Illustration results for psalms 34
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DIVINITY SCHOOL each years has what is called ’BAPTIST DAY’. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to an outdoor picnic area and the school invites one of the popular lecturers to speak at the theological education center. One year DR. PAUL TILLICH came and spent 2 1/2 hours attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a lie. He quoted liberal books and scholars to prove his point and then asked for questions.
A older man near the back of the auditorium spoke, ’Dr. Tillich(took apple out and began to eat) Crunch, crunch….I have a simple question….munch munch….I haven’t read any of those books you talk about….crunch crunch….I can’t recite the Scriptures in Greek….munch munch…I don’t know anything about Neibuhr and Heidegger….crunch..crunch…(he held up the core of his eaten apple) All I want to know is, ’This apple I just ate, was it bitter or sweet?’
Dr. Tillich paused and then responded, ’I cannot possibly answer that question, I haven’t tasted your apple sir’….The old man dropped the apple core into his sack and said, ’Neither have you tasted my Jesus’. The audience of over 1,000 erupted into applause and cheers to which Dr. Tillech left the platform.
Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there, in the cool of the day, the Master of the garden was wont to walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was gracious and noble bamboo. Year after year, bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master’s love and watchful delight, but modest and gentle withal. And often when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the garden, Which most delighted the Master’s heart.
Now, once upon a day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. And Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting.
The Master spoke: "Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you."
Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny.
His voice came low: "Master, I’m ready. Use me as Thou wilt."
"Bamboo," - The Master’s voice was grave --- "I would have to take you and cut you down!"
A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo…"Cut …me… down ? Me.. who thou, Master, has made the most beautiful in all thy Garden…cut me down! Ah, not that. Not that. Use me for the joy, use me for the glory, oh master, but cut me not down!"
Beloved Bamboo,"-The Master’s voice grew graver still-"If I cut you not down, I cannot use you."
The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There was a whisper:
"Master, if thou cannot use me other than to cut me down.. then do thy will and cut".
"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also".
"Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but would thou also have to take from me, my leaves and branches too?"
"Bamboo, if I cut them not away, I cannot use you."
The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low: "Master, cut away"
"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet… split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use you."
Then Bamboo bowed to the ground: "Master, Master… then cut and split."
So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo… and cut him down… and hacked off his branches… and stripped off his leaves… and split him in two… and cut out his heart.
And lifting him gently, carried him to where there was a spring of fresh sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in His field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo… And the spring sang welcome, and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew and the harvest came.
In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, was yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master’s world.
The first North American Thanksgiving is traced back to 1578 when the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony in what is now called Newfoundland. We don’t believe this is when the kissing-of-the-cod tradition began, but there was indeed a great party to give thanks for surviving the long journey across the Atlantic.
Forty years later, and also after crossing the ocean, French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain in Nova Scotia would hold huge feasts of thanks. They got a little more organized, formed "The Order of Good Cheer" and shared their food with Indian neighbours.
This would be around the same time as the American pilgrims gave thanks in 1621 for the bounty that ended a year of hardships and death. Of significance, it was at this time when the main course - the wild and not very handsome turkey -- made its succulent first appearance at the feast. Thanksgiving revellers have been arguing over the drumsticks ever sense.
For the next two centuries, people on both sides of the border would informally set aside a day in November to lift a glass and give cheers to the harvest. But the Americans beat us to the punch, so to speak, when in 1863 Abe Lincoln’s government officially declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. It’s been celebrated on that day ever since.
We couldn’t make up minds that easily, it seems.
Our Canadian Thanksgiving bounced around the calendar quite a bit. It was first celebrated as a national holiday on November 6, 1879. Many different dates were used after that, the most popular being the 3rd Monday in October. The thinking was that this simply made sense because of our shorter growing season. After World War I it was moved back to the second week of November to coincide with Armistice Day. But finally, in 1957, Parliament said enough’s enough and formally proclaimed the 2nd Monday of October as "a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed." Phew!
Personal note: I don’t know if it matters or not, but it’s still funny of how the specific Thanksgiving times were chosen. Canadians chose their date for Thanksgiving based on seasonal convenience, and Americans chose their date to ensure that there would be 4 full weeks of Christmas shopping.
A heart-broken little girl began to kneel and pour out her heart to God in the altar at her local church. She did not know what to say. As she wept speechless, she began to remember what her Father had told her, "God knows your needs even before you pray, and he can answer when you don’t even know for what to ask." So she began to say her alphabet. A concerned adult from that church knelt beside her and heard her sobbing and saying her ABC’s and inquired what exactly she was trying to do. The little girl told this caring adult, "I’m praying to God from my heart." But the adult answered, "It sounds to me more lik...
John Wycliff –“…to be ignorant of the Scriptures is to be ignorant of Christ.”
1. He also stated: “All those who love Christ, whether priest, knight or laborer, must carefully study the gospel in that tongue in which the meaning of the gospel was clearest to them; for all the faithful were bound to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and the more closely they followed Him, the more and the better did they love Him; and; since the deeds and teaching of Christ were more clearly expressed in the gospel than elsewhere, it was obvious how much the careful study of this book profited the faithful.”
2. Wycliffe believed that the Bible in a written form that the average person could read and understand was the greatest tool for the Christian. This resource was the key in getting the people of his day to live right.
a. People can only change when they allow the word to impact their lives. For it to impact their lives they needed to know what it said about living.
3. Wycliffe raised up his troop of preachers and sent them out into the country side on the premise that right thinking leads to right living. Therefore his preachers were to teach the people the truth and put the Bible into their hands so that they could learn to renew their minds with the Word of God and this in turn would cause them to live for God. The key was encouraging the people to read and study the Bible for themselves and to hear and learn from Preachers who preached the Word.
4. John Wycliffe’s rules for Studying The Bible:
a. Obtain a reliable text
b. Understand the logic of Scripture
c. Compare the parts of Scripture with one another
d. Maintain an attitude of humble seeking
e. Receive instruction of the Spirit
Together we entered the terrifying building [Ravensbruck prison camp]. At a table were women who took away all our possessions. Everyone had to undress completely and then go to a room where her hair was checked.
I asked a woman who was busy checking the possessions of the new arrivals if I might use the toilet. She pointed to a door, and I discovered that the convenience was nothing more than a hole in the shower-room floor. Betsie stayed close beside me all the time. Suddenly I had an inspiration, “Quick, take off your woolen underwear,” I whispered to her. I rolled it up with mine and laid the bundle in a corner with my little Bible. The spot was alive with cockroaches, but I didn’t worry about that. I felt wonderfully relieved and happy. “The Lord is busy answering our prayers, Betsie,” I whispered. “We shall not have to make the sacrifice of all our clothes.”
We hurried back to the row of women waiting to be undressed. A little later, after we had had our showers and put on our shirts and shabby dresses, I hid the roll of underwear and my Bible under my dress; but I prayed, “Lord, cause now thine angels to surround me; and let them not be transparent today, for the guards must not see me.” I felt perfectly at ease. Calmly I passed the guards. Everyone was checked, from the front, the sides, the back. Not a bulge escaped the eyes of the guard. The woman just in front of me had hidden a woolen vest under her dress; it was taken from her. They let me pass, for they did not see me. Betsie, right behind me, was searched.
But outside awaited another danger. On each side of the door were women who looked everyone over for a second time. They felt over the body of each one who passed. I knew they would not see me, for the angels were still surrounding me. I was not even surprised when they passed by me; but within me rose the jubilant cry, “O Lord, if Thou does so answer prayer, I can face even Ravensbruck unafraid.
Corrie Ten Boom from Gary Kinnaman, Angels Dark and Light (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Vine Books, 1994), 86-87.
SONG ABOVE THE NOISE
A man said: While walking along a busy street one day, I heard someone singing. His sweet voice was distinguishable even above the noise of the traffic. When I located him, I noticed that he had no legs and was pushing himself through the crowd in a wheelchair.
Catching up with him, I said, "I want you to know how singing from a person in your condition gives everyone else a lift." He answered with a grateful smile, "When I stopped thinking about what I had lost and began concentrating on all I had left, I found much for which I could rejoice and be happy."
(Steve Shepherd "In This You Greatly Rejoice" 1/19/2009)
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway , it just wasn’t worth the effort to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing! He would shake it o...
COLORS OF STORMS
As I was watching the weather warnings run across the TV screen, I began to think about how we go through life's storms without any warnings. Each one of the storms we go through are painted a different color of severity, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red.
It could be that a Green storm is trouble getting ready for work or maybe just a trip to the grocery store and find that you have missed placed the car keys or your wallet.
A Yellow storm could be a bump up in traffic or maybe the car won't start and you are going to be late for a very important appointment.
An Orange storm could be having an accident where you or a family member gets hurt or maybe has a health emergency such as a heart attack or some other life threatening trauma.
The Red storm, life just stops, nothing else seems to matter when it hits. News of a love one who just died unexpectedly or was killed in an accident.
The Eating thing
Let me share with you a fairly personal issue that I’m working through that has caused me to ask this question about loving God.
Last year – in fact for a number of years now I have been aware that I have been struggling with an addiction. As soon as I say the word it arouses concern in us – and rightly so because addictive behaviour is unhealthy and destructive. And if you’re like me you probably wonder what is it – drugs, pornography, alcohol, gambling – what’s he into?
If I told you that the addiction I struggle with is eating you probably breathe a sigh of relief – you might even say look at me and say ‘hey its no big deal’ because it doesn’t show in any visible way – I’m not fat and I’m reasonably fit. But in that there is a deception.
And maybe its not an all consuming desire at the moment – but I’m aware and I have been aware for some time that my relationship with food (if you can call it that!) is unhealthy. I have felt for some time that I am not in control of my eating – egs – can’t walk past a bakery, dreaming about food – and yet it seems normal – food is something I love – something that makes me feel good – when I’m down I eat – in fact when I’m ‘up’ I eat. I eat most of the time – when I’m not eating I’m thinking about when I will be eating – my favourite words are ‘all you can eat’ – I tend to take them quite literally. I just love to eat – I don’t eat because I’m hungry – I eat because I enjoy the sensual pleasure of taste. Eating makes me feel good and some foods make me feel better than others. I rarely get stuck on cabbage or weet bix, but I can put away some cheesecake and some pizza.
Eating is something I love to do. And I want to say in ‘parenthesis’ that God is good because he has allowed us to enjoy taste. We could so easily have been created with fuel tanks rather than taste buds – God has given us the gift of pleasure thru taste. He’s made so many things enjoyable rather than just functional. Sex could have been a handshake – but he made it something a bit better than that. God has given us pleasures to enjoy – even at the risk of us enjoying them more than him. Which is were I felt I was getting to.
Late last year I started to realise this was a problem – and it was highlighted when I felt God challenging me this year to practice the spiritual discipline of fasting. I had only ever fasted once before – I told people the only thing I gained from it was a greater appreciation of food. I was fairly resistant to the idea – which actually started alarm bells ringing again. I realised that I loved food too much to go a day or two without it.
I felt though that God was saying this so I decided to bite the bullet and do it. But I wanted to understand a bit more about fasting so on the way to Port Lincoln last week I was read John Piper’s book ‘Hungry For God’ and in the preface I had a ‘lights on’ moment. I saw what was happening in my life – not just with food.
As I read the intro I knew I was onto something – the first sentence says ‘Beware of books on fasting’ I like this guy already! So many fasting books seem to promise that God will change the world if I go without food and pray. Maybe he will, but it seemed that in some of these fasting became a bit of divine arm twisting – almost a...