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Archive for June, 2010

Making Sacrifice With Joy

I heard a story once about two wealthy Christians, a lawyer and a
merchant, who traveled with a group that was going around the world.
As they were visiting in Korea, they saw by the side of the road, a
field in which a boy was pulling a crude plow and an old man held the
plow handles and guided it. The lawyer was amused and took a snapshot
of the scene.

He turned to the missionary, who served as their interpreter and
guide, and he said, "That’s a curious picture.  I suppose they are
very poor."

The guide replied, "Yes, that is the family of Chi Noue.  When the
place of worship was being built, they were eager to give something to
it, but they had no money, so they sold their only ox and gave the
money to the church. This spring, they are pulling the plow themselves."

The men were silent for several moments.  Then the businessman
replied, "That must have been a real sacrifice."
The guide said, "They do not call it that.  They thought it was
fortunate that they had an ox to sell."

I am reminded of a parable Jesus told: "The kingdom of heaven is like
treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy
over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matt.
13:44).
Notice carefully the words "for joy." This man doesn’t just sell
everything he has; he does so with joy.  He doesn’t regret it. He
doesn’t complain about the sacrifice he has to make. In fact, he
probably doesn’t even consider it to be a sacrifice. He gives a lot
for the field, but he gets so much more in return.
When I perform a wedding ceremony, I often include these words:
"Whatever sacrifice you will be required to make to preserve this
common life, always make it generously.  Sacrifice is usually
difficult.  Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it a
joy."
The same thing holds true in our walk with Christ.  Sacrifices will be
necessary, and only a deep love for Christ will make them a joy.  The
real test of our commitment is not so much whether we are willing to
make sacrifices for our Lord, but whether we are able to make those
sacrifices with joy.

I am Thanking You Right Now

Dear GOD:

I want to thank You for what you have already done.

I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards, I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better, I am thanking you right now. 

I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me, I am thanking you right now.    

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears, I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief, I am going to thank you right now.

I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed. I am thanking you right now.

I am thanking you because I am alive. 

I am thanking you because I made it through the day’s difficulties.

I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.

I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I’m thanking you because FATHER, you haven’t given up on me.  

God is just so good, and he’s good all the time.

10 Inches Deep

A boy was sitting on a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God.

"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great!" he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his joy.

"Hey" asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, "Don’t you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle."

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy and began to try to open his eyes to the "realities" of the miracles of the Bible. "That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10-inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across."

The boy was stumped. His eyes wandered from the man back to the Bible laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had enlightened a poor, naive young person to the finer points of scientific insight, turned to go. Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

"Wow!" exclaimed the boy happily, "God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!"