Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 16 – No. 5114 December 20, 2014
Wishing all our readers a very Merry and God blessed Christmas, and many thanks for the opportunity to share with you in this way every week.From Dick and Joy Innes, and the Board of ACTS International.
Thought for the week: "The United States of America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America." – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." – John Wooden, basketball coach
"Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes." – Henry Kaiser
"Don't let complexity stop you." – Bill Gates
"A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner." – English proverb
"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." – C.S. Lewis
"Everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself." – Leo Tolstoy
Joy and I were holidaying at Hawaii back in May and when Joy was doing a load of washing, unfortunately the cold water hose to the washing machine broke and flooded the floor of the unit we were staying in.
When I stepped off the carpet onto the very wet hard hallway tiled floor, my feet slipped from beneath me and I fell heavily. To help break my fall, I put out my right arm and hand, and ended up breaking my right wrist.
My wrist was badly broken and I had to have a metal plate inserted and pinned. It has been very painful but after quite a few weeks it healed.
While healing, the pain in my wrist was a blessing because it was a constant reminder to guard and protect my wrist at all times. If it weren't for the pain, it would have been very easy to damage my wrist even further.
Other physical pains are nature's way to let us know that we have a problem that needs attention. Ongoing emotional pain is another indicator that counseling help may be needed, and spiritual pain (emptiness, for example) is also, or can be, a motivator to seek and find God. This kind of pain is a God-given blessing.
But I am so very thankful to God that I didn't hit my head when I fell.
The best news is that when the Lord returns, every Christian will be given a new body and all pain will be gone forever!
If you are not sure that you are ready for Christ's return, be sure and read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian
Henry Carter was working feverishly trying to prepare something fresh for his Christmas sermon when he was disturbed by a knock on his study door. It was the dorm mother of the church's home for disturbed children. There was a crisis upstairs with one of the boys. Most of the boys go home for Christmas and only a few were left behind and were feeling very much abandoned and unloved.
Henry reluctantly followed the dorm mother up the stairs to the small dormitory chafing inwardly at yet another interruption. This time it was Tommy. He had crawled under his bed and refused to come out. The woman pointed to one of the beds. Not even a toe showed so Henry addressed the cowboys and bucking broncos on the bedspread. He told them of the beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all the presents in the church next door ... and how there was a special present for Tommy.
Tommy was not impressed and continued to "play dead."
Henry's frustration increased as he knelt down on all fours and lifted the bedspread. As he peered under the bed his eyes met two enormous blue eyes—expressing the fear and pain Tommy was experiencing. Henry could have easily pulled little eight-year-old-looking-like-a-five-year-old child from under the bed, but he knew that this wouldn't help. It was trust, not coercion, that Tommy needed—plus he needed to make the decision to come out by himself. So Henry tried as best he could to get Tommy excited about the special Christmas supper to be offered after the service, the wonderful presents, and the stocking filled with magnificent Christmas gifts with Tommy's name on it.
All to no avail.
So...what else could Henry do? He got down on his stomach and wriggled himself under the bed to lay with his cheek pressed into the floor beside Tommy. Not a word he said seemed to have any effect. Not being able to think of anything else to say Henry just laid there in silence beside Tommy. It seemed like such a long time but as Henry patiently waited, in time a small, cold hand crept into his.
After a while Henry said, "You know, Tommy, it's pretty uncomfortable under here. Let's you and me go where we can stand up."
Ever so slowly they did.
Henry had no more worries about finding a Christmas message.1
The closer you are to someone, the more your words will mean. The higher your position the more importance will be put on your every idle word. Your children will copy your words. We create our relationships with words. Our friends take us at our word. We build people up with words. We also tear them down with words. We continue conflict with words.
Others form an opinion of us by listening to our words. We forgive using words. We argue and disagree using words. The power of "self-talk" comes from non-spoken words and all that we will become is broadcast loudly and clearly through our words.
Everyone seems to understand the importance of trust. No one seems to doubt the vital role that it plays in personal relationships, business and politics. We want to trust the people in our lives and we want them to trust us.
Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. So why do so many trust seekers resort to short-sighted, seemingly instinctive, self-aggrandizing or self-protective strategies that are bound to damage or destroy this precious asset?
Perhaps no group is more at risk than politicians who explicitly ask us to trust them. History has proven over and over again how futile and self-defeating it is for a person in the media's cross hairs to try to protect an uncomfortable truth with a bodyguard of lies and obfuscations.
Remember Herman Cain? This intelligent, dynamic man's unexpected popularity as candidate for the Republican presidential nomination was based largely on the image he projected as a straight-talker.
But instead of confronting directly and honestly the facts surrounding allegations of improper conduct, he discredited himself with unsustainable denials and unconvincing verbal hair splitting.
Allegations alone can be damaging, but insincere, implausible and unbelievable claims and explanations only make things worse — much worse. When will politicians (and the rest of us) learn this simple maxim? When you are in a hole, stop digging.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
"He [Jesus] was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!"1
Soon it will be Christmas Day...the day we celebrate the birth of the Savior...the One who was rejected by men...the One who came from heaven to earth to give his life a ransom for your sins and mine...the One who is now in heaven preparing a place for his followers...the One who is coming again to take us to be with him in glory forever. How can we ever thank God and the Son of God enough for so great salvation? One of my favorite gospel songs written by Keith Green expresses my feelings very well. I trust it will yours too. Let's make this our suggested prayer for today:
"Oh Lord, You're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
And when Your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
Chorus: I wanna take Your Word
and shine it all around.
But first help me just to live it, Lord!
And when I'm doing well.
Help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to You.
Oh, Lord, You're wonderful,
Your touch is all I need,
And when Your hand is on this child,
Your healing I receive.
"Oh Lord, please light the fire,
That once burned bright and clear,
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burned with holy fear.2
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