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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Room for Improvement

Dave Bristol

Here’s a quote from Dave Bristol, manager of the Milwaukee Braves baseball team in 1972—“There’ll be two buses leaving the hotel for the ball park tomorrow. The 2 o’clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will leave at 5 o’clock.”

This was a clever way of pointing out to his players that they all had some room for improvement.

Those of us who live for Jesus must never think that we have ever reached the point where we can’t improve upon our lives. We must always be seeking to learn more and to grow in our service and love for God and for people.

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”—1 Timothy 4:15.


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Serving Your Purpose

Ed Lorenz, 69, bowled a perfect game in Portage, Michigan in 2005. Shortly after he rolled the 300 game, Lorenz clutched his chest and fell over. Efforts to revive him failed.

One of Ed’s friends said, “If he could have written a way to go out, this would be it.”

I suppose that the perfect way for a bowler to close out his life would be to bowl a perfect game. You do the best that you can possibly do right up to the very end.

That is something that all of us should strive to achieve—to fulfill our purpose in life to the very best of the ability that God has given us, right up to the very end.

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors…”—Acts 13:36.


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Devoted to Prayer

Today has been designated the National Day of Prayer. Many Americans will spend extra time today praying to God, asking the Lord to bless many people in various ways.

Jesus was devoted to prayer. Mark 1:35 says, “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.”

Noting that Jesus thought that prayer was vitally important, his disciples asked him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). He proceeded to teach them the model prayer that has since been used by his followers all over the world.

The early Christians were devoted to prayer (Acts 2:42). Wonderful and amazing things happen when God’s people pray in the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:31).

Let’s take some extra time to pray today. Surely you would agree that we all could benefit from that!


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Tough Course!

A golfer once carefully lined up his tee shot, took a mighty swing, and missed the ball completely. Collecting himself, he approached the ball again, and took another swing, but missed again. A third time he approached the ball, determined this time to at least make contact. But once again, he swung and missed.

Feeling the need to say something to break the awkward silence, the golfer who had just swung and missed three times exclaimed, “This is the toughest course I’ve ever seen!”

When we evaluate our performance, it is very tempting to blame our failures on someone or something other than ourselves. Let’s be careful to give ourselves a proper assessment.

“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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Different Kinds of Tears

A preacher once told of a time when, within the span of one week, two different individuals came into his office in tears. The first lady who came in was upset at the music director for deciding that the choir would no longer wear robes on Sunday morning.

The second person who entered his office crying was a lady who was weeping over the sin in her life.

Which kind of tears do you think God wants to see from us?

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”—2 Corinthians 7:10.


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Wheeeeeere’s Johnny!?

Johnny Carson

Is anyone else missing Johnny Carson these days? The talented late night television host had a winsome way of captivating audiences with his witty observations of the world around him. Carson’s wry jabs and quips were delivered with a twinkle in his eye and his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. He could poke fun at any target without demonizing them. His gentle style was genuinely funny, and the laughter that he brought was proof of that.

Johnny Carson’s classy humor stands in stark contrast to what we see from many comedians today. Their “humor” drips with venom as they spew their obvious hatred toward their targets. Shooting daggers with their eyes, they nearly foam at the mouth as they deliver their mean cheap shots. They show no class and no compassion whatsoever. And besides that, they aren’t very funny.

A good example of this was seen at the recent White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where comedian Michelle Wolf attempted to entertain the attendees. Her mean-spirited attempts at humor were met with nervous chuckles and audible groans. Her failure to be funny was a painful pity to behold.

Like I said earlier, is anyone else missing Johnny Carson these days? To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, “Where have you gone Johnny Carson? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place…”—Ephesians 5:4.

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Unlikely Spokesperson

Bill Hader

In 2013, Bill Hader was hired to be the commercial voice of “Mr. Peanut”. Ironically, Hader was chosen for the role despite having a severe peanut allergy! To say the least, he was an unlikely spokesperson for peanuts.

God has a history of choosing unlikely people to speak for him. Fearful Gideon became a great warrior. The young widow Ruth found herself in the genealogy of Christ. Rebellious Jonah eventually converted many evil people. A carpenter and a simple Jewish girl became the earthly parents of Jesus. Peter soon went from denying Christ to proclaiming him as the Savior of the world.

God continually uses unlikely people to speak for him. People like you and me.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”—Acts 1:8.


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Inner Beauty

Barbara Bush

Since the recent death of former first lady Barbara Bush, many stories have been told about how she lived her life. One of the stories that impressed me the most is that she wore fake pearls and a $29 pair of shoes to her husband’s inauguration. Mrs. Bush was certainly no slave to fashion!

The Bible tells us not to be too concerned with outward appearances. It is what is on the inside that really counts.

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”—1 Timothy 2:9-10.


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