Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Girl With No Future

         Désirée was a fourteen-year-old teenager, and she was nervous. She had enrolled in the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts.          
         Like, many girls her age, she battled insecurities. Moreover, her life had been especially difficult. Included in her misfortunes was the death of her father, who died when she was four.
         Her grandfather had been a performer at one time, and he had encouraged her to pursue acting as she was growing up. Now, with her mother's approval, she was to begin acting lessons in a prestigious school.  
         Sadly, her dreams were not realized. Brutally, experts and professionals told her that she "had no future at all as a performer."
         Our blessing is that Désirée ultimately did not listen to those who were supposedly able to see into her future. She continued to pursue a career in acting, using modeling as her portal into her dream profession.
         Today, who does not enjoy watching Lucille Désirée Ball perform in movies and her classic TV show?
         A lot of people grow so depressed living in this world, they cannot bear to look to the future.
         I’m so glad we serve One, who is not only the God of the past and present, but also of the future. He sees what we cannot see, and He is moving our world to powerful, yet wonderful end. Although we cannot see it as He can, we can view it with hope through faith.
          20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Eph. 3:20-21.)
Source for Lucille Ball story:

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Money Ledger

            Years ago, it caught my attention when a periodical offered an account of how Godfrey Davies wrote his historical work on the Duke of Wellington. The periodical quoted Davies as saying this, “I found an old account ledger that showed how the Duke spent his money. It was a far better clue to what he thought was really important than the reading of his letters or speeches." 
            I once heard a preacher state, “Show me your checkbook and your [appointment book], and I will show you where your heart is.”
            Maybe that is why Jesus spent so much time talking about money. How we spend the money God bestows upon us reveals how we feel about God.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Cost of Ideas

            Ideas have consequences. Be ready to accept the consequences of what you believe.
            Robert Ingersoll was an American agnostic who lived in the 19th century. He owned a remarkable and celebrated library, which included many atheistical books.
            A reporter once asked him what his library cost him. Ingersoll thought for a moment and answered, “The governorship of Illinois and possibly the presidency of the United States.

Source: Edmund Fuller

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anger vs. Exasperation

            Ralph L. Woods wrote several years ago about a father, who wanted to illustrate to his son the difference between anger and exasperation. He looked up the phone number of a pompous fellow whom he knew only by name and reputation, and he dialed the number.
            When the gentleman answered the phone, the father asked, “Is Adolph there?”
            “There’s no Adolph here. Why don’t you get the right number before bothering people this hour of the night?” roared the man on the other end.
            “Now that,” said the father when he put down the phone, “was simply annoyance. We’ll wait a few minutes, and then you’ll hear something.”
            After a decent interval, the father dialed the same number and again asked, “Is Adolph there?”
            This time the other party literally screamed into the phone, “What’s the matter with you, are you crazy? I told you to look up the number and stop bothering me!” whereupon the receiver at the other end was slammed down.
            “Now that fellow was angry,” said the father. In a few minutes I will show you what I mean by exasperation compared to anger.
            After 15 minutes or so, the father dialed the same number for the third time, and when the same man answered at the other end, the father said almost cheerily, “Hello, this is Adolph. Have there been any messages for me during the past half hour or so?”
            Does this story help explain this verse from the Apostle Paul, “4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” Eph. 6:4)? NIV 1984

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Your Job Impacts Your Home

             Some say a person’s job doesn’t influence his home life. I don’t know about that.
            A boy’s family moved to another city. Registering on his first day of school, the boy was asked by the school secretary, "What's your father's occupation?"
            "He's a magician," said the new boy.
            "How exciting. What's his best trick?"
            "He saws people in half."
            "How impressive! Now, do you have any brothers or sisters?"
            "Yep... one half brother and two half sisters."
             Be careful about taking your work home.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Follow the Sun

         A few weeks ago, I was duck hunting with my son Timothy. We were on land that I was not familiar with. We walked deep into the woods for almost two miles before we arrived at the river, upon which we planned to hunt.
         Walking back to the pickup after our hunt, I began to sense we were veering off course. This was an issue to me; I did not want us to get caught after dark trying to find our way on unfamiliar land.
         I had a compass with me, yet something did not seem right. I had been walking according the compass’s data, yet, as I looked at the sun, I became greatly concerned. "When did the sun start setting in the East?" I thought to myself. I knew that winter did crazy things to the sun and the seasons, but this?
         I had to make a difficult decision; should I trust the best data that the world has to offer, or do I follow the sun? I decided to follow the sun, and that made all the difference—Timothy and I safely made it home.
         The book of Hebrews tells us that you and I have to make that same sort of decision. We are confronted with the great question: do we follow the best data that this world has to offer, or do we follow the Son? Hebrews says—Follow the Son!
         That will make all of the difference. The Son will lead us home.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Calgon, Take Me Away!

            Parenting can be hard, especially when the children are small. Here is some advice that might help.
            Mary’s three small children were stressing her out. She complained to her best friend, “My kids are driving me crazy! They are relentless! I can catch a break! I’m exhausted!”
            Mary’s loving friend advised her, “What you need is a playpen to separate the kids from yourself.”
            “Great idea!” Mary said.
            Mary went to the store and bought a playpen. A few days later, her friend called to ask how she was doing.
            “Fantastic! I can’t believe how relaxed I feel,” Mary answered. “I get in that pen with a good book, and the kids don’t bother me one bit.”
            You’ve probably have heard this before, oh parents of small children, but “this too shall pass.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seeking $990,000 in Change

           Did you hear about the man in Lexington, North Carolina, who tried to fool a Wal-Mart cashier by buying a few hundred dollars worth of items using a one million dollar bill? Of course, the one million dollar bill was counterfeit.
            Somehow, the clerk sensed that something was awry. It might have been when the gentleman asked for more than $999,000 in change! Thinking quickly, the Wal-Mart employee called authorities and Michael Fuller was arrested.
            This story has gotten a lot of play on the Internet and in the media. With the largest bill currently in circulation being that of the $100 amount, it is easy to question how in the world Mr. Fuller could have expected to function in a culture with a proposed currency being so obviously out of whack.
            Unfortunately, he is not alone. I would argue that most people in our culture have a view of money that is out of whack. We place too high a value on the dollar amount, even when it is a real, legitimate, and government-backed currency. $100 does not buy nearly as much life as many of us think.
            I believe that was what Jesus meant when he said, "No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches” (Mt. 6:24.) NCV

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Conversation

            Sharla was 28. She was a volunteer at her local elementary school, where she mentored a young, fifth-grade student named “Brandy.”  One day, Sharla’s principal summoned her to his office. There was a problem.
            Fulfilling her commitment, Sharla had been arriving at the school each week to eat lunch with Brandy and her friends, and then to share with them a number of activities, including recess.
            Brandy and her friends enjoyed this time. They would pepper Sharla with questions about her life, her friends, and a host of other topics.
            One day, Brandy asked Sharla, “Do you have a boyfriend?"
            Sharla smiled and informed Brandy that she did not.
            Then Brandy asked Sharla, "If you did, would you live with him?"            
            Sharla informed Brandy she would not.
              That confused Brandy. She wanted to know why Sharla would not. After all, every girl who had a boyfriend lived with him.
            That was the moment Sharla knew she had to tread carefully. The elementary school had a curriculum that emphasized "healthy choices."
            Consequently, Sharla gently let Brandy know that not every girl lived with her boyfriend. She had made a choice for herself. Brandy wanted to know more.
            Again, choosing her words carefully, Sharla explained that she tried to make her choices according to what she understood the Bible to say. She was not trying to judge other people’s choices; she was simply seeking to communicate the reasons for her choice.
            What Sharla failed to realize was she had crossed a line. Brandy reported to a friend their conversation. That friend told her mother. That mother called the principal, complaining that Sharla was lecturing schoolgirls about living with men.
            At that point, it was Sharla’s turn to be lectured. The principal called Sharla into his office. He advised her that the conversation with Brandy was inappropriate: healthy choices don’t necessarily include refraining from living with men.
            Want to guess where this conversation occurred?
            No. Texas.
            My purpose is not to foment fear; rather, it is to recognize what is more and more becoming our reality. Rapidly, we are finding common ground with the Christians in Hebrews:
            All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth (Heb. 11:13.) NIV 1984

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Quarterbacks

         I heard two commentators talking about Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck potentially playing together for the Indianapolis Colts. They noted that-were this to occur-one quarterback would surely not be happy.
         The other commentator mentioned Aaron Rogers and Brett Favre playing together on the Green Bay Packers, and Joe Montana and Steve Young competing for the quarterback job with the San Francisco 49ers. Both the Packers and 49ers won Super Bowls under all four quarterbacks.
         Then the question arose: was one of those four quarterbacks ever unhappy? Absolutely. Nevertheless, most fans were pleased with the outcome. To them, it was better to gain the victory than it was to have happy quarterbacks.
          I wonder if God thinks the same for us? Happiness is not the priority. What is important is to gain the eternal victory.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Caddie

             In June of 2000, Tiger Woods was in his prime. On June 17, he won the U.S. Open, destroying the field by fifteen strokes at the historic Pebble Beach course in California. 
             Four days later, Tiger Woods became a caddie.
            Jerry Chang, Tiger Wood’s old Stanford roommate, was seeking to qualify for the US Amateur Public Links Championship at the Black Mountain Golf and Country Club in Henderson, Nevada. By 6:00 AM that Thursday morning, Tiger Woods was on the course. He caddied two, eighteen hole rounds for Chang, weathering the 100+ degree desert sun.
            While Woods failed to help Chang qualify for the championship, he did demonstrate his willingness to be there for his friend. In the ensuing years, Tiger Woods has not always made wise decisions. But I appreciate his decision that day.
            A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17.) ESV

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Young Writer

            I appreciate stories that encourage perseverance. An old story tells of a little girl, who was diligently pounding away on her grandfather’s computer. 
            “What are you working on?” he asked.
            “I’m writing a story,” she replied.
            “What’s it about?” he asked.
            “I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t read yet.”
            Write on, young lass! 
            Some say a major theme of the Bible is perseverance. I would agree. For example, I think Paul was speaking of perseverance when he wrote this, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”(Phil. 3:13b-14.) ESV

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pushing Uphill

            An attitude of gratitude can be hard to cultivate in children. The story is told of a small boy pushing a heavily loaded car up a long, steep hill. He seemed overwhelmed.
            Fortunately, a kind passer-by assisted him. At last, they succeeded in pushing the cart all the way to the top. After getting his wind back, the adult indignantly said to the boy, “Only a scoundrel would expect a youngster to do a job like that! Your employer should have known it was too heavy for you.”
            “He did,” replied the boy, “but he said, ‘Go on, you’re sure to find some old fool who’ll help you up the hill.”
            Teaching children to be gracious starts with the parents. Surely we Christian parents, recipients of God’s grace, can teach our children to be gracious.

Source—Edmund Fuller

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dying In The Service

            Are your worship services killing your church attendance? I hope not to this extent:
            An old story tells of a Sunday morning when a preacher noticed a little boy named, Alex, staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church building. The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the preacher walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning Alex."
            "Good morning," replied Alex, focused on the plaque. "Dr. Simpson, what is this?" the young lad asked.
            "Well son, these are all the men who have died in the Service," replied the preacher.
            Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex’ voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, "Which one, the 9:00 or the 10:30 service?"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Do Firemen Find Fire Hydrants?

           I read about a nursery school teacher who was driving a vanload of kids home one day, when a fire truck rushed past.  A Dalmatian was faithfully sitting in the front seat of the fire truck.
            This created quite a discussion for the children! First question—what was the dog’s duties?
            One child said, “They use him to keep crowds back.”
            Another answered, “No! He’s just for good luck.”
            A third child won the prize for best answer, “They use the dogs to find the fire hydrants.”
            Ah, the joy of discovery. Now, I don’t know if those dogs are up to all of those things (which I had not previously known!), but I do believe that someday--in eternity--I’ll find out a lot more about Jesus’ activities in this world.
            The writer of Hebrews wrote, “God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together” (Heb. 1:3a.) 
             I don’t know what all is involved in holding the universe together, but I bet it is a lot!

Monday, January 9, 2012

When Your Church Property is Seized

            What would you do if your city chose to take the property on which your church building was located? That is the challenge the Cottonwood Christian Center faced in 2002. The City Council of Cypress, California voted to seize the congregation’s property in order to build a Costco.  
            The church filed a lawsuit. Ultimately, a settlement was reached where the city offered the church property to build a new facility in the same relative area.
            According to the book of Hebrews, part of the persecution the church faced was the confiscation of property. Granted, that was more likely private property; however, it was still painful for the Christians—so much so, some were leaving the faith.
            Our American culture has not marginalized Christians to the extent of ancient Rome, but we are headed in that direction. In the past, it would have been unthinkable for a city council to make a decision like that of the city of Cypress.
            I feel the Christianity is headed for more adversity. Will we respond in faith as Hebrews calls for us to do?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Women’s Tee Box

            It can be difficult when our failures become public. Several years ago, a gentleman recounted an awkward moment he had experienced on the golf course:
            It was a sunny Saturday morning on the course and I was at the beginning of my pre-shot routine, visualizing my upcoming shot, when a voice came over the loudspeaker.
            "Would the gentleman on the women's tee back up to the men's tee please!"
            I was still deep in my routine, seemingly impervious to the interruption.
            Again the announcement, "Would the gentleman on the women's tee kindly back up to the men's tee!"
            I simply ignored the guy and kept concentrating, when once more, the man yelled: "WOULD THE MAN ON THE WOMEN'S TEE PLEASE BACK UP TO THE MEN'S TEE!!"
            I finally stopped, turned, looked through the clubhouse window directly at the person with the microphone and shouted back, "WOULD THE IDIOT IN THE CLUBHOUSE KINDLY SHUT UP AND LET ME PLAY MY SECOND SHOT!"

            All of us hit "bad shots" that eventually come to light. All of us fail. All us fall short of God’s glory.
            It seems appropriate, therefore, that we maintain an attitude of winsome humility. That’s what a sinless Jesus did. Thinking of Jesus, Paul wrote,
            Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves (Phil. 2:3). CEV

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Take Time for Sabbath

            Take time for Sabbath; take time for spiritual and physical rest.
            The story is told of one man, who challenged another, to an all-day contest chopping wood. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day.
At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.”
"But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest.”
Taking time for Sabbath is like sharpening your ax.

Source: L. S. Chafer, Grace

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kid Instructions For Life

            Living life can be a daunting task. Sometimes, we need good advice on how to do it. How about this:

Top Ten Kid Instructions for Life

 10. Never trust a dog to watch your food.  Patrick, Age 10  

   9. Wear a hat when feeding seagulls. Rocky, Age 9   

  8. Sleep in your clothes so you'll be dressed in the morning. Stephanie, Age 8

  7. When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don't answer him.
      Heather, Age 16  

  6. Never tell your mom her diet's not working. Michael, Age 14  

  5. Don't pick on your sister when she's holding a baseball bat. Joel, Age 12   

  4. Never try to baptize a cat. Laura, Age 13

  3. Never do pranks at a police station. Sam, Age 10

  2. Never dare your little brother to paint the family car.  Phillip, Age 13

  1. Remember you're never too old to hold your father's hand. Molly, Age 11

            As good as that advice is, maybe we can find better places to look. How about starting with the Bible?