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One night as my family was preparing for bedtime, my four year old daughter Claire began singing the BIBLE. As she came to the end, she combined another song. Here is what she sang. "I stand alone on the word of God, that’s what it’s all about." By mixing up the BIBLE and the Hokey Pokey, Claire nailed the way that each of us should view God’s word.
WE'LL STAY OUT OF THE WAY
The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church.
The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate.
In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle.
There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached.
Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Allelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting, "I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!"
The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way."
Wade Hughes, Sr
An old lady spent much of her summer setting and swinging in the old swing hanging on her front porch. Her husband had been dead several years and she had withdrawn from all but the closest family. Her lonely time grew and grew??
One spring day, the old lady went out in the garage and dug the old roto-tiller out from under the rusty tub that covered the engine. Seems the old lady had found a big bag of seeds that was a vine that would bear bright red flowers. The old lady loved bright red things. She made a decision, get out of the swing and grow beautiful flowers to enjoy.
With great excitement,she pulled real hard on the rope, and with great effort she finally got the old roto-tiller to run.
There was a wall of concrete blocks between her and the neighbors driveway. The blocks were laid...a block and a space, or a gap...then another block and a space all the way down the driveway,....all the way to the garage.
With great effort the old lady plowed betwen the driveway and the wall. She blistered her hands, her back hurt, but the jarring roto-tiller finished the task.
With feelings of accomplishment and pride, she got down on her knees and planted all the seeds in several rows along the wall.
The rains came, the Lord blessed the little seeds and the sun shine warmed the ground. One day the little old lady saw the heads of the plant break forth, and the vines grew and grew ....until the vines completely covered the wall. The vines so grew that the wall could not be seen. She would set daily in the swing and watch the progress of the vine. This was great joy to the old lady.
Beautiful vines ....but no flowers, zero. da nada, nothing. Where are all my bright red flowers?? One day after much dissapointment and great thought the lady decided...I planted those vines for flowers, bright red flowers and there are none. I am going to cut those dumb empty vines down and burn them.
She went down the drive way into the garage and got the rusty old hoe, sharpened the edge and started chopping the vines down.
About the third vine was chopped down and she grinned ear to ear. The neighbor pulling into his drive way, skidded to a halt and jumped out of his car and ran over to her .
He said, "What on earth are you doing?? I know this is your property and that is your vine, and you can do as you chose. But, why are you cutting down this vine??"
The old lady explained to the kind neighbor, "I planted this not for the vine but for the bright red flowers, and there are none. After all my sweat and blisters and watering, not one flower. I am cutting this down because there are no red flowers and that is why I planted them!!!"
Without one word the neighbor took the feeble old lady by the hand and lead her to the other side of the wall. And on his side of the fence, there were over a million of the brightest red flowers you ever saw, between every block were many of the brillant blossoms.
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance.
He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note.
The note read: "pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need". Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die. Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveller.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “ Please prime the pump, believe me it works”!
We have the same choice to make...
A book that has changed my life is What’s So Amazing About Grace? In it the author, Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
In this area it might be Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic. But you know, it’s hard enough sometimes for a Wesleyan, a Wesleyan and a Wesleyan to get along.
A few years ago, a letter appeared in the national news that was sent to a deceased person by the Indiana Department of Social Services. It read as follows:
Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992
because we received notice that you passed away.
May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a
change in your circumstances.
Well, except for an occasional Lazarus, there haven’t been too many who have seen a change in those circumstances!
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
This reminds me of two elderly sisters who lived in Arcadia during my youth ministry days. One named Alpha, was always sick with some sort of ailment or another, the other, named Virginia, still worked in a county office even though she was in her late 70’s and never seemed to suffer from any kind of sickness. But the healthy sister would call me often to go to the hospital and visit her sick and dying sister. She would say, “Alpha is in bad shape. She could go any time now. Get over there as soon as you can.”
So I would drop what ever I was doing and drive 30 minutes away to a hospital in Clear Lake City to see Alpha, thinking that she surely was hooked up to machinery and on her last leg like her sister said. But when I arrived at the hospital and got into the room, Alpha would be sitting up in bed talking on the phone and watching TV. Now I’ll admit that there were many times I rushed over only to see that Alpha was no where near death, and in the end I finally learned that it wasn’t necessary to “rush” over to see Alpha. In fact, poor sickly dying Alpha lived for another 12 years after I left Arcadia. She outlived many other people supposedly more healthy than her.
This account of Jesus being called by Mary and Martha to come at once for Lazarus’ sake kind of calls to mind sickly old Alpha in Arcadia. And I noticed, that as I eventually learned to do, Jesus also felt no need to rush over there the moment he was called, although His delay was for a different reason.
CRY WITH THEM
I read about a young boy. Who was sent by his mom to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread. He was gone much longer than it should have taken him. When he finally returned, his mother asked, "Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you."
"Well," he answered, "there was a little boy with a broken tricycle who was crying. So I stopped to help him."
The mom said, "I didn’t know you could fix tricycles!"
The boy said, "I can’t. I just stood there and cried with him!"
You don’t have to be good with words. Ju...
TALK TO JESUS LIKE YOUR DAUGHTER
I was reading about a grieving woman. She went to the Rev. F. B. Meyer looking for help. She said, "Pastor, my daughter died last year. I miss her so much. I made breakfast for her every morning. And even when I had to go to work, I knew that she would be there when I got home in the evening. But now I come home to an empty house. I’m lonely. And I cry all the time. What can I do?"
The Reverend said, "You gotta talk to Jesus the same way you used to talk to your daughter. When you get home, say out loud, ’Lord Jesus, it’s good to be home.’ While you’re getting supper ready, talk to Him about your day; if anybody has been kind, tell Him; if anybody has been unkind, tell Him, just as you would have told your daughter. At night, stretch out your hand in the darkness and say, ’Jesus, I love you! You’re my best friend. I’ll talk to you in the morning.’"
Source: From a sermon by Marc Axelrod, "Getting Through the Season of Grief" 2/18/2009.
“Delusional Spiritual Myopithy!” John 15:26-John 16:4 Key verse(s) 26:“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”
Oh that dreaded sign! “Caution––Men Working!” Normally I am pretty good about planning out my day and making sure that there is enough time to get the work done on schedule and get to the places I need to get to on time. People who know me know that I am seldom if ever late. I like to build a cushion of time into every trip just so I can get there with a few minutes to spare and, perhaps, have enough time along the way for the unexpected. There is one thing, however, that neither I nor most drivers that are planners have much control over––detours.
Earlier in the week I had an appointment in a town that was exactly 17.9 miles from my office. (At least that was what the trip planner told me.) I was informed that if I drove on the preferred routes at the designated speeds I would arrive in exactly 29 minutes. I put in my cushion of five minutes and decided that I would need to leave the office precisely 34 minutes before the hour of my appointment. I left confident and assured that all was well. That is except for the fact that I did not know that one of the small towns I needed to pass through was detoured.
Although there were several warning signs as I approached the small town, until I breached the hill just outside of it, I hoped against hope that perhaps there was some mistake or perhaps it was some sort of road illusion. (It’s a condition called male, delusional, road myopithy.) But there it was, just over the hill; a road that simply ended with a big orange sign that read “Men Working––No Through Road.” Tempted as always to test out the situation, I crept around the sign and peered down the road. Sure enough! There were men working all over the place. There were torn up streets and exposed sewers. There were piles of gravel, bulldozers, dump trucks, backhoes and a county sheriff imposed just ahead of my crawling vehicle. In due diligence I decided to turn it around and backtrack back to the main road and follow the detour signs that had been so generously provided for my assistance just on the other side of the hill. I knew that with a bit of added speed and a clear head I could still make that appointment. Risking the rutted road and feigning that I was not “thru traffic” would not only be risky, it could land me with a pretty stiff fine. The safer and more secure, albeit unplanned route, would be the better choice.
I often think that God’s Holy Spirit works like that in our lives. He scouts out our paths long before we travel them. He spies out what needs to be corrected or eliminated in our lives and then sets to work putting up the caution signs. “Spiritual Detour Ahead!” “Holy Spirit at Work!” “No Traffic Here Unless You are Headed for a Crack-Up!” Since this is sometimes the easiest route or, perhaps, just the route we prefer by habit, we test the waters a bit and creep up on God’s hard-working Spirit. We have a choice. We can try to pass through unnoticed or simply feign that we are not that concerned with the trouble because, in truth, we really live here anyway and belong in this mess. That doesn’t fool God and it’s only delusional thinking on our part. In truth we don’t belong there and God has some pretty good reasons to block our paths. When it comes to taking the right spiritual path in life, its sometimes much safer to take the detours that are so graciously provided by our God through His Holy Spirit. When we see the warning signs it’s always better to heed them rather than test them. Delusional “Spiritual” myopithy? Probably not a good idea.