Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
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Vol. 19 – No. 2817 July 15, 2017
Thought for the week: "What you dislike in another take care to correct in yourself." – Thomas Sprat
In a certain home town there lived a cobbler, Martin Avdeitch by name. He lived in a small basement room whose one window looked out onto the street, and all he could see were the feet of people passing by. But since there was hardly a pair of boots that had not been in his hands at one time for repair, Martin recognized each person by his shoes. Day after day, he would work in his shop, watching boots pass by. One day he found himself consumed with the hope of a dream that he would find the Lord's feet outside his window. Instead, he found a lingering pair of worn boots belonging to an old soldier. Though at first disappointed, Martin realized the old man might be hungry and invited him inside to a warm fire and some tea. He had other visitors that evening, and though sadly none were Christ, he let them in also.
Sitting down at the end of day, Martin heard a voice whisper his name as he read the words: "I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in. Inasmuch as you did for the least of these, you did unto me."1
1. Story told in Leo Tolstoy's, Walk in the Light While There Is Light and Twenty-three Tales (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003).
Reported to have been taken from papers written by a class of eight-year-olds.
Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other peoples.
A grandfather is a man grandmother.
Grandparents don't have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn't play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the store and have lots of quarters for us.
When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
They show us and talk to us about the color of the flowers and also why we shouldn't step on cracks.
They don't say, "Hurry up."
Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes.
They wear glasses and funny underwear.
They can take their teeth and gums out.
Grandparents don't have to be smart.
They have to answer questions like, "Why isn't God married?" and "How come dogs chase cats?"
When they read to us, they don't skip. They don't mind if we ask for the same story over again.
Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don't have television, because they are the only grownups who like to spend time with us.
They know we should have snack-time before bedtime and they say prayers with us every time, and kiss us even when we've acted bad.
A six-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport and when we want her we just go get her. Then when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."
"This man has something special to show you," a man told his son on their visit to the mining town.
The young boy looked at the man. He didn't look anything special. Just a rough-looking character in working clothes carrying a hessian bag. However, father and son followed him into his hut and watched him take from a hiding place a small tobacco tine which he carefully opened. Removing some tissue paper he held it out to reveal a splendid opal.
Even in the half-light of the hut the glorious color of the large gem stone glowed in rich beauty. It was a wonderful opal and the pair gazed at it in amazement. Then the man carefully wrapped it up and put it away in its hiding place.
Some of us have been given glorious gifts which God wants us to share with others. Sometimes through fear or unbelief we hide our gifts and so hold back from enriching both our own and the lives of other people.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God."1
In Australia, where I grew up, outdoor lawn bowls was a very popular sport. I never took an active interest in it even though my mother and some cousins were avid players. The idea is totally opposite to that of indoor bowls where the goal is to make a strike with your bowling ball so you knock down all the ten pins. Not so with lawn bowls. Simply put, the idea is to bowl so your ball gets as close as possible to the jack (the small white ball at the other end of the bowling green) without hitting it. There are other rules of course but basically, as I understand the game, the one whose ball ends up the closest to the jack, without hitting it, gains the highest score.
Sounds simple, but it's a lot harder than it looks because the lawn bowl ball is more saucer shaped than the fully round indoor bowling ball, and has a weighted bias on one side. This bias causes the ball to pull to one side when bowled for which the bowler has to compensate.
In some ways this is similar to people in that we, too, have a bias that, if we don't acknowledge and compensate for, will lead us astray. The bias is our sin nature that we inherited from birth. This is why we have a bent toward sinning. If you don't believe this, take a look at all the evil in the world.
So how can we live so as to compensate for this bias? First, we need to admit that we have this sin bias (sin nature), and that we are guilty of sinning which, in turn, has separated us from a holy God.
Second, we need to confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness based on the fact that he gave his Son, Jesus, to die in our place on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sins.
Third, we need to acknowledge God's great solution for our sinfulness and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.
Fourth, we need to grow in our Christian life so that we become whole and mature spiritually, and be filled with God's Spirit to enable us to overcome our sinful bias and live a life pleasing to God.
Therefore, if you have never confessed your sins and sinfulness to God and received Jesus as your Savior, I encourage you to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious," online at: www.actsweb.org/christian.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that even though I am a sinner You loved me so much You gave Your Son, Jesus, to die in my place on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins. Please help me to grow to become whole and mature, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit to enable me to live a wholesome life that will bring glory to Your name. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
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