Another Disappointment

A group of soldiers were training for their first parachute jump. Their instructions were: Jump when you are told to jump. Count to ten, then pull the ripcord. If the first chute doesn’t open, pull the second ripcord. When you land, a truck will take you back to the post.

When the plane got over the landing zone, a young soldier jumped when it was his turn. He counted to ten, then pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened. He pulled the second ripcord. Nothing happened.

“Oh great,” he complained to himself. “I’ll bet the truck won’t be waiting for us, either.”

Sometimes we do everything we are supposed to do, yet things still don’t work out the way we expected. Life is filled with disappointments, but we can always trust that our hope in Jesus will never let us down.

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:5-8

 

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Bigger Picture

Fisk pleads with the ball to stay fair

One of the classic baseball television shots comes from the 1975 World Series, in which NBC captured Carlton Fisk, jumping up and down, waving his arms, trying to coax his hit to stay fair. It did—for a home run.

The iconic close-up would have been missed had the cameraman followed the ball with his camera, as he was supposed to do. But the cameraman inside the Fenway Park scoreboard had one eye on a rat that was circling him. So instead of focusing the camera on the ball, he left it on Fisk.

Sometimes we encounter problems like that rat. We have no idea how they will be resolved, but because of them, we may see God work in a way we never would have without the problems.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28

 

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What Did You Say?

Pat Tornatore relates the following story:

It was a typical noisy dinner at my parent’s home, and Dad was having trouble following the conversations. He kept jumping in with off-topic comments and asking for things to be repeated. I finally told him he needed to get a hearing aid. Looking at me as if I were crazy, he said, “What would I do with a hand grenade?”

In his Word, God speaks to us clearly and distinctly. We must be careful to listen to what he says.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches…”—Revelation 2:7

 

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Thoughtful Conversation

Carol Burks relates this story:

After finishing our Chinese food, my husband and I cracked open our fortune cookies. Mine read, “Be quiet for a little while.” His read, “Talk while you have a chance.”

The art of conversation is difficult to master. Even spouses who have been together for a long time still need to work at having thoughtful discussions where listening is just as important as speaking. May we always be striving to become better listeners.

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”—Proverbs 17:27-28.

 

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Only the Best

A friend of mine used to get great cell phone service at his house. This was to be expected since he could literally stand in his yard and see the tower that provided his service.

Then he noticed that his service wasn’t as good as it used to be. Instead of getting full bars, he only had two bars on his cell phone. He wondered why, so he called the company that provided his service and asked if they could explain the change.

The customer service representative told my friend that vandals had broken in and stolen some of their equipment. He replied that they must have replaced the equipment, or else he would have no service at all. He was informed that they had indeed replaced the stolen equipment. However, thinking that they would probably be robbed again, the company decided to use lesser quality equipment to replace what had been stolen.

God doesn’t use inferior materials to build his church. He only uses people who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and empowered by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit!

“For in him you have been enriched in every way…Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift…”—1 Corinthians 1:5-7.

 

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Raising Children

A man was at the airport waiting to board his flight. He observed a mother who was travelling with three young children, all of whom were running around yelling and annoying the other passengers. The mother tried to calm down her children and get them to behave, but she was having little or no success.

The man asked the lady, “If you had it to do all over again, would you have children?”

She thought for a moment and then replied, “Yes, I would. I just wouldn’t have these!”

Raising children can be difficult. It requires much prayer and patience. But it can be a very rewarding experience when they grow up to live for the Lord.

“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.”—2 John 4.

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Missing Worship

I am not sure who wrote this poem, but I want to share it with you. It’s about someone who missed the church service.

“You missed the fellowship that’s there,

You missed the handshake, missed the prayer.

You missed the Word of God when read;

You missed the things the preacher said.

You missed the worship’s wondrous hour,

You missed the Spirit’s tender power.

Not only did you miss the chance

Your life in Jesus to enhance,

You missed your chance to do your share,

To build His church, the house of prayer.

And so the loss is yours indeed—

God had no chance to meet your need.”

The early Christians understood the need to gather on a regular basis to worship the Lord together. Let’s make sure that we understand that need too.

“On the first day of the week we came together…”—Acts 20:7

 

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Great Opportunity

I enjoy playing “Words with Friends” on the phone. This is a word game similar to “Scrabble”. Recently I started a new game, and with the letters I was given, I was able to score 20 points on the first play, which is pretty good. In addition to this, the letters I was given to replace those I had used included Z, Q and J, three of the highest scoring letters. With such a good start, I have an excellent opportunity to win this game.

With all that we have been given by God, we have an excellent opportunity to lead a winning life. Let’s not squander that opportunity!

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”—Colossians 4:5

 

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Producing

What do you call a cow that does not produce milk? Either a milk dud or an udder failure!

Just as cows are expected to produce milk, Christians are expected to live productive lives for Jesus. We are supposed to speak and act in such a way that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is seen in our lives. We are supposed to shine our light in the darkness and be the salt of the earth that makes a difference in the lives of people we interact with.

Let’s not be duds or failures! Let’s be productive!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”—John 15:5

 

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Believe in Prayer

When a nightclub opened on Main Street, the only church in that small town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members of the church asked God to burn down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The owner sued the church, which denied responsibility.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, “It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn’t.”

Actually, the church does believe in prayer. At least we should.

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”—Acts 4:31

 

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