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1 Peter 1:13-1:25
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A Nation of Bible Illiterates
George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.
• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."
Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!
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CAN'T STOP CRYING
Consider this there was a story about a little boy who would not stop crying. No matter what his mother did, he would always cry. So one day this lady next door after hearing the baby cry thought she knew the answer to the problem and assured the mother that she could stop her son from crying.
So, the mother took him to the neighbor kicking and crying. The neighbor tried many of her "stop the child from crying" methods but to no avail the neighbor couldn't get this baby to stop crying.
Finally, the neighbor asked, "Would you like to eat something?" The child's crying dwindled to a whisper. "Yes Ma'am" he sniffled. "I want some worms."
The neighbor was hopeful so she went into the yard and dug a cupful of baits and brought them to the boy. She said, "Here they are." The boy sniffled, "I want them fried."
Since his sniffles were less and her plan seemed to be working, the neighbor ran into the house and fried the worms. When she presented them the boy said he only wanted one. There was only one sniffle now, so the neighbor picked one worm out of the plate and presented it to the boy. Then the boy sniffed once and said, "I only want half and you eat the other half." The neighbor reluctantly swallowed one half and gave the other to the little boy.
Then the boy fell on the floor and started crying louder than ever before. The neighbor said, "What's wrong. I dug up the baits. I fried them for you. I selected one for you. I cut it in half and even ate half for you. What's wrong?" The little boy said, "You ate my half!"
There are times when nothing we do will stop us from crying.
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It’s very easy to pass judgement on people, especially if we haven’t passed through their experience. People who have lost a loved one, lost their job through being made redundant or lost a position of responsibility, often go through a valley of bereavement which can’t be understood second-hand. It requires a true friend to stand by them. When our opportunity comes to be a friend indeed, let’s be sure to rise to the occasion.
I received the following story as one of those “dreaded” forwarded emails. I think it’s a fitting way to end a Wednesday Lenten message on Obedience ----from the eyes of a child.
Story of God lives under the Bed.
I envy Kevin. He thinks God lives under his bed. One night he was praying out loud in his bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, Under the bed..." I laughed & tiptoed to my room. My brother Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something lingered long after the humor.
I realized for the first time the very different world in which Kevin lives.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled due to problem in labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6-foot-2) there are few ways in which he’s an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and always will. He’ll probably always believe God lives under his bed, Santa Claus fills the space under the Christmas tree and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?
Up before dawn each day, off to the workshop for the disabled, home to walk the dog & eat his favorite macaroni/cheese dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the routine is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washer like a mother with her newborn child. He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner. He stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores.
And oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of the passengers. "That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power.
He doesn’t care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats.
His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he’s working.
When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished.
But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He’s not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept,
and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride, unconcerned with appearances, Kevin’s not afraid to cry when he’s hurt, angry or sorry.
He’s always transparent, always sincere. He trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ he comes as a child.
Kevin seems to kno...