Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Duck and the Devil

SOURCE: The Duck and the Devil; "Perspective" March 23, 2015 by Russ Cadle
KEYWORDS: bondage, slavery, sin, freedom, liberty, rescue, forgiveness

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target.

Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to seeand killed it. his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."

But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."

Sally just smiled and said, "Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.

Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done, the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.). Whatever it is, you need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.

The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets. It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved. 

 ~author unknown

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Ugly Gift

SOURCE:  "The Ugly Gift" by Russ Cadle, Perspective, March 16, 2015.  http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=32c0b17df5bdf741f3f3f75bf&id=baa9491c09&e=1570f7dbf3
KEYWORDS: gift, service, grace, works,

Bryan Chapell tells a story about learning to use a crosscut saw with his father. As Bryan and his father were sawing through a log that had a rotten core, a piece of wood sheared off that looked just like a horse's head. So Bryan took it home and then later on gave it to his dad as a present. Chapell continues:
I attached a length of two-by-four board to that log head, attached a rope tail, and stuck on some sticks to act as legs. Then I halfway hammered in a dozen or so nails down the two-by-four body of that "horse," wrapped the whole thing in butcher block paper, put a bow on it, and presented it to my father. When he took off the wrapping, he smiled and said, "Thank you, it's wonderful … what is it?"
"It's a tie rack, Dad," I said. "See, you can put your ties on those nails going clown the side of the horse's body." My father smiled again and thanked me. Then he leaned the horse against his closet wall (because the stick legs could not keep it standing upright), and for years he used it as a tie rack.
Now, when I first gave my father that rotten-log-horse-head tie rack, I really thought it was "good." In my childish mind this creation was a work of art ready for the Metropolitan Museum. But as I matured, I realized that my work was not nearly as good as I had once thought. In fact, I understood ultimately that my father had received and used my gift not because of its goodness but out of his goodness. In a similar way our heavenly Father receives our gifts not so much because they deserve his love, but because he is love.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Give Up

SOURCE:  "I Give Up," Perspective; March 9, 2015 http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=32c0b17df5bdf741f3f3f75bf&id=1a1f4880c2&e=1570f7dbf3
KEYWORDS:  overwhelmed, surprise, love, pursuit, lost and found,

Many years ago, executives of the Time-Life publishing organization discovered that the company’s profit margin had shrunk to an alarmingly low level. Consequently, they began an intensive effort to try to cut costs. 

Efficiency experts suggested that substantial savings could be effected in the renewal department. There were 350 people working full time sending heartbreaking pleas to readers whose subscriptions were about to expire. 

In any case, enormous quantities of these letters were being prepared manually. It was calculated that if a machine could be found to replace the manual labor, millions of dollars in overhead would be saved. In time, IBM came to the rescue with an enormous computer, delivered to Time-Life in a blaze of klieg lights and fanfare. Then the new system was installed so that these letters could be sent by machine, completely without human intervention.

The system worked flawlessly for a while, until that fateful, hot, humid, sticky day in New York City when one of the nameplates stuck in the machine. A few days later a lone sheepherder in Montana received 12,634 tear jerking letters asking him to subscribe to "Life" magazine. 

The sheepherder, who hadn't received a letter in years, took his knife, carefully slit open one of the mailbags and began reading his mail. Three weeks later, red-eyed, weary and up to his hips in 12,634 opened pieces of mail, he made out a check for $6.00, filled out a subscription coupon and sent it to the President of Time-Life personally, with the following note: 

"I give up!" 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent

SOURCE:  http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2012/04/04/40-reasons-for-lent/
KEYWORDS:  gnosticism, lent, sacrifice, blood,
 
Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 6:54 AM
 

An exaltation of tweets.

To observe Lent rightly, we have to be persuaded that we already stand in God’s favor.
Ash Wednesday reminds us to number our days. It helps us gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

We keep Easter to manifest and deepen our prior share in resurrection. We observe Lent to manifest and deepen our share in the cross.

As a focused pursuit of the fruits of holiness, Lent is rooted in union with Christ, who is our sanctification.
Lent is the season of blood and guts and flesh. It is the supremely anti-Gnostic season.

Some say Lent inhibits the church’s cultural impact. To that, there are three answers: Christendom, Byzantium, & Bach.

Lent is a pursuit of glory, because the Lord exalts those who humble themselves.

To observe Lent rightly, we need to be confident that the power to obey God is a gift from God.
Israel sought out and purged old leaven once a year. Lent is the Christian feast of unleavened bread.

For Christians, death is not end but beginning. Lent is an extended meditation on that good news.

Life is a Lenten journey through death toward resurrection.

Lent is boot camp for spiritual warriors.

Without Lent or something like it, the church risks falling into a victoryism without the cross, which is the weapon of victory.

Lent didn’t keep Christians from converting Europe, forming Christendom, building cathedrals, celebrating carnivale.

Lent is training in the fundamental Christian discipline of waiting.

Lent is preparation for martyrdom. Nothing is more politically potent than a martyr.

Like the whole church calendar, Lent inserts “the fact of Christ into the rhythm of seasons, weeks, days and hours.” –Congar

We’re hungry for all the wrong things. We need Lent to develop a taste for the fruit of the tree of life – that
is, the fruit of the cross.

Purple is the liturgical color of Lent, a deep color of penitence, a lush color of royalty. Lent is for training kings.

The church year is an extended commemoration of the gospel story. Lent is long because the Passion is the biggest episode in the story.

An exercise in delayed gratification, Lent is profoundly counter-cultural.

Lent is catholic because it signifies our inclusion in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

Lent reminds us that the only God that is is the God of the cross. Lent is a prophylactic against generic monotheism.

Lent is not a withdrawal from history. The God of Lent is the God who enters time, the God with blood to shed for us.

Lent gives the only answer there is to the problem of evil: A cross that triumphs over evil, a death that tramples death.

Some demons come out only by prayer and fasting. Seems a good reason to fast and pray.

The Christian year has a rhythm, each season its own tonality and coloration. Without Lent, the year is bland.

Without Lent, how many paintings would have gone unpainted? How many cantatas left unwritten and unsung?

Lent tells us what time it is – the time between resurrection and resurrection.

Lent reminds us that Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we can escape the cross; He went to the cross to enable us to bear it after Him.

Lent gives us 40 days to contemplate the glory of the Crucified, which saves the world.

Lent is a focused effort to identify and smash idols. Lent is boot camp for Josiahs.

Lent teaches us that the Name we bear has the weight of a cross.

During Lent, we contemplate the obedience of the Son so as the become sons who honor our Father and fathers.

Lent rebuilds marriages, as we commune with the Perfect Husband who gave Himself wholly for His Bride.

Lent is a minor movement in the symphony of the church year, the dissonance that opens into the resolution of Easter.

Lent inoculates against sentimentalism.

Lent tunes us to the broken beauty of the world.

Lent strips off layers of self-deception and self-defense that screen us from the Risen Christ.

Lent is not for doing things we never do otherwise. Like Sunday, Lent is for intensifying things we do all the time.

The church year is painted in chiaroscuro. Without the darker hues of Lent, Easter is two-dimensional.

Lent teaches us to cross our eyes: “For if the eye seek good objects, and will take / No cross from bad, we cannot ‘scape a snake.” -Donne

Covenant Prayer

SOURCE:  "Lent" by Stanley Ott; Building One Another, February 12, 2013
KEYWORDS:  Discipleship, covenant, follow, Christian

Lent is the season of the year that begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday and culminates in the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is a great time to rekindle your faith. Here are two wonderful prayers to use during these days as a way of offering yourself to our loving Lord.

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;           
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you,
or laid aside by you,
exalted by you or brought low by you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.
Hannah Whitall Smith- The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life

Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me. I leave myself with you. Work in me all the good pleasure of your will and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen

May these prayers - and your own prayers - encourage your heart and stir your devotion to our Lord!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Irena Sendler: Life in a Jar

SOURCES:
KEYWORD:  neighbor, love, sacrifice, Schindler, life, death, salvation, rescue

During WW II, Irena Sendler, got permission to work tn the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.  She had an ulterior motive:

She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German).  Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of her tool box she carried, and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

Over the course of time, she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 kids/infants.  She was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs and arms, and they beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out, and put them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.  After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived in order to reunite the families.  Most of course had been gassed in the concentration camps.  For the children without parents she helped find families to foster or adopt the children.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where is the gold?

Quoted by Napoleon Hill...

"More gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth."

Friday, August 31, 2012

Christian Friendship and Socialization

SOURCE:  "No Divine Life Without a Social Life" by Joe Tremblay, Catholic News Agency.  August 31, 2012.  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2279
KEYWORDS:  community, fellowship, friend, love, unity,

For instance, in the first half of the 20th century the prevailing attitude was that children were to be seen and not heard. There were some advantages to this, especially when it came to discipline and order. However, this kind of authoritarianism was unable to withstand the cultural upsurge of Rock & Roll in the 1950’s coupled with the Sexual Revolution that followed a decade later. These two pop-culture movements- very much intertwined –appealed to the imagination of the youth. In many respects, the young Baby Boom generation at the time- shaped by the entertainment industry -became a rival subculture of Christianity with its own beliefs and language. Unlike today, the Catholic Church did not have an answer for it. She could not offer an alternative culture for youth. None existed.

Although Catholic education was good in terms of doctrinal memorization, religious practice had become perfunctory in some quarters of the Church. For many families, Catholicism has been an institutional affair; a commitment of one hour a week, if that. It is no wonder, then, that when the children came of age and went away to college, they lost their faith. It was as if the youth had rebelled against a religion which demanded so much of them in terms of morality but required so little of their time in terms of prayer, worship and social support. The incentive and strength simply wasn’t there to live out the life of Christ. Indeed, when Catholicism is reduced to a once a week ritual and thus ceases to be a 24/7 lifestyle, it ends up being displaced by something that is more complete and comprehensive.

What the Church is relearning is that the Faith is best transmitted from one generation to the next, not only through education and the initiation into the Sacraments, but through a Catholic social life as well. This latter component is vital. Indeed, friends that are rooted in a mutual love for Christ are one of the greatest gifts the Lord can bestow upon us. They run deep and can last forever. The more Christian friends we have, the more likely we are to remain firmly rooted in the Faith.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

ZIMBABWEAN DISCIPLESHIP PRAYER

SOURCE:  Magnetic Church Conference by Andrew Weeks

Lord, I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am your disciple. I won't look back, let up, bow down, back away, or be still. I am finished with low-living, sight-walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of despair, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stored up, prayed up and preached up for the cause of Christ. Amen.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Prayer of an African Christian

SOURCE:  From Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Walking with Africans, p. 23. Translated by Mary B. Crawford.

O God:
Enlarge my heart
     that it may be big enough to receive the greatness of your love.
Stretch my heart
     that it may take into it all those who with me around the world believe in Jesus Christ.
Stretch it
     that it may take into it all those who do not know him, but who are my responsibility because I know him.
And stretch it
     that it may take in all those who are not lovely in my eyes, and whose hands I do not want to touch;
through Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.

KAPINGA ESETE (d. 1975)