Story of the Day for Friday March 7, 2014
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery. As a slave child, he was made to work the fields rather than go to school. After he was freed from slavery he heard of a school in Hampton, Virginia, that provided an education for blacks. In his autobiography, Washington said, “. . . I was on fire with one ambition, and that was to go to Hampton. This thought was with me day and night.”
Booker set off on his 500 mile trip to seek enrollment at Hampton. Hotels refused to provide him a room because he was a negro, so we would walk through town at night to stay warm.
When he reached Richmond, only 82 miles from Hampton he had run out of money. “I was tired,” he recalls, “I was hungry, I was everything but discouraged.” He found temporary work in Richmond and slept under a boardwalk with his satchel as his pillow.
He finally made it to Hampton with 50 cents – clearly not enough to pay for an education. So he worked to pay for his education. He spent a bitterly cold winter living in a tent. Virtually every hour of his day was filled with study or work.
But his passionate determination paid off. He got a good education and went on to found Tuskegee, a college for blacks.
Jesus doesn’t teach us to avoid sin for his sake but for ours. Sin does not satisfy us. If we are greedy for money, once we have it we will only crave more money. Pornography only creates the desire for something more lurid. If we bent on hating someone, our anger is never assuaged.
But we are encouraged to be passionate in seeking righteousness. When we seek the life of God, we find satisfaction. We are filled.
Jesus isn’t telling us something new here. Psalm 23 already tells us that, when the Lord is our shepherd, we will not be in want. We will lie down in green pastures. Sheep don’t eat lying down. If sheep are lying down with green grass all around them, it can only mean that they have eaten and are filled.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been in the past. You can start fresh. You can change the direction of your passions.
Buddhism teaches us that the goal of life is the elimination of desire. Jesus, on the other hand, invites us to live with high passion. Nothing can compare with the wild enthusiasm of hungering and thirsting for the things of God.
We will not walk away from his table with empty bellies.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
Posted in bible reading, Bible teaching, daily devotion, devotional, discipleship, Faith Journey, Inspiration, motivation, spiritual journey | Tagged 50 cents, Booker T. Washington, college for blacks, crave righteousness, dreams, education, empty bellies, live with high passion, passion, passionate, satisfaction, spiritual nourishment, Tuskegee | Leave a Comment »
Story of the Day for Wednesday March 5, 2014
Because of rebellion . . . truth was flung to the ground.
When Stephen Covey speaks to audiences, he will sometimes ask everyone to close their eyes and point north. Telling them not to move their arms, he asks everyone to open their eyes. The audience discovers it is pointing every which way.
Are they all correct? Is north whatever direction you think it is? Or, is there one direction that points to true north?
Before you answer that, let’s ratchet things up a notch. Suppose you’re driving in an unfamiliar city when your child in the back seat suddenly becomes ill. You shout out your car window at a passing pedestrian, “Where is the nearest hospital?”
“Three blocks north of here.”
If you are unsure of your directions would you ask which way is north? Or, would you conclude it didn’t matter – north is whatever direction you believe it to be?
Now, if it was up to me, I would never discuss mathematics because I’m so bad at it. But, our present circumstances compel me to bring up the topic of pi.
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter. And, while most of us can live happy lives without ever learning this fact, I’m told that correctly calculating pi is critical in some areas of life.
The number for pi is often identified as 3.14, but that isn’t true. Pi is an irrational number that keeps going until it disappears over the horizon. (In November, 2005, Chao Lu recited the first 67,890 decimal places of pi from memory.)
All this was not going down well with Edward J. Goodwin. As an amateur mathematician, he offered to the world three ways of calculating pi. The first formula calculated pi as 3.2, while other formulas yielded the numbers 3.23 and 4.
T.I. Record knew a good thing when he saw one. In 1897, as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, he introduced Bill #246, which changed the number of pi to Goodwin’s suggestions. The bill was sent to the House, where everyone was delighted to make pi a simpler number. Bill #246 was unanimously approved, 67 to 0.
The bill was passed on the Senate. But then a mathematics professor from Purdue, C.A. Waldo, convinced them they were a bunch of loons, and the bill died in committee.
We can fling the truth to the ground, but truth won’t break. If we ignore it, it will break us.
God doesn’t exist because we believe in him. He’s True North, and our opinions about him won’t alter who he is. What matters is that we find, and hold on to, what is true about God, and life in general, rather than trying to invent it.
In Indiana, preserving the true number of pi saved all the architects in the state from banging their heads against walls and mumbling incoherently.
Posted in daily devotion, Inspiration, discipleship, spiritual journey, bible reading | Tagged truth, True North, Edward J. Goodwin, T.I. Record, Bill #246 Indian House of Representatives, Stephen Covey, math, C.A. Waldo, mathematician | 1 Comment »
Story of the Day for Tuesday March 4, 2013
“It’s What You Know after You Know It All That Counts.”
Instruct a wise person, and he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous person, and he will increase his learning.
Hoagy Carmichael rarely let the facts bully him around when he had a good story to tell. So, according to one version, his first day golfing went like this:
His golf instructor patiently showed him how to hold the club, how to stand, how to follow through. After a half hour of instruction, Hoagy teed up on the first hole and smacked the ball down the fairway. It rolled onto the green and dropped in for a hole in one. Hoagy flipped the club to a caddy, and said to the dumbstruck instructor, “Okay, I think I’ve got the idea now.”
We can only hope that Hoagy Carmichael’s instruction didn’t end there. But it is true that accomplishment can be one of the greatest hindrances to growth.
Contrast Carmichael’s attitude with professional golfers. The top golfers in the PGA depend on their coaches to help them improve every day. I listened to an interview where one of the world’s top golfers spoke about his preparation. He didn’t say, “I’m getting ready for the Masters . . .” but “We’re getting ready for the Masters, and one day we just took a day off – which we normally do, but . . .” He viewed his career in terms of himself and his coach.
Best-selling author, Steven Pressfield, says, “The student of the game knows that the levels of revelation that can unfold in golf, as in any art, are inexhaustible.”
If “the levels of revelation” in golf are inexhaustible, how much more is the knowledge of the living God? Yet, sadly, our growth in biblical knowledge can become the very thing that hinders further understanding of the ways of the Lord. Once we’ve learned more than we used to know, we begin to feel like we know it all. And that is where growth stops.
The wise person is one who is humble enough to admit there is always more to learn.
John Wooden is rightly considered the greatest college basketball coach of all time. He took a faltering program at UCLA and transformed it into a powerhouse – winning ten national championships.
Wooden listened to others. When Wooden’s players were shorter-than-average, his assistant coach, Jerry Norman, persuaded him that a zone press defense would work. It won them a national championship.
But then Wooden got a tall, talented player. After winning a national championship with one style of play, he decided to scrap it and learn a completely new system that exploited the talents of Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The result: three more national championships with Alcindor.
John Wooden’s favorite motto reflected the Proverbs: “It’s what you know after you know it all that counts.”
(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
Posted in bible reading, Bible teaching, daily devotion, devotional, discipleship, Faith Journey, Inspiration, motivation, spiritual journey | Tagged admit more to learn, caddy, coach, fairway, golf ball, golf club, golfing, green, Hoagy Carmichael, hole in one, humble, levels of revelation, Masters, PGA golf tour, teed up, wisdom, wise, wise person | Leave a Comment »
Story of the Day for Thursday February 27, 2014
And to those who tried to assure themselves they were righteous and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this story . . .
When I was in third grade we learned a song called “Little Robin Redbreast.” It’s a chirpy number that recounts the epic conflict of wills between a robin and a pussycat.
After we learned the song our teacher gave everyone a sheet a paper with a robin on it and we got our crayons out to color it in.
This was my favorite time of the day. I loved art. Whenever my mind wandered during other classes, which was just about all the time, I would draw dinosaurs or football players or soldiers blowing things up.
But, as we colored in our robins, events took a disturbing turn.
Kids are busybodies and like to check up on each other’s progress, and as I looked at my classmates, I was horrified. Oblivious to reality, they were actually coloring the robin’s breast red! A robin’s breast isn’t red – it’s burnt-orange. Granted, we didn’t have burnt-orange in our arsenal of crayons back then, but at the very least, orange would be the better choice. And, if you take a brown crayon, you can lightly feather it over top of the orange for a pleasing effect.
I knew, however, exactly why they were coloring their robin’s breast red. They had been manipulated by a stupid song. And why? Because some two-bit poet lacked the literary skill to compose a song called, “Little Robin Burnt-Orange Breast.”
Nevertheless, the song, didn’t account for why Ronnie chose to color the rest of his robin’s body black. It didn’t even look like a robin; it looked like a raven hugging the top of a traffic light.
My classmates had no idea they were under covert investigation by the Color Police. They just colored away and were happy to be alive while I glumly brooded over their lack of aesthetic rigor.
As I look back on those days, I realize I was an art snob before I even knew what an art snob was. Snobbery has nothing to do with striving for excellence, nor even with thinking you can do something better than others. Snobbery is a dark smugness that enjoys feeling superior to others.
Spiritual snobbery is especially distasteful and dangerous. The Pharisees validated their lives by feeling holier than the common rabble. By seeking to be superior, they were silently acknowledging their secret insecurity in their relationship with God.
Once we know the mercy of Jesus, we enter into a secure relationship with God. He frees us from the desperate need to be holier or “righter” than others . . . or better able to draw robins.
But RED, for Pete’s sake! I still can’t believe it.
Posted in bible reading, Bible teaching, daily devotion, devotional, discipleship, Faith Journey, Inspiration, motivation, spiritual journey | Tagged art snob, holier than thou, Pharisees, pride, robin redbreast, snob, snobbery | 2 Comments »
Story of the Day for Wednesday February 26, 2014
I am free, but I make myself a servant of everyone, in order that I might win more.
When he died in October of 2001, his funeral brought together politicians from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton sat next to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Ted Kennedy attended along with Jesse Helms. He was loved by both Democrats and Republicans alike because, though he served as Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in history, though he was one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, he always treated everyone with kindness. He was a servant.
In April1981, Mansfield was serving as Ambassador to Japan, under Ronald Reagan. A U.S. nuclear submarine, the USS George Washington accidentally rammed a Japanese freighter, the Nissho Maru. To make matters worse, the American vessel did not stay on the scene to attend to the dead and wounded, but disappeared.
The submarine was under orders not to disclose its location, but this act created outrage among the Japanese.
Mansfield was in the center of the controversy. He demanded a full report from the U.S. .Navy, and delivered it, in person, to Japan’s Foreign Minister, SunaoSonoda.
As Charles Ferris recounted the incident, he said that Mansfield requested the cameras remain on him after their greeting. This was an odd request because Mansfield never enjoyed being in the limelight. But he knew what he was doing.
As the cameras were allowed to remain on, Mansfield bowed deeply from the waist before giving the report to the Foreign Minister. He knew Japanese culture well. A deep bow expresses the depth and sincerity of an apology.
Mansfield’s biographer, Don Oberdorfer writes,“That five seconds was played and replayed on Japan’s TV stations many times over . . .” The political issue was defused by a public act of regret and humility.
The apostle Paul was a free man. Yet, he used his freedom to become a servant to everyone. He didn’t have to position himself below others, but he chose to because he wanted others to know the life of Christ.
What do you think?Do non-Christians today feel as if the Christians they know all stoop down to serve them? Or do they feel as if they’re being hammered by churchgoers who loom over them and swing the Truth like a weapon?
The Japanese still speak fondly of Mansfield. Before he died he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun – the highest honor Japan can bestow on a civilian.
They never forgot the man who was willing to bow.
(copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
Posted in Bible teaching, devotional, Faith Journey, motivation | Tagged Americans didn't stay on scene, bow before head of state, Charles Ferris, expression of depth and sincerity of apology, Japan, Japan's Foreign Minister Snao Sonoda, Japanese, Mike Mansfielf, Nissho Maru, U.S. Navy, U.U. nuclear submarine, USS George Washington, witness | 3 Comments »
Story of the Day for Tuesday February 25, 2014
It is God’s gift that everyone would see good in all his labor.
A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk. If you want to be happy for three days, get married. If you want to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. If you want to be happy forever, learn to fish.
Now, — don’t even think it – I’m not advocating getting drunk, and my wife and I have shared 28 years together, and we’re still on our honeymoon. Last month, we butchered our pigs, and I’ve been happy about that for several weeks.
We want to commend, however, the wisdom of the Chinese in seeing the vital connection between work and happiness. Researchers at Gothenburg University in Sweden published their findings that people are made happy by working toward a goal (not the attainment, but the striving).
And this is where things get bollixed up. We tend to focus on the money (i.e., the “attainment”) as the source of happiness, when it is really the striving (i.e., the work) that brings fulfillment.
We are made in the image of God. As God creates, so he has made us to create – to be creative. Work really is meant to be satisfying.
One of the most respected studies on job satisfaction was done a few years ago at the University of Chicago. The school’s National Opinion Research Center found little correlation between job satisfaction and money. Nor is there a link between job satisfaction and time for leisure (two or the top three happiest professions work over 50 hours a week).
What makes a job satisfying? Helping other people, being creative, and using special talents and expertise.
Want to know the profession that produces the greatest job satisfaction? (Are you ready for this?) Pastors. They are followed by physical therapists, firefighters, school principals, artists, teachers, authors, psychologists, and special education teachers.
Beside the school principals and psychologists, the pay is average. But when we are active in helping and using our God-given creativity, we are the happiest in our work.
The point of all this, however, is not that you need the right job to find fulfillment. What you need is the right attitude. Figure out how your work serves others. Be creative. And recognize the uniqueness of the talents God gave you.
Final note: Although the University of Chicago doesn’t consider this an “occupation,” I believe the most satisfying job involves long hours and no pay. The occupation is called: “being a mom.”
Posted in bible reading, daily devotion, discipleship, Inspiration, spiritual journey | Tagged ancient Chinese proverb, attainment vs. striving, being a mom, find delight in labor, fulfillment, happy workers, long hours no pay, occupation, right attitude, right job, serve others, University of Chicago, work | 1 Comment »
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