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Archive for March, 2014


Story of the Day for Monday March 31, 2014 

 

The Most Contagious Disease  

 

 

                Then the people from the area discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from continuing to build. . 

Ezra 4:4    

 https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/61a8b-discouragement.jpg

One of the most contagious diseases known to man is discouragement.   

 

All great achievements have come about because people persevered in the face of seemingly impossible odds. In 1915, Ernest Shackleton gathered a group of adventurous men and set out to be the first ones to traverse the entire continent of Antarctica. But they never reached the mainland before ice flows trapped their ship, and crushed it.   

Alone on an ice flow, with no one to call for help, they embarked on a desperate attempt for survival. The odds were grim.   

 

If you were their leader, what would you determine was the greatest need for your men?  Food? Warmth? Shelter? All these are vital for survival.  But great leaders realize that, in times of crises, morale is vital. One man’s skepticism could demoralize the entire crew. Optimism would not guarantee their survival, but without it, failure was certain.   

So, what did Shackleton do? Alfred Lansing, in his book, Endurance, describes how Shackleton made sure Frank Hurley attended the high-level meetings. Hurley was not an officer, nor did he have any previous Antarctic experience. Shackleton included him because he knew that Hurley needed to feel important and did not want him spreading discontent to the others. When Shackleton made tent assignments, he put Hudson, James, and Hurley in his tent. Why? Because these were the men most likely to discourage the rest of the crew.   

 

After surviving the Antarctic winter the crew climbed into lifeboats and made their way through the ice flows to Elephant Island. With his crew very weak, but on dry land, Shackleton needed to leave immediately in a row boat and travel almost a thousand miles to find help. He chose Worsley because he was the best navigator, and McCarthy, because he was built like a bull. But the others, Crean, McNeish, and Vincent were chosen to accompany him because they were the ones who were the most pessimistic at the time. After a year and a half of struggle, Shackleton and all his crew were rescued.   

 

When God’s people began rebuilding the temple, their enemies didn’t force them to quit. Instead, they tried to discourage them so that the people would decide to quit.  

 

Pessimists like to point out what great achievers already know: that the odds their venture will fail is high. And, once any group is convinced it will fail, its downfall is ensured.   

Those who refuse to give in to discouragement – who persevere through innumerable obstacles, are the ones who are most likely to attain success.  

Has the Lord called you to a high goal?  Don’t give in to discouragement.   

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

  

 

 

                Then the people from the area discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from continuing to build. . 

Ezra 4:4    

 

One of the most contagious diseases known to man is discouragement.   

 

All great achievements have come about because people persevered in the face of seemingly impossible odds. In 1915, Ernest Shackleton gathered a group of adventurous men and set out to be the first ones to traverse the entire continent of Antarctica. But they never reached the mainland before ice flows trapped their ship, and crushed it.   

Alone on an ice flow, with no one to call for help, they embarked on a desperate attempt for survival. The odds were grim.   

 

If you were their leader, what would you determine was the greatest need for your men?  Food? Warmth? Shelter? All these are vital for survival.  But great leaders realize that, in times of crises, morale is vital. One man’s skepticism could demoralize the entire crew. Optimism would not guarantee their survival, but without it, failure was certain.   

So, what did Shackleton do? Alfred Lansing, in his book, Endurance, describes how Shackleton made sure Frank Hurley attended the high-level meetings. Hurley was not an officer, nor did he have any previous Antarctic experience. Shackleton included him because he knew that Hurley needed to feel important and did not want him spreading discontent to the others. When Shackleton made tent assignments, he put Hudson, James, and Hurley in his tent. Why? Because these were the men most likely to discourage the rest of the crew.   

 

After surviving the Antarctic winter the crew climbed into lifeboats and made their way through the ice flows to Elephant  Island. With his crew very weak, but on dry land, Shackleton needed to leave immediately in a row boat and travel almost a thousand miles to find help. He chose Worsley because he was the best navigator, and McCarthy, because he was built like a bull. But the others, Crean, McNeish, and Vincent were chosen to accompany him because they were the ones who were the most pessimistic at the time. After a year and a half of struggle, Shackleton and all his crew were rescued.   

 

When God’s people began rebuilding the temple, their enemies didn’t force them to quit. Instead, they tried to discourage them so that the people would decide to quit.  

 

Pessimists like to point out what great achievers already know: that the odds their venture will fail is high. And, once any group is convinced it will fail, its downfall is ensured.   

Those who refuse to give in to discouragement – who persevere through innumerable obstacles, are the ones who are most likely to attain success.  

Has the Lord called you to a high goal?  Don’t give in to discouragement.   

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

  (image: https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/61a8b-discouragement.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Friday March 28, 2014 

 

He Teaches At Your Pace 

 

                    Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, other Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus says, “How about you? Who do you say I am?” 

Matthew 16:13-15        

 

 https://i1.wp.com/www.puzzlehistory.com/gltchdl.jpg

Michael Hodgin says that when his daughter was four-years old, she lined up all her dolls on the couch in the living room.  

“What are you doing?” he asked. 

“I’m playing school,” she replied. “I’m the teacher and these are my prisoners.”  

 

I understand this girl. For me, the end of a school day didn’t feel like a termination in the advancement of knowledge; the end of a school day felt like a jail break.  

 

When Jesus called students to follow him, they didn’t feel forced. They wanted to learn from this rabbi.  

Jesus’ teaching methods, however, were nothing short of shocking. He didn’t immediately blurt out all the most important facts they should learn. He didn’t say, “Hey guys, want to follow me?  I’m the Son of God!”  

From what we can gather from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is on the tail end of his ministry, and has never explicitly taught his disciples that he is the Son of the living God. Instead, he tells stories and acts like God’s Son, and lets them chew on it.  

 

One of the most respected business consultants, Tom Peters, cited a study in which new workers at major companies were placed in separate groups. In the first group, the company execs explained to the new recruits their company’s basic philosophy. They cited all the reasons why this philosophy should be adopted. In the second group, they didn’t explain the company’s philosophy or give reasons why it should be adopted. Instead, they told stories. McDonald’s told stories about their founder, Ray Kroc, closing down a franchise because he found a dead fly in the kitchen. FedEx told the story about a broken communications cable on a mountain, and how he rented a helicopter (without first getting permission) and flew to the mountain, climbed through the snow, and reconnected the broken cable.  

The researchers conducting this study found that new employees who were told stories were far more likely to adopt the philosophy of the company than those who were simply told the attitude and priorities they were expected to hold.  

 

When I want someone to learn something important, I’m tempted to ram my points home. I’m still amazed that Jesus didn’t just blurt out all the facts he wanted his disciples to learn. But as I read of Jesus’ patience in letting the truth unfold in its proper time, I’m comforted that he is still patient with me as I learn the lessons of the faith.  

And walking away from a lesson Jesus teaches never feels like a jail break.  

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

(image: http://www.puzzlehistory.com/gltchdl.jpg)

 

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Story of the Day for Thursday March 27, 2014 

 

Those Who No Longer Have Dirt on Their Feet 

 

                    Jesus got up from the dinner, set aside his outer garments, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then, putting water in a basin, he began to wash his disciple’s feet. 

John 13:4-5                

 

 When the drawing was over, everyone stared at their leader and realized he was guilty. Their commander ordered that all 28 of them would draw lots, but when it was over, everyone knew the drawing had been rigged.  

 

Voter fraud and rigged elections will always occur when those lusting power have the opportunity to cheat the system. At elections, residents of Chicago often cynically urge each other to vote early; vote often.”  

 

https://i2.wp.com/content.artofmanliness.com/uploads//2011/08/endruance.jpgErnest Shackleton and his crew, seeking to become the first party to cross the continent of Antarctica, set out in their ship, Endurance, in 1914. The ice floes in the Weddell Sea, however, stranded their ship. For ten months they waited for the ice to release its grip, but instead the ice crushed Endurance’s sides, and she sank.   

Alone in a sea of ice, the crew was forced to pull three lifeboats in sub-zero temperatures, in the hope of finding open water.    

 

The expedition never planned that everyone would leave the ship. They had brought only eighteen warm, reindeer-fur sleeping bags. They managed to take some of their wool blankets and improvise extra sleeping bags, but they were hardly comfortable in the arctic cold.  

Who should get the warm bags? Shackleton announced they would draw lots. As sailors claimed their sleeping bags, however, they began to grow suspicious. After everyone had drawn lots, they realized the enterprise had been rigged. As seaman William Blakewell later recalled, “There was some crooked work in the drawing, as Sir Ernest, Mr. Wild (the Second in Command), Captain Worsley and some of the other officers all drew wool bags. The fine, warm fur bags all went to the men under them.”  

First Officer, Lionel Greenstreet said of Shackleton, “His first thought was for the men under him. He didn’t care if he went without a shirt on his back so long as the men he was leading had sufficient clothing.”  

 

In Jewish life, servants could be made to perform any task, no matter how servile, except one: no servant could ever be made to wash his master’s feet. That act was considered too degrading – even for a servant.  

Yet, during the Passover feast, Jesus knelt before the men he led and performed the act that not even a servant would consider.  

If all you want from those you lead is compliance, then barking orders and issuing ultimatums should do the trick. But if you’re looking for undying loyalty, you’ll find it from those who no longer have dirt on their feet . . . because of you. 

I offer no advice on voter fraud.  

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

(image: http://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads//2011/08/endruance.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Tuesday March 25, 2014 

 

Shake Away Knees 

 

          I came to you in weakness and in fear and in a lot of trembling. 

1 Corinthians 2:3    

 

We tend to think of courage as the absence of fear.   Those who face danger without fear are not courageous, but stupid.   

An old man once took some young men fishing on one of the Great Lakes.  The old man kept looking off to the west and frowning.  After a while he told them that he was going to head the boat back because a storm was heading their way.   

One young man said, “We don’t need to go back now.  We’re not afraid.”  

The old man shot back, “You’re too ignorant to be afraid.”   

 

The apostle Paul was a man of great courage.  Despite much opposition and persecution, he was undaunted in his mission.  He had the dubious habit of speaking about Jesus and starting riots, and getting into a lot of trouble.   

Paul was bold, but not fearless.  Although he was called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus in many places, he appears to be a good debater, but not an exceptional speaker.  He mentions his lack of eloquence, and admits he came to the people in the city of Corinth with “fear and a lot of trembling.”   

 

https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/5835f-spo_knees.jpgWe don’t think of people who are shaking in fear as courageous, do we?  One of Napoleon’s commanders, Marshall Ney, would tremble so violently before battle that he had trouble mounting a horse. Yet, Napoleon repeatedly referred to Ney as the bravest man he ever knew.  Ney was scared, but he never let that stop him.  Once, before battle, he shouted, “Shake away, knees!  You would shake worse than that if you knew where I am going to take you.”   

 

Maria Schell was a German actress who began her career with stage fright. When she was seventeen, “I came to the theater on the eve of the opening,” she recalled, “and I saw my name being posted in big letters.” 

Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with a sinking feeling, as she realized she was expected to be, in her words, “very, very good.” Maria felt paralyzed. 

On opening night she told her mother she had a fever and wanted to stay home in bed. Her mother would have nothing of it. Maria said she never forgot her mother’s counsel: “If you cannot be good, then you must have the courage to be bad.” 

 

The Lord did not call Paul to be an eloquent speaker; he called him to be faithful – to boldly speak about Jesus – even he if wasn’t good.  Sometimes, we have to do the right thing, even if we’re not very good at it.  

Courage is not about eliminating your fears.  It’s about pressing on when your knees shake.  Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War II flying ace said it well, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” 

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

(image: https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/5835f-spo_knees.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Monday March 24, 2014 

 

In the Long Run 

https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/936b0-dscn5135.jpg

                    The servants asked their master, “Do you want us to go and pull the weeds up?”  

              “No,” he said. 

Matthew 13:28-29       

 

Sometimes, the best way to make something better is to begin by making it worse.  

All airports have a problem with birds, but the bird problem is especially acute at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, which sits beside the 10,000 acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.  

When you’re flying at 150 miles per hour and hit a twelve pound bird, it’s the equivalent force of a thousand pound weight falling from ten feet. Since 1988, over 200 air passengers have been killed when their plane was struck by birds. Bird strikes cause over $600 million in damages to U.S. airlines annually.  

Some airports use loud noises, but the birds eventually become habituated to the sounds, and ignore them.  

Kennedy Airport, however, deals with the problem in an interesting way. They purchase birds and release them at the airport.   

It doesn’t make much sense to decrease the bird population by adding to it – or, at least it makes no sense until you realize the birds they are introducing to the airport are falcons.  

Birds can become habituated to the loud noises some airports use to scare off birds, but birds never become habituated to peregrine falcons. They are the fastest animal in the world and can dive at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour.  

When trained falconers release their birds, all birds, from geese to gulls, clear the area.  

When a farmer discovered an enemy had sown weeds in his wheat field, his loyal workers immediately offered to weed them out. But, in doing so, they would’ve uprooted much of the wheat in the process.  

The best solution was to, temporarily, let the problem become worse by letting the weeds grow. Only later could the weeds and wheat be easily identified and safely separated.  

Some parents have the heartbreaking decision of demanding their rebellious child move out of the house. At the moment, such a decision only seems to deepen the rift in the relationship. But sometimes the situation must become worse in order to get better.  

The best way to ease the pain from a dislocated shoulder is to, momentarily, increase the pain by resetting it.  

The Lord doesn’t want us to gauge our decisions by their immediate impact, but by the effect they will have in the long run.  

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

(image: https://kaarre.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/936b0-dscn5135.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Thursday March 20, 2014 

Backward Path to Freedom

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from having to be righteous. What benefit did you enjoy from doing those things you’re now ashamed of? Those things only result in death.  

Romans 6:20-21    

In his book, Memories from the Mountains, C.B. Rich recalls the time in 1938 when he was grazing cattle on a five thousand acre spread in south-central Montana. At the farthest corner there was a spring that didn’t freeze up, so he led the cattle there. A Chinook wind raised the temperature, and Rich relaxed in the warmth while the cattle grazed.

C.B. instinctively kept his eye on the southwest because, when the weather changed, it usually came from that direction.

Not today. http://home.comcast.net/~colhartley/Artist/Cowboy%20in%20a%20winter%20storm.jpg

As he glanced over his shoulder, he was alarmed to see a dark storm approaching from the northeast. He quickly caught his horse, Star, put the bridle back on, and rode for the ranch house – hoping to outrace the storm.

A blast of wind hit his left side, and then a blinding snowstorm engulfed him. Though he could barely see, he kept the wind on his left to keep his bearings. But, after a while, he noticed shod tracks in the snow. He had ridden in a circle.

The temperature was plummeting fast. Pointing his horse toward what he thought was home, he kept Star to a swinging gallop. Again, he came upon his own tracks, and realized the wind must be swirling.

It would soon be dark.

C.B. made a daring decision. He ignored the wind and raced in the opposite direction of where he supposed the ranch to be.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be free from the constraints the Lord puts on my life. It’s not always easy to give generously when the budget’ tight or worship on Sunday morning when friends say the fish are biting.

In one sense, following Jesus is confining – but only in the sense that highways are confining. Yet, in another sense, staying on the road is the only path to freedom.

When we live in greed and selfishness we are not restricted. But neither are we free.

In the swirling blizzard C.B’s only hope was to head in the opposite direction of the ranch. He was looking for a fence line. Once he found it, he knew it would lead him safely home. Following the fence was two to three times longer, but C.B. gladly gave up the freedom to ride in the blizzard unrestricted.

C.B. finally caught sight of the ranch and then passed out from hypothermia.  By then the temperature had plummeted to thirty below zero.

With his right arm in the lariat, his horse would carry him the rest of the way home.

Following the fence restricted his movements, but it was his only path to freedom.

(copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre) (image: http://home.comcast.net/~colhartley/Artist/Cowboy%20in%20a%20winter%20storm.jpg)

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Story of the Day for Wednesday March 19, 2014 

 

Quiet Enough to Listen 

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                  Shouting in a loud voice and covering their ears, they rushed together at him and dragging him out of the city they stoned him. 

Acts 7:57-58    

 

We were up on Still Peak above our house when my brother-in-law hushed us and said, “Do you hear that?”   

We are stopped jabbering and listened. 

“I don’t hear anything.” 

“Exactly,” said Sean, “you can’t hear a single thing.”  

He was right. No cars or machinery. No dogs. No wind.   

 

Silence is odd to us because we seldom experience it. We live in a noisy world. All the same, we rarely make much of an effort to get away from the racket.   

Do you find it a struggle to take time for quiet reflection? Why is that? Yeah, you’re  really busy. But do you think there might be a deeper reason?   

I ask because I’ve discovered you can drown out the voice of God by noise.  Sometimes, the Holy Spirit speaks in a still, small voice. And our conscience is an avid talker, but only speaks in a whisper. TVs and radios can easily overpower that voice we need to hear.   

 

When Stephen was arraigned before the Jewish high court on charges of blasphemy, he gave a lengthy recitation of God’s coming to their forefathers, and their rejection of the Lord’s graciousness to them.   

Things got tense when Stephen came to his point: “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!”  He told them, in other words, that they were not listening to God, but were resisting the Holy Spirit.    

The Holy Spirit, in fact, was speaking to the high council at that very moment – through the words of Stephen.  And how did they respond?  They drowned out his voice by shouting him down and covering their ears.   

 

My friend, Ruth, was riding with a woman who chauffeured a van load of kids.  Ruth noticed the transmission was making a funny noise.  She asked, “You think you ought to get that fixed?”   

The woman grinned at Ruth and said, “This is how I fix it,” and immediately turned on the radio until you could no longer hear the noise from the transmission.   

 

Are you taking time for quiet?  When we are silent before the Lord, we may realize that some things need to be fixed.  But that’s a good thing.  Whether we need to make changes, or find forgiveness, or comfort, or inspiration, God will speak a good word to us when we are quiet enough to listen.  

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image:http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1428077/thumbs/o-WOMAN-COVERING-EARS-MAD-facebook.jpg)  

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