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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vent, not Sent

            The story is told that Salmon Chase, the Treasury Secretary in Abraham Lincoln’s administration, lamented to Lincoln about an individual he had failed to write, “Oh, I am so sorry that I did not write a letter to him before I left home!”
            The President replied, “Chase, never regret what you don’t write; it is what you do write that you are often called upon to feel sorry for.”
            Lincoln would have known. After his death, archivists found strongly worded letters in his files—never sent.
            Sometimes, a letter is better deployed when not sent, but rather when it serves as a private and personal vent

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back (Prov. 29:11.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Remembering Sir John Crowder

            In 1959, Sir John Crowder retired from serving in the British House of Commons. Beatrice Roberts, the daughter of a local grocer, won his seat. After her election, Crowder was disgusted that a woman was elected to replace him.
            You probably have never heard of Sir John Crowder. You probably have heard of Beatrice Roberts, knowing her better by her first name and her married name–Margaret Thatcher.
            The world has long forgotten Sir John Crowder; the world will long remember Margaret Thatcher.
            As nice as it is to be remembered for the rest of time; it is nicer to be remembered for eternity. Every Christian, even the lowliest one in the eyes of the world, will be remembered by God forever… if his name or her name is written into the Lamb’s book of life.
            Like so many other things, with eternal life… it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.
            Christians have the blessing of knowing Jesus.

Source: Reagan And Thatcher The Difficult Relationship by Richard Aldous

Friday, June 22, 2012

Six Quarts

            Jesus would have had approximately a gallon and half of blood in his body—about six quarts.
            Six quarts of blood is enough to save the world... as long as it is from the right person.
            Think about it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Fall

           Vera Czermak lived in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She found out her husband was having an affair. She became enraged. She thought about committing both murder and suicide.
            Finally, she chose to kill herself. Impetuously, she jumped out the window-located on the third floor of her house.
            Vera was fortunate–she suffered only minor injuries. Her husband, however—not so much.
            Vera landed on him, an act that killed him. Reflecting upon the event, someone wrote, “Sometimes, in this life, there is justice.”
            Perhaps so, but that are better ways to pursue it than by counting on God to kill our enemy when we throw ourselves out the window.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From Now To Eternity

           One has written about a 10-year-old boy who was pushed into the mud by a bully from school. Someone told him it he did not need to try to get even because God always punished those who did evil.
            The boy shot back, “Okay, I'll give God till Saturday.”
            Actually, according to Paul, we are to give God until eternity: 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord (Rom. 12:19.) NIV

Monday, June 18, 2012

Modern Art

           An old story tells about Liz, who goes to her first show at an art gallery and is looking at the paintings. One is a huge canvas that has black with yellow blobs of paint splattered all over it. The next painting is a murky gray color that has drips of purple paint streaked across it.
            Liz walks over to the artist and says, “I don't understand your paintings.”
            “I paint what I feel inside me,” explains the artist.            
            “Have you ever tried Alka-Seltzer?”
            Paul was pleased with the young Christians in Thessalonica, who clearly had the Spirit of God living inside of them. This was evidenced by the lives they lived among the people of their region. That lifestyle in turn created listening ears on those outside the body of Christ.
            What is on our inside impacts what is on our outside. With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we should have something beautiful come out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Justice and the Biker

            I will be preaching on justice Sunday week. One of my favorite stories is a humorous one concerning justice. It is about a man who appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates:

"Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asked.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the man offered. "Once, on a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of high-testosterone bikers, who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground." I yelled, " Now, back off! Or you'll answer to me!"

St. Peter was impressed: "When did this happen?"

"Just a couple minutes ago."

            Unfortunately, the pursuit of justice DOES often come at great cost—even for those who seek it in a non-violent way. See Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. … and Jesus.
            Remember, it was God who said,But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24.) NIV 1984


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Living by the Inner Scorecard

            Back in 1999, one of the world's richest men, Warren Buffett, appeared to be losing his touch. Numerous newspapers and business magazines were asking, “What's wrong with Warren Buffett?”
            His mutual fund was trending downward; meanwhile, technology stocks were soaring upwards. He received much pressure to surrender and purchase technology stocks, which he considered to be poor buys for the future.
            Warren Buffett did not surrender. He chose instead to follow what he called his “Inner Scorecard.” (See my post of 6/13/12.)
            Buffett said he was the type of person who, were he painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, would have ignored advice from passerby’s. It was HIS painting, and he would work on it for the rest of his life because, in his mind, it would never be finished. That would be living life by the Inner Scorecard.
            Buffett would ultimately look like a genius. The technology boom turned to bust, but Buffett’s trust fund grew in value. Buffett was spared loss and humiliation because he followed his Inner Scorecard.
            The Bible is full of people who followed their Inner Scorecard. Here is how the writer of Hebrews chapter eleven puts into his own words the concept of the Inner Scorecard: But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Heb. 11:16.) NLT


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Inner Scorecard

            The world's richest man, Warren Buffett, says there are two types of people in this world: those who follow their Inner Scorecard, and those who follow their Outer Scorecard.
            Buffett himself follows his Inner Scorecard. He explains his reasoning with the question, “If the world could not see your results, would you rather be thought of as the world's greatest investor but in reality have the world's worst record? Or thought of as the world's worst investor when you were actually the best?”
            Buffett would prefer to be known as the worst… and in reality be the best.
            Buffett applies this to parenting. He says that parents, when their children are at a very early age, emphasize one of the two. Those who emphasize concern for what the world thinks will cultivate an Outer Scorecard in their children—and vice-versa.
            I believe we parents should cultivate an Inner Scorecard within our children. It should be a scorecard directed toward God, and not bound by what anyone in the world thinks.
            I believe this concept lies behind these words in Deuteronomy 6: Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates. CEV

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Timid Souls of the World—Unite! (If that is okay with everybody.)

         A witty fellow named J. Upton Dickson once claimed he was writing a book entitled Cower Power.
         Related to that, he planned on forming an advocacy group called DOORMATS: “Dependent Organization of Really Meek And Timid Souls-if there are no objections.”
         The group’s motto was to be, “The meek shall inherit the earth-if that's okay with everybody.”
         All of that is clever, but it misses the meaning of biblical meekness. In the Bible, meekness is human power under God’s control.
         That is why Jesus was called “meek.” He submitted his humanity to the control of his Heavenly Father. Hence, he cleaned out the temple and submitted to the cross. In both cases, he was acting on behalf of others—just like his Father wanted.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oilmen in Heaven

            There is a joke that Warren Buffett tells of an oilman who died and went to heaven. St. Peter met him at the Pearly Gates and said, “Well, I checked you out, and you meet all the qualifications. But there's one problem. We have some tough zoning laws up here, and we keep all of the oil prospectors over behind that fence. And, as you can see, it is absolutely full. There is no room for you.”
            “Do you mind if I do say four words?” the oilman asked.
            Peter replied, “I see no harm in that.”
            So the prospector cupped his hands and yelled out, “Oil discovered in hell!”
            The gate to the fence was unlocked and all of the oilmen rush out and headed due south.
            Peter told the oilman, “That's a pretty slick trick. Go on in and make yourself at home. You have all of the room in the world.”
            The oilman paused for a moment, and then he told Peter, “No, I think I'll go along with the rest of boys. There might be some truth to that rumor after all.”
            The Bible says that, like the oilman, people have an enormous ability to deceive themselves. As the book of Jeremiah says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9.)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cramming for a Final

            One man wrote, “I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they grow older.  Then, it dawned on me; they were cramming for their finals.”
            It’s not going to do much good is it? We depend upon God’s grace in facing our finals; we enjoy the Bible because we appreciate God’s grace in facing our finals.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This is not so much a story as it is a poem. I have been spending a lot of time this week thinking about contentment, and I came across this quote:

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” 
 Lao Tzu

If this should be true with anyone, it should be true with a child of God!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eyes Sewn Shut

               Dante in his writing on purgatory portrayed envy as blind beggars sitting by a wall–their eyelids sewn shut. The symbolism was to reveal that envy is a blinding sin—an envious person has sewn himself up with his poisonous thoughts.
            God wants his people to be content: “11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”(Phil 4:11.) NIV
            Let's rid ourselves of envy.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Satan Tempts a Monk

            Envy is one vice that everybody has experienced. The story is told in of a monk whom several demons of hell desired to tempt.
            It seemed to them that a big church would swell his heart with pride. But it did not.
            Their next strategy was lust. They sent a gorgeous woman his way; however, that temptation was not successful.
            Satan watched their failure with bemusement. He used it as an opportunity to teach those demons a lesson. He informed them, “Permit me to show you how it is done.”             
           He whispered to the monk, “Your brother was just made Bishop of Alexandria.”             Immediately, a cloud of envy transformed the monk’s face.
            “That is what I recommend,” the Devil told the demons.
            James was well aware of the work of the devil. He writes, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”(James 3:16.) ESV
            Let's rid ourselves of envy.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Statue

            In ancient Greece, they told the story of a city’s desire to honor a great Olympic athlete. The decision was made to erect a statue of him.
            A competitor grew so envious, he committed himself to ruining the statue. Every evening, under the cover of darkness, the competitor took a hammer and chisel and chipped away at the base of the statue.
            One evening, the competitor succeeded in his envy-fueled mission. The statue fell… directly upon him.
            The competitor had literally killed himself with envy.
            The ancient Greeks had a proverb: “Envy slays itself by its own arrows.”
            The ancient Jews had a proverb that went like this, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”(Prov. 14:30.) NIV 1984


Friday, June 1, 2012


            Part of my sermon Sunday morning will deal with gluttony. Gluttony is not about one’s size. There are some big people in this world who are in total control of their diet. And there are some skinny people who are gluttonous.
            I know because before my metabolism changed, I could eat whatever I wanted  and it would not affect my body. As a matter of fact, when I was 6 foot 1 and 125 lbs., I tried to eat everything I could. I still could not put on weight. (That is not the case now, I assure you!)
            I developed some bad habits. Can I confess to you my gluttony story?
            When Judy and I first got married, she came to our apartment one evening and said, “I have great news.”
            I asked her what that news was.
            She told me, “I bought a box of chocolate pudding pops from the store.”
            I said, “Oh, no. I wish you had not done that.”
            She asked me, “Why?”
            I said, “Because I cannot stop once I start. I love them so much I just keep on eating them. I could eat that whole box.”
            She said, “You could not either! There is no way you keep that whole box.”
            I said, “Yeah, I really could.”
            She said, “Let's see you eat that whole box.”
            I said, “Okay. But I am going to do this only to show you that I really mean what I say.”
            I proceeded to eat the entire box of pudding pops.
            I remember it as being a box of 12. Judy remembers it as being a box of 24. Either way, that was not a healthy thing for me to do.
            Incidentally, a lot of times you'll hear about people doing something like that, and they get so sick, they will never eat another one again. I did not get sick. And I do enjoy them to this day. Moreover, I am happy to say that I have grown in Lord somewhat, and so now I can somewhat control myself. But there was a time when it was a struggle for me. And the best thing to do was to keep them out of the house.
            What about you? Do you have your version of pudding pops that you have struggled with?
            The Bible talks a lot about gluttony. There is a fascinating section in Proverbs 23 that goes like this:

   1 If you sit down to eat with a ruler,
       notice the food that is in front of you.
 2 Control yourself
       if you have a big appetite.
 3 Don't be greedy for his fine foods,
       because that food might be a trick…

6 Don't eat the food of selfish people;
       don't be greedy for their fine foods.
 7 Selfish people are always worrying
       about how much the food costs.
    They tell you, "Eat and drink,"
       but they don't really mean it.
 8 You will throw up the little you have eaten,
       and you will have wasted your kind words (Proverbs 23:1-3, 6-8.) NCV

            Another says, 19 Listen to me, my children!
Be wise and have enough sense
to follow the right path.
20 Don’t be a heavy drinker
or stuff yourself with food.
21 It will make you feel drowsy,
and you will end up poor with only rags to wear (Prov. 23:19-21.) CEV

            We all know that gluttony is eating too much. However, do we know that gluttony is misdirected hunger? Christian minister Rick Ezell writes that the problem with gluttony is that it seeks to feed the soul with food for the body. It can cause a person to become so full in his stomach that he loses his appetite for God. A gluttonous person has not only a misdirected hunger but also a misplaced God.
            Let God control your appetite for Food. If you do, he can control your other appetites as well.