Archive for September, 2015

Story of the Day for Wednesday September 30, 2015

Rhino Tracks



For false Messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:24

Hugh Troy was an illustrator for children’s books, but his work as an artist failed to exhaust his creativity. This excess of imagination led him to the slightly deviant habit of inventing practical jokes.

Once, Troy and an accomplice, dressed in workman’s clothes and carrying ladders, strode into the elegant lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Calmly and efficiently, they removed every light bulb and then left. No one questioned them or tried to stop them.

Serving as a captain in Army Intelligence during World War II, he became bored with the endless paperwork so he began submitting a Daily Flypaper Report to the Pentagon. Using official report forms, Troy filed detailed reports on the number of flies stuck to the flypaper in the mess hall each day. Troy carefully analyzed the wind direction, proximity of the kitchen, and the nearness of the flypaper to windows, and slipped his report in with his other required paperwork. Other officers began asking him how to fill out a form on flies because the Pentagon was hounding them for not submitting their Flypaper Report.

Although some question its accuracy, Hugh Troy’s most legendary prank took place when he was a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Troy found a hideous wastebasket with an actual rhinoceros foot as its base. He tied thirty feet of clothesline to both sides and filled the wastebasket with weights. Late one winter night, he and a friend suspended the wastebasket between them and carried it across the snow – dropping it every few feet to make a rhinoceros footprint, but keeping their own footprints away from the rhino track.

The next morning, someone excitedly summoned learned professors, and pointed out the rhinoceros tracks. The trail led them onto ice-covered Beebe Lake, where the tracks ended by a large hole in the ice.

The school’s drinking water came from the lake, and afterward, some stopped drinking the tap water. A handful of imaginative paranoids even claimed the water tasted like rhinoceros.

The Devil doesn’t mind at all if you believe in Jesus – just so long as the Jesus you believe in doesn’t exist. The Devil hopes you are entranced with reports of miracles – just so long as you believe the false signs and wonders he is able to concoct. The Devil wants you to be open to the spiritual world – just so long as you are open to the messages of false prophets.

If the truth of God is . . . true, then it can stand up to questioning and investigation. Jesus doesn’t scold us for lacking faith when we work to discern the truth from a hoax. He’s the one who told us to do it.

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

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 29, 2015

The Midnight Ride of Israel Bissel



Whatever you do, work with all your soul, as for the Lord and not for people, since you know that you will receive the reward of your inheritance from the Lord. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

Paul Revere won fame for his midnight ride to warn the people the British were coming. I doubt any of us would know of Revere were it not for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote a well-known poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

You may disagree and say you would have learned this fact from history. Think so? Then why have you never heard of Israel Bissel?

Paul Revere’s famous ride took him only 10 miles before he was captured by the British. Israel Bissel also rode to warn the American citizens his countrymen of the British advance. He warned the citizens of Worchester, Massachusetts, then rode on to New Haven, Connecticut. After that he rode to New York, and then to Philadelphia. Paul Revere rode 10 miles; Bissel rode 345 miles. But nobody wrote a famous poem about Israel Bissel (let’s face it: not many words rhyme with “Bissel” – other than “missile,” and “thistle.”)

You know what? We all love being like Paul Revere — noticed and appreciated for what we do. You don’t have to be ashamed of that. If anyone tells you that enjoying appreciation is sinful pride, here’s what you do: Say: “Why, thank you. I really appreciate your insightful wisdom!” Wait until they flash a pleased smile (they will), and then wink at them.

Seriously, think about it: if being appreciated is a bad thing, then we should stop being polite and thanking people for things. We’re only harming them by showing our appreciation!

Feeling appreciated is not wrong. Be aware, however, that it is dangerous. A craving for recognition and appreciation has the potential to warp our motivation. Instead of doing things out of love for Jesus and our neighbor, we can begin acting so that others will notice us and appreciate us. Not good.

Want to know a test to find out if the desire for appreciation has bent your motives? Ask yourself: Would I behave exactly the same way if nobody ever saw or noticed what I did?

Here is a suggestion to monitor your motives: make a point to do one small thing every day that no one will see. No one will thank you, or appreciate your act. You did it simply for the wild joy of serving the Lord.

The Bible encourages us to work with all our heart and soul – whether anyone notices or not – whether anyone pats us on the head or not.

There is One who sees. And that is all that really matters.

(copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Friday September 25, 2015

Audacity and High Praise



Jesus said to her, “O woman, how great is you faith! Your request is granted.”

Matthew 15:28

John Wayne rose to become one of Hollywood’s greatest stars because he kicked his director in the mud.

In 1927, Wayne was a student at USC and worked as an assistant prop boy and occasional extra at Fox Studios. When director, John Ford, decided to make a movie about the football rivalry between Army and Navy, he asked John Wayne to help him recruit football players.

Sol Wurtzel, the producer, offered to pay the football players seventy-five dollars a week, but Wayne, seeking to be modest, suggested they be paid fifty dollars.

But Wurtzel was not impressed. “Congratulations!” the producer responded with derision, “You just screwed yourself out of twenty-five bucks a week.”

John Wayne, apparently, reflected on how he should respond to his superiors. During the filming of the movie, the famous director, John Ford, objected to the way John Wayne lined up in his three-point stance. Ford told Wayne to get in his stance and then kicked Wayne’s arm out and sent him sprawling on the ground.

John Wayne then asked the director to demonstrate the correct football position. As Ford got down into a three-point stance, John Wayne kicked him into the mud.

The director found Wayne’s chutzpah hilarious and immediately took a liking to the brash young man.

After the movie was completed, John Wayne began to find more acting roles in Grade B Westerns, but his career was going nowhere.

In 1938, John Ford took Wayne for a cruise on his yacht, Araner. Ford asked Wayne to read the script for Stagecoach and suggest someone to play the lead role of the Ringo Kid. Ford’s financial backers were pressuring the director to hire Gary Cooper for the lead role. But, after Ford concluded his cutting jibes about Wayne’s stagnant career, he said, “Duke, I want you to play the Ringo Kid.”

Stagecoach was a hit and catapulted John Wayne from obscurity to Hollywood stardom – and all because John Wayne had the nerve to “dish it back” to a famous director.

A pagan woman once pleaded with Jesus to heal her daughter. At first, Jesus didn’t even respond to her. She started following Jesus and his disciples, shouting out for help. When Jesus finally speaks to her, it is to explain that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

The woman is not about to take no as an answer. She catches up to him and kneels at his feet and pleads for help.

“It’s not good to take the children’s bread,” Jesus says, “and give it to the dogs.”

“True, Lord,” she counters, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters table.”

I don’t think you’re supposed to argue with the Lord, and I have a hard time thinking of faith as spunky. But I do know that Jesus rewarded the pagan woman’s audacity with both high praise . . . and the granting of her request.

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

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Thursday September 24, 2015

What Music Can You Play on a Broken Stradivarius?



And the God of all grace . . . will restore, establish, strengthen, and set you on a firm foundation.

1 Peter 5:10

Peter Cropper, from Sheffield, England, is a distinguished violinist. He is so good, he was asked to perform at the prestigious Kuhmo Music Festival in Finland.

The Royal Academy of Music in London honored him by loaning him the use of a priceless Stradivarius violin. The violin, made by Antonio Stradivari was 258 years old and was made in his “Golden period.” It was considered one of the most valuable violins in the world.

On the night of the festival, Mr. Cropper hurried on stage and tripped on an extension cord. He fell on the Stradivarius and broke the neck completely off.

Peter was inconsolable.

Charles Beare offered to repair the violin. The Royal Academy thanked Beare for his gracious offer, but assured him a broken Strad could never be repaired. But Cropper urged the Academy to see what Beare could do, and they finally relented and handed the violin over to Beare.

Beare spent endless hours trying to repair the broken neck and a cracked bass bar with animal glue. After a month he presented the violin to the Academy. With Cropper in attendance they looked in astonishment – they could not find the slightest sign that the violin had ever been damaged.

Not only did the restored violin look impeccable, but Cropper said, “. . . the violin is now in better shape than ever, producing a much more resonant tone.” That next week he performed with the Lindsay Quartet in Carnegie Hall, playing the restored Stradivarius.

We all fail in life.

So, what does God think about us when we botch things up? We know that He cares deeply about behaving the right way, so it stands to reason He is furious when we do wrong.

Yes, God does care deeply about living rightly, because living wrongly creates so much pain to ourselves and others. But He’s the God of grace.

Jesus never walked the streets with a clipboard – sifting out the rejects and patting the righteous on the head. If Jesus only approved of those who never failed in life, there would be no heads to pat.

Never write the chapter of your failures as the last chapter of your story. The Lord, as a master craftsman, always offers to take the broken pieces of your heart, and restore you.

And make you stronger than before.

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

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 22, 2015

Convicted By a Cell Phone



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)

Read Full Post »

Lucky Guy

Story of the Day for Monday September 21, 2015

Lucky Guy




“Blessed is the man who noticed you!”

Ruth 2:19

Christians aren’t supposed to believe in luck, but I do.

Look at every civilization and you’ll find good luck charms, talismans, and the notion that some rituals bring luck while others bring misfortune. The only problem with charms and superstitions is that they’re bogus – they don’t work. As a matter of fact, trust in a lucky object tends to make you unlucky. In 2003, British researchers asked 107 financial investors to play a game that simulated a live stock exchange. They mentioned that pressing certain random keys on the keyboard might affect the index. Those who used the “lucky” keys to gain an advantage performed the worst in the game.

Nevertheless, 77% of people are at least a little superstitious. And, to be honest with you, I would feel just slightly creepy about getting married on Friday the 13th. Even though I don’t believe it on the inside, it still clings to me on the outside like a bad smell.

With all that said, however, I do believe in luck. In fact, there is a sense in which “luck” is a parallel expression for being “blessed.” This kind of luck is not contrary to God’s control of all things, but a part of it.

Richard Wiseman, perhaps the world’s foremost researcher on luck, conducted the “Luck Project” in which he studied 400 volunteers who admitted they were extraordinarily lucky or unlucky. Wiseman discovered that luck is not magical, nor a result of random chance. Rather, lucky people act in ways that do not guarantee, but consistently bring, good fortune.

What do they do? They open their eyes. They learn to “see” opportunity. They are open to the situations in which they find themselves.

So, what does all this have to do with faith? Just this: when we seek to determine the agenda for our lives, we will regularly be disappointed. When we fail to trust that the Lord is in control, we will see our situation as tragedy and loss. Poor, unlucky us.

But, as we learn the life of God, we can begin to let the Lord work by his agenda instead of our own. We can become open to the act that God works in wondrous ways – and they’re seldom what we would expect.

If you were a faithful Israelite, eager to find a good wife, you would probably not notice Ruth. She was a foreigner, a Moabite. She lived in poverty. Unlucky men would not pay her much attention. Their focus would be elsewhere.

But a prosperous and prominent landowner, Boaz, did notice her. When Ruth reported Boaz’ attentions to her mother-in-law, Naomi, she cheered, “Blessed is the man who noticed you!”

God does unlikely things in unlikely ways. Boaz was open enough to see the wonderful woman who would become his wife . . . and through whose line the Savior of the world would come.

Boaz was blessed to be able to notice Ruth. Lucky guy.

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

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Thursday September 17, 2015

Doing Dishes and Giving Foot Rubs

https://i2.wp.com/www.joyfulabode.com/wp-content/uploads/HLIC/946c9513f567dff8f316db4cd8ca1417.jpg         Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many miracles?”

And then I will say to them plainly, “I never knew you . . .”

Matthew 7:22-23


I can move objects with my mind. Experts in the field of the paranormal call this phenomenon “telekinesis.”

Yesterday, when we drove down the mountain into town, my wife put a small plate of chocolate-chip cookies on the dashboard. At the foot of Twin Lakes hill is a sharp right turn that I have recognized as a “psychic field.” In some mysterious way, it focuses my telekinetic powers.

We sped down the hill and my concentration was so intense I neglected to brake around the turn at the bottom. Focusing on the cookies, I actually slid them along the dashboard toward me. Using only my mind!

My wife is less than impressed with my paranormal powers. She is more thrilled when I offer to wash the dishes, or pick wildflowers for her, or when I leave the toilet seat down.

When Jesus walked this earth the supernatural flowed out of him. He was continually working miracles and driving out demons. And he authenticated the authority of the Twelve by giving them the power to do miracles too.

Yet, oddly enough, Jesus never considered the supernatural to be a sign of our spirituality. He never tells us we supposed to perform miracles. Matter of fact, when Jesus gave his most extended teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, he never mentioned miracles at all, except as a cautionary tale.

He said that, on the Judgment Day, many people will try to prove their allegiance to him by the supernatural feats they performed in his name. Jesus, will tell them he’s not impressed. Then he’ll say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

What, then, is Jesus looking for in his followers? The final words of his sermon tell us we are wise if we listen to his words and put them into practice. Faith is not shown by displays of the supernatural, but by fruit. Jesus never said, “By this all men will know you are my disciples: if you perform miracles, and brag about them at a prayer meeting.”

I don’t think my wife wants to acknowledge my amazing paranormal powers, because, when the cookies slid across the dashboard, they, unfortunately, fell on the floor. Next time, I think I’ll amaze her by sliding a book, or something.

Until then, I’ll just have to impress her by doing the dishes and giving her foot rubs.

(copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
foot rub image:http://img2.10bestmedia.com/Images/Photos/72787/heights-massage-foot-massage_54_990x660_201404182205.jpg
doing dishes image: http://www.joyfulabode.com/wp-content/uploads/HLIC/946c9513f567dff8f316db4cd8ca1417.jpg

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 15, 2015

Get Out of the Boat

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take courage. I AM. Do not be afraid.’

‘Lord, if it is you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’

‘Come,’ he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat. . .”

Matthew 14:26-29



Most of us have had the fear of failure ingrained in us. We view failure as something to be avoided at all costs.

But our fears are based on a limited truth. There are situations in life where failure means disaster. As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving is not for you.”

But there are other times where we must learn to embrace failure as the inevitable process of growing. Every musician knows that, in order to master their instrument, they must be willing to fail, and to repeatedly play wrong notes in order to learn. Any basketball player knows that they will miss many more shots than they make before they begin to refine their shot.

There is, of course, a way to avoid failure. You will never hit a wrong note, you will never strike out – if you never pick up an instrument, if you never step up to the plate and swing.

When Jesus came to his disciples walking on the water, only one of them failed. Peter made the offer that he, too, would walk on the water if it was truly Jesus calling him.

It was.  And he invited him to come.

You know what happens next: Peter begins to walk on the water toward Jesus, but then he diverts his attention to the power of the storm and height of the waves, and begins to sink.

How does Jesus respond to his doubt? He grabs his hand and lifts him back up out of the water. Peter had no reason to doubt, but when he failed, Jesus was there for him.

In 1899, Teddy Roosevelt, in a speech to the Hamilton Club in Chicago, said:

It is not the critic who counts, not the person who points out where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the devotions, and spends himself or herself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his or her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Peter may have failed. But at least he was the only one willing to climb out of the boat and try.

(copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Monday September 14, 2015

The Right Direction



It’s fine to be zealous, as long as the purpose is good.

Galatians 4:18

Is “ambition” a virtue? How about “zeal”? I’ve never heard anyone claim that ambition can be a vice. But, if ambition is a positive quality, then we must also realize it can be used in destructive ways.

If you want to go to Toledo, Ohio, you will be concerned about two things: speed and direction. You’ll probably choose to drive a car over riding a donkey. But speed is a completely useless quality if we take the wrong highway and are headed to Omaha.

Ambition is speed.

Jesus acknowledged that the Scribes and Pharisees were ambitious. He said to them, “You travel over land and sea to win a single convert.” But Jesus continues by saying their ambition is destructive: “. . . and when you win a convert, he becomes twice the son of hell you are!”

When Paul writes to the church in Galatia, he warns them about Jewish legalists trying to infiltrate their congregation. These infiltrators want to persuade the church to abandon the freedom of the Gospel in order to submit to the regulations of the Old Covenant. Paul admits these legalists are go-getters. But speed must be coupled with direction. “It’s fine to be zealous (speed),” Paul says, “as long as the purpose is good (direction).”

During World War II, the Germans had a ball bearing factory in the city of Schweinfurt. The Americans reasoned that, if they could destroy the plant and stop the production of ball bearings, the production of war machinery would come to a halt and the Germans would have no choice but to surrender.

In two bombing raids to destroy the ball bearing plant, Americans lost 98 bombers and badly damaged another 138. Yet, despite the enormous losses, the Army Air Force leader, General “Hap” Arnold was ecstatic, “Now we have got Schweinfurt!”

After the war, the Army Air Force wanted to know which of their bombing targets were most effective. The Germans acknowledged the great damage done by bombing oil refineries, railroad yards, and bridges. But the Nazi chief of productions, Albert Speer, said the bombing of the ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt did not harm the German cause. They already had ample stockpiles of ball bearings. Beside, they were able to import all they wanted from Sweden and Switzerland. Not only that, the bombings destroyed the buildings, but not the machines that made the ball bearings. Focusing all that attention on the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt did virtually no harm. We were zealous in destroying the target. But we chose the wrong one.

It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going until you’re headed in the right direction.

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

Read Full Post »

Story of the Day for Friday September 11, 2015

Nevertheless, It Happens

And Jesus said to them, “Why are you sorrowful and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” And they laughed at him.

Mark 5:39

University professor, Dr. Denis G. Osborne, was lecturing a high school class in Iringa, Tanzania on physics. When Dr. Osborne finished his lecture, he entertained questions. One of the students, Erasto Mpemba asked, “If you take two similar containers with equal volumes of water, one at 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the other at the boiling point, and then freeze them, why does the water that started at 212 degrees freeze first?”



Erasto’s classmates — along with the professor — exploded in laughter and scoffed at him for asking such a ridiculous question.

You don’t have to have a lot of smarts to understand why Mpemba’s question is so illogical. If the two containers of water are put in a freezer, by the time the boiling water cools down to 95 degrees, the water that began at 95 degrees will be cooler, say 40 degrees. No matter what temperature the boiling water cools down to, the cooler container of water will always be closer to freezing. This isn’t speculative theory; it’s simple logic.

Have you ever shared your beliefs with others — only to have them respond in mocking laughter? We can usually handle it when others disagree with us. When others calmly try to show us where they think we’re in error, we can hear them out.

But ridicule is much harder to take. Jeering isn’t simply a sign of disagreement; it’s a gesture of disrespect.

While Jesus was going to a synagogue leader’s home to heal his little daughter, men reported that Jesus was too late — the girl had already died.

Jesus wasn’t fazed by the news. He told the mourners at the house that the little girl wasn’t dead; she was just sleeping.

You can imagine the sting of the mourner’s bitter laughter.

In 1963, during a school cooking class, a thirteen-year-old student was told to freeze ice cream mixes. The student, Erasto Mpemba, noticed that the hot ice cream mixes froze faster than the cold ones. Six years later, through numerous experiments, Mpemba convinced a skeptical university professor, that, under certain conditions, hotter liquids do indeed freeze faster than cooler ones. Together Erasto Mpemba and Dr. Osborne published their findings and called it “The Mpemba effect.”

The Mpemba effect is, of course, logically impossible. Nevertheless, it happens.

Raising the dead is also rationally impossible. But I’ll bet it was much harder for the mourners to keep up their derision against Jesus while they watched a happy twelve-year-old girl bouncing around the village.

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: