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AUSSIE COMMON SENSE
Common sense is taking into consideration all the realities you see in front of you and coming to a right conclusion.
After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, British scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 200 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago.
Not to be outdone by the British, in the weeks that followed, an American archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story was published in the New York Times: "American archaeologists, finding traces of 250-year-old copper wire and they concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 100 years earlier than the British."
One week later, the state’s Dept of Minerals and Energy in Western Australia, reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 feet in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Jack Lucknow, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Jack has therefore concluded that 250 years ago, Australia had already gone wireless."
(From a sermon by John Perry, The unusual gift of common sense, 1/22/2011)
1 Thessalonians 5:18-5:18
1 Kings 3:16-3:28
1 John 2:15-2:17
2 Corinthians 9:12-10:1
ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
A GUIDE TO KNOWING YOU ARE MIDDLE AGED:
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.
Middle age is when you have stopped growing at both ends and have begun to grow in the middle.
A man has reached middle age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police.
Middle age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.
You know you’re into middle age when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.
Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
Growing old cannot be avoided – God has our life numbered, physical disciplines are good when they are done in moderation, but they will not force God into extending our life span. The gift of life is a gift from God to be used to for his purposes, for spiritual and heavenly reasons. Our concern should be to obey honor and praise and give glory to him, and let him care for us. Ps 90:12, Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, "Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed." God honored that dear woman’s faith. The Holy Spirit mo...
“Work With It!” Romans 12: 1-8: Key verse(s): 6 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
“All things being equal!” Where that may be the rallying cry of today’s philosophical democratically-driven culture, it wasn’t the impetus for justice in the Brunner household as I was growing up. In the first place, nothing was really “equal” in the sense that everyone in the household shared the same potential or received the same rewards. There were six children in my family and two parents. I had three sisters and two brothers. That would make a household equally divided between the genders, four males and four females. That is where equality began and ended. First, there was the matter of parents. Although there were only two of them and six of us, they outnumbered us substantially in the areas of discipline, the giving of rewards, teaching and provisioning along with the numerous other inherited duties and tasks of Christian parents. No, very little if any equality on that level. And, for that matter, freedom either. My Dad could drive the car and go to work. He could use power tools and, occasionally, spit on the lawn. None of us could do those things. My Mom could drive the car and write out checks for groceries, pay the bills and go on a date (with my Dad) every now and then. Best I can recall, until we were much older, none of these things were available to us either.
On a sibling level, apart from the fact that we at least shared the role of brothers and sisters, equality beyond the point that I had the same right to have clean underware as my brothers, was pretty much limited. Although my brothers and I followed roughly in close sequential fashion, age was still a distinction. For example, being the oldest, I was the first one to drive and also the first of the brothers to own a car. That privilege came with age and driving skills. I handed down my first car to brother number two and he to three. For the most part we lived in a small, closed society that ran pretty well on the inequity dictated by position (child or parent), age and, yes, gender. Despite the fact that all of us children shared some duties like cleaning the house and doing the dishes, the roles within those duties were often specific to gender. Boys were often given the dirtier jobs like taking out the trash or sweeping the basement floors (because of our close association with the element) and girls the more detail-oriented and perfected tasks like dusting and polishing. And, when there was hidden dirt to root out, that was a job for a woman since God has given them radar when it comes to finding dust, grime, and all the invisible elements of the dirt world that are truly hidden from a man’s view. My mother was wise enough to know this. Yard duties gravitated to the boys and household chores gravitated toward the girls. None of us really wished to cross the line into the other’s territory and certainly didn’t feel put-upon by our singular assignments.
Over time, as age and wisdom brought us closer to our parents in freedoms and responsibilities, as soon as our new-found status came into contact with their “sphere of power” the inevitable friction resulted and, like opposing magnets, we were repelled. God led us out into our own little words to establish our own closed systems. Mom and Dad continued on without us as gradually each child pushed upon their level of authority. Although economic circumstances compelled me to return to home briefly after a couple of years, the old powers that held us separate but functioning when I was young were no longer there. It was only a matter of months before I found my own apartment again.
Was it wrong that there was so little equality within our home? Should my parents have shared more of their freedom and authority with us? Although neither of them recognized these inequalities as tangible assets, I am sure that Mom and Dad would have found it foolish to share such things. God had, in His grace, called them to be parents, not children. Their roles as children had been left behind. First when my Dad joined the army and then when marriage called my Mom from her home. The inherent inequalities of the Brunner household were comfortable and sound. The gifts that God gave us as children and those He blessed my parents with as adults were perfect for the work that needed to be done and the love that needed to be granted. There was no need to long for another’s role since the ones given each of us were just right for that time and place.
God calls each of us to do something in this life. And, even when that calling is similar to another’s, it is never exactly the same. God is not democratic nor is the family. And, for that matter, neither is the world into which He has placed each of us. He expects us to honor the role given us by doing our best and preserving the work that has been given us in that role. Unfair? Perhaps! But when you consider the fact that each of us has one foot in heaven what matters where the other is placed here on earth?
The comedian Jim Carrey stars in the movie Bruce Almighty. He plays a TV reporter who thinks his being overlooked for promotions and various other misfortunes mean that God doesn’t care, or at least has let him down. When God, played by Morgan Freeman, shows up to offer Bruce His own power for a season to see if he can do any better with it, Bruce accepts the deal.
Soon Bruce is indulging himself in the fulfillment of his fantasies and manipulating his way to the coveted anchor position. This obsession with advancement causes an estrangement with his girlfriend Grace, who discovers how low down on the priority list she has become.
Bruce discovers that a part of God’s job is answering prayers, and there are billions of them. Lacking God’s wisdom, he grants a blanket “Yes” to all requests, and trouble begins. Not only that, but because he can’t violate human free will, he finds he is losing Grace, and all the power in heaven and earth cannot make her come back to him. His ambition, coupled with great power, has resulted in his life being a bigger mess than ever.
In one of the best scenes of submission to God’s will ever put on film, Bruce realizes he has much to be thankful for, and that someone else can run his life better than himself. He learns that he is not fulfilled by the desired promotion, but by serving others with his God-given gifts (“My Will Be Done, Alex Wainer, Breakpoint).
If we want God to guide us, our attitude needs to be right. Here are some guidelines as to how we can play our part in arriving at right decisions.
First, we must be willing to think. It is false piety, super-supernaturalism of an unhealthy pernicious sort that demands inward impressions with no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to consider. God made us thinking beings, and he guides our minds as we think things out in his presence.
Second, we must be willing to think ahead and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses of action. Often we can only see what is wise and right, and what is foolish and wrong, as we dwell on the long-term issues.
Third, we must be willing to take advice. It is a sign of conceit and immaturity to dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations better than we do, and even if we cannot finally accept their advice, nothing but good will come to us from carefully weighing what they say.
Fourth, we must be willing to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves. We must suspect ourselves: ask ourselves why we feel a particular course of action will be right and make ourselves give reasons.
Fifth, we must be willing to wait. "Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms and it is a necessary word, for the Lord often keeps us waiting. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, Page 13.
In spite of the fun and laughter, 13 yr. old Frank Wilson was not happy. It was true, he had received all the presents he wanted, and he enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve reunions with relatives for the purpose of exchanging gifts and good wishes..........but Frank was not happy because this was his first Christmas without his brother, Steve, who during the year, had been killed by a reckless driver. Frank missed his brother and the close companionship they had together. He said good-bye to his relatives, and explained to his parents that he was leaving a little early to see a friend, and from there he could walk home. Since it was cold outside, Frank put on his new plaid jacket. It was his FAVORITE gift. He placed the other presents on his new sled, then headed out, hoping to find the patrol leader of his Boy Scout troop. Frank always felt understood by him. Tho’ rich in wisdom, his leader lived in the Flats, the section of town where most of the poor lived. His patrol leader did odd jobs to help support his family. To Frank’s disappointment, his friend was not home. As Frank hiked down the street toward home, he caught glimpses of trees and decorations in many of the small houses. Then, thru one front window, he glimpsed a shabby room with limp stockings hanging over an empty fireplace. A woman was seated nearby....weeping. The stockings reminded him of the way he and his brother had always hung theirs side by side. The next morning, they would be bursting with presents. A sudden thought struck Frank--he had not done his "good deed" for the day. Before the impulse passed, he knocked on the door. "Yes?" the sad voice of a woman asked. Seeing his sled full of gifts, and assuming he was making a collection, she said, "I have no food or gifts for you. I have nothing for my own children." "That’s not why I am here," Frank replied. "Please choose whatever presents you would like for your children from the sled." "Why, God bless you!" the amazed woman answered gratefully. She selected some candies, a game, a toy airplane and a puzzle. When she took the Scout flashlight, Frank almost protested. Finally, the stockings were full. "Won’t you tell me your name?" she asked, as Frank was leaving. "Just call me the Christmas Scout," he replied. The visit left Frank touched, and with an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart. He understood that his sorrow wasn’t the only sorrow in the world. Before he left the Flats, he had given away the rest of his gifts. His plaid jacket had gone to a shivering boy. Now, Frank trudged toward home, cold and uneasy. How could he explain to his parents that he had given his presents away? "Where are your presents, son? asked his father as Frank entered the house. "I gave them away," he answered in a small voice. "The airplane from Aunt Susan? Your new coat from Grandma? Your flashlight?? We tho’t you were happy with your gifts." "I was......very happy," Frank said quietly. "But, Frank, how could you be so impulsive?" his mother asked. "How will we explain to the relatives who spent so much time and gave so much love shopping for you?" His father was firm. "You made your choice, Frank. We cannot afford any more presents." With his brother gone, and his family disappointed in him, Frank suddenly felt dreadfully alone. He had not expected a reward for his generosity, for he knew that a good deed always should be its own reward. It would be tarnished otherwise. So he did not want his gifts back. However, he wondered if he would ever again recapture joy in his life. He thought he had this evening....but it had been fleeting. He thought of his brother.....and sobbed himself to s...
My Dad and my brothers as served in the Marine Corps. I always wanted to, but the Lord, in His wisdom, saw fit to keep me from passing the physical. Even though I was never able to get into the military, I was impressed about one important focus the Marines had. They always kept in mind what was most important.
The Marines have many different positions, they have many different specialties. If you join the Marines, you can work with computers, fly planes, work as a cook, or many other things. But, when you join the Marines, you are first and foremost a rifleman. Before you go on to specialized training, before you can work in any other field, you must first qualify on the rifle range with a weapon. You are first of all a rifleman.
The same is true in the church. You and I are all parts of One Body, the Body of Christ. We all have different gifts. Some of us are called to preach. Some are gifted to teach, some to sing, some to clean up, some to serve, some to visit, some are called to a specific prayer ministry. Many different tasks the Lord has given us, but first and foremost in our calling is soul-winning. You and I are to be busy leading other people to Christ.
I doubt you’ll recognize this man. His name is Heinrich Schliemann. In 1871, Heinrich Schliemann began to fulfill a dream he’d had since his youth----he started excavating an ancient city in Turkey. He was looking for the lost city of Troy---and to the amazement of many, this retired businessman found it. Today, you can still see the ruins of its towers and its walls, which were 16 feet thick.
Schliemann desire to find the ancient city of Troy can be traced back to his fascination with the Greek stories surrounding it. One of those stories is found in Homer’s Illiad. According to Homer the Greeks besieged Troy for ten years without success. And then when the warrior Achilles was killed, many wanted to give up the fight. But the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, came up with a plan to get the Greek army into Troy. Odysseus built an immense wooden horse which supposedly looked something like this… [SLIDE OF TROGAN HORSE]. Odysseus and his warriors hid inside it. And after leaving the horse at the gates of Troy, the Greek army sailed away. The Trojans thinking the Greeks had given up and had left the horse as a gift, brought it inside the gates. [2ND TROGRAN HORSE SLIDE] That night, while the Trojans were sleeping, the Greek ships quietly returned. The soldiers in the horse slipped out and opened the city gates. The Greek army quietly entered Troy and started fires all over the city. The Trojans awoke to find their city in flames. As they tried to flee, they were killed by the waiting Greeks.
Through the years the story of the Trojan Horse and the fall of Troy have come to represent the subversion of anything from within. Well this letter to the church at Pergamum, helps us to understand that Satan acted something like Ithaca. When Satan found that the outside attacks weren’t as effective as he’d hoped, he changed strategy. He started creating internal problems, most of which could have been avoided if the believers there had been more careful in choosing who they’d do life with. But rather than be cautious they had been careless and as a result, by the time Jesus sent this letter to them they were already learning the hard way that they should have exercised more wisdom in chosing their companions.