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Archive for December, 2013


Story of the Day for Tuesday December 31, 2013 

 

Great Fires and Small Flames 

 

                    Look how great a forest is set on fire by a small flame.  

James 3:5           

 

 

Bostonhas named its major league baseball team after a certain color of stocking, but that wasn’t always the case. Back in the 19th century, Boston’s baseball team used to have a silly name. They were called the Boston Beaneaters. https://i1.wp.com/blog.stylesight.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Ebbetts-Field-Flannels-28.png

The Beaneaters had,arguably, the best stadium in baseball. The South End Grounds included the Grand Pavilion, a two-story grandstand, which featured ornate spires and turrets.  

On May 15, 1894, the Baltimore Orioles were playing the Beaneaters in the South End Grounds in Boston. In the third inning, a man lit a cigarette in the right field stands and the match fell below the bleachers, starting a small fire.  

But, at that very moment, a fierce fight broke out between Boston’s Tommy Tucker and Baltimore’s John McGraw. Soon both teams emptied their dugouts and ran onto the field. The fans were riveted on the brawl. Spectators began throwing food and beer bottles onto the field. Fights erupted in the stands.  

All this while, the fire grew and spread. Soon the bleachers were engulfed in flames. The fire not only destroyed the ballpark, but spread through the city. Before the fire was brought under control, 170 buildings were destroyed and hundreds were left homeless.  

 

When a brawl erupts during a baseball game, a little flame doesn’t captivate our attention. But, after it becomes a devastating fire, and hundreds have lost their homes and all their belongings, a fight at a ballgame doesn’t seem all that important.  

The apostle James warns us about the dangers of little things. Great fires are started by small flames. And bitter feuds – even wars – can be started by minor slights or insults. Yet, we’re often unconcerned about the minor rifts we create because, like a small flame, it’s so minor.  

 

But little things, when ignored, become big things. The longest peacetime border in the world lays between the United States and Canada, but that peace was threatened by the death of a pig.  

On June 15, 1859, Lyman Cutler shot a neighbor’s pig that got into his garden. His now pigless neighbor threatened to defend his case in British Columbia, but Cutler refused, claiming the island on which they resided was American territory.  

Tensions grew as sixty U.S. soldiers, led by Captain George Pickett (who would later lead the ill-fated charge at Gettysburg) claimed the island as U.S. territory. The Canadians brought an equal number of soldiers – claiming the island for Canada.   

“The Pig War of 1859,” as it is called, involved a military standoff that lasted twelve years. It was finally settled without loss of life . . . except for one pig.    

 

Extinguishing a flame early is a lot less costly than trying to put out a raging forest fire.  

(copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://blog.stylesight.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Ebbetts-Field-Flannels-28.png)

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Story of the Day for Monday December 30, 2013 

 

Attitude is Transformed by Understanding 

 

                     My God transforms my darkness into light. 

Psalm 18:28      

 

 

Mark Mayfield, in the book Humor Me, talks of a time he stopped at the dry cleaners on the way to the airport. He needed his shirts, but when he picked them up, one shirt still had a stain and the other was ironed poorly.  

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Mark began yelling at the owner – claiming his shirts were unacceptable and challenged the owner to tell him what he was going to do about it.  

The owner calmly replied, “You’re absolutely right. We’re 100% at fault here.” Then he added, “I know the lady who cleaned these shirts and there is only one thing we can do. We’ll shoot her. It’s my mom and I’m gonna miss her, but we gotta do it.” 

The owner’s response was so zany that Mark wasn’t able to stay mad at him. After they laughed about the incident, somehow, Mark’s world didn’t seem quite as dark as it did when he walked into the dry cleaners.  

 

Our disposition is entirely affected by our understanding of what is happening.  

For example, if we believe we exist in a random universe – without meaning or purpose – despair is the proper reaction. If life holds no hope, we ought to be depressed.  

But, if we believe that God, in some incomprehensible way, is undoing the mess we’ve made of life and is drawing us back into his love, then everything changes. The gloomy darkness fades away.  

Jesus was not called light of the world for nothing.  

 

Our attitude to life depends on what we believe is happening.  

I read a story, and although I can’t verify its accuracy, it, nevertheless, illustrates my point 

On a non-stop flight from Seattle to Atlanta, the captain announced that there was a medical emergency on board and that they would be making an emergency stop in Denver. As soon as the plane landed, the medical crew came on board. An elderly man was taken off the plane.  The incident took an hour and a half, and the pilot announced that passengers would be missing connecting flights from Atlanta 

Passengers groaned.  

Then the captain came back on the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, I thought you might be interested to know that the elderly gentleman who was taken off the plane was a Marine in World War II, and was awarded the Medal of Honor.” The pilot continued,  “I realize we’ve all been inconvenienced today. However, this gentleman was a war hero and inconvenienced for four years in order that we might experience the freedoms we enjoy today. I thought you all should know that.”  

Immediately, the airplane burst into applause.  

 

Why did the applause drown out the groans at the announcement of the flight delay? Perspective. Attitude is transformed by understanding.  

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/WSykiBOJ4KWfRbi3Ub8QAg/l.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Saturday December 28, 2013 

 

Convicted By a Cell Phone 

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                For you will be judged by the standard of judgment you use to judge others. 

Matthew 7:2       

 

Ed McLaughlin was the general manager at KGO radio in San Francisco, when, in 1972, he was transferred to New York City. His friends in San Francisco warned Ed about New Yorkers. He was always a laid-back, easygoing sort of guy, but now, they told him, he would have to be less trusting and more alert to potential dangers.  

Within the first week of moving to New York, Ed was dining at the Pierre Hotel, with his attaché case on the floor under the table. He looked up and spotted a man walking toward the door with the attaché case.  

Ed jumped up and ran to the thief, grabbed him by the lapels and warned him, “If you put that attaché case down right now I won’t break your nose.” The man immediately put the case down and disappeared.  

Later, when Ed returned to his hotel room, he opened his attaché case . . . and discovered it was not his!  McLaughlin phoned his friends in San Francisco, “Y’all sure were right about New Yorkers. I’ve been a New Yorker for less than one week and I’ve already mugged a guy!”  

 

I’m glad Mr. McLaughlin has a sense of humor and can own up to doing the very thing he suspected others would do to him.  

Admitting we’re guilty of the things we criticize in others is extremely difficult. We notice it in other people easily enough. Who complains about another person’s big ego more than the one who is a little full of himself?  Have you ever noticed that dishonest people do the most complaining about other people’s dishonesty?   

 

I was forced to admit my own inconsistency when I read a recent survey. Drivers were asked to list their top complaints of other drivers.  

Know what the number one complaint was? It wasn’t tailgating, slow driving, or failing to use a turn signal. The number one complaint was drivers who talk on their cell phone while behind the wheel.  

It certainly annoys me.   

But, here is the interesting part.  Most of the people who listed “talking on the cell phone while driving” as their number one complaint, admitted that they, too, use the cell phone when they drive.  

For some reason, I dislike it when drivers talk on their cell phone, but I do it too. 

 

Jesus prefers to show us mercy over judgment. That’s why he urges us to do the same. It keeps us from passing judgment on ourselves. 

A little girl was watching her mom do the dishes at the kitchen sink. As she gazed at her mother’s long, dark hair she noticed that there were several strands of white hair.  

“Mommy,” she asked, “why are some of your hairs white?”  

Her mother sighed, then explained, “Well, every time you do something naughty and make me sad, one of my hairs turns white.”  

The little girl was quiet for a moment. Then she asked, “Mommy, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”  

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre) (image: http://chitchatmagazine.com/wordpress2/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/driver-with-cell-phones.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Friday December 27, 2013 

Happy St. John’s Day 

 

Incognito 

 

                 He was in the world, and even though the world was created through him, the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, but his own people didn’t accept him. 

John 1:10-11          

 

On January 12, 2007, a man in his late 30s walked into the L’Enfant Plaza in Washington D.C. Dressed in T-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap, and standing by a trash can, he opened his fiddle caseand began playing the violin during the morning rush hour.  

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In 43 minutes, 1,097 people passed by, and only a half dozen paused to listen for a few minutes. No one applauded.  

 

What makes this incident remarkable is that the musician was Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most renowned violinists. He was playing his Stradivarius, which he purchased for three-and-a half million dollars. Three days earlier he sold out Boston’s Symphony Hall, where “pretty good” seats fetched $100 and the best sold for $500. 

Joshua Bell is so good he can command a performance fee of one thousand dollars a minute.  

 

Gene Weingarten, a staff writer for The Washington Post, wanted to find out if, in a commonplace setting, and at an inconvenient time, people could still recognize beauty and artistic brilliance. So, he convinced Bell to perform incognito as a busker  

Apparently not.  

Not long after his metro station concert, Joshua Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher prize as the best classical musician in America 

 

Once, God came to earth. The One through whom the universe was created entered our world.  

But the world didn’t notice.  

 

How could that happen?  

Well, why don’t we look at it the other way round. I can assure you that if Jesus strutted into every village wearing a tux,while the announcer for the Chicago Bulls introduced him, and if lightning flashed while the heavens opened and legions of angels thundered doxologies, the world would’ve given him a standing ovation. They would have recognized him as the mighty God come in the flesh, and begged Him for his autograph 

 

But Jesus didn’t want us to notice his power; he wanted us to see his merciful kindness. He didn’t come to be admired, but to rescue us. So, he came in humility.  

The world will never be ready for a God who comes to us wearing a baseball cap. If you want to learn to recognize Him, then remember that He will never be what you expect; he will only be what you need.  

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Author and Techie wish you all a very very Merry Christmas and many blessings.  May the Christ of Christmas dwell in your hearts today and always.  Prayers and Love to you all.

 

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Christmas Eve 

Story of the Day for Tuesday December 24, 2013 

 

His Face Betrayed His Secret 

 

                 Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces will never be covered with shame. 

Psalm 34:5         

 

On February 4, 1863, six men left the mining camp of Bannock (later renamed “Bannack” after a clerical error in Washington D.C.).  These prospectors went looking for gold by the Yellowstone River, but, by intruding on Indian land, they were captured by Crow warriors and held captive in a large Indian camp.  

They escaped, but were pursued relentlessly by the Crow. The prospectors were hungry and frequently lost. 

On May 26, they were camped at a little lake in the Gravelly Mountain range. Two of the men, Bill Fairweather and Barney Hughes, climbed to a nearby summit which they named “Old Baldy.”   

It was a good day. Their overview of the area gave them confidence they were no longer pursued by Indians. They identified a landmark which told them they were only four days from Bannock. They had the leisure to shoot elk and bighorn sheep to replenish their nearly exhausted food supplies. They had time to rest their horses.   

But best of all, at a little creek, they discovered gold. Lots of it.  

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They christened the stream, Alder Creek, and headed into town. They all agreed not to breathe a word about their discovery to a soul. They would go to Bannock to resupply and then return to Alder Creek to continue panning.  

But, after they restocked their supplies and headed back to their gold find, they were shocked to discover half the town of Bannock following them.  

Alright, who squealed?  

No one. The miners from town said their beaming faces gave them away.  

 

In his psalm, David says that those who look to the Lord are radiant.   

The moon emits no light of its own. It shines because it reflects the light it receives from the sun. When our hearts are exposed to the blazing brilliance of God’s love, we simply reflect it.  

Sour-faced Christians, on the other hand, advertise a God who prefers to scowl. 

 

When we talk about reflecting the joy of the Lord by our radiant faces, however, we are walking into a dangerous place. Simply put: it encourages hypocrisy. Have you ever seen believers who wear phony, manufactured happiness? Their plastered smiles don’t look like a reflection of God’s grace. They look artificial – as if they feel a need to impress others with their glowing “radiance.”  

Instead, they look kind of creepy. 

 

Jesus radiated light. He was the light of the world. He didn’t have to put on an act. Sometimes he was sad and wept; sometimes he was angry. But I don’t think he had to tell you he lived in harmony with the Father. His face betrayed his secret.  

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Story of the Day for Monday December 23, 2013 

 

Rustling Leaf 

 

http://seekraz.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-un-fallen.jpg

                The sound of a rustling leaf will cause them to run, and even when no one is chasing them, they will flee as though from a sword. And they will fall. They will stumble over each other. 

Leviticus 26:36-37    

 

Miners in Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula had been on strike for five months, and so the miner’s family Christmas party was especially welcome during such a gloomy time.  On Christmas Eve in 1913, over 500 people crowded into the upstairs ballroom of Italian Hall in the town of Calumet.   

And then someone entered the building and yelled, “Fire!”  Orderly evacuation quickly evaporated as people began to panic.  Soon there was a stampede for the stairs.  In their fear, people tripped over one another, and the stairway filled with bodies piled on top of each other.  

73 people were crushed to death – 59 of them children.   

The warning cry that started the stampede, by the way, was a hoax.  There was no fire.  

Italian Hall was torn down in 1984, but in the 70s I would go to Calumet and walk down 7th Streetto stand outside the dilapidated red brick building. . . and remember.  

 

Fear is highly contagious.  

In Leviticus, the Lord explains the blessing of remaining in a covenant relationship with him, and the consequences of rebelling against him. Those who live in opposition to God will find that they are easy prey to fear.  A trembling leaf will be enough to start a panic.  

Many people are fearful about their financial investments.  Not long ago, false numbers were reported on the stock market, and an instant panic was created.  And, like most panics, the resulting stampede is far more harmful than the original cause of the fear.  

 

The Lord tells us, through the prophet Isaiah, that we should not say, “It’s a conspiracy!” just because the crowd is screaming about a conspiracy.  Then he adds, “Do not fear what they fear.”   

That’s easy to understand; it’s not so easy to put into practice.  When we see the crowd panicking we don’t normally question whether everyone is running from a rustling leaf.  We try to keep up with them and ask questions later.   

 

In Isaiah, however, the Lord goes on to say, “The Lord of hosts is the One you shall regard as holy. And he shall be the One you fear.”  When we wander off the reservation, in other words, it doesn’t take much to make us afraid.  We’re insecure, and we’re on edge.  But when we fear the Lord, we no longer take our cues from the crowd.   

It’s good to know God wants to be a sanctuary for us.  It helps us to see that trembling leaves are not as scary as they appear. 

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://seekraz.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-un-fallen.jpg)

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