Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 15 – No. 2413 June 15, 2013
Thought for the week: "If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." – Ronald Reagan
"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." – Frank Tibolt
"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." – William Faulkner
"Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves." – Dale Carnegie, Author
"Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good." – General Norman Schwarzkopf
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know one from the other" – Reinhold Niebuhr
"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."
– Ronald Reagan
Reverend Ole was pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church, and Pastor Sven, the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. Yesterday, I saw them standing by the road, pounding a sign into the ground that read: "Da End is Near! Turn Yourself Around Now! Before it's Too Late."
As a car sped past, the driver leaned out his window and yelled, "Leave us alone, you religious nuts!"
From the curve we heard screeching tires and a big splash. Reverend Ole turned to Pastor Sven and asked, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should just say 'Bridge Out'?"
I was given a most precious gift this morning when I woke up. It's a gift I never received before. It's one I can't keep, can't return, can't save and don't know how well it will really work. I do know it's a most wonderful and beautiful gift. I hope I value and appreciate it enough to use it wisely.
That gift is 'this day'! Enjoy yours and make it a very special one.
One day a man saw an old lady stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry.
He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson."
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "And think of me."
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan....
After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.
There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don't owe me anything. I have
been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."
Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the
money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be difficult.
She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson."
There is an old saying that says, "What goes around comes around." Today I sent you this story and I'm asking you to pass it on. Let this light shine. God works in mysterious ways and sometimes puts people in our lives for a reason.
The picture below is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not have survived if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta.
Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Dr. Bruner performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb. During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that, for an instant during the procedure, he was just frozen, totally immobile. The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, "Hand of Hope."
The text explaining the picture begins, "The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life." Little Samuel's mother said they wept for days when they saw the picture. She said, "The photo reminds us that pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person." Samuel was born in perfect health; the operation was 100 percent successful.
Now see the actual picture. It is awesome, and pass it on. The world needs to see this one! Don't tell me our God isn't an awesome God!
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy invoked my generation to "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve their fellow citizens. [Let us not only remember these men and women on Veteran's Day, but every day of the year], and honor and express gratitude to the millions of living military veterans and thousands of active duty men and women who have or are serving our country.
In 1995, an Air Force pilot named Scott O'Grady was shot down during a flight mission over Bosnia. He was rescued by helicopter after surviving six days being hunted by hostile ground troops. Though given a hero's welcome he insisted he was no hero and that he wanted no honors.
In explaining his position rejecting special recognition, he said, "[It] is your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion—these are the things that count in a life. When you give purely, the honor comes in the giving, and that is honor enough."
Other great men have told us of the true rewards of service. Albert Schweitzer said, "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." Walter Reuther, a leader of the labor movement, echoed the sentiment this way: "There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well."
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we [Christians], being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them...."1
Sir Michael Costa, the celebrated conductor, was holding a rehearsal. As the mighty chorus rang out, accompanied by scores of instruments, the musician playing the piccolo (a little pint-sized flute), thinking perhaps that his contribution would not be missed amid so much music, stopped playing. Suddenly, the great leader stopped and cried out, "Where is the piccolo?"
The sound of that one small instrument was essential to the harmony, and the conductor missed it when it dropped out. The point? To the conductor there are no insignificant instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes the smallest and seemingly least important one can make the greatest contribution, and even if it doesn't seem to make that big a difference to the audience at large, the conductor knows it right away!2
In God's kingdom there is a place for everyone. There are no exceptions to this rule. Thus it is important that everyone is in his or her place if God's work on earth is going to be done harmoniously.
At times I may feel insignificant and that I can't do much for God, but as Edward Everett Hales said, "I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have a place for me in your kingdom work on earth. Please help me to sharpen my gift and use it for your glory in the world in which I live. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Romans 12:4-6 (NKJV).
2. Adapted from Richard Love, Sermon: "Blowing Your Horn," Memphis: Sermon Illustrations.
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