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WHAT KIND OF HEART DO YOU HAVE?
I was reading this week an article by Bryan Doyle. It talks about hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds have race car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight.
They are tiny little birds and their hearts beat 10 times a second. So even if you put your huge ear to its chest, it would be hard to discern the heartbeat.
The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. Itís expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine.
The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. Itís as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long.
Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.
What kind of heart do you have? Is it beating to the rhythm of songs of praise to God? for eternity? Or is your pulse set to the city, the job, the constant striving for possessions and property, the ways of the world, the pulse of hell?
The Didache, is a first or second century document that relates to us outside the New Testament the teaching of the early church. This document "prescribed two fast days a week: Wednesday and Friday." For early Christians; this was seen as a regular part of daily discipleship.
John Wesley sought to revive the teaching of the Didache and urged early Methodists to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. He felt so strongly about this matter that he refused to ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry who did not fast on those two days.
Matthew Henry said, "Fasting is a laudable practice and we have reason to lament that it is generally neglected among Christians."
Hudson Taylor the great missionary and founder of China Inland Mission, said, "In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon."
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "I wonder whether we have ever fasted? I wonder whether it has even occurred to us that we ought to be considering the question of fasting? The fact is, that this whole subject seems to have dropped right out of our lives and right out of our whole Christian thinking."
Toyohiko Kagawa, the Japanese Christian who spent his life working with and for the poor, was speaking at Princeton. When he finished his talk, one student said to another, "He didnít say much, did he?" A woman sitting nearby leaned over and murmured, "When youíre hanging on a cross, you donít have to say anything."
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg--or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soulís ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You canít tell a vet just by looking.
What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didnít run out of fuel.
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She--or he--is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another--or didnít come back at all.
He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat--but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each otherís backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor die unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the oceanís sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket--palsied now and aggravatingly slow--who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his lifeís most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each...
Poem: Safely Home
I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in Heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh! But Jesusí love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesusí arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt, dread?
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still:
Try to look beyond earthís shadows,
Pray to trust our Fatherís will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth
You shall rest in Jesusí land.
When the work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!
(Galaxie Software: 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press, 2002; 2002)
Many who are climbing the ladder of success have their ladders leaning against the wrong walls.
There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.
HARD TIMES FOR HELL
Hell, it would seem, has fallen on rather lean times. It used to be that the vast majority of Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation, believed that Hell was a real place where the wicked and the impenitent go when they died. The very thought of the pains and torments of Hell was enough to scare sinners straight. It used to be that ministers of the Gospel would preach on the horrors of Hell to persuade reprobates to repentance. But not anymore. Most American mainline and so-called Evangelical churches stopped preaching about Hell years ago. Most mainline ministers stopped believing in Hell years before that. Hell made people uncomfortable. Hell was too “old-fashioned.” The topic of Hell was bad for the bottom line—attendance and income. Hell damaged people’s self-esteem. Hell has been retained in our modern lexicon as a convenient curse word, and as a metaphoric ...
I had grown tired of standing in the lean and lonely front line facing the greatest enemy that ever confronted man - public opinion.
Floyd Landis, embroiled in a doping scandal since winning this yearís Tour de France, raised a Mennonite in Pennsylvania, leans on his mother for support.
ďSheís the one that no matter what happens, to me or to anyone else in life, she will remain unchanged,Ē he said. ďWhen she spoke to me, she said, ĎLook, tell me the truth, doesnít matter to me what it is, Iíll see you the same regardless.í And I think if you saw any of her interviews on television, she believes in me.Ē
If an earthly parent has this much unconditional love for her child, how much more does our Heavenly Father love us? No matter what we do, when we come to Him all He sees is Christ in us and yes, He believes in us.
(Taken from an ESPN.com article written on 08/07/06)