Courageous Diagnosis

A married couple asked their family doctor to examine their young son. The boy was extremely hyperactive and continually did and said things that were highly inappropriate. His actions left them exhausted and exasperated. The parents were sure that their son had some sort of physical condition that could be treated with medication. They hoped that the doctor could prescribe something that would help them get their lives back to normal.

After running several tests and interviewing the boy, the doctor called the parents in for his diagnosis. He said, “I don’t think your son has any physical condition at all. I think he is just super annoying!”

That certainly was a brave diagnosis!

God wants us to be bold and courageous as we live out our faith. Let us always strive to be brave in every way as we live for Jesus.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9.

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Doing the Dirty Work

Winston Churchill

Don McCullough writes in Waking from the American Dream:

“During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.

Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, “And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?”

And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, “We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.”

Not all the jobs in a church are prominent and glamorous. But the people with their “faces to the coal” play a vital role in helping the church accomplish its mission.

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”—Mark 9:35.

 

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Don’t Get Picked Off!

Terry Mulholland

Terry Mulholland, a left-handed pitcher for the Seattle Mariners in the 1990s, had one of the best pickoff moves in baseball. Over a period of 5 years, only 6 runners were successful in stealing a base off Mulholland. His pitching motion was so deceptive that he would often catch runners leaning in the wrong direction, at which point he would pick them off base.

Opposing player Bip Roberts once said, “Sometimes it seems as if he gives up a hit just so he can pick you off.”

This describes the devil’s strategy. The tempter will offer worldly pleasure to get you leaning in the wrong direction. He offers the pleasure of sin only to pick you off and inflict suffering later.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”—Ephesians 6:11.

 

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Face in a Crowd

A man who was wanted by police in China thought that he could hide in a crowd of 60,000 people who had gathered for a concert. He was wrong.

Cameras at the entrances of the venue had modern facial recognition technology. Someone monitoring the cameras identified him, and officers arrested him before the concert was over!

People often think that they can hide from God; that their sin will not be discovered. However, you can’t escape recognition from the Lord. Any unforgiven sin will be revealed. Any unrepentant heart will be discovered. You can’t run from God.

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.”—Jeremiah 23:24.

 

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Good at What You Do

There are different levels of being good at something. For example, you might be good at math in that you can balance your checkbook. However, you probably aren’t good enough at math to be a rocket scientist who works for NASA.

This principle holds true in many ways. You may be a good enough teacher to convey some biblical truths to people in everyday conversations, but not good enough to teach a class in your church. You might be a good enough singer to blend your voice well with the congregation on Sunday morning, but not good enough to sing a solo. You might be good enough with babies to make a little one smile for a moment, but not good enough to be in charge of the church nursery for a full hour.

We need to be honest with ourselves as we assess what we do for the Lord.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”—Romans 12:3.

 

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Not So Harmless

In A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond, a former zookeeper, has this to say:

“Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger.

I’ll never forget her answer. “It will be different for me…” And she smiled as she added, “Bandit wouldn’t hurt me. He just wouldn’t.”

Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild.”

Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable disguise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, “It will be different for me.”

The results are predictable.

“…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14.

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Not Walking Right

A had a friend who used to point out to me that I was obviously favoring one leg. He noticed my limp, and warned me that if I kept walking that way I could cause damage to another part of my body. Sometimes I didn’t even notice that I was limping, but he was right—I was not walking correctly.

I had knee surgery about a year ago. Between the surgery and some follow-up therapy, I got rid of that limp.

Then, about a week ago, another friend—one who works in the health care field—pointed out that I was limping. Once again, I was not aware that I was favoring one leg. It turned out that I was just sore from doing some yard work. After a day of rest, I was able to walk correctly once again.

I appreciate my friends who are watching out for me. They have my well-being in mind, and their comments have helped me make good decisions about my health care.

We also need to be helping each other with our spiritual walk. When we see a friend who is not walking right with God, we need to point this out so that they can make some much-needed corrections.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”—Galatians 6:1.

 

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Very Tempting!

A young boy was sitting on a park bench with his grandfather when a beautiful girl walked by. The boy asked, “Grandpa, is it a sin to look at a pretty girl?”

Grandpa thought for a few seconds before he gave his response. “I suppose you can’t help but notice someone when they walk by. Surely that isn’t a sin! However, it might be a sin if you take a second look.”

“Good!” the boy replied. “Because I’m still on my first look!”

We need to be very careful to resist the various temptations that come our way.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”—1 John 3:15-17.

 

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Appreciating Mom

Stephen Piscotty

Major league baseball player Stephen Piscotty’s mother Gretchen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) last spring. Stephen took a leave of absence from the St. Louis Cardinals on May 26, 2017, so that he could be with his mother. In December, the Cardinals, in a rare baseball move that was made out of compassion, traded Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics, largely so that he could be closer to his ailing mother. Gretchen died last Sunday night at the age of 55.

When Piscotty came to the plate for his first at bat since his mother’s death, the crowd gave him a nice ovation. It was an emotional moment for everyone who witnessed it.

All of this goes to show that we truly do appreciate Moms everywhere.

“Honor her for all that her hands have done…”—Proverbs 31:31.

 

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Basin Theology

Someone once put forth the idea of something he called “basin theology”. He explained it like this: “Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus? He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing. But Jesus, the night before his death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. It all comes down to basin theology.”

Which basin will you use?

“And whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Matthew 20:27-28.

 

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