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Archive for September, 2015


Story of the Day for Wednesday September 30, 2015

Rhino Tracks

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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)
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Story of the Day for Tuesday September 29, 2015

The Midnight Ride of Israel Bissel

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http://i.ebayimg.com/10/!CF7(mHg!2k~$(KGrHqV,!iEE1KWBWJvdBNW8i7Qy)w~~_35.JPG

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)

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Story of the Day for Friday September 25, 2015

Audacity and High Praise

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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)

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Story of the Day for Thursday September 24, 2015

What Music Can You Play on a Broken Stradivarius?

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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)

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Story of the Day for Tuesday September 22, 2015

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)

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Lucky Guy


Story of the Day for Monday September 21, 2015

Lucky Guy

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http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/horseshoe.jpg

 

“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)

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Story of the Day for Thursday September 17, 2015

Doing Dishes and Giving Foot Rubs

https://i0.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

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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

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