Storm Awareness

A Canadian man appeared to be oblivious to the dangerous tornado looming behind him as he mowed his lawn. However, his wife, who took the picture, says that he was fully aware of the storm. He just reasoned that it was far enough away that there was no need for him to be alarmed. He simply went about his business as if it were a normal day.

I think this picture tells the story of what is going on in America regarding the threat of radical Islamic terror. An evil storm touched down in a devastating way on September 11, 2001. Other tornadoes of terror have done major damage to the citizens of this nation. Recent storms have hit in London, bringing great pain and sorrow to many people.

Yet the reaction from too many people is to ignore the danger and to go on as if it will not happen in my back yard.

It is time to stop mowing and face the storm.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”—Romans 12:21.


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Going Straight

As soon as my wife and I turned into our lane late last night we saw a skunk making its way up the driveway. We slowly followed it, our headlights illuminating the way for the little fellow.

We didn’t get too close, for obvious reasons. The skunk kept a steady pace and never swerved to the left or right, like other small animals tend to do when they move away from humans.

In my few experiences with skunks, I have noticed that they tend to move in a straight line. They pick out a direction and do not deviate from it.

I guess we should do the same.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”—Matthew 7:13-14.


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Good Parenting

I had to stop for some puppies on the highway a couple of days ago. The three pups were right in the middle of the road, completely oblivious to the dangerous threat of the traffic. One reason that they were unafraid was the fact that their mother was standing in the road also!

The Bible says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Parents are responsible to teach their children the right ways to go, and the importance of avoiding the spiritual dangers we encounter on the highway of life. Those who heed this call to duty will be blessed. Those who don’t heed it will bring much sadness into their own lives and the lives of their children.

“He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents…”—Malachi 4:6.


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As I was driving today, the driver of an on-coming car flashed his lights at me. I thought that he might be warning me about a policeman looking for speeders. Or perhaps he was letting me know that there was some kind of road hazard or an accident up ahead. I intently watched for anything out of the ordinary.

Then I noticed that I didn’t have my headlights on. I always turn my headlights on when I drive, for safety purposes. But this time I had forgotten. It happened to be a dark and dreary day. Rain was steadily falling, and here I was driving without my headlights on. I quickly remedied the situation, thankful for the friendly reminder from a fellow traveler.

Sometimes as we are travelling along life’s highway, we forget to turn on our spiritual headlights. We occasionally need a friendly reminder of what Jesus says—“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16).


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That’s Commitment!

Brad Pitt

Actors and actresses will sometimes go to extreme measures to prepare for an upcoming role. Some have either gained or lost a tremendous amount of weight, putting their health at risk in the process. Others have learned a new language, taken singing lessons or become proficient on a musical instrument.

I recently read that Brad Pitt went to a dentist to have his front teeth chipped in order to prepare for his role in the movie Fight Club. Say what you want about that decision, it does show a huge commitment on his part!

The Bible encourages us to be committed to the cause of Jesus Christ. Sometimes this commitment requires sacrifice.

In 2 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul lists some of the sacrifices he has made for the kingdom, including: floggings, whippings, imprisonment, being pelted with stones and being shipwrecked.

Any sacrifice I may have made for Jesus looks very minor in comparison!

Maybe it would do us good to step back occasionally and reflect on what kind of sacrifice we are willing to make for Jesus Christ.

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There’s Something About That Name

Ernie Johnson

The studio commentators covering the NBA Playoffs for TNT have been using comments they receive from viewers via Twitter to spark some witty conversations. Before the Monday, May 15 Game 7 between Boston and Washington, one viewer comment started off by using the name “Jesus” as a swear word. Remarkably, no one on the TNT crew edited the tweet, and it appeared in its entirety on the television screen.

Ernie Johnson, the studio host, was given the task of reading the tweets on air. To his credit, Johnson, a devout Christian, omitted the offensive use of the Lord’s name as he read the message.

What do we take away from this?

First, we see how far our culture has fallen morally—to see that someone would send such a message to be read on the air, and that the message would actually make it to our television screen. That never would have happened in years past.

Second, we notice that some people, like Johnson, still revere the name of Jesus and refuse to misuse it in any way. (See the Third Commandment for more on this.)

Finally, those who do misuse the name of Jesus in this manner inadvertently point out his Deity. No one swears by the name of Buddha or Mohammed or any other religious leader. It is the name of Jesus that has the power.

There truly is something about that name!

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”—Exodus 20:7.


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That’s One Benefit

A woman was once being interviewed on her 102nd birthday. One of the reporters asked her about the benefits of living past the century mark. She wittily replied, “There is no peer pressure!

Peer pressure certainly is a factor that gets a lot of people in trouble. It’s not just true for young children and teenagers. Adults can also be lured into temptation by hanging around the wrong crowd. We all have to be careful not to be influenced in a negative way by our peers.

“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”—1 Corinthians 15:33.


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Something to Smile About

A group of people once experienced an earthquake in California. After being literally shaken, most of the group were emotionally shaken as well. While unharmed, they were somewhat dazed and concerned that perhaps there was a bigger quake yet to occur at any moment.

One person in the group, however, was seemingly unaffected by the earthquake. He had a smile on his face as he checked on the wellbeing of his friends. One of them asked him, “How can you smile like that right after a California earthquake?” He responded, “I rejoice that I have a God who can shake the world!”

“People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.”—Isaiah 2:19.


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My Favorite Sound

Sharon Fleming says that when she was a teenager, their family took cross-country trips each summer. To keep the peace, they each took a turn choosing a cassette to play in the car tape player. No one was allowed to complain or comment about another’s choice.

Her mother liked to listen to hymns. Sharon chose contemporary Christian music. Her brother preferred rock. Her Dad? He always thought the best thing was a 90-minute tape that was blank!

They say that silence is golden. I guess some people believe that to a greater extent than others!

Most people agree that it is good to have some peaceful, quiet time throughout the day. In a world filled with so much noise, we might have to do some planning to make that happen.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”—Mark 1:35.


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It’s Still True

A Bible college professor and his wife were involved in a serious automobile accident. When he regained consciousness, the professor was on a stretcher, preparing to be loaded into an ambulance. He glanced a few yards away and saw a first responder pulling a sheet over his wife. He knew immediately that she had not survived the crash. For all he knew, he too, could die from his injuries. With an urgent sense of purpose, he spoke to the EMT beside him—“Make sure that my students hear this—Romans 8:28 is still true!”

Romans 8:28 says, “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.”

If you love God, there is no tragedy that can occur in which God cannot bring about something good. In a world full of tragedy, that’s good to know!


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