minister said sharply, "Go ahead and give me a ticket. Everything else has gone wrong today." The policeman quietly responded, "I used to have days like that before I became a Christian."
Your Christian witness lies far more in your everyday lifestyle than in what you have to say about your Christianity.
People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.
"...for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its spirit."
A missionary surgeon in one of China's hospitals restored sight to a man who had been nearly blinded by cataracts. A few weeks later, to his great surprise, 48 blind men showed up on his hospital's doorstep. They had all come to be cured. Amazingly, these blind men had walked more than 250 miles from a remote area of China to get to the hospital. They had traveled by holding on to a rope chain. Their guide, and their inspiration, was the man who had been cured.
The Christian evangelist Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman concluded from his study of the New Testament Gospels that Jesus healed some forty people personally and directly. Of this number, thirty-four were brought to Him or to His attention by friends or family members, or Jesus was taken to the ailing person by others. Only six of the forty people healed in the Gospels found their way to Jesus, or He to them, without someone assisting.
In the Gospels, Jesus refers to His followers as "friends". To them, He was the Friend of Friends, closer even than a brother. Not only do we become like the friends with whom we associate, but when our friends are like Jesus, we find ourselves more likely to imitate Him!
Keep company with good men and good men you will imitate.
Iron sharpen iron; so a man sharpen the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
A number of definitions of maturity have been offered by experts, but these are perhaps among the best understood by the average person:
Maturity is when you not only want to have a puppy to call your own ... but when you remember on your own to give it fresh water and food every day.
Maturity is when you not only know how to dress yourself ... but you remember to put your dirty clothes in the laundry hamper after you've taken them off.
Maturity is when you not only are old enough to stay at home alone ...but when you can be trusted to stay at home with only your friends.
Maturity is when you are not only old enough to drive the car by yourself ... but you pay for the gasoline you use.
Maturity is when you are not only old enough to stay up late ... but you are wise enough to go to bed early.
Maturity doesn't come with age; it comes with acceptance of responsibility.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
Someone once studied the inaugural speeches of United States presidents. Special focus was placed upon presidents who had been reelected to a second term. One of the purposes of the study was to determine how many times the word "I" appeared.
Washington's first inaugural address contained 1,300 words and twenty "I's". His second inaugural speech was much shorter.
Lincoln's first inaugural speech had 3,588 words, with forty-three "I's". His second had only 588 words and a solitary "I."
In the Bible, Romans 7 is a chapter filled with struggle, conflict, and failure. It contains thirty-two "I's" and sixteen "me's and my's," --- forty-eight personal pronouns in all. In chapter eight, which tells of victory, triumph, and peace, "I" and "me" are hardly mentioned.
One of the great lessons of experience is when we learn that we are not the prime motivator or catalyst of the success we experience in life. While we may be the engineer of our own failures more often that we care to admit, we rarely reach the heights of success on our own. We always have the help of others in reaching the top --- regardless of our field or endeavor --- and ultimately, we are enabled by God. We accomplish only what He enables us to.
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 11:14
John D. Rockefeller is known for his amazing business success, but he had a greater reputation among those who knew him as being a man who was understanding. He had a sincere appreciation for other people and was willing to accept failure if an honest attempt had been made.
When one of his partners, Edward T. Bedford, failed in a business venture, which cost Rockefeller's company a million dollars, Rockefeller responded with a statement that has become classic in business lore. He didn't criticize Bedford because he knew he had done his best. He did, however, call Bedford to his office and say, "I think it is honorable that you were able to salvage 60 percent of the money you invested in the South American venture. That's not bad; in fact, it's splendid. We don't always do as well as that upstairs."
There's very little to be gained by making someone feel worse regarding something they already feel bad about! Rather, the gain lies in helping someone see the beneficial side of a failure, the positive lessons that can be learned from mistakes, and to give hope for future attempts at success. Be an encourager to another person today. You'll both feel... and do... better!
...the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down.
2 Corinthians 10:8 (NIV)
One evening just before Mary Martin, the great Broadway musical star, was to go on stage in South Pacific, a note was handed to her. It was from Oscar Hammerstein, who had written this to her from his deathbed:
A bell's not a bell till you ring it.
A song's not a song till you sing it.
Love in your heart is not put there to stay.
Love isn't love till you give it away.
After her performance that night a number of people rushed backstage, exclaiming, "Mary, what happened to you out there tonight? We have never heard anything like that performance! You sang with more power than you've ever sung!"
Blinking back tears, Mary then read them the note from Hammerstein and added, "Tonight, I gave my love away!"
Even the poorest person has something to give others if he has love in his heart. Love's gifts take many forms --- a smile, a hug, a note of thanks, "just being there" in tough times. Love is the one gift that always fits, is always appropriate, and is always in season and in fashion.
You may give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Although Kim wasn't a great cook, she decided to try to make something "from scratch" for the church potluck. On the way to the event, both she and her husband Hank could smell the charred aroma of a sauce that had been scorched before it was added to her casserole.
When they arrived at the potluck, Kim's casserole was placed on the table along with the other food dishes. Before anyone came to the table, Kim spooned a bit of the casserole out for Hank to taste it. The look on his face confirmed her worst nightmare. What would her new friends think of her now?
Before anyone else came to the table, Hank picked up Kim's casserole and announced to the group that he was going to make a pig out of himself and eat Kim's casserole all by himself. He noted that there were plenty of other hot dishes, salads, and desserts for the rest of them --- but after all, he asked, how often did he get his favorite dish?
Hank sat in a corner courageously eating most of the "casserole for four" before anyone else could taste it. And though they laughed about it later, Kim told her friends for years, "I knew then I had married a man I would do my best to keep forever."
Marriage must exemplify friendship's highest ideal, or else it will be a failure.
"And here is how to measure it---the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends."
John 15:13 TLB
The two boys were dressed and ready to go. In fact, they had been ready for more than an hour. Excitement flooded their faces and all their talk was about only one thing: their father had promised to take them to the circus that afternoon!
As planned, Dad came home from work after lunch and quickly changed into casual clothing. Then, just as the three of them were about to leave the house, the phone rang. The boys listened as their father talked with the person on the other end of the line. Bit by bit, their faces began to fall. This was obviously a business call, and some urgent matter was requiring their father's attention downtown. Disappointment rolled into the room like a dark cloud. Their mother also overheard what she thought was the inevitable change of plans. And then, to the surprise of all, they heard Dad say, "No, I won't be down. It will just have to wait until morning."
Hanging up the phone the called for the boys to meet him at the car as he turned to kiss his wife good-bye. She smiled and with a twinge of fear that he may have made the wrong decision, she said, "The circus keeps coming back, you know." The father replied, "Yes, I know. But childhood doesn't."
The best things you can give children, next to good habits, are good memories.
The memory of the righteous is blessed . . . .Proverbs 10:7 (NAS)
Several years ago a speedboat driver was in a serious accident. In recounting what had happened, she said that she had been at top speed when her boat veered just slightly, hitting a wave at dangerous angle. The combined force of her speed and the size and angle of the wave sent the boat spinning wildly into the air. She was thrown from her seat and propelled deeply into the water. She was thrust so deeply into the water that she could not see any light from the surface. Being a little dazed, she had no idea which direction was "up".
Rather than panic, the woman remained calm and waited for the buoyancy of her life vest to begin pulling her up. Then she swam heartily in that direction.
We often find ourselves surrounded by many voices, each with a different opinion, and we simply don't know which way is "up". When this happens we need to exercise patience and spend time with the Lord. We must read His Word, the Bible, and wait for His gentle tug on our hearts to pull us toward His will. The more we read, the more confident we will become, especially when His written Word and that gentle tug on our hearts come into agreement.
Remember, a few minutes, hours, days, or even months of "waiting" may mean the difference between sinking or floating!
Everyone has patience. Successful people learn to use it.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
In Miracle on the River Kwai, Ernest Gordon tells how Scottish soldiers were forced by their Japanese captors to work on a jungle railroad. They worked in deplorable conditions, under barbarous guards.
One day, a shovel was declared missing. The officer in charge became enraged, demanding that the missing shovel be produced or he would kill all of the men. The officer pulled his gun. It was obvious he meant what he said.
After several tense moments, a man finally stepped forward. The officer put his gun away, picked up the shovel, and beat the man to death right in front of the other prisoners. They were allowed only to pick up his bloody corpse and carry it with them to a second tool check. There, the tools were recounted and all shovels were accounted for --- there had never been a missing shovel. There had simply been a miscount at the first check point.
Word of the incident quickly spread through the entire prison camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others. The incident had a profound effect, binding the prisoners together in deep loyalty. It was that loyalty, in part, that gave the men strength to survive until they were liberated.
Personal sacrifice is inspiring to others. It brings hope and encouragement to weary souls. It produces growth and maturity. There is no true leadership without some kind of sacrifice.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend. John 15:13
When Jill was a little girl, she visited her grand-parents' farm every summer. One day, as she came into the farmhouse she could hear her grandmother talking. She entered the living room cautiously, certain that her grandmother had company. Instead, she found her grandmother alone, in prayer. Jill felt as if she was treading on holy ground.
As she quietly made her way toward the staircase, she was amazed to hear her name. Her grandmother was praying for her! She listened intently as her grandmother pleaded with God to keep her safe and healthy, and to give her a desire to follow the Lord and grow up to be a soul-winner. Tears sprang to Jill's eyes as she felt the love expressed in her grandmother's prayer.
A few years later when Jill was in high school, a friend invited her to attend a youth rally. That evening, she gave her life to Christ. Later that night, she recalled the prayers of her grandmother. She suddenly realized, tears flowing down her face -- My grandmother's prayer has been answered!
The answer had taken nearly a decade to manifest, but nevertheless, the answer had come -- not only for her grandmother, but for Jill.
God knows the seasons of our hearts. Our role is to persist in prayer -- planting seeds and watering them -- until we reap the harvest!
Time spent in prayer is never wasted.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Even though he was single, at age thirty two Bill decided it was time to buy a house. He found a modestly priced four-bedroom home and began to visualize how he could use the rooms. A few months later, however, he found himself engaged to marry a woman who had three young daughters. Two years after their marriage, Bill and his wife, Dee, had a baby. The gym and TV room he had envisioned in his new home never materialized.
It took Bill and Dee four jobs to pay for the life they had chosen, but although their schedules were relentless, Bill couldn't help but conclude, "Ain't life grand?" Eventually, his stepdaughters began to leave home and Bill once again made plans for the spare rooms in the house. But his elderly parents needed help, and Bill and Dee invited them to move in. Even in getting up at night to help his ailing father, Bill still was of the opinion, "Ain't life grand?"
After more than twenty five years, Bill still doesn't have his "dream house." What he has had, however, is two decades of a real home.
Love makes a house a home.
You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, within your house, your children like olive plants around your table. Psalms 128:2-3
Gordon Liddy, a White House aide during the Nixon administration, was a student of the German philosopher Nietzsche. Nietzsche taught that man's will was of supreme importance, not God's. A man with a will of iron, Liddy saw no need for God.
After serving a four -year prison term for his part in the Watergate scandal, Liddy renewed his friendship with some former FBI colleagues, who asked him to join their Bible study. He agreed, with one caveat: "Please do not try to convert me." Of course, things didn't work out as Liddy had anticipated. He had been willing to read the Bible as an historical document, but his friends' attitudes toward the Bible made him take a closer look.
He began to think about God. If God is infinite and we're finite, he thought, how can we ever understand Him? Liddy reasoned, God will have to communicate with me. Then he realized, the Bible is God's communication. Still, he argued, we can never be worthy of God. And again, he was hit by a thunderbolt: God sent His son to make us worthy (by virtue of His crucifixion and resurrection), and to keep the dialogue going between God and man. Liddy suddenly perceived a need for God and he accepted Christ.
God is surely live. The question is: Is God alive in you today?
A skeptic is a person who, when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it is a forgery.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God
The Brooklyn Bridge, which links Brooklyn to Manhattan Island, is one of the most famous bridges in the world. At the time it was first conceived in 1883, however, bridge-building experts throughout the world told the designer, a creative engineer by the name of John Roebling, that his idea wouldn't work.
Roebling convinced his son Washington, who was also an engineer, that his idea had merit. The two of them developed the concept, resolved the problems others had forecast, and enthusiastically hired a crew to build their bridge.
After only a few months of building, a tragic on-site accident took John's life and severely injured Washington, who became unable to talk or walk. Everyone thought the project would have to be abandoned, since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew the dynamics of building the bridge.
Washington, however, could still think, and he had a burning desire to see the bridge finished. As he lay in his hospital bed, he had an idea. He would communicate with the engineers by using one finger to tap out in code on his wife's arm what the wanted her to tell them.
Washington tapped out his instructions for thirteen years until the bridge was built! Leaders are not only self-starters, they are finishers.
The test of a first-rate work is that you finish it
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.
2 Timothy 4:7
Helping the deaf to communicate was Alexander Graham Bell's motivation for his life's work, perhaps because his mother and wife were both deaf. "If I can make a deaf mute talk," Bell said, "I can make metal talk." For five frustrating and impoverished years, he experimented with a variety of materials in an effort to make a metal disk that, vibrating in response to sound, could reproduce those sounds and send them over an electrified wire.
During a visit to Washington, D.C., he called on Joseph Henry, a scientist who was a pioneer in research related to electricity. He presented his ideas to him and asked his advice: Should he let someone else perfect the telephone, or should he do it himself? Henry encouraged him to do it himself, to which Bell complained that he lacked the necessary knowledge of electricity. Henry's brief solution was, "Get it."
So Bell studied electricity. A year later when he obtained a patent for the telephone, the officials in the patent office credited him with knowing more about electricity than all the other inventors of his day combined.
Hard work. Study. Hope. Persistence. These are all "common things." They are the keys, however, to doing uncommonly well.
The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Proverbs 22:29
Many years ago a famous singer was contracted to perform at a Paris opera house. The event was sold out in a matter of days. The entire city was abuzz with anticipation. That night the hall was packed with stately dressed men and women eager to hear the much-admired musician. The house manager took the stage and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your enthusiastic support. I am afraid that due to illness, the woman whom you've all come to hear will not be performing tonight. However, we have found a suitable susbstitute we hope will provide you with comparable entertainment."
The crowd groaned so loudly in its disappointment that few heard the singer's name. Frustration replaced excitement in the hall. The stand-in singer gave everything she had, but when her performance was over she was met with an uncomfortable silence rather than applause. Then, from the balcony, a child stood up and shouted, "Mommy, I think you are wonderful!"
The crowd immediately responded with thunderous ovation.
Once in a while we each need to hear somebody say, "I think you are wonderful." Why not be the person who gives that kind of word of encouragement today!
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
She opens her mouth with skillful and godly wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness-giving counsel and instruction.
When Andrew Carnegie sold his steel company in 1901, his share of the sale price ensured that he would receive $1 million a month, for life. What did he do with the money? He gave it away!
During the last eighteen year of his life, Carnegie gave away nearly $350 million. He believed that the lives of rich men are divided into two parts: the first for getting money, the second for giving it away. He also believed that rich men could make a better world, and he focused his giving very specifically. He helped pay for 2,800 libraries in the United States and the British Empire, at a cost of $60 million. Carnegie believed that children like himself could improve their minds by reading, even if they could not stay in school very long. He gave $30 million to American and British universities, mostly to smaller schools, because he wanted the children of poor workers to have a chance for a college education. He also gave large amounts of money for pensions for teachers and steelworkers. And, he made possible the Carnegie Hero Fund, which gave awards for bravery in time of peace.
Carnegie truly was a man who used what he had earned to show love to others.
We too often love things and use people, when we should be using things and loving people.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honow one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Benjamin Franklin came to a personal conclusion that the lighting of streets would not only add gentility to his city, but also make his city safer. In seeking to interest the people of his native Philadelphia in street lighting, however, he didn't try to persuade them by talking about street lighting. Instead, he hung a beautiful lantern on a long bracket before his own door. Then he kept the glass brightly polished, and carefully and diligently lit the wick every evening just as dusk approached.
People wandering down the dark street saw Franklin's light a long way off. They found its glow not only friendly and beautiful, but a point of helpful guidance. Before long, other neighbors began placing lights on long brackets before their own homes. Soon, the entire city was dotted with such lights and the entire city awoke to the valur of street lighting. The matter was taken up with interest and enthusiasm as a citywide, city-sponsored endeavor.
Just as Franklin lit a lantern for his city, so too, our actions are like beacons to others. What they see, they copy. And when what they see is good, what they copy is also good!
... in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example.
2 Thessalonians 3:9
Irwin, a junior naval officer, was discharged from military service after he was diagnosed with cancer -- standard military procedure at the time. The loss of his job was quite a blow, but he was determined to get back both his health and his job. With faith and dogged determination, he battled the disease that tried to take over his body. At one point, he was given only two weeks to live, but eventually, his cancer was brought under control.
Irwin then focused his attention on his desire to become a naval officer. He discovered, however, that regulations forbade reinstatement of a person discharged with cancer. Everyone told Irwin, "Give up. It would take an act of Congress to get reinstated." Their advice gave him an idea -- he would pursue an act of Congress!
President Harry S. Truman eventually signed into law a special bill that allowed Irwin W. Rosenberg to reenlist and become a rear admiral in the United States Seventh Fleet!
The thought "Where there's a will ... there's a way" is applicable to nearly every circumstance in life. When our will lines up with God's will, with his help we will be able to accomplish anything!
Clear Your Mind Of Can't
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Walking on the moon was once considered to be impossible, and yet Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did just that on July 20, 1969. Michael Collins, the astronaut who remained aloft in Columbia, writes of another seeming impossibility overcome that day:
"They hadn't been out on the surface very long when the three of us got a big surprise. The President of the United States began talking on the radio! Mr. Nixon said, "Neil and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone from the Oval Office at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made....Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world. As you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth."
Our prayers are like an unseen communication link that spans heaven and earth. Things once regarded as impossible become possible when that link is firmly established.
Impossibilities vanish when a man and his God confront a mountain.
...but with God all things are possible.
A young ensign had nearly completed his first overseas tour of sea duty when he was given an opportunity to display his ability at getting the ship under way. With a stream of crisp commands, he had the decks buzzing with men and soon, the ship had left port and was steaming out of the channel.
The ensign's efficiency had been remarkable. In fact, the deck was abuzz with talk that he had set a new record for getting a destroyer under way. The ensign glowed at his accomplishment and was not all that surprised when another seaman approached him with a message from the captain. He was, however, a bit surprised to find that it was a radio message, and he was even more surprised when he read, My personal congratulations upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In your haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules -- make sure the captain is aboard before getting under way."
God's Manual for Life, the Bible, is our "set of instructions" for getting our lives under way. But we must never become so bound to the book that we forget the Author of it and the relationship He desires to have with us on the voyage.
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.
Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
Earl Weaver, former manager of the Baltimore Orioles, had a rule that no one could steal a base unless he gave the steal sign. This ruling upset Reggie Jackson, who felt he knew the pitchers and catchers well enough to judge when he could steal . One day he decided to steal without a sign. He got a good jump off the pitcher and easily beat the throw to second base. As he shook the dirt from his uniform, he smiled with delight, feeling he had vindicated his judgment.
Weaver later took Jackson aside and explained why he hadn't given the steal sign. The next batter was Lee May, a major power hitter. Because first base was open, the opposing team intentionally walked May. The batter after May hadn't been strong against this pitcher, so Weaver had to send in a designated hitter. That left their team without the bench strength they might have needed later in the game.
Jackson had seen a stolen base as involving only the relationship between pitcher and catcher. Weaver was calling signals with the entire game in mind.
Don't put your trust in what you see around you. Trust the One Who sees the "big picture" that spans all of time and eternity.
Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment...trust in money and you may have it taken from you...But trust in God, and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Psalm 118:8 NIV
Long ago, a band of minstrels lived in a faraway land. They traveled from town to town, singing and playing their music in hopes of making a living. But they had not been doing well financially. Times were hard, and the common people had little money to spend on concerts, even though their fee was small.
The group met one evening to discuss their plight. "I see no reason for opening tonight," one said. "It's snowing, and no one will come out on a night like this." Another said, "I agree. Last night we performed for just a handful. Even fewer will come tonight."
The leader of the troupe responded, "I know you are discouraged. I am too. But we have a responsibility to those who might come. We will go on, and we will do the best job of which we are capable. It is not the fault of those who come that others do not. They should not be punished with less than our best."
Heartened by his words, the minstrels gave their best performance ever. After the show, the old man called his troupe to him again. In his hand was a note, handed to him by one of the audience members just before the doors closed behind him. Slowly the man read, "Thank you for a beautiful performance." It was signed simply, "Your King"
Everything you do is performed before your king---the King of kings. Are all of your words and deeds worthy of His audience?
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.
Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him.
When Hyrum Smith was a boy, he lived in Hawaii. With its beautiful beaches, endless ocean, and warm breezes it seemed like Paradise. To an eleven-year-old boy, the sky was the limit; he felt he could do whatever he could imagine.
One day Hyrum decided to swim the 1-1/4-mile-wide-Hanauma Bay. Feeling invincible, he set out through the 80-foot-deep waters. Then, the waves started swelling and he couldn't see where he was heading. About halfway across, he realized he had no energy left. He felt himself starting to drown.
Then, he saw a fin a few feet away. It was a shark! It's amazing how a person can find strength he didn't know he had when faced with the prospect of being eaten. Hyrum made it safely to shore because he realized, "It was okay to drown. It was not okay to get eaten." At that moment, success to him was not the triumph of crossing the bay. It was avoiding the shark.
Take stock of your life today. The basics --- sufficient food, adequate clothing, a roof over our heads --- these are not blessings to take lightly. They should be considered a part of our success.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:7,8 KJV
A reporter once interviewed the famous contralto Marion Anderson and asked her to name the greatest moment in her life. The reporter knew she had many big moments to choose from. He expected her to name the private concert she gave at the White House for the Roosevelts and the King and Queen of England. He thought she might name the night she received the $10,000 Book Award as the person who had done the most for her hometown, Philadelphia. Instead, Marion Anderson shocked him by responding quickly, "The greatest moment in my life was the day I went home and told my mother she wouldn't have to take in washing anymore."
The circular pattern of love between a parent and child is more than a matter of "what goes around, comes around." Rather, it stems from the principle that what a child sees, a child copies. Children are not born to be selfless and generous. Their more common cries are rooted in "Me first! Mine! I want." A child must learn to share, to sacrifice for others, to give spontaneously and from the heart. And a child learns that lesson quickly and most easily by copying someone else...usually his or her parents!
Loving a child is a circular business...the more you give, the more you get, the more you get, the more you give.
Give, and it will be given to you...
For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
Luke 6:38 NAS
Dr. Alexander Maclaren is considered one of the clearest Bible expositors of his time. He attributed becoming such a great bible scholar to a habit he had, which he never broke: spending one hour a day "alone with the Eternal"
The hour which Dr. Maclaren designated was from nine to ten in the morning. At times, he allowed others into his prayer closet, but they were never allowed to utter a word. Maclaren would sit in his well-worn armchair, with his big Bible laying across his knees. Sometimes he would read its pages, but most often he would just sit with his hand over his face.
During that hour he did not allow himself to read the Bible as a student, or to search for texts to use in sermons or lessons. One of his assistants noted, "he read the Bible as child would read a letter from an absent father, as a loving heart would drink in again the message from a loved one far away."
When we pray, we open our hearts to a clearer and deeper understanding of God's Word. As we read His Word, we open our minds to a greater understanding of how and for what to pray.
We should never pray without reading the Bible, and we should never read the Bible without praying.
For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom. Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding. Proverbs 9:10
In the fall of 1894, Guglielmo retreated to his room on the third floor. All summer while on vacation, he had read books and filled notebooks with squiggly diagrams. Now, the time had come to work.
Every day, he rose early. He worked all day and long into the night, to the point that his mother became alarmed. He had never been a robust person, but now he was becoming appallingly thin. His face was drawn, and his eyes were often glazed over with fatigue. Finally, the day came when he announced his instruments were ready. He invited the family to his room and, pushing a button, he succeeded in ringing a bell on the first floor! While his mother was amazed, his father was not. He saw no use in being able to send a signal so short a distance. So, Guglielmo labored on. Little by little, he made changes in his sending circuits so he could send a signal from one hill to the next, and then beyond the hill. And eventually, his invention was perfected --- partly by inspiration, but mostly by perseverance.
Guglielmo Marconi was eventually hailed as the inventor of wireless telegraphy, radio's forerunner. He not only received a Nobel prize in physics, but a seat in the Italian senate and the title of marchese.
The way to get to the top is to get off your bottom.
How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
Few sights evoke as much attention, and awe, as that for a large flock of Canadian geese winging their way in their V-formation to the north or south. They speak of the changing of seasons, and also of the value of teamwork.
What many don't know is that when a goose gets sick, or perhaps is wounded by a shot, it never falls from formation by itself. Two other geese also fall out of formation with it and follow the ailing goose down to the ground. One of them is very often the mate of the wounded bird, since geese mate for life and are extremely loyal to their mates. Once on the ground, the healthy birds help protect him and care for him as much as possible, even to the point of throwing themselves between the weakened bird and possible predators. They stay with him until he is either able to fly, or until he is dead. Then, and only then, do they launch out on their own. In most cases, they wait for another group of geese to fly overhead and they join them, adding to the safety and flying efficiency of their numbers.
If only we human beings would care for one another this well! Stick with your friends...and more importantly, stick by them.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Leonard E. LeSourd has written about his late wife, Catherine Marshall, the author of Christy: "Bible were scattered throughout our house ... all editions, plus reference books and concordances. We often went to bed, turned out the light, and listened to a chapter a scripture on tape. If she could have found a way to spread Bible passages on a slice of bread, Catherine would have devoured it.
"When upset or under spiritual assault or in physical pain, Catherine would go to her office, kneel by her chair, an open her Bible ... She would read, then pray, then read, then pray some more. She liked to pray with the Bible clutched in her hands ... She would rest her case on its promises. Catherine didn't read the Bible for solace or inspiration, but to have an encounter with the Lord ... I think these were the most intense moments of her life ... Catherine's passion for the Word permeated her whole life. It undergirded her writing. It formed a base for us as a married team in the making of family decisions. It provided substance to her counseling of people through the mail. I'm convinced it was also the basis for her inner vitality, her charisma, and the mantle of authority she wore with some reluctance."
What is a home without a Bible? 'Tis a home where daily bread for the body is provided, but the soul is never fed.
"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4 RSV
One day, in a very busy factory, an intricate piece of machinery broke down. The company's best machinists were called in to diagnose the problem, but they couldn't come up with a solution.
Finally, they suggested a specialist be brought in. The master mechanic arrived, looked the apparatus over thoroughly, and then asked for the smallest hammer they had on hand. He then pecked on a critical area of the machine with the hammer, and said, "Now turn on the power. It ought to work." His small peck apparently released a mechanism that had jammed, and sure enough, the machine worked.
Later, when the specialist sent a bill for $100, the managers were astounded! One hundred dollars was an exorbitant fee for one small peck! They asked him to send them an itemized statement. He complied, but didn't reduce his fee. His statement read:
$1 for pecking
$99 for knowing where to peck
A similar story is told about a young medical student who asked an experienced surgeon how long it would take to learn how to perform an appendectomy. The surgeon replied, "Three hours." Then he added, "And three years to learn what to do if anything goes wrong."
Put as much as you can into every hour. You'll have much more to draw upon later!
It's not how many hours you put in but how much you put into the hours.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men....It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23,24 NIV
The 911 emergency system has amazing capabilities. In most places in the United States, a person need only dial those three numbers to be instantly connected to a dispatcher. On a computer screen the dispatcher instantly sees the caller's telephone number, address, and the name under which the number is listed. Also listening in on the call are police, fire, and paramedic assistants. A caller need not say anything once the call is made. Even rasping coughs and hysterical cries have brought a quick response. The dispatcher knows where the call is coming from and help is sent.
At times, some situations in our lives are so desperate and our pain so deep we can only muster 911 prayers to God. These are called "sos" prayers and they often use the same words: "God, I need help!" God hears each one. He knows our name and every detail of the situation. Like a heavenly dispatcher, He will send precisely who is needed to assist us.
Also like a 911 dispatcher, our Heavenly Dispatcher may have some advice to sustain us through a crisis. Keep a listening ear...and remember, help is on the way!
Look around you and be distressed,
Look within you and be depressed,
Look to Jesus and be at rest.
In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. Psalm 120:1
A church once sent a man to spend two months as a volunteer at Mother Theresa's mission in Calcutta, caring for India's sick, poor, and dying. He left on his mission with great joy - the trip was a dream come true.
Standing by a luggage carousel in Bangkok, forty hours later, he felt anything but elation. Somewhere between South Korea and Thailand his luggage had been "misdirected." Nerves worn raw by sleeplessness, he collapsed into a nearby chair and wondered, Was this trip a mistake? He felt as lost as his bags.
As his eyes wandered around the walls of the lobby, which was mostly empty owing to the late hour, he noticed a row of clocks on one wall. They displayed the time in London, New York, Sydney, and Bangkok. He quickly noted that it was noon at his home church - and it was Sunday.
His church had promised to pray for him at noon services that day. They're praying for me right now, he thought. And with that realization came a tremendous peace. I'm not alone now. And I won't be alone in the months ahead!
Luggage may often be misdirected, but not our prayers. God knows your need and He knows where you are.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6
When Dr. F.W. Norwood was a minister in Australia, he approched a man about joining the church. The man immediately and brusquely refused. Norwood said, "I did not get on my knees to the man to plead with him to join the chuch. I wouldn't do that to any man."
But to Norwood's surprise, the man came forward after a church service a few months later and asked to be made a member. Dr. Norwood asked him after the service what had caused his change of heart. The man replied, "You know I have a little boy. A week or so ago I was taking him for a walk in the country when we came to a rather rugged pathway where we had to walk in single file. I was going on ahead, and had forgotten the lad was finding the way a little more difficult than myself. Suddenly I heard his small voice say, "Be careful where you step, daddy, I'm coming on behind!" That settled it, sir. I want to join the church.
In so many ways, you represent Christ to your children. It is through your eyes that they come to see Him and love Him. It is through you that they learn the meaning of the word --- Christian.
Children have more need of models than of critics.
Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts.
I Timothy 4:12
An old train on a branch line was puffing and creaking slowly through the countryside when suddenly it lurched to a stop. The only passenger in the three-car train rose quickly to his feet and hurried to find the conductor. "Why have we stopped?" he demanded. I'm a salesman and I have an appointment in less than an hour in the next town. Surely this old train can make it through a pasture!"
The conductor smiled, "Nothing to worry about, sir. Just a cow on the tracks. Gotta wait her out." The salesman returned to his seat, fuming and fidgeting until the train began to creep forward again about ten minutes later. It chugged along for a mile or two and then ground to a halt once again.
This time the conductor found the salesman. "Don't worry," he said. We'll be on our way shortly. It's just a temporary delay." The exasperated salesman asked, "What now? Did we catch up to the cow again?"
What the salesman didn't know was that the schedule for this particular train had been made so as to allow for temporary delays and cows on the track! The salesman made his appointment, but he was worn to a frazzle by his own frustration and concern.
Allow for delays. You'll enjoy life's journey more.
Patience is the ability to keep your motor idling when you feel like stripping your gears.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city
In 1977, twelve-year-old Michael sat on a beach along the Gulf on Mexico and painstakingly put together a trotline --- a maze of ropes to which several fish hooks can be attached. Meanwhile, his parents and two brothers were busy fishing. "You're wasting your time," they advised him. "Grab a pole and join in the fun."
Undaunted, Michael kept working at this tedious task, even though his family considered it of no value. At dinnertime, when everyone else was ready to call it a day, Michael cast his trotline far into the water, anchoring it to a stick that he had plunged deep into the sand. During dinner, his family teased him about coming away from the day's fishing empty-handed. But after dinner, when Michael reeled in his trotline, there were more fish than they had caught all together.
Seventeen years later, his patient persistence had taken Michael Dell from teen to tycoon. He became the fourth-largest manufacturer of personal computers in America, and the youngest man ever to head a Fortune 500 corporation. He got his start in high school when he bought his first computer and took it apart to figure out how it worked.
Don't be afraid to start small. It's where you're headed that counts.
He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.
Anyone wanting to be a leader among you must be your servant. And if you want to be right at the top, you must serve like a slave
Matthew 20:26, 27
When John Todd was only six, both his parents died. A loving aunt sent her horse and a slave, Caesar, to get John. On the way home, John asked Caesar if his aunt would be there . . . if he would like living with her . . . if she would love him . . . if she would have things ready for him. Each time Caesar replied, "Oh, yes. You fall into good hands." When they arrived, his aunt was waiting with open arms and heart. She became his second mother and he loved her dearly. Years later, as his aunt was nearing death, John wrote:
"My Dear Aunt, Years ago I left a house of death not knowing where I was to go, whether anyone cared, whether it was the end of me. The ride was long but . . . there we were in the yard and you embraced me and took me my the hand into my own room that you had made up. After all these years I still can't believe it - how you did all that for me! I was expected; I felt safe in that room - so welcomed. It was my room. Now it's your turn to go, and as one who has tried it out, I'm writing to let you know that Someone is waiting up. Your room is all ready, the light is on, the door is open, and as you ride into the yard - don't worry, Auntie. You're expected! I know. I once saw God standing in your doorway - long ago!"
... for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them... 2 Corinthians 6:16
In the 1880's, some of the finest engineers in the world were called in to give their opinions about the possibility of building a railroad through the Andes Mountains. One by one, group of engineers were presented with various possible routes, and one by one they reported the job couldn't be done. Finally, as a last resort, a Polish engineer named Ernest Malinowski was consulted. Malinowski had a tremendous reputation, but by this time, he was sixty years old.
Malinowski not only assured the representatives of the participating nations that the job could be done, but that he was the man for the job. Thus, at the start of his seventh decade, he began overseeing the building of the highest railroad in the world.
The railroad wound its way through the Andes, through sixty-two tunnels, and across thirty bridges. One tunnel was 4,000 feet long and 15,000 feet above sea level. Revolutions held up construction twice, and once, Malinowski had to flee for his life to Peru. In spite of all the obstacles, the feat was accomplished and is considered one of the great engineering marvels of the world.
Obstacles are meant to be hurdled.
Never, Never, Never ... Give Up
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
We pray because prayer opens up the floodgates of God's infinite grace and power to flow toward the person in need. God can act without prayer, but He chooses to operate within the boundaries of human will and invitation. He allows us to participate in His work on earth with each prayer.
Leonard Ravenhill once said about prayer, "One might estimate the weight of the world, tell the size of the celestial city, count the stars of heaven, measure the speed of lightning, and tell the time of the rising and the setting of the sun ---- but you cannot estimate prayer power. Prayer is as vast as God because He is behind it. Prayer is as mighty as God because He has committed Himself to answer it."
A sign in a cotton factory read: "If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman. " One day a new worker got her threads tangled. The more she tried to disentangle them, the worse the situation grew. Finally, she sent for the foreman. He asked, "Why didn't you send for me earlier?" She replied, "I was doing my best." He answered, "No, your best would have been to send for me."
When we face a tough situation, our first response should be to ask God's help. He longs to be our helper and to be fully involved in our lives.
Give your troubles to God: He will be up all night anyway.
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3
Some thought Les Goldberg was crazy when he cashed in his personal investments to buy a home to lease to the homeless. Goldberg, a retired engineer, felt it was the only decision he could make.
Since he retired, Goldberg has been a busy volunteer, serving on six service boards and leading a crew of homeless people at odd jobs and charity work. He spends at least an hour a day with his homeless friends and has helped renovate several properties on their behalf. In all his efforts, Goldberg never regarded the homeless as irresponsible or unreliable. He only saw them as people. He figured the house he purchased could be used as both a temporary shelter and a drop-in center...a place where homeless people might pick up mail, make phone calls, follow up job leads, and receive donated commodities. Four homeless men live at the house, paying minimal rent to offset expenses. House rules are strict -- no alcohol, no drugs, no loitering.
Goldberg has never been rich. For twenty years he ran his own business, making about $25,000 a year designing and installing fire sprinklers. He simply was a man who saw a need and found a way to help meet it.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
In both fall and spring, geese can often be seen migrating, flying in a beautiful V-shaped formation. Such a pattern may appear to us to be a thing of beauty. In fact, it is aerodynamically brilliant.
At certain intervals, relative to the strength of the headwind they are encountering, the lead goose --- who does the most work by breaking the force of wind --- drops back and flies at the end of the formation. A goose next in the V takes its place. Scientists who have studied the V-formation have calculated that it takes up 60 percent less effort for the geese to fly this way. The flapping of wings creates an uplift of air, an effect that is greater at the rear of the formation. In essence, the geese are taking turns "uplifting" one another. After a turn at the point of the V, the lead goose is allowed to rest and be "carried" by the others, until it has opportunity to regain its strength and move forward in the formation to eventually take its place in the lead role again.
How fortunate we are when we are part of a circle of friends and family who cooperate and work together. All are "lifted up" when that happens. Is there someone today you can "uplift" in prayer, giving, or heart-to-heart friendship and caring?
Success is knowing the difference between cornering people and getting them in your corner.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3
Sadhu Sundar Singh was born into an Indian family of high caste. When he became a Christian and told his parents of his decision to follow Christ, they said, "You have broken caste. You cannot live here any longer." They immediately banished him from their home.
It was the wet season and the rain was coming down hard as he left his home, clad in only his insubstantial Indian robes. He sat under a nearby tree all night, soaked to the skin. He said that he felt so radiantly happy, however, that he forgot any physical discomfort. He had the freedom to travel throughout the region telling the Gospel story.
He became known as the apostle of India. Once, he went into Tibet, where he was arrested, put into a pit, and branded with irons. He bore those scars the rest of his life. While speaking in England he said, "I am going back to do what I have done. I am quite aware of the cost." Some time after his return, he disappeared and appears to have suffered a martyr's death.
Singh moved from "high caste" in India into a "servant's caste" for the Gospel. His position in Christ was not only marked by the privilege of eternal life, but by the responsibility to serve others and share Christ's love.
Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.
For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more." Luke 12:48
An aspiring writer interviewed Thomas J. Watson, the president of IBM. Watson gave him this advice: "It's not exactly my line," he said, "but would you like me to give you a formula for writing success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.
"You're making a common mistake. You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. Failure is a teacher - a harsh one perhaps, but the best. You say you have a desk full of rejected manuscripts? That's great. Every one of those manuscripts was rejected for a reason. Have you pulled them to pieces looking for that reason?You can be discouraged by failure - or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On that far side of failure."
Don't allow your failures or setbacks to discourage you. Failure need not be fatal. Arthur Gordon, the aspiring writer to whom Watson gave the advice, went on to become a well-known author and editor. He later said of Watson's advice, "Somewhere inside me a basic attitude had shifted. A project turned down, a lot of rejected manuscripts - why, these were nothing to be ashamed of. They were rungs in a ladder - that was all."
Failure isn't so bad if it doesn't attack the heart. Success is all right if it doesn't go to the head.
A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. Proverbs 29:23
Charles Oakley, forward for the New York Knicks and an NBA All-Star, has a reputation for being one of basketball's best rebounders. It's his toughness, however, that has probably contributed the most to his outstanding sports career.
While other professional players seem to have frequent injuries or are side-lined for other reasons, Oakley has had very few injuries over the course of his thirteen-year career, even though he has absorbed a great deal of physical punishment on the court. He is often pushed and fouled. He puts in miles each game running up and down the court. He frequently dives into the stands for loose balls, to the extent that the courtside media teases him about being a working hazard. According to Oakley, his tenacity and energy have an origin: his grandfather, Julius Moss.
Moss was a farmer in Alabama who did most of his field work by hand. "Other people had more equipment than he did," Oakley says. "He didn't have a tractor, but he got the work done. No excuses." Moss, who died in 1990, developed all sorts of aches and pains in his life, but he laughed at them and went about his business. Oakley saw a lesson in that-nothing should prevent him from earning a day's pay.
Being focused, dedicated, and disciplined will make the difference between a mediocre life and a great life.
No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize... To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from being your best. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Nathaniel came home heartbroken. How could he tell his wife that he had just been fired from his job at the customhouse? The last thing he wanted her to think was that he was a failure, and yet "Failure is just the label he felt was embroidered on his chest.
To his surprise, when he told his wife what had happened, she responded with joy. "Now you can write your book!" she said optimistically.
"And what shall we live on while I am writing it?" Nathaniel replied with dejection.
His wife Sophia immediately went to a drawer and to his amazement, pulled out a substantial sum of money and handed it to him.
"Where did you get this?" he said in great surprise.
"I have always known you were a man of genius," Sophia said. "I knew that someday you would write a masterpiece. Every week, out of the money you gave me for the housekeeping, I saved a little bit. Here is enough to last us for one whole year."
So Nathaniel Hawthorne, buoyed by his wife's confidence, turned his hand to writing The Scarlet Letter.
A loving spouse can see the good in you even when you can't.
Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of you love. Ephesians 4:2
Jim, an elder at a church, was assigned to oversee the evangelism of a group of Vietnamese refugees who had just moved into the church's neighborhood. He felt especially drawn to Sun Lee and his family, who had no possessions, knew no one, and needed help in every way. Jim began by helping the family get food and then he helped Sun Lee find a job.
Jim wanted so much to tell Sun Lee about Jesus Christ, but since he didn't speak Vietnamese and the refugees knew very little English, he found it difficult to communicate. Both Jim and Sun Lee began to learn as much of each other's language as possible so they could become better friends.
One day Jim felt that he finally knew enough Vietnamese to tell Sun Lee about Jesus, but the more he talked, the more confused Sun Lee seemed to be. Finally, Sun Lee blurted out, "Is your God like you?"
Jim replied, "Oh, He's far, far greater."
Sun Lee interrupted, "If He's like you, Jim, I want to know Him."
The most effective communication you can speak is the "word" of your deeds.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Near the top of one of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountain range - more than 10,000 feet above sea level are two natural springs. They are so close together and level in height, that it would not take a great deal of effort to divert one streamlet toward the other. Yet . . . if you follow the course of one of these streams, you will find that it travels easterly, and after traversing plateaus and valleys, receiving water from countless tributaries, it becomes part of the great Mississippi River and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
If you follow the water from the other fountain, you will find that it descended gradually in westerly direction, again combining with other tributaries until it becomes part of the Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean.
The terminal points of the two streams are more than five thousand miles apart, separated by one of the highest ranges of mountains in the world. And yet in their onset, the two streams were close neighbors. Very little effort would be required to make the easterly stream run west, or the westerly stream run east.
If you want to impact the course of a life . . . start at birth!
Train your child in the way in which you know you should have gone yourself.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8
The moment was a tense one. Rosalie Elliott had made it to the fourth round of a national spelling contest in Washington. The 11-year-old from South Carolina had been asked to spell the word avowal. In her soft southern accent she spelled the word, but the judges were not able to determine if she had used an a or an e as the next to the last letter. They debated among themselves for several minutes as they listened to tape recording playbacks. The crucial letter, however, was too accent-blurred to decipher. Finally, the chief judge put the question to the only person who knew the answer.
"Was the letter an a or was it an e?" he asked Rosalie. By this time, being surrounded by whispering young spellers, Rosalie knew the correct spelling of the word. Still, without hesitation, she replied that she had misspelled the word and she walked from the stage.
The entire audience stood and applauded, including some fifty newspaper reporters. The moment was a heartwarming and proud one for her parents. Even in defeat, she was a victor. Indeed, more has been written about Rosalie Elliott over the years than about the "unknown" winner of the event.
Being a person of truth, even when it is against us, will bring great honor.
Honor is better than honors
... for them that honour me I will honour. 1 Samuel 2:30
When Ruth Bell was a teenager, she was sent from her childhood home in China to school in Korea. At the time, she fully intended to follow in her parents' footsteps and became a missionary. She envisioned herself a confirmed "old maid" ministering to the people of Tibet. While at school, however, Ruth did give some serious thought to the kind of husband that she might consider. As she tells in her book A Time of Remembering, she listed these particulars:
"If I marry: He must be so tall that when he is on his knees, as one has said, he reaches all the way to heaven. His shoulders must be broad enough to bear the burden of a family. His lips must be strong enough to smile, firm enough to say no, and tender enough to kiss. Love must be so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes the whole lost world in. He must be active enough to save souls. He must be big enough to be gentle and great enough to be thoughtful. His arms must be strong enough to carry a little child."
Ruth Bell never did become a full-time missionary in Tibet. However, she did find a man worthy marrying: Billy Graham. As his wife, Ruth Bell Graham became a missionary to the whole world!
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24
A stonecutter once delivered a slab of a stone to a merchant. Seeing all his wonderful goods, he said, "I wish I was a merchant and had such things." In the twinkling of an eye, his wish was granted. The one day he saw a parade pass his store window. He saw a prince pass by in splendor and he said, "I wish I was a prince." And immediately he became a prince . . . until the day the hot son beat down upon him and he said, "I wish I was the sun, greater than any man." And he became the sun and was happy . . . until a cloud came between him and the earth. He said, "That cloud over-shadows me. I wish I was a cloud." Again his wish was granted. He rained down on the earth to his heart's content until he came to a mountain, which wouldn't let him pass. He said, "That mountain is greater than I, I wish I was a mountain." Instantly, he became a mountain and he thought, Now I am the greatest of all.
But one day a little man climbed up the mountain and with a hammer and chisel began to tap away at it. The mountain, unable to stop him, said, "That little man is greater than I, I wish I was a man who cut stone." Once again his wish was granted and he became a stonecutter. He lived a long and useful lifeand everyone marveled at how happy he was.
The grass may look greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed.
... And be content with such things as you have. Hebrew 13:5
Soon after Dallas Theological Seminary opened in 1924, it faced a major financial crisis. Creditors banded together and announced that they intended to foreclose. On the morning of the threatened foreclosure, the leadership of the seminary met in the president's office to pray that God would meetrtheir need. One of the men present was Harry Ironside, who prayed in his characteristic style, "Lord, the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money."
While they were praying, a tall Texan walked into the outer office and said to the secretary, "I just sold two carloads of cattle. I've been trying to make a business deal but it fell through, and I feel compelled to give the money to the seminary. I don't know if you need it, but here's the check."
Knowing the financial need, the secretary took the check and timidly tapped on the door of the office where the prayer meeting was being held. When Dr. Chafer saw the check, he was amazed. The gift was exactly the amount of the debt! Recognizing the name on the check as that of a prominent Ft. Worth cattleman. He announced with joy, "Harry, God sold the cattle!"
God answers prayer.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. Isaiah 58:9
Several years ago on a flight out of Orlando, the pilot recognized that something was amiss the minute the plane took off. He quickly turned back to the Orlando airport and warned the passengers to prepare for a crash landing; the hydraulic system had failed.
The passengers were stunned and visibly frightened. Many began to cry, and some even wailed or screamed. Almost everyone lost their composure in one way or another, but one woman continued to talk in a calm, normal voice. She stared into the face of her four-year-old daughter, who was listening to her intently.
She said, "I love you so much. Do you know I love you more than anything?"
The mother continued, "And remember, no matter what happens, that I love you always. And that you are a good girl. Sometimes things happen that are not your fault. You are still a good girl and my love will always be with you."
Then the mother laid over her daughter, strapped the seat belt over both of them, and prepared to crash. The mother's love and character had given her courage. Miraculously, the landing gear held. The plane landed safely.
Character is built layer upon layer, not in one big act. "Having what it takes" for tomorrow will be a direct result of "doing what is right" today.
Character is not made in crisis, it is only exhibited.
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8
The first memory that John H. Johnson has of his mother is of gripping her hand as they ran from the rampaging waters of a broken Mississippi River levee. The family lost everything, but "Miss Ger" was not one to quit. A field worker and later a domestic, she had known little but backbreaking work in her life. She had a dream, however, that her son would one day live in a city and become "somebody." She saved her money until she could move her family to Chicago. There, John graduated from high school with honors. When John had an idea for a magazine, it was his mother who came to his aid, allowing her new furniture to be used as collateral for a start-up loan. After Negro Digest became a success, John was able to do what he had dreamed about for years: he "retired" his mother, putting her on his personal payroll.
For 59 years, John saw or talked to his mother almost every day. Even when he found himself in other nations, he called his mother daily--once, from atop a telephone pole in Haiti. He continued to draw upon her spiritual and physical toughness until she died. John went on to publish Ebony and Jet magazines, and his company owns three radio stations. He says, "Not a day passes that I don't feed off the bread of her spirit"
Mothers are like fine collectibles -- as the years go by they increased in value.
... despise not thy mother when she is old. Proverbs 23:22
During the course of their twenty-four years of marriage, Tom accumulated a fortune in the natural gas business. But then, in a twenty-four-month period, he saw the fruit of his labors slip away to creditors and foreclosures. Things became so desperate at one point that in order to make the monthly payment on their house, he had to sell his wife Tina's engagement ring. Finally, Tom was forced out of the oil business altogether. He and Tine lost everything they had.
When things looked the worst, Tom landed a promising job in another industry and slowly began to come out of his personal and professional slump. Nearly two years later, while out to dinner, Tina saw in her husband signs of Tom's old exuberance. When he took his wife's hand in his own and said, "Tina, you are like this diamond--beautiful, exquisite, precious," she thought her heart would burst. "But where did you get the money?" she asked as he put the ring on her finger.
"You haven't known it," Tom confessed, "but for two years I've been giving plasma once a week. I saved all the money I was paid, and last week I sold my hunting gear. The only hunting I want to do from now on is hunt for ways to love you more. You are my life."
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
A fable is told of a young orphan boy who had no family and no one to love him. Feeling sad and lonely, he was walking through a meadow one day when he saw a small butterfly caught in a thorn bush. The more the butterfly struggled to free itself, the deeper the thorns cut into its fragile body. The boy carefully released the butterfly, but instead of flying away, the butterfly transformed before his eyes into an angel.
The boy rubbed his eyes in disbelief as the angel said, "For your wonderful kindness, I will do whatever you would like." The little boy thought for a moment and then said, "I want to be happy!" The angel replied, "Very well," and then leaned toward him, whispered in his ear, and vanished.
As the little boy grew up, there was no one in the land as happy as he. When people asked him to tell his secret of happiness, he would only smile and say, "I listened to an angel when I was a little boy."
On his deathbed, his neighbors rallied around him and asked him to divulged the secret of his happiness before he died. The old man finally told them: "The angel told me that everyone, no matter how secure they seemed, no matter how old or young, how rich or poor, had need of me."
We too often love things and use people, when we should be using things and loving people.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
The story is told of a small dog that was struck by a car and tossed to the edge of the road. A doctor, who just happened to be driving by, noticed that the dog was still alive, so he stopped his car, picked up the dog, and took him home with him. He discovered the dog had suffered only a few minor cuts and abrasions. Reviving the dog, the doctor cleaned its wounds, then carried it to the garage, where he intended to provided a temporary bed.
However, the dog wriggled free from his arms, jumped to the ground, and scampered off. "What an ungrateful dog," the doctor said to himself. He was glad that the dog had recovered so quickly but was a little miffed that the dog had shown so little appreciation for his expert, gentle care.
He thought no more about the incident until the next evening, when he heard a scratching at his front door. When he opened the door, he found the little dog he had treated. At its side was another injured dog!
Be encouraged! You may never see the difference you make in someone's life or the difference that person will make in the lives of others; nevertheless, those with whom you share the Gospel will never be the same.
When you give God your all, you put yourself in a position to receive His all.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
Scientists have studied the effect laughter has on human beings and have found, among other things, that laughter has a profound, instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ in the human body.
Laughter reduces health-sapping tension. It simultaneously relaxes the tissues and exercised the organs. It causes the release of both dopamine and serotonin in the brain, natural substances that contribute to a general feeling of well-being.
Similarly, the great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon once emphasized to a preaching class the importance of making facial expressions that harmonized with one's sermon.
"When you speak of Heaven," he said, "let your face light up, let it be irradiated with a heavenly gleam, let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of Hell-well, then your ordinary face will do."
While we may thing it contrived to "force" a facial expression, such as a smile, or to force a laugh, scientists have found that even forced laughter has a beneficial effect, both mentally and physically.
Next time you feel nervous, tired, or stressed, indulge in a good laugh!
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22
During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government ran low on the silver they used to make their coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men to a local cathedral in search of silver. They reported, "The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners." "Good!" Cromwell replied, "We'll melt down the saints and put them into circulation."
Circulating melted-down saints? It's an unusual metaphor, but good theology! The Lord never intended for us to be silver-plated, highly polished ornaments solely for liturgical use. He intends for us to give our all - our very life's blood, talent, sweat, resources, times, and yes, silver-to wage war against the evil out in the trenches of life.
The Lord wants far more than our material possessions. He wants our hearts, our prayers, our tears. He wants to be the object of our desire. The blood of Jesus can't be bought. It can only be received by nothing less than our all.
Beware of placing the emphasis on what prayer costs us; it cost God everything to make it possible for us to pray.
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus...let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. Hebrews 10:19,22
President Lincoln had a disarming and engaging ability to laugh at himself, especially his own physical appearance. When Senator Stephen A. Douglas once called him a "two-faced man," Lincoln responded, "I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?"
Another time he told a group of editors about meeting a woman riding on horseback in the wood. She "looked at me intently, and said, 'I do believe you are the ugliest man I ever saw.' Said I, 'Madam, you are probably right, but I can't help it.' 'No,' said she, 'you can't help it, but you might stay at home.'"
Although his likeness is widely recognized, Lincoln is not known primarily for his appearance, but for his courageous stance for restoration of the Union and the abolition of slavery. He is often held up as an example of remarkable patience, determination, dedication, strong will, compassion, thoughtfulness, and selflessness. These inner qualities are what mark Lincoln as one of America's greatest presidents.
So much is made in our culture today of outward appearance and material possessions. We do well to remember that it is our virtuous inner qualities that create a lasting reputation.
When God measures a man, He puts the tape around the heart instead of the head.
... the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
In 1878, the Constitutional Convention was on the brink of failure over the issue of whether small states should have the same representation as the larger states. The situation seemed hopeless, and many of the delegates were making plans to return home, when 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin offered a suggestion. He was convinced that Scripture is right when it says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" (Psalm 127:1). He rose to address the delegates:
Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of Heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business.
His motion carried. Every morning thereafter, the sessions opened with prayer. In a short while, a compromise was forged. It is still in effect today -- a fixed representation for states in the Senate, representation according to the population in the House.
The best building material for constructing any solution you may need today is prayer.
Living a life without prayer is like building a house without nails.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1
John Selwyn, who became the Bishop of the South Pacific, was renowned for his boxing skill during his university days. On one occasion after he had become bishop, he had to utter grave words of warning and rebuke to a professed convert. The man clenched his fist and violently struck the bishop on the face.
In response, Selwyn simply folded his arms and looked into the man's face. With his powerful arm and massive fist he could easily have knocked the man down, but instead he waited calmly for another blow. It was too much for his assailant. Ashamed, he fled into the jungle.
Years later, the bishop become seriously ill, so he returned home. One day, the man who had struck him came to his successor to confess Christ in baptism. Convinced of the genuineness of his conversion, the new bishop asked what "new name" he desired to take as a Christian. "Call me John Selwyn," the man replied, "for it was he who taught me what Jesus Christ is like."
Do others call you a Christian, or is that only what you call yourself? If not the name of Christ, what name do your friends give you behind your back?
If you were given a nickname descriptive of your character, would you be proud of it?
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. Proverbs 22:1
When Daniel Webster was just beginning his career as a lawyer, he took a case for a fee of $20. The case turned out to be a very difficult one, and in preparing for it, Webster had to make a trip to Boston , which in itself cost more than Webster was going to earn as a fee. He was determined, however, to do a thorough job on the case and win it, which he did. In retrospect, it seemed like a small case, but at that time, it was a big victory.
Years later, a large company approached Webster on short notice, asking him to undertake a case for which they were willing to pay a very handsome fee--in fact, a fee quiet stunning at the time. As Webster reviewed the case, he found that it was almost identical to the one he had researched and won nearly twenty years before for the fee of only $20. He took the case, and just as before, the verdict was in favor of his client.
A familiar phrase holds great truth: "Nothing is lost in God's economy." He uses all our efforts that are motivated by goodwill and a generous and faithful heart. Sometimes the reward is immediate, Sometimes it can take a lifetime, but the reward will most definitely come.
Be great in the little things
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Luke 16:10
The story is told of a young man who chose to take on a problem that plagues many American cities: potholes. In his case, the problem was one particular pothole. It was located at an intersection near his home, and it had been there for as long as he could remember. Residents of the neighborhood had developed the habit of driving around it; strangers learned about it the hard way.
One day, the young man decided it was time to fix the problem. He and his brother stopped in at a hardware store and purchased sand and cement. Once the store owner learned what they planned to do, he loaned them a shovel and a concrete mixer, and even volunteered his son to help out.
As soon as they began filling in the pothole, several passing motorists parked their cars and began directing traffic around the three men at work. Some passing children made "Wet Concrete" signs to put around the pothole once the work was done. In all, nearly twenty neighbors participated in the project. Together, they had handled a problem that had bothered all of them for years. All it took was one person willing to step forward and take responsibility for seeing that the problem was fixed.
It's one thing to define a problem or theorize about solutions, it's quite another to actually solve the problem!
What a big difference there is between giving advice and lending a hand.
Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:18
A little girl watched with envy as her older brother and his friends worked a gumball machine outside the local hardware store. When she asked her brother for a gumball, he told her he didn't have any more quarters for the machine and she would have to use her own allowance for such treats.
When her father arrived at home that evening, the little girl approached him to make her request, "Daddy, can I have a quarter?" Feeling generous, the father pulled out his wallet and offered his daughter a crisp new twenty-dollar bill.
Not realizing what the bill was, the little girl refused the paper money. As far as she was concerned, it was useless - it wouldn't fit into the gumball machine. She said, "No, I don't want that. I want a quarter."
Are there times when we deal with our Heavenly Father as this little girl dealt with her father? Do we sometimes ask for some small favor, refusing His offer of a blessing that is a hundred times more valuable?
God may not answer our prayers precisely as we would desire, but we can always know He has answered our prayers in the way that is best for us.
God's answers are wiser than our prayers.
The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25
The bee is often described as being "busy." It deserves this adjective! To produce one pound of honey, a bee must visit 56,000 clover heads. Since each head has sixty flower tubes, a bee must make a total of 3,360,000 visits. In the process, the average bee would travel the equivalent of three times around the world.
To make just one tablespoon of honey, the amount that might go on a biscuit, a little bee must make 4,200 trips to the flowers, averaging about ten trips a day, each trip lasting approximately twenty minutes. It visits four hundred different flowers.
Day in, day out, the work of a bee is fairly unglamorous. It flies, it takes in nectar, it flies some more, and it deposits nectar. But in the process, it produces, and what it produces creates a place for it in the hive.
You may think your daily chores are a waste of time. But in fact, your completion of those chores is "making" you. One day, you won't even have to think: I must get disciplined. I must get to work. I must stick with it.
If you have done your chores faithfully and to the best of your ability, the chores will have become part of the way you tackle every challenge the rest of your life.
When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
He becometh poor that deal with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. Proverbs 10:4
A young man once studied violin under a world-renowned violinist and master teacher. He worked hard for several years at perfecting his talent, and the day finally came when he was called upon to give his first major public recital in the large city where both he and his teacher lived. Following each selection, which he performed with great skill and passion, the performer seemed uneasy about the great applause he received. Even though he knew that those in the audience were musically astute and not likely to give such applause to less than superior performance, the young man acted almost as if he couldn't hear the appreciation that was being showered upon him.
At the close of the last number, the applause was thunderous and numerous "Bravo's" were shouted. The talented young violinist had his eyes glued, however, on only one spot. Finally, when an elderly man in the first row of the balcony smiled and nodded to him in approval, the young man relaxed and beamed with both relief and joy. His teacher had praised his work! The applause of thousands meant nothing until he had first won the approval of the master.
Am I now trying to win the approval of man or of God? Galatians 1:10a
When David Yudovin entered the 64* water before dawn, he was trying to complete a journey he had begun nearly twenty years before. In 1978, only 250 yards from the end of a marathon swim near Ventura, California, Yudovin had a near-fatal heart attack. He fought his way back to health and later completed several landmark swims. Now, at age forty-five, he felt ready to take on his supreme challenge, swimming the English Channel.
The odds against a successful channel swim are great. Yudovin had tried three other times and failed. The lure of that twenty-one-plus mile stretch of icy water never left him, though. The swim is dangerous, not only because of the cold water, but because the channel is often laced with sewage, oil slicks, seaweed, jellyfish, and up to four hundred ships a day. On August 20, 1996, the weather reports indicated it was now or never. So he swam. Eight hours into the swim, a storm cell arrived, producing hard rain, strong tidal flow, and extremely choppy water. But Yudovin continued on when he climbed out of the water near Calais, France, he was elated. "It's so rewarding and so fulfilling it almost tickles inside," he said. His fourth attempt was a victory
You might have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:11
A little girl was put to bed in a dark room. She heartily disliked being alone, so her mother brought her favorite doll named Happy to cuddle as she lay in the dark. But the girl still cried and begged her mother to stay in the room with her. So the mother patiently reminded her daughter that she had both Happy and God in the room with her, and that she need not feel lonely or afraid.
The little girl listened, but after her mother left, she began to sob again. The mother returned to her room and said in a sterner tone of voice, "Honey, you aren't alone. You have Happy and God with you."
The little girl sobbed, "But Mother, I want someone who can hug me back."
As strong as our faith may be, and as noble as our words may be to our children, our children still need to feel our presence. They need quality and quantity time. They need to know we are available to hug them, when and where they feel the need for those hugs.
The Father certainly is with us always, but Jesus put our role in perspective when He said, "As the Father hath sent me, so send I you." Your role as a parent is the most important thing you will ever do.
Unless loving your family is a high priority, you may gain the world and lose your children.
Perfect love casts our fear. 1 John 4:18
In the late nineteenth century, a Member of Parliament traveled to Scotland to make a speech. He traveled to Edinburgh by train, and then took a carriage southward to his destination. The carriage, however, became mired in mud. A Scottish farm boy came to the rescue with a team of horses and pulled the carriage loose. The politician asked the boy how much he owed him.
"Nothing," the boy replied. "Are you sure?" the politician pressed, but the boy declined payment. "Well, is there anything I can do for you? What do you want to be when you grow up?" The boy responded, "A doctor." The aristocratic Englishman offered to help the young Scot go to the university, and he followed through on his pledge.
More than half a century later, Winston Churchill lay dangerously ill with pneumonia-stricken while attending a wartime conference in Morocco. A new "wonder drug" was administered to him, a drug called penicillin that had been discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming. Fleming was the young Scottish boy once befriended. His benefactor? Randolph Churchill, Winston's father!
Sometimes the good that you do may very well come back to you in the form of the miracle you need.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we hall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:7,9
A story is told about actor Charlton Heston that illustrates our need to do all we can and then trust God to do what we cannot.
It seems that during the making of the great epic movie, Ben Hur, Heston worked long hours with the stunt trainers to learn to drive a chariot for the movie's crucial chariot race scene. He improved greatly in his mastery over the horses and rig, but finally became convinced the task was more of a challenge than he had initially anticipated. He approached the legendary directory of the movie, Cecil B. De Mille about the scene.
"Mr. De Mille," he said, "I've worked very hard at mastering this rig, and I think I can drive it convincingly in the scene. But I don't think I can win the race."
The director replied, "You just drive. I'll do the rest."
God has a way of orchestrating the various races we run during the course of our lives. He trusts us to do our part in "manning the rigs." We must trust Him to determine the result of the race. As one engineer has said, "God provides the initial input. We provide the output. And God provides the outcome."
The greatest act of faith is when man decides he is not God.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
When Martin Luther began the work that became the Great Reformation, his friend Myconius said, "I can best help where I am. I will remain and pray while you toil."
Then, one night Myconius dreamed that Jesus approached him and showed him His hands and feet, wounded by His crucifixion. He looked into the eyes of his Savior and heard Jesus say to him, "Follow Me." Jesus led him to a mountaintop and pointed eastward. Myconius looked ans saw a plain stretching away to the horizon. It was dotted with thousands and thousands of white sheep. One man was trying to shepherd the great flock. Myconius recognized him as his friend, Luther. The Savior then pointed westward and Myconius saw a great field of standing corn. Only one reaper was trying to harvest it all. The lonely laborer was obviously exhausted, but he persisted. Myconius recognized the solitary reaper, again, it was Luther.
"It is not enough that I should pray," said Myconius when he awoke. "The sheep must be shepherded; the field must be reaped. Here am I; send me." He immediately sought out Luther and volunteered to serve in whatever capacity Luther desired.
Today, are you praying to help, or to be of help?
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31
Three young men were once given three kernels of corn apiece by a wise old sage, who admonished them to go out into the world, and use the corn to bring themselves good fortune.
The first young man put his three kernels of corn into a bowl of hot broth and ate them. The second thought, I can do better than that, and he planted his three kernels of corn. Within a few months, he had three stalks of corn. He took the ears of corn from the stalks, boiled them, and had enough corn for three meals.
The third man said to himself, I can do better than that! He also planted his three kernels of corn, but when his three stalks of corn produced, he stripped one of the ears and replanted all of the seeds in it, gave the second ear of corn to a sweet maiden, and ate the third. His one full ear's worth of replanted corn kernels gave him 200 stalks of corn! And the kernels of these he continued to replant, setting aside only a bare minimum to eat. He eventually planted a hundred acres of corn. With his fortune, he not only won the hand of the sweet maiden but purchased the land owned by the sweet maiden's father. And he never hungered again.
One of life's great rules is this: The more you give, the more you get.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Proverbs 11:24,25