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I like the story about 3 prospectors who found a rich vein of gold in California during the gold rush days. They realized what a great discovery they had, & decided, "We’ve a really good thing going here as long as no one else finds out about it." So they each took a vow to keep it secret.
Then they headed for town to file their claims & get the equipment necessary to mine the gold. True to their vows, they didn’t say a word to anybody. They filed their claim, bought the equipment, & headed back to their mine. But when they did, a crowd of people followed them.
And the reason was because the expression on their faces had given them away. Their faces were aglow in anticipation of the wealth that soon would be theirs. People knew that they must have found something very special. So a crowd followed them out of town.
One day, President Abraham Lincoln was riding in a coach with a colonel from Kentucky. The colonel took a bottle of whiskey out of his pocket. He offered Lincoln a drink. Lincoln said, “No thank you, Colonel. I never drink whiskey.” After a little while, the colonel took some cigars out of his pocket and offered one to Lincoln. Again Lincoln said, “No, thank you, Colonel.” Then Lincoln said, “I want to tell you a story.”
“One day, when I was about nine years old, my mother called me to her bed. She was very sick. She said, ‘Abe, the doctor tells me that I am not going to get well. I want you to be a good boy. I want you to promise me before I go that you will never use whiskey or tobacco as long as you live.’ I promised my mother that I never would, and up to this hour, I’ve kept this promise! Would you advise me to break that promise?”
The colonel put his hand on Lincoln’s shoulder and said, “Mr. Lincoln, I would not have you break that promise for the world! It is one of the best promises you ever made. I would give a thousand dollars today if I had made my mother a promise like that and had kept it like you have done. I would be a much better man than I am!” (Martin M. Hyzer, 15K-WS)
D. Greg Ebie
Your heart will have beat an average of 122,400 times every day. None of us want our heart to ask for a vacation or take a day off; we don’t even want to give it a short “coffee break” to skip a few beats. Doctors understand the heart is critically important to our physical well-being; it is so important doctors have developed the 10 commandments for heart attack prevention.
1. Thou shalt stop smoking.
2. Thou shalt control thy blood pressure.
3. Thou shalt reduce dietary cholesterol.
4. Thou shalt reduce dietary saturated fat.
5. Thou shalt reduce dietary sodium.
6. Thou shalt loose thy apple shaped fat distribution.
7. Thou shalt increase time to relax.
8. Thou shalt increase soluble fiber.
9. Thou shalt eat fish three times a week.
10. Thou shalt increase aerobic exercise.
The same principle holds true in our spiritual lives the condition of our heart impacts every area of our lives. Your heart is not just the physical organ pumping blood throughout your body. The heart is the center of your innermost emotions and feeling; the heart is your soul, the center and essence of life. Just as a body is lifeless without the beating of the heart, so too spiritually without the heart, life stops. THE HEART IS “THE STUFF OF LIFE.”
THE REFINER'S FIRE
The story is told of a group of women that met for Bible study. While studying in the book of Malachi, chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study.
The following week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest, beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith work, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse, that "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes...
Then there is the story that Erma Bombeck tells about a little boy at church with his mother. He was a good little boy, quiet & well behaved. He didn’t cause any problems. But every once in a while he would stand up in the pew, turn around, look at the people behind him & smile at them.
His smile was infectious, & soon everybody behind him was starting to smile back at him, too. It was all going fine until the mother realized what the little boy was doing. When she did, she grabbed him by his ear & twisted it a bit, told him to sit down & remember that he was in church.
Then he started sniffling & crying, & she turned to him & said, "That’s better." It’s kind of sad, isn’t it, that some have the impression that when we come to church that it is all gloom & doom, & that there is nothing here to really bring joy into our lives?
A recent survey by George Gallup Jr. revealed a startling trend in our culture. According to Gallup the evidence seems to indicate that there are no clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non-Christians in our society. We all seem to be marching to the same drummer, looking to the shifting standards of contemporary culture for the basis of what is acceptable behavior.
During the American Civil War fought between the years 1861 - 1865, over
600,000 soldiers from the South died, but a heartfelt prayer that survived
was the Prayer of the Unknown Confederate Soldier, a soldier¡¦s unrequited but
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing that I asked for- but everything I hoped for,
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.
Someone has written that there are four kinds of bones in the world.
The WISH BONES who spend their time wishing someone else would do the work;
The JAW BONES who do all the talking, but very little else;
The KNUCKLE BONES who knock everything that an...
We’ve probably all heard the expression, “This separates the men from the boys!” What kinds of things separate the men from the boys? Things that involve danger and risk. Things that take courage and a willingness to sacrifice. Things that are grueling and gut-wrenching. Things that require maturity and perseverance, not just boyish enthusiasm and energy.
In a sense, that’s what this parable (the Good Samaritan) teaches about the Christian life. Jesus isn’t separating the men from the boys, He’s separating the real Christian from the merely religious.
This single fruit of the Spirit is quite dynamic. It has many dimensions to it: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s as if this single fruit has multiple flavors. I’m reminded of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There was a piece of candy called, “The Never Ending Gobstopper.” What was amazing is that it was a single piece of candy with endless sorts of flavors. The fruit of the Spirit is one specific item with several, continuous qualities. The point is that all of these “flavors” remind us of our Savior’s love for us. The Spirit’s work ties us to Jesus and leads us to see we have true satisfaction in him alone.