Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 17 – No. 3615 September 05, 2015
Thought for the week: "Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully." – Proverbs 28:5 (NIV)
A Catholic priest, a Protestant pastor, and an Orthodox priest were discussing the second coming of Jesus. The Protestant was sure Jesus would come back as a Protestant. The Catholic said he was sure Jesus would return as a Catholic. The Orthodox priest looked puzzled and asked, "But why would he change?"
Thomas Edison, the famed American inventor, was thought of as being one of the most creative men in history, and yet the history books tell us that he attended his school in Michigan for only three months before being expelled at the age of 12 because his teachers thought he was educationally subnormal. In later years, Edison was to become famous for his saying, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."
This was certainly true for him in his attempts to convert electricity into light, one of his most famous endeavors. He was reputed to have tried and failed over 1,000 times to perfect the incandescent electric light bulb, and when advised by his colleagues and friends to give up the whole project because it was doomed to failure, replied with total conviction and some surprise: "Why, I haven't failed. I've just found a thousand ways in which my formula doesn't work!"
– Margaret Parkin, Tales for Coaching: Using
Stories and Metaphors with Individuals &
Small Groups. Cited in The Pastor's Story
File, May 2005.
Elton Trueblood relates the story of a man who had the crazy idea he wanted to walk a tight-wire across Niagara Falls, pushing a wheelbarrow with a man in it. The aspirant erected a simulated practice situation in his backyard. Daily the determined person practiced, first with a balance bar, later without it. Eventually, after long, arduous weeks of hard work, the "wire-walker" became very good. At last the day arrived for the hazardous undertaking. Neighbors and persons from the press assembled. Looking nervously across the rushing water the stuntman sad to an admiring fried, "Joe, do you believe I can do it?"
"I absolutely believe you can."
The performer looked out over the falls one more time, "Joe, do your really believe?"
"I really believe you can."
"Fine, you're my man. Get in the wheelbarrow."
– G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for
Preaching and Teaching, p. 10.
Parish ministers will tell you that people come to them speaking with regrets like these:
When I was young, my mother was going to read me a story, but she had to wax the bathroom floor and there wasn't time.
When I was young, my grandparents were going to come for Christmas, but they couldn't get someone to feed the dogs and my grandfather did not like the cold weather and besides they didn't have time.
When I was young, my father was going to listen to me read my essay on, "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up," but there was Monday Night Football and there wasn't time.
When I was young, my father and I were going to go hiking in the Sierras, but at the last minute he had to fertilize the lawn and there wasn't time.
When I grew up and left home to be married, I was going to sit down with Mom and Dad and tell them I love them and would miss them, but my best man was honking the horn in front of my house so there wasn't time.
Into our hectic world, Jesus comes, and still invites us to exercise the spirit as well as the mind and the body. The best way we exercise the spirit is by giving attention to things of eternal significance, such as listening, loving, and learning from the least expected places.
–Richard A. Wing, Deep Joy For A shallow
World, CSS Publishing, Lima, Ohio, 2002.
Cited on www.esermons.com
My mother told me that when she was in labor with me that she was very afraid. This was in 1967, and things then were not like they are now. My mother was hemorrhaging and in a lot of pain. She was so scared. Then she remembered something that her grandmother Lily, my great-grandmother, had told her many times. She had said that if you are ever afraid that you should say the following verses of the Lord's Prayer over and over: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." My mother repeated those words over and over until she felt a peace settle over her.
Years later, in 1999, I was in the hospital preparing to have surgery. I had a tumor on my liver which had to be removed. It was a very serious surgery, and I was not sure of what the outcome would be. I was very afraid.
My family was there, and I was brave and smiling as I was wheeled into the pre-op room. But after the nurse left, I started to cry. Then I remembered my mother's story from years before and I decided to recite those same words. Soon I began to feel a sense of peace; I knew that God was there.
No, the tears did not stop, but I began to commune with my heavenly Father and I knew that He was listening; I knew that He would be with me in the operating room and see me through whatever came next.
So now when I am fearful, I repeat those scriptures from Psalm 23.
My great-grandmother was right. It works every time.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."1
In the computer world we're probably all aware of the initials, "WYSIWYG" (pronounced wissiwig) meaning "What You See Is What You Get."
In the real world it could be "WYLFIWYF" (pronounced will-fi-wiff) meaning what you look for is what you find.
Steve Goodier in his book, Are You Living in the Past? Shared how both the vulture and hummingbird fly over the same desert. The vulture sees rotting flesh. The humming bird sees colorful desert plants. Each sees and finds what it's looking for.
We do the same thing. What we hunger for and thrive on is what we look for and find. As Frederick Langbrige put, "Two men look out the same prison bars, one sees mud, the other stars."
If we hunger for evil, that's what we'll find. If we hunger for material wealth and possessions, that's what we'll seek after. If we hunger for illicit love, that's what we'll look for, see, and find, etc., etc. But if we hunger for righteousness that's what we'll pursue, and if we hunger for God we will find him.
Mary Norman summed it up very well: "I've never seen the face of God / To draw it in a book / But I have seen the hand of God / It's everywhere I look."
It's true in that what we see is what we get and what we look for we find. It depends on what we hunger and thirst for.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to develop a thirst for righteousness, for things of eternal value, and above all a hunger and thirst for You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
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