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In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a room in the mountains near a summit and asked for a 5 A.M. wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the clerk looked surprised at that request, but as she awoke to early-morning fog shrouding the mountain tops, she understood.
Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers invited Linda to join them, and since the place was so small, she felt obliged. “Where are you headed?” one of the truckers asked.
“In that little Civic? No way! This pass is DANGEROUS in weather like this.”
“Well, I’m determined to try,” was Linda’s gutsy, if not very informed, response.
“Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you,” the trucker suggested.
Linda drew back. “There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!”
“Not like THAT!” the truckers chuckled. “We’ll put one truck in front of you and one in the rear. In that way, we’ll get you through the mountains.”
All that foggy morning Linda followed the two red dots in front of her and had the reassurance of a big escort behind as they made their way safely through the mountains.
Caught in the fog in our dangerous passage through life, we need to be “hugged.” With fellow Christians who know the way and can lead safely ahead of us, and with others behind, gently encouraging us along, we, too, can pass safely. - Don Graham
Wade Hughes, Sr
Many years ago, I failed the Lord in a stupid teenager deed.
I can painfully remember January the 1st, 1968.
I was raised in the parsonage,
I was 16 years old, I knew right from wrong.
But I failed the Lord!
1/1/68 was always a painful memory of my stupid
Before the sun went down Jan. 1, 1968 I begged God
to forgive me for breaking the very heart of God.
On Jan. 2nd, I begged God for His forgiveness.
On Jan. 3rd I begged God for His forgiveness.
And this continued for many years as the enemy oft
reminded me of my failure.
In 1970 I started college and moved to Tennessee
for my education.
One day as I was driving to class my enemy
rightfully accused me of my failure.
And I again asked the Lord to forgive me.
In 1973 I had been to classes, my junior year,
and driving home I remembered Jan. 1, 1968
and the enemy laughed at me for my failure.
I went to my apartment where Linda and I lived and
laid on the couch.
I know not that I was awake or asleep,
but as I lay there remembering my failures of
Jan. 1, 1968,
Jesus appeared right in front of me.
And I immediately cried and told him I was so sorry
for breaking his heart on Jan 1, 1968.
He said, Hum, Hum, as he stroked his beard, and he
reached for the book of my life.
I could see the tops of the pages,
I could see the headings : 1961, 1962..etc.
As he neared the end of 1967 my heart was broken
because I knew that he was getting close to a
terrible page in my life.
Finally, Jesus turned to the page for which I had
He took his right hand and stroked his beard several
times and said, Hum!
I then had a fear come over me.
I looked in His eyes and I wondered,
I reached over and I touched the book and I pulled
it down where I could see the whole page of
Jan. 1, 1968 and to my surprise it was totally
WHITE! Snow white!
There was not one blot of dirt or anything on that
I said to Jesus, "I very clearly remember
Jan. 1, 1968.
To which He replied to me,
"Son, you asked forgiveness for that on that
evening and I took my blood and
I washed your black sin and made it white as snow
and removed it as far as the East is from the West.
As far as I am concerned, you have been justified by
the blood of the lanb.
I will never remember or recall any of the deeds of
your life that is under the blood."
Before Jesus left, I said,
"Jesus, I have one question to ask you.
If you have removed this from my past, and it is
very apparent that you have,
why did you not remove this painful day of Jan. 1,
1968 from my mind, my memory hurts me so bad?"
Jesus looked over his shoulder and said,
"Son, while I have forgave you and forgotten your
sin, if I removed this painful memory out of your
mind, you would again fall into the same trap.
I love you so much that I have forgiven you, but I
leave this scar to remind you that you need to live
your life pleasing to me."
With that, He said, "I love you and was gone."
"Abiding in Jesus isnt fixing our attention on Christ, but it is being one with himA man is abiding just as much when he is sleeping for Jesus, as when he is awake and working for Jesus. Oh, it is a very sweet thing to have ones mind just resting there."
One of America’s greatest poets is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The year 1860 found Longfellow happy in his life, enjoying a widening recognition, and elated over the election of Abraham Lincoln which he believed signaled the triumph of freedom and redemption for the nation.
The following year the Civil War began. On July 9, 1861 Longfellow’s wife, Fanny, was near an open window sealing locks of her daughter’s hair, using hot sealing wax. Suddenly her dress caught fire and engulfed her with flames. Her husband, sleeping in the next room, was awaked by her screams. As he desperately tried to put out the fire and save his wife, he was severely burned on his face and hands.
Fanny died the next day. Longfellow’s severe burns would not even allow him to attend Fanny’s funeral. His white beard, which so identified with him, was one of the results of the tragedy – the burn scars on his face made shaving almost impossible. In his diary for Christmas day 1861 he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.”
In 1862 the toll of war dead began to mount and in his diary for that year Longfellow wrote of Christmas, “A merry Christmas say the children, but that is no more for me.”
In 1863 his son who had run away to join the Union army was severely wounded and returned home in December. There is no entry in Longfellow’s diary for that Christmas.
But on Christmas Day 1864 – at age 57 – Longfellow sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joy of the season. He began:
I heard the bells on Christmas day.
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
As he came to the third stanza, he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can I write about peace on earth, good will to men in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?” But...
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
I never liked that song as a kid. You can’t fool Santa. He knows it all. Well, great! Then he knows I lied about scratching the car with my bike. He knows I hit my sister. He knows I was cussing up a storm with my friends down the street. He knows it all. That’s just great! What chance do I have for a decent Christmas present now? I might as well just keep on being bad.
You know. That’s how people often look at their lives as Christians. Jesus is coming back. You better watch out - you better be good, cause He knows it all. You better be ready, prepared, faithful, loving, because there’s no fooling Him. And when you look at it this way, any honest person would say, "That’s just great!" Then I have no chance, cause I know I’ve been bad." But that misses the point of the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that we cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor. Instead, He gives us the gift of eternal life when we believe in Jesus, and He recreates us in Christ so that we can do good things.
~ Astronaut: "Nearer My God, To Thee"
~ Baker: "I Need Thee Every Hour"
~ Barber: "A Parting Hymn We Sing"
~ Baseball Batter: "Seek Thee First"
~ Builder: "How Firm A Foundation" and "The Church’s One Foundation"
~ Canoeist: "Flow, River, Flow"
~ Carpenter: "The Nail Scarred Hand"
~ Children’s Librarian: "We’ve A Story To Tell"
~ Chiropractor: "Awake My Soul, Stretch Every Nerve"
~ Civil Engineer: "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"
~ Dentist: "Crown Him With Many Crowns"
~ Electrician: "O Joyful Light" and "Send The Light"
~ Fisherman: "Shall We Gather At The River?"
~ Golfer: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away"
~ Gossiper: "Pass It On," "It Is No Secret," and "Oh, For A Thousand Tongues"
~ Historian: "Tell Me The Old, Old Story"
~ IRS: "All To Thee (I Owe)" and "We Give Thee But Thine Own"
~ Jogger: "The Path Of Life"
~ Lifeguard: "Come To The Water"
~ Long-Distance Trucker: "On The Highways And Byways Of Life"
~ Mathematician: "10,000 Times, 10,000 Times"
~ Medical Technician: "Revive Us Again"
~ Mountain Climber: "The Rock That Is Higher Than I"
~ Newlywed: "I Need Thee Every Hour"
~ Obstetrician: "He Is Able To Deliver Thee"
~ Optometrist: "Open Mine Eyes That I Might See" and "When I Can Read My Title Clear"
~ Paratrooper: "Now On Land And Sea Descending"
~ Philosopher: "I Am Thinking Today"
~ Politician: "Standing On The Promises"
~ Real Estate Agent: "I’ve Got A Mansion"
~ Sailboater: "Deep River"
~ Sceptic: "Almost Persuaded"
~ Shopper: "Sweet By And By"
~ Speech Therapist: "He Never Said A Mumbling Word"
~ Steeple Builder: "Lift High The Cross"
~ Stonecutter: "Rock Of Ages"
~ Switchboard Operator: "There’s A Call Comes Ringing"
~ Tailor: "Holy, Holy, Holy"
~ Voice Teacher: "Sing Them Over Again To Me"
~ Watchmaker: "Take Time To Be Holy"
~ Watchman: "Silent Night"
~ Weatherman: "There Shall Be Showers Of Blessings"
Think how many temptations you and I face in an ordinary day. Staying in bed late - the temptation to laziness. Growling at the breakfast table - the temptation to unkindness. Arguing over who should change the baby this time - the temptation to selfishness. Starting work 10 minutes late - the temptation to slothfulness. Losing your temper when a co-worker crashes your computer - the temptation to impatience. Flirting with that good-looking woman, taking a second look at the good-looking man - the temptation to lust. Refusing to speak to a person who has hurt you - the temptation to malice. Repeating a juicy story of your neighbor’s misfortune - the temptation to gossip. Lying awake at night thinking sensual thoughts - the temptation to impurity. Taking your anger out on the children after a hard day - the temptation to cruelty. Going out the eat when you can’t afford it - the temptation to self-indulgence. Having a second helping and then a third - the temptation to gluttony. Firing off a hasty letter to a friend who hurt you - the temptation to revenge.
The First Billionaire
The very first person to reach the status of billionaire was a man who knew how to set goals and follow through. At the age of 23, he had become a millionaire, by the age of 50 a billionaire. Every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth. But three years later at the age of 53 he became ill.
His entire body became racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, "He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him." His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year.
That year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death he awoke one morning with the vague remembrances of a dream. He could barely recall the dream but knew it had something to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in in control of his own life. He was left with a choice.
He called his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research, and mission work. On that day John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. The list of discoveries resulting fr...
Kurt Cobain died about 8 years ago. I remember the day I picked up the newspaper and read about it. He was the founder and lead singer of the rock group "Nirvana." His death was a suicide. He took a shotgun, pointed it to his head, and killed himself. The newspaper was filled with the words of fans and commentators in disbelief saying "Why? It makes no sense." "He had it all . . . a great career, a huge following, plenty of money, a wife and a 19 month old daughter . . . Why?" To most people it made no sense. But I remember sitting at my desk thinking. "Yes it does. It makes sense. Kurt Cobain was living out his beliefs to their logical extreme." You see, Kurt Cobain was a self professed humanist and nihilist. In other words, he believed their was no God and that there was no meaning or purpose to life. His music (poetry) could not be more clear on this matter.
Kurt Cobain’s music was grunge rock. He pioneered this type of music. The alternative rock style of today has evolved from grunge rock. Kurt had a disdain for anything mainstream or acceptable to society. He was a child of divorce. At the age of eight he began to be shifted from home to home, sometimes even being homeless. He was very vocal about his bitterness from that experience. He developed his belief that life was basically rotten and meaningless.
His music often spoke of his anger and disillusionment. One of his most famous songs was called "Nevermind." Its recurring line was "Oh well, whatever, nevermind." Another song he wrote never got released. It was too objectionable to the label company, but Kurt liked it. It was called, "I Hate Myself, And I Want To Die." In another song called "Smells Like Teen Spirit," a well known line says, "I feel stupid and contagious, here we are, now entertain us." The video of that song was voted best video of the decade of the 90’s.
Friends of Cobain say he lived up to his music. He often acted without reason. He was constantly on an emotional roller coaster. But his dips into despair got deeper and deeper. Once, a member of his road crew asked him why he was moping around so much. Cobain replied, "I’m awake, aren’t I?" Kurt Cobain was a young man fueled by nihilism. He had passion, but for nothing. He had a void in his heart that nothing he pursued could fill, and he believed that nothing could or ever would. He had no purpose, no meaning, and he simply lived out his belief in his worldview to its logical conclusion.
He reminds me of another man. Solomon. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes of pursuing all of the things the world has to offer. He also wrote of the despair they brought him. They offered no meaning. Solomon, however, concluded differently than Kurt Cobain. He concluded that purpose and meaning were found in the living God. Only be knowing and serving Him could you rise above the level of despair. And there is even better news than that. Now, God has declared through His Son how much He loves us, and that He wants to spend eternity with us.
MICHAEL CARD tells the story of a man named Joseph who came to Christ out of a muslim background. One day walking a hot dirty African road met someone who shared Christ with him. Then and there he accepted Jesus as his Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit overwhelmed him with such joy that the first thing he wanted to do was go back and tell his own villiage. He went from door to door telling of the cross and the forgiveness for sin. He expected their faces to light up as his had when they discovered this wonderful truth. To his amazement they became violent: the men seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. Dragged and left to die alone in the bush. He revived and made it to a water hole where he spent days recovering. He was confused and finally decided that he must have left something out or not told the story correctly. After rehearsing the message he returned. Stood in the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. Again grabbed by men and beaten by women, reopening the wounds that had just begun to heal. Dragged unconscious again and left to die. TO have survived the first time was remarkable but to survive this beating was a miracle. Days later he awoke and determined to go back. This time he was attacked before he even opened his mouth. Before he passed out the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him had begun to weep. This time he awoke in his own bed, the ones who had beaten him were now trying to save his life. The entire village came to know Jesus Christ..