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AN OLD FEUD AND A NEW BRIDGE
There were two old geezers living in the backwoods of the Ozarks: Rufus and Clarence. They lived on opposite sides of the river and they hated each other. Every morning, just after sunup, Rufus and Clarence would go down to their respective sides of the river and yell at each other.
"Rufus!" Clarence would shout, "You better thank your lucky stars that I canít swim, er Iíd swim this river and whup you!"
"Clarence!" Rufus would holler back, "You better thank YOUR lucky stars that I canít swim, er Iíd swim this river and whup YOU!"
Every morning. Every day. For 20 years.
One day the Army Corps of Engineers came along and built a bridge. But the insults went on every morning. Every day. Another five years.
Finally, Mr. Rufusí wife had had enough. "Rufus!" she squallered one day, "I canít take no more! Every day for 25 years youíve been threateniní to whup Clarence. Well, tharís the bridge! Have at it!"
Rufus thought for a moment. Chewed his bottom lip for another moment. "Woman!" he declared, snapping his suspenders into place. "Iím gonna whup Clarence!"
He walked out the door, down to the river, along the river bank, came to the bridge, stepped up onto the bridge, walked about halfway over the bridge, then turned tail and ran screaming back to the house, slammed the door, bolted the windows, grabbed the shotgun and dove under the bed.
"Rufus!" cried the missus. "I thought you was gonna whup Clarence!"
"I was, woman, I was!" he whispered.
"What in tarnation is the matter?"
"Well," whispered the terror-stricken Rufus, "I walked halfway over the bridge and saw a sign that said, 'Clearance, 13 feet, 6 inches.' He ain't never looked that big from the other side of the river!"
Thatís what happens sometimes to the people of God. We look at things from a distance and make plans but when we get closer to doing what God wants us to do we think that the task is too monumental and we resort back to the safety of what we have always done. We circle the wagons and stand our ground. We stay right in our comfort zone.
(From a sermon by Horace Wimpey, Christian Attributes of Action, 8/15/2012)
GETTING TOO FAR FROM THE SOURCE
The county hired a new person to paint fresh yellow lines down the middle of all the county roads. The first day this man painted an astonishing 10 miles of road with new double yellow lines down the middle. This was a record! No one had ever painted ten miles of the yellow lines in one day. The boss was very impressed.
Although still good the second day the man only painted 7 miles of yellow lines. The third day the man managed to only paint 5 miles of the yellow lines which is not very good. The boss thought the man had a bad day but when on the fourth day the man only managed to paint one single mile of yellow line the boss had no choice but call him into the office for an explanation. The man began to tell him that the painting of the lines was getting more difficult everyday and his progress was less because everyday he was getting further away from his paint bucket!
As Christians our lives get harder to live the further we get away from the bucket or source of our faith, Jesus Christ.
The story is told of a wonderful, elderly, christian lady. She had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but she was always praising the Lord. Her only problem was with the old man who lived next door. He was always trying to prove to her that there was no God. One day, as the old man was walking by her house, he noticed the woman through an open window. She was kneeling down in prayer, so he crept over to the window to see if he could hear. She was praying, " Lord, you’ve always given me what I’ve needed." She prayed. "And now you know that I don’t have any money, and I’m completely out of groceries, and I won’t get another check for a week." She continued, "somehow, Lord, can you get me some groceries." The man had heard all he needed. He crept away from the window and ran down to the grocery store. He bought milk, bread, and lunchmeat. He ran back to the woman’s house carrying the groceries. He set the bag down on by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid beside of the house. You can
imagine how the woman reacted to seeing the bag of groceries. She threw her hands over head and began praising the Lord. "Thank you Jesus," she shouted. "I was without food and you provided the groceries." About that time the old man jumped out and said, "I’ve got you now." She was too busy shouting thank yous to Jesus to pay any attention. "I told you there was no God," the old man said, " it wasn’t Jesus who gave you those groceries it was me." "Oh no," the woman said. "Jesus got me these goroceries and made the devil pay for them." She had the right attitude for God.
I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives?
If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you donít go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, ďOh well, it work most of the time.Ē? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think Western Power would mind? If you fail to worshi...
A rather pompous-looking deacon was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it’s because they don’t know you."
The circumstances of life often speak to us like Lucy one day spoke to Charlie Brown. Lucy said to Charlie Brown "Sometimes, I feel we are not communicating: You, Charlie Brown, are afoul ball in the line drive of life. Youíre often in the shadow of your own goal post youíre a miscue. You Ďre 3 putts on the 18th green. You are a 7-10 split in the 10th frame. You have dropped a rod and reel in the lake of life. Youíre a missed free throw. Youíre a shacked 9-iron, a called 3rd strike, a bug on the windshield of life! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?"
But the Christian who is living as a disciple considers that which he is con≠fidently assured of-that he will be like Christ one day and that as he lov≠ingly surrenders to God, he can be blessed by becoming more like Christ today. Then he replies like Paul in verse 31, "God is for me!"
"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.
A rather pompous-looking deacon was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a momentís pa...
Iíve always liked the story of the 3 old widows who lived together. One sister got up to go to bed, half way up the stairs she stopped and asked "was I going up or was I coming down"
One sister replied with hint of aggravation, "you were going up to bed."
A second sister headed into the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. Once in the kitchen she hollered back to her sister who was still down stairs; "what did I come in here for"
The sister responded again with a trace of irritation, "you went in to make yourself a sandwich" after which she said; "Iím so glad I am not as forgetful as the both of you are" as she knock on the end table.
And then she got up and walked over to the door and said "Who is it?"
Yes, we are a forgetful people. And from my vast experience I have concluded that forgetfulness is not a respecter of age. And there fore we come up with all kinds of ways to help us remember; (string around finger; post it notes, day planners, memory courses). And most of us do need a little help to remember.
Even when we come across test questions that seem simple on the surface, we find that they’re often not as simple as we first thought. For instance, the answer to the question, "How long did the Hundred Years War last?’ seems obvious, but the answer is 116 years. When a test asks, "Which country manufactures Panama hats?" the correct answer is Equador. Here’s another: From what animal do we get cat gut? From sheep and horses of course. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November. What was King George IV’s first name? Well, everyone knows it was Albert. Ah yes...many test takers are glad to be out of school...far away from trick questions like that thought up in some teacher’s lounge.
But as far as we try to get from the rigors of the academic life, we find our lives are filled with other kinds of tests. We take driver’s tests, drug tests, polygraph tests, sobriety tests, eye tests, entrance exams. People in law enforcement have to qualify on the shooting range at least four times a year, many of you have to take a test for your chosen profession. Like it or not, tests are a part of life.
But is there a test to determine whether a person is on the right track spiritually?