Have you ever heard the story about the farmer who told his wife one morning that he was going to plough the southern side of his farm ?He got off to an early start so he could oil the tractor . He needed more oil, so he went to the shop to get it. On the way to the shop, he noticed his cows weren’t fed . So he proceeded to the cattle feed , where he found some sacks of feed. The sacks reminded him that his potatoes were sprouting. When he started for the potato pit , he passed the woodpile and remembered that his daughter wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks , an ailing goat passed by. He dropped the wood and reached for the goat. When evening arrived , the frustrated farmer had not even gotten to the tractor, let alone the field!
How many times have you found yourself in a similar situation? You intended to do something you knew was important, but were distracted and never accomplished what you set out to do.
Or perhaps you can think of something that you have always wanted to do but can never find time for.
By the same question, are you aware of something that you do often that is a waste of time ?
If you are a normal person, you answered “Yes” to both questions and thought of something specific in each case. Isn’t it strange that we can want to do one thing for a long time and never get to it, and yet at the same time we freely admit that we are wasting time on other activities ?
In March 1974, Chinese farmers were digging a well when they made a surprising discovery: Buried under the dry ground of the central China was the Terracotta Army – life-size terracotta sculptures that dated back to the third century BC.
In this extraordinary find were some 8,000 soldiers, 150 cavalry horses, and 130 chariots drawn by 520 horses. The Terracotta Army has become one of the most popular tourist sites in China, attracting over a million visitors annually. This amazing treasure lay hidden for centuries but is now being shared with the world.
The apostle Paul wrote that followers of Christ have a treasure inside them that is to be shared with the world: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure”. The treasure inside us is the message of Christ and His love.
This treasure is not to be hidden but is to be shared so that by God’s love and grace people of every nation can be welcomed into His family. May we, through His Spirit’s working, share that treasure with someone today.
The good news of Jesus is too wonderful to keep to myself, Father. May I live the gospel and share it with others throughout my journey with You, Lord.
Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.
Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith. During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was he thinking ? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet- and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.
If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”
Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstances howl?
Corn, also called maize, is the staple food in the country of Mexico. There are so many different types. You can find Yellow, brown, red, and black cobs, even ones with a wonderful spotted pattern. But people in the cities usually won’t eat the spotted cobs. Restaurateur and researcher Amado Ramirez explains that they believe uniformity is a synonym of quality. Yet the spotted cobs taste good, and they make excellent tortillas.
The church of Christ is much more similar to s spotted ear of corn than to a cob of just one color. The apostle Paul used the imagery of a body to describe the church, because even though we are all one body, and we have the same God, each of us has been given a different gift.
As Paul said, “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 CORINTHIANS 12:5-6). Our diversity in the ways we help each other shows God’s generosity and creativity.
As we embrace our diversity, may we also make every effort to keep our unity in faith and purpose. Yes, we have different abilities and backgrounds. We speak different languages and come from different countries. But we have the same wonderful God, the creator who delights in so much variety,
WE NEED ONE ANOTHER IN ORDER TO BE WHAT GOD WANTS US TO BE.
The “Babushka Lady” is one of the mysteries surrounding the 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. Captured on film recording events with a movie camera, she has proven to be elusive. This mystery woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian babushka), has never been seen. For decades, historians and scholars have speculated that fear has prevented the “Babushka Lady” from telling her story of that dark November day.
No speculation is needed to understand why Jesus’s disciples hid. They cowered in fear because of the authorities who had killed their Master (JOHN 20:19)- reluctant to come forward and declare their experience. But then Jesus rose from the grave. The Holy Spirit soon arrived and you couldn’t keep those once-timid followers of Christ quiet! On the day of Pentecost, a Spirit-empowered Simon Peter declared, “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (ACTS 2:36).
The opportunity to boldly speak in Jesus’s name is not limited to those with daring personalities or career ministry training. It is the indwelling Spirit who enables us to tell the good news of Jesus. By His strength, we can experience the courage to share our Savior with others.
Lord, please give me the strength and boldness to talk to others about You.
Speak of the matchless love of Christ to those who need to hear.
Reginald Fessenden had been working for years to achieve wireless radio communication. Other scientists found his ideas radical and unorthodox, and doubted he would succeed. But he claims that on December 24, 1906, he succeed. But he claims that on December 24, 1906, he became the first person to ever play music over the radio.
Fessenden held a contract with a fruit company which had installed wireless systems on roughly a dozen boats to communicate about the harvesting and marketing of bananas. That Christmas Eve, Fessenden said that he told the wireless operators on board all ships to pay attention. At 9 o’clock they heard his voice.
He reportedly played a record of an operatic aria, and then he pulled out his violin, playing “O Holy Night” and singing the words to the last verse as he played. Finally, he offered Christmas greetings and read from Luke 2 the story of angels announcing the birth of a Savior to shepherds in Bethlehem.
Both the shepherds in Bethlehm over two thousand years ago and the sailors on board the United Fruit Company ships in 1906 heard an unexpected, surprising message of hope on a dark night. And God still speaks that same message of hope to us today. A Saviour has been born for us-Christ the Lord! We can join the choir of angels and believers through the ages who respond with “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests”.
In 2013, layers were peeled back from two interrelated mysteries: the function of sleep, and how the brain removes its waste byproducts.
While it’s been known for some time that the brain doesn’t directly use the body’s lymphatic system (our body-wide filtering and waste removal system) to dump its toxic waste, the mechanism that it does use wasn’t identified until 2012. The research team that made this discovery was led by University of Rochester neurosurgeon, Maiken Nedergaard, who dubbed the brain’s waste-removal mechanism the “glymphatic system.”
The glymphatic system relies on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out neurotoxins via pathways separate from the lymphatic system. Among the toxins that are flushed is beta amyloid, a protein that’s found in clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
In 2013, Nedergaard’s research team followed up on this discovery by identifying “hidden caves” that open in the brain while we sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flush out neurotoxins through the spinal column.
The implications of this research can’t be overstated: failing to get enough sleep isn’t just a bad idea for all of the reasons we already know, but over time it could also lead to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. If the study’s findings are accurate, our brains need sleep to remove waste byproducts like beta amyloid that eventually become brain killers.
During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, a psychologist named Walter Mischel led a series of experiments on delayed gratification. Mischel was interested in learning whether the ability to delay gratification might be a predictor of future life success. In the experiments, children between the ages of 3 and 5 were placed in a room with a treat (often a marshmallow or cookie). Before leaving the room, the experimenter told each child that they would receive a second treat if the first treat was still on the table after 15 minutes.
Follow-up studies conducted years later found that the children who were able to delay gratification did better in a variety of areas, including academically. Those who had been able to wait the 15 minutes for the second treat tended to have higher SAT scores and more academic success (according to parent surveys).
The results suggest that this ability to wait for gratification is not only an essential skill for success but also something that forms early on and lasts throughout life.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” – Brian Tracy
When asked to define his role in a community that was sometimes uncooperative with law enforcement, a sheriff didn’t flash his badge or respond with the rank of his office. Rather he offered, “We are human beings who work with human beings in crisis.”
His humility-his stated equality with his fellow human beings-reminds me of Peter’s words when writing to first century Christians suffering under Roman persecution. Peter directs: “All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8). Perhaps Peter was saying that the best response to humans in crisis is to be human, to be aware that we are all the same. After all, isn’t that what God Himself did when He sent His Son-became human in order to help us? (PHIL. 2:7).
Gazing only at the core of our fallen hearts, it’s tempting to disdain our human status. But what if we consider our humanness to be part of our offering in our world? Jesus teaches us how to live fully human, as servants recognizing we are all the same. “Human” is how God made us, created in His image and redeemed by His inconditional love.
Today we’re sure to encounter folks in various struggles. Imagine the difference we might make when we respond humbly-as fellow humans who work together with other humans in crisis.
HUMILITY IS THE RESULT OF KNOWING GOD AND KNOWING YOURSELF.
Because i like dark chocolate, I once Googled “Is dark chocolate good for you?” I got a variety of results – some good, some bad. You can do the same for almost any food product. Is milk good for you? Is coffee good for you? Is rice good for you? There is a dizzying array of answers to these questions, so you have to be aware that the search itself may not be good for you. It may give you a headache!
But if you are looking for something that is one-hundred percent good for you all the time, can I recommend the Word of God? Listen to what it can do for the follower of Jesus who is seeking to build a relationship with God.
It can keep you pure (PSALM 119:9,11).
It blesses you (LUKE 11:28).
It makes you wise (MATTHEW 7:24).
It gives light and understanding (PSALM 119:130).
It helps you grow spiritually ( 1 PETER 2:2) .
Our God is good: “The LORD is good to all,” says Psalm 145:9. And in His goodness, He’s provided those who love Him with a guide that helps us see how to enhance our relationship with Him. As we try to decide how to live in a world full of choices, praise God that He’s told us in Scripture what’s good for us. Let’s say with the psalm-writer: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth”
Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse. The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room – Room 5020 – became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours.
Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancerand death in the face, living out his faith.”
At Jay’s funeral, one speaker noted that Room 5020 had a special meaning. He pointed to Genesis 50:20, in which Joseph says that although his brothers sold him into slavery, God turned the tables and accomplished some thing good: “the saving of many lives.” Cancer invaded Jay’s life, but by recognizing God’s hand at work Jay could say that “God intended it for good.” That’s why Jay could use even the ravages of cancer as an open door to tell others about Jesus.
What a legacy of unwavering trust in our Savior even as death was knocking at the door! What a testimony of confidence in our good and trustworthy God!
BY GOD’S GRACE, WE CAN HAVE OUR BEST WITNESS IN THE WORST OF TIMES.