Let Us Pray

A city-slicker went to the countryside to visit his cousin, who owned and operated a farm. When they sat down to the table for dinner, the farmer bowed his head and gave thanks for the meal. His sophisticated relative said with a condescending tone, “This is old-fashioned. Nobody with an education prays before meals anymore.”

The farmer agreed that the practice was indeed old-fashioned, and admitted that there were even some on his farm who did not pray before their meals.

With smug satisfaction, the cousin remarked, “So enlightenment is finally reaching the farm! Who are these wise individuals of whom you speak?”

The farmer replied, “My pigs.”

To be truly human, one must pray.

“Pray continually.”—1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

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Choose the Good Path

A man and his son were climbing a mountain. They came to a place where the climbing became quite difficult, to the point of being dangerous. Any misstep at this point could spell disaster. The father stopped to consider which way he should go. From below he heard his son call out, “Choose the good path, Dad; I’m coming right behind you!”

These words should ring in the ears of every father! Dads everywhere should be very careful about the path they choose for themselves, because their children often follow right behind.

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”—1 Corinthians 11:1.

 

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The Agony of Fatherhood

A young father-to-be was pacing back and forth, wringing his hands in the hospital corridor while his wife was in labor. He was tied up in knots of fear and anxiety, and beads of perspiration dropping from his brow revealed the agony of his suffering. Finally, at 4:00am, a nurse popped out of a door and said, “Well, sir, you have a little girl.” He dropped his hands, became limp, and said, “Oh, how I thank God it’s a girl! She’ll never have to go through the awful agony I’ve been through tonight!”

Let’s hope that his wife never got word of his comment!

It is tough being a father. Let’s be thankful for all the dads out there, and be sure to say a special prayer for them this Father’s Day.

“Honor your father…”—Exodus 20:12.

 

 

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Train Approaching!

A few days ago I was picking raspberries near the railroad track behind my house when I heard a train approaching. I wasn’t able to move very far away from the tracks, so I was close enough to sense the power of the train as it barreled by me.

Only a fool would have stood in the middle of the tracks and dared the train to run them down. No one can stand against the power of a moving train.

The Bible clearly states that the wrath of God will someday be unleashed on all who ignore his warnings. No one will be able to stand against God when that time comes. No one!

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”—Romans 1:18-19.

 

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Don’t Play Around with Snakes!

Milo Sutcliffe and his wife, Jennifer, were working in their yard in Corpus Christi, Texas on May 27 when they encountered a four-foot-long rattlesnake. Milo cut off the snake’s head with a shovel, but when he bent down to pick it up, the snake bit him. Jennifer immediately called 911 and then drove Milo to the hospital. He survived the ordeal, but suffered seizures, internal bleeding and loss of vision from the snake’s venom. You need to be careful around poisonous snakes!

The Bible describes the devil as a dangerous serpent. Satan is not to be taken lightly. We must take every precaution to avoid this deadly snake.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”—James 4:7.

 

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That Ugly Tongue

For some time now, we have had a beef tongue in our freezer. My wife was reluctant to cook it, much less consume it. OK, she outright refused! Since I am a thrifty (miserly?) person, I was hesitant to throw the tongue away. I thought that someday I would cook it and eat it myself. I have never had beef tongue, but I am usually quite willing to try new things.

Finally, my window of opportunity arrived. My wife was going to be out of town for a few days, so I took the tongue out of the freezer to thaw. I would cook it and eat it while she was away. It seemed like the perfect plan.

However, when it came time to get down to business, I just couldn’t do it. I looked at that monstrous tongue and I couldn’t imagine eating it. No part of me even wanted to prepare it, much less consume it. I threw the ugly tongue away.

The Bible often warns us that the human tongue can be quite ugly. Many of the Proverbs teach against the improper use of the tongue. James 3:1-12 is a lengthy passage that depicts the danger of a tongue out of control. It likens the untamed tongue to a spark that sets a great forest on fire. Careless words can do a catastrophic amount of damage. James 3:8 says that the tongue “…is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

Some people are quick to point out the sins of others, but, ironically, they don’t realize that their gossiping tongue puts them on the same biblical “sin list” as the people they abhor! Romans 1 warns against many kinds of deviant sins, one of which is gossip (v.29). 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 contains a list of sins that will keep people out of the kingdom of God if that is their unrepentant lifestyle. Notice that “slanderers” is on that list. If you don’t want to spend eternity with some truly awful people, you had better be careful not to have an ugly tongue!

James 1:26 says, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” If you want to have a valuable faith in Jesus Christ, you can’t have an ugly tongue!

 

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Unappreciative

Lava from Kilauea

Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano continues to destroy homes and threaten lives. One man told about how he helped his dog escape the dangerous lava by tossing him over a series of fences. The dog, not understanding the gravity of the situation, bit his owner and ran away. The dog did not realize that his master simply wanted to save him from destruction.

The Bible commands us to try to save people from the fires of hell. Many of them do not understand the gravity of their situation, so they may not appreciate our efforts to save them.

Let’s try to save them anyway.

“Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire…”—Jude 22-23.

 

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A Leader’s Attitude

LeBron James and J.R. Smith

Pictures of LeBron James reacting to what happened in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opening game of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors have gone viral, much to LeBron’s dismay.

The Cavs had a chance to get a win on the defending champs’ home court, but they let the game slip away. With just a few seconds left in regulation, George Hill had a chance to put Cleveland ahead, but he missed the second of two free throws. J.R. Smith grabbed the rebound for the Cavs, however, he thought that his team was in the lead, so he passed up an easy shot, the clock expired and the Cavs were forced to play overtime.

Between the fourth quarter and overtime, James’ body language could not hide his disgust and dismay with his teammates’ performance. His reaction was played over and over on television and social media, leading him to lament the presence of cameras in that situation.

Leaders have to be careful how they act in crucial situations. In LeBron’s case, the game was not over. It was tied up, and his team theoretically had just as much a chance as their opponents to win in overtime. But with his negative response to unfortunate circumstances, LeBron cast a huge shadow of gloom and despair on his team for the remainder of the game, and his team went on to lose.

Christian leaders could learn from this. Things won’t always go our way. Sometimes those around us will let us down in a big way. While there are times when a rebuke or correction is needed, our overall demeanor in a time of crisis should be one of calm assurance that victory is within our grasp. Our teammates will feed off of our attitude and perform their tasks much better.

The Game isn’t over until Jesus returns, and when he returns we will be revealed as the true winners. Until that happens, let’s act like winners.

“Do not quench the Spirit.”—1 Thessalonians 5:19.

 

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Hope for Common Sense

Jack Phillips

Common sense is a rare commodity these days. Many people can’t seem to figure out even the most basic truths about gender identity and human sexuality. The fact that God created human beings male and female (Gen.1:27) and clearly defined marriage as being a union between one man and one woman (Gen.2:24) is beyond some people’s comprehension.

Common sense seems to be anything but common these days.

Then, out of the blue, comes a glimmer of hope. Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who, based on his religious beliefs, had refused to make a customized wedding cake for a homosexual couple. Rather than find someone else to bake the cake, this couple chose to try to bully Phillips into acting against his beliefs.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court made a decision that backed religious freedom. The 7-2 decision gives us hope that perhaps common sense has a chance to become common once again.

“’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord…”—Isaiah 1:18.

 

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To Bee or Not to Bee?

Ari Fleischer

Samantha Bee has said that she is sorry for using vulgar and offensive language to describe the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. The apology apparently is enough for executives at TBS, who thus far have not issued any disciplinary action toward Bee, who has a television show on that network.

This is quite different from what happened when Roseanne Barr recently made a similarly offensive statement and then had her television show promptly cancelled by ABC.

All of this reinforces the long-held notion that there is a double standard in our culture. Conservatives are routinely held to higher standards than liberals. (I know that most conservatives do not consider Roseanne Barr to be their standard bearer, but she is perceived by the left to be conservative.)

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, says, “There’s no uprising against Bee. Why? Because she is a liberal…The hypocrisy is sickening.”

Conservatives have long been perplexed by this double standard, but at least we can take heart in noting that the opposition is, unwittingly, admitting that conservatives routinely take the moral high road and are held to a different level of accountability.

“Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are.”—Ecclesiastes 10:3.

 

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