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A book that has changed my life is What’s So Amazing About Grace? In it the author, Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
In this area it might be Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic. But you know, it’s hard enough sometimes for a Wesleyan, a Wesleyan and a Wesleyan to get along.
Sermon Central Staff
The story is told of two long-time golfing buddies who decided one day that they would play the ball where it lies, no matter what.
On the 14th hole, one of them sliced his drive and it ended up on the cart path. As he reached down to pick up his ball to get relief, his friend said, "Wait a minute! We agreed that we would not improve our lies! Remember? No matter what!" The first player tried to explain that he was entitled to this relief, that it was in the rules of golf. But the second fellow would not allow it.
Throwing up his hands in disgust, the man went to the cart and grabbed a club. As he stood near his ball, he took a few practice swings, each time scraping the club on the pavement and sending out showers of sparks, leaving scratches on the bottom of his club. Finally, he took his shot. The club hit the path again, sparks went flying, but his ball shot straight towards the green, landed and rolled to a stop--two inches from the cup.
"Great shot!" his friend exclaimed. "What club did you use?"
The man gave him a smile. "Your 7 iron!"
(From a sermon by David Owens, Amazing Grace, 8/9/2010)
In What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
Hymns Of The Laodicean Church
(God’s Frozen People)
The Laodicean Church announces publication of "Church Songs," whose title, according to the editor, was chosen because "We didn’t want to turn anybody off with threatening words that no one understands anymore like ’worship’ or ’hymn.’ People in today’s society get kind of uncomfortable with too much talk about things like commitment and dedication. They’d much rather have a religion that they can turn on or off at will. Our book seeks to meet that need."
Table Of Contents:
A Comfy Mattress Is Our God
Above Average is Thy Faithfulness
All Hail the Influence of Jesus’ Name
Amazing Grace, How Interesting the Sound
Be Thou My Hobby
Blest Be the Tie That Doesn’t Cramp My Style
God of Taste, and God of Stories
He’s Quite a Bit to Me
I Lay My Inappropriate Behaviors on Jesus
I Surrender Some
I’m Fairly Certain That My Redeemer Lives
Joyful, Joyful, We Kinda Like Thee
Lift Every Voice and Intellectualize
Lord, Keep Us Loosely Connected to Your Word
My Faith Looks Around for Thee
My Hope is Built on Nothing Much
O God, Our Enabler in Ages Past
Oh, for a Couple of Tongues to Sing
Oh, How I Like Jesus
Pillow of Ages, Fluffed for Me
Praise God from Whom All Affirmations Flow
BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU
The other week, Laura and I were watching the Animal Planet. On the show we were watching was a dog that was rescued from a neglectful family. The poor animal had a big chain collar embedded into its neck. It had been a long time since the large animal had outgrown that chain collar, but its owner never bothered to change that collar. It resulted in the dog’s skin growing around the collar and the metal of the collar sinking deep into the dog’s skin.
The kind and hard working people from the Humane Society took the dog in, gave it some pain killers to put it down while they carefully removed the metal chain. They washed the poor animal, cut his hair, groomed him, and restored him to health.
After they had done all they could to restore its physical health, the dog had to undergo a test to determine if it could be adoptable. A bowl of food was placed in front of the dog, and while it was chomping down on the food, the worker used a plastic hand connected to a long stick to reach down and pet the dog. Quickly and viciously, the dog jumped and attacked the hand that it thought was reaching to take away its food. The test was re-done a few times in order to determine if the dog would consistently attack or if there was something that could be done. Every time, the dog would pounce at the hand and tear it to shreds. Unfortunately, because of his ferocity, the dog could not be adopted, and would have to be put to sleep.
As I watched that show, I wondered if God is like that trainer and I am like that dog. Maybe that dog bound with a collar that held it captive is like me, bound and held captive by my own sin. The kindly Master takes me in. He shows me compassion and mercy. By His grace, He cleans me, heals me, and restores me.
Then came the test. The dog looks and sees what it values, "food." I look in front of myself and see what I value. I call it, "blessings." Put an income in front of me, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a position of authority, or a chance to be popular.
What happens next? When He brings His hand near to my "blessings," and I am not sure if my Master may remove it or not, the question arises. Am I quick and vicious in attacking the hand that has provided for me, or do I submit to it? Am I quick to attack the hand that cared for and nurtured me, or do I still submit to and receive its tender care? If He allows an illness to come, an accident to occur, or a recession to rise; am I so quick to turn away from Him or do I realize that I may be at the beginning of an amazing miracle?
In all honesty, from the outside looking in, I see the dog as quite silly to think that he needed to defend himself against those who so carefully nursed him back to health. I wonder if the angels around look at me and think about how silly I am during those times when I question the same One who cares for me in my time of need, the One who gave His life to die in my place.
Here is the thing. If I don’t let God come near my "blessings," what happened to the dog? He was put to sleep. Am I saying that God will put you to sleep? No. But He may put you on the shelf. God uses those who allow Him, like Moses did, to have access to what is in their hands.