Daily Archives: November 30, 2011

From 2000+ Illustrations (Source Unknown)

     Great wrongs happen by degree. 

Tracing Character to Its Source

During a thunder storm that contained high winds, a giant oak tree was blown down. The tree was thought to be in perfect health; that is, from outward appearance it seemed to be in good health since it was almost perfectly shaped and full of green leaves. However, the massive tree could not withstand the stress of the high wind because of deterioration on the inside. What started as a tiny corruption at the center of the tree had spread until that tremendous tree was so weakened that it was toppled by the wind.

One may reach a point where he forsakes God altogether. It is because he (like the tree) has decayed on the inside. Perhaps the deterioration started with a little lie or one small drink of beer or forsaking the assembly to go fishing or camping. Long before our feet carry us where we ought not go, and our hands do what they ought not do, the desire is in our hearts (Psa_119:9-11). With pure hearts we will be able to stand the stress of temptation and the stress of everyday living.

 

From the Writings of James Ryle

     Nothing can make such a difference, offer so much peace, raise our hope, and increase our faith like the habit of prayer. 

Driven to My Knees

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4 (KJV)

Abraham Lincoln said, “Many times I have been driven to my knees in prayer by the conscious knowledge that I had no where else to turn.”

For many of us it takes trouble to drive us to our knees. A crisis in our life, or some dread calamity beyond our power to avert. While prayer is certainly the appropriate course when faced with such things, I want to make a case for a more noble cause. Beginning tomorrow, I want to share three great facts about prayer that, once comprehended by us, will drive us to our knees without the aid of crisis and calamity.

By way of introduction to this short series of posts, let me acquaint you with a great promise from Scripture: “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13 (KJV).

Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Thus, if we are “planted in the house of the Lord” then we are rooted and grounded in a life of devotional faithfulness. This means that we will “flourish in the courts of our God.” If House is where He lives, the Courts is where He works.

In other words, our commitment to a life of prayer opens the doors for us to enter into the fullness of God’s work in the earth. Being made sensitive to His presence, to His Voice, and to His ways while we are in His House, makes us ready and available to see His Hand at work in our world — bringing His kingdom all around us in the lives of our families, our friends — and even our foes.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” (Samuel Chadwick)

May we become men and women who are driven to our knees!

A Thought on Heroism

     Years ago, you could look at this country, and could say that one of the things that really made this country great was it’s people, but what made us, our people, so great.  A number of things, but perhaps the one thing that really set us apart, was our willingness to try.  We were a people who made an attempt to live extraordinary lives, and to do extraordinary things.  We were not afraid to make an attempt, and we were not afraid to fail.  When I look around me now, I see a lot of people who have the appearance of trying, of making an attempt, to do something, but upon closer examination I see that in many the attempt is half-hearted at best, and at its worst, nothing more than a staged ploy to appear to be what they truly have no intention of being.
     At one time, our people were heroic, not only our soldiers and first responders, but everyday people.  You don’t agree with this statement?  Ralph Waldo Emerson said that a hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.  As a people we used to symbolize that mentality in that we were willing to go a little further, work a little harder, do a little more than what was required.  The farmer, the steel-worker, the truck driver, the housewife, the factory-worker, people everywhere showed what true heroism is all about in that they were willing to do what all hero’s do.  They faced life with all its hardships and heartaches resolute and stalwart.  It wasn’t that they hadn’t known defeat, but in the face of it were undaunted.  They dug in, bent their back, and pushed back even harder against the waves of adversity and misfortune that threatened to overwhelm them.  These people, these everyday hero’s, were unafraid to try, and who never failed to make an attempt to do and to overcome any duty or obstacle that came their way.
     I’ve often wondered what’s the difference between those great people of yesteryear, and the people of today.  Was it the times they lived in that called them to be heroic, to be courageous?  Were the times they lived in so much worse than the times in which we live now?  I don’t believe that environment, circumstances, events, are the only things that give rise to heroism, but rather that heroism is a product of belief, faith, and trust.  To be a hero is to be someone who does what needs to be done no matter the cost; to be someone who is willing to sacrifice oneself for something far bigger than themselves..
     Throughout history, heroic people, have always been the standard-bearers of courage, honesty, and truth.  As a culture, as a people, we have always believed right or wrongly that our hero’s hold all the best traits of character, and in truth they do.  For most of our history, our country has consisted of a quietly heroic majority who have gone about the business of upholding the finest and best that our country has to offer.
     What has happened to our people?  How did we devolve from being a people of quiet heroism, and inner strength, willing to try, to attempt the impossible, to becoming a people who think that the federal government should take care of them, and that the rich should share with them?  When did heroism become a display of depravity, debauchery, and disgrace rather than a courageous, valiant, and united stand against evil?  
     I said earlier that heroism is a product of belief, faith, and trust.  Heroism has its roots in the ground of truth, and no person, and no people, can be heroic who don’t have an understanding, an awareness, and a commitment to truth, and their in, I believe, lies the difference between the heroic and the destitute within our nation, and even within our world.  
     I close with this last thought.  I believe that Jesus Christ was and is, and will forever be the embodiment of truth and therefore heroism, and christians, in my opinion, should be some of the most heroic people on earth.  I know that not everyone will agree with me, and that’s okay, but just consider for a moment that I might be right.  
     Here’s some food for further thought:   

     It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago (April 10, 1899), in Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, p. 79.

     A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
Christopher Reeve
 
A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares.
Debi Mazar
 
Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.
Bob Riley