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So if the kingdom of heaven is so valuable, why doesn’t everybody do everything they can to be a part of it? I think it’s because value is often in the eye of the beholder. What has value and what doesn’t is really up to personal interpretation. What some people think are valuable have no value at all to others. Several years ago I used to heat our house with wood. Every fall I would go out and cut wood with my friend Roger Raether and Bob Bosma. I never liked cutting wood because it was a lot of back breaking work but I liked the price. It was free except for the labor so we would take a Saturday here and there in the fall to cut wood and pile it up for the winter. In addition to cutting wood I used to get the wood scraps from a store called “The Wooden Bird.” They make beautiful hand carved bird decoys and animal decoys out of wood. Every decoy costs from 50 to 250 bucks and they are really nice decorative pieces to put on the mantle. Their shop used to be right here in St. Boni so every couple of weeks I would stop in and pick up their leftover wood scraps to burn in my wood burner. Right before Thanksgiving I stopped in to pick up a load of scraps. I walked in the front door and told them I was there to pick up the wood. The man wheeled out two bins like usual to the loading doors and helped me load them in the truck. Usually the wood was just chunks of pine but this time they looked like decoys. I asked him if he was sure that he was giving me the right wood because they were unpainted decoys. I noticed that they had a few cracks in them so I figured they were throwing them away because of the cracks. The man insisted that I had the right stuff and waved me goodbye. I took my load of wood and promised that I would bring his carts back as soon as I got the chance. He told me there was no hurry and I could even bring them back after Thanksgiving. I went home and unloaded the decoys in a big pile in the basement. The wood burner was low so I grabbed a handful of decoys and threw them in the furnace. That dry pine burned nice and hot so I threw in a few more to ward of the cold. Then I went back to work. After work I went home and reloaded the furnace with decoys and had just enough time to bring back the carts before they closed for the long weekend. When I pulled up in my truck two men ran out of the building and demanded that I bring back the decoys. I asked why and with urgency in his voice he told me that I had taken their entire inventory of Christmas decoys worth tens of thousands of dollars by mistake. He went on and on about calling the police and trying to find my vehicle and driving around for the past three hours in a complete panic because I had taken their entire Christmas inventory of decoys worth thousands of dollars by mistake. I pointed at the guy who gave them to me and he just gave me the deer in the headlights look and walked back into the building. Then the manager said do you still have them because they are incredibly valuable. Each decoy had taken them over a week to make and they needed to get them back. Rather stunned I told them that I had burned a few of them but would bring the rest back. Then I went home and carefully loaded a few hundred decoys back into the bins and brought them back to the Wooden Bird. Value is often in the eye of the beholder. The decoys had no value to me other than a little heat. But to the Wooden bird, the decoys were worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runneth over.
Intelligence is not the same as wisdom.
A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of he parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped.
The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped.
The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!
PRAY TILL YOU GET COOKIES
We should be like the 3-year-old boy (that Paul Harvey told about) who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”
Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesu...
Ridgecrest is a large Baptist-run assembly ground, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. All summer long, every year, thousands of Christians come to Ridgecrest for training, inspiration, Bible study, and challenge.
A few years ago, during a conference, people began to notice a man hanging around the grounds. He did not look like he had just stepped out of your typical Sunday School class. His clothes were tattered and torn; they looked like something even the Salvation Army would throw away. His face had not been visited by a razor for a long time. His shoes could best be described by the title of Hymn No. 2 in the book – “Holy, Holy, Holy”! And worst of all, there was the BO. You know about BO? Let’s just say that when you got close, you did not get a whiff of Chanel No. 5. This young man was clearly “not one of us”, not the kind of person you normally see at Christian campgrounds.
What did he do? Not much, really. He did not approach anyone. He did not harass anybody. He did not ask for money. He mostly just hung around. When chapel services were held, he would walk across the front and sit down. When classes were under way, he would lie down on the grassy slopes nearby. And when meals were being served, he would stand on the dining hall porch, not far from the long lines of people clutching their meal tickets. No begging, no demands, just standing around.
At the end of the week they announced that there would be a special speaker for the closing service, and that he would speak on the theme, “Inasmuch as you have not done it unto one of the least of these, you have not done it unto me.” They promised that the audience would truly remember this message. The hymns were sung, the prayers were prayed, the choir sang, and the special speaker approached the podium. Who do you think was that special speaker? Who brought that memorable message?
That scruffy young man! That hangaround bum with the worn-out clothing, the messy beard, and the offensive BO! It turns out that he was a young pastor who had been asked to play a part by the organizers of the conference. And his message stung as he said to the crowd, “No one tried to include me in anything. No one asked me if I needed help. No one invited me to the dining hall. No one sat down to listen to my story. A few put religious tracts into my hand. One or two pulled out a dollar bill and gave it to me. But most of you turned your eyes and pretended not to see me. My appearance offended you, and you left me out.”
Appearances are deceiving. He looked like a beggar and a bum, but he was a pastor. (Please don’t anyone say that’s all the same thing!).
The following quotes from people at various stages of their lives shows the maturity that should take place in our perspective toward God and the world around us.
PROGRESSION OF WISDOM WITH AGE
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. Age 7
I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night." Age 7
When I wave at people in the country, they stop what they’re doing and wave back. Age 9
When I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. Age 13
Though it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents were strict with me. Age 15
Silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24
Brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Age 29
Wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there. Age 29
If someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39
I’ve learned you can make someone’s day simply by sending them a little card. Age 44
Children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 46
The greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others. Age 46
Singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49
Motel mattresses lie better on the side away from the phone. Age 50
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles three things: 1) A rainy day 2) Lost luggage 3) Tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52
Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them after they’re gone. Age 53
I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58
If you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage. Age 61
Life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62
You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64
If you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if yo ufocus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65
Whenever I decide something with kindness, I have usually made the right decision. Age 66
It pays to believe in miracles. And, to tell the truth, I’ve seen several. Age 73
Even when I have pains, I don’t have to BE one. Age 82
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92
During the reign of Queen Victoria, a London doctor visited a 72-year-old lady named Maria Vincent. Her husband had abandoned her some years earlier. She was poor and lived in very humble surroundings. She was undernourished and had neither warm clothes or wood for a fire. The doctor couldn’t believe her friends would allow her to live like that. When asked about it, Maria said she had no friends. Later in the discussion she corrected herself. She admitted that there might be one, but was sure that she had forgotten about her. The doctor pressed her for the identity of the friend. And finally Maria told him that it was the Queen herself. She said that the two of them had been childhood friends.
The doctor left, not sure that he believed Maria, but when he got home he wrote the Queen a letter relating the incident. A few days later he received a letter from the Queen. The story was true. The Queen had not forgotten. Enclosed in the letter was enough money to provide for all of Maria’s needs. For the remaining years of her life, Maria Vincent lived comfortably as a friend of the Queen.
ALWAYS PRAY AND DON’T GIVE UP
Jesus taught that we should “always pray and not give up”
· Not because God is hard of hearing
· Not because God needs to be pestered into answering
· Not because God doesn’t want to answer us
NO… Jesus taught us always pray and not give up because, when we pray, our prayers carry weight. EVERY TIME you and I pray we unleash more and more power from the throne of God
· Are you praying for someone in your family to become a Christian?
Every prayer you pray puts more and more pressure on that person to listen to God…
· Do you pray for your friends in their daily struggles
Every prayer you pray imparts to them more and more power from God
· Do you have difficulties with someone at work
Every prayer you lift up to God’s throne brings God’s power to bear on diff...
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a lighthouse that sat on a rocky shore and helped ships get through the water safely without hitting any big nasty rocks. One day the lighthouse operator became sick and a temporary substitute was put in charge of the lighthouse. While he was there tending the lighthouse a big storm blew up and sand and branches and all kinds of things were flying around in the wind. The temporary lighthouse keeper got out a big piece of canvas and covered up the lantern so it would not get wet or damaged in the storm. That night a ship blew upon the rocks and sank with all hands. Sounds silly, doesn’t it - I mean - who, as Jesus puts it, lights a lamp and then puts it under a bowl?
Philip Yancey relates how a professor Virginia Stem Owens assigned the Sermon on the Mount to her composition class at Texas A&M University. She asked her students to write a short essay on this passage of Scripture. Here is what one student wrote: “The things asked in this sermon are absurd. To look at a woman is adultery. That is the most extreme, stupid, unhuman statement that I have ever heard.” (The Jesus I Never Knew, p. 130).
Professor Owens reflected: “There is something exquisitely innocent about not realizing you shouldn’t call Jesus stupid…I find it strangely heartening that the Bible remains offensive to honest, ignorant ears, just as it was in the first century.” (Ibid.)