Archive for April, 2013

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country 
with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a 
couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor 
family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the 

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool 
that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. 
We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our 
patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a 
small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. 
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they 
grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends 
to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

[forwarded by Fayella Horn]


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Someone To Pour Your Life Into

Howard Hendricks, author and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, suggests that every person should seek to have three individuals in their life: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.

A Paul is an older person who is willing to mentor you, to build into your life. Not someone who’s smarter or more gifted than you, but somebody who’s been down the road. Somebody willing to share their strengths and weaknesses – everything they have learned in the laboratory of life. Somebody whose faith you’ll want to imitate.

A Barnabas is a soul brother, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody to whom you can be accountable. Somebody who’s willing to keep you honest, who’s willing to say, “Hey, man, you’re neglecting your wife, and don’t give me any guff!”

A Timothy is a younger person into whose life you are building. For a model, read 1 and 2 Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protégée – affirming, encouraging, teaching, correcting, directing, praying.

Do you have these three guys in your life?

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their

labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up!”

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

..The Daily Encourager (dlangerfeld@harrisburgbaptist.org) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net)

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Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

The Irish are known for their wit and the ability to tell a great story. It is an art that has been practiced for centuries, from the times when oral tradition was the main means for passing on knowledge and wisdom. Humor is a uniquely human gift. It is the art of seeing something “in between the lines,” the gift of surprise that can only be expressed with laughter.

Humor is at its best when it reveals something healthy, something that unmasks a hidden truth. In its best forms, it produces a release of tension and a recognition of mutual understandings. With this in mind, let me share a little Irish humor with you.

“Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and asks the first man he meets, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’

The man said, ‘I do, Father.’

The priest said, ‘Then stand over there against the wall.’

Then the priest asked the second man, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’

‘Certainly, Father.’ the man replied.

‘Then stand over there against the wall,’ said the priest.

Then Father Murphy walked up to O’Toole and asked, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’

O’Toole said, ‘No, I don’t Father.’

The priest said, ‘I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?’

O’Toole said, ‘Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.’”

Now, that’s funny on its surface, but it is revealing a deeper truth too, doesn’t it. O’Toole is living under the same assumption that many of us do. He thinks that death is not near, that it’s threat is still a long ways off and he can continue to live as he has, putting off the worry to put his life in order until that still distant day draws near. He is us, isn’t he. He hasn’t yet understood that death can come at any time, any moment, and we must be prepared for it at ALL TIMES.

Our lives have a God-given meaning that is unique, yet universal as well. Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians that we all are given gifts by the Spirit. Some are given the gift of wisdom, others of knowledge. Some are given deep faith and others the gift of healing. Still others are given the gift of tongues, or the interpretation of tongues. All of these come from the same Spirit and are given for purposes beyond the individual. All of these gifts are given not just for the individual’s well-being, but to be used in service of others, in service of the moral good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

This little joke above, gives us a moment of healthy laughter, but it also give us an opportunity to think about something very important to the health of our eternal souls. How prepared are we for the inevitable reality of death? Do we want to go to heaven? Are we living in accord with the gifts we have been given? Do we give thanks to God for these gifts by using them as tools to improve our own lives? Do we use them for the good of others in service to God?

We answer those questions most honestly if we see that we often fall short. By keeping our eyes on God, and on the ultimate meaning of our existence, i.e. to know, to love, and to serve Him in this world, so that we can live with Him forever in the next, we will be true to ourselves, and to our unique God-given gifts. If we honor our gifts by using them in service of the good, unlike O’Toole in the joke above, we will be ready at all times to go to heaven.

Dan DoyleDan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.


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Philippians 2:5-8

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Thoughts on today’s verse
“Lord, humble us gently.” That is one of my friend’s favorite prayers. I like it, too. But thank God that Jesus was not gently humbled. While I hate he had to go through agony, his self-emptying humility the fact that was stark, bold, drastic, and outrageous. But I am to have this same attitude when it comes to reaching the lost and loving God’s children.
God, you are all-powerful and yet you emptied yourself to redeem me. May I be more selfless in my attitude and treatment of others, like Jesus was with me. In his name, I pray. Amen.

Visit heartlight.org


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“We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God easily, but our brother? Those with whom we do not identify in their background, education, race, complexion? We could not have imagined that love for God could be so hard.” -Edith Stein

homelessman1As Christians, if we are comfortable there might be something wrong. To be a Christian, in imitation of Christ, is to attract the attention of those who consider themselves enemies of God. It was that way in the time of Christ and it is the same today.

We cannot say that we love God, if we are unable to honor the infinite dignity of any other human being; if we abandon, or ignore others; if we judge another human person by something as irrational as the color of their skin, or their status in society; if we diminish their value as a person in any way, we cannot say that we love God.

If we fear, or hate any one of God’s children, how can we love God? Are we not hypocrites if we place ourselves above others while, at the same time, claiming to be followers of the One, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

More importantly, if we refuse to forgive others, we fail in our Christian duty to live as sons and daughters of God, brothers of Jesus, and temples of the Holy Spirit. For to imitate Jesus is to know that forgiveness is the power of love in a sinful world.

It is true, this love of God is not easy. It requires of us the courage and the faith of saints. To live as Jesus lived is to suffer the slings and arrows of those who will despise us because we shed the light of compassion on their own dark lives. But in the end, to live as Jesus lived is the only true path to a world that is truly just and compassionate.

At this Advent time of the year we are challenged to renew our love for God, to once again prepare the way for the Lord in our personal lives and in our public lives in the world.

The only thing we must fear is our falling short of loving God with our whole hearts, minds, bodies and souls. We know that God’s love for us is creative, merciful, unconditional, and eternal. Sure, forgiving the sinner, healing the sick, lifting up the lowly will be difficult. But with God’s love, and a little bit of faith, we can, “tell a mountain to move from here to there.” (Matthew 17:20)

Because we cannot separate the love of God from the love of man, and because the world is still not friendly to the love of God it is never “easy” to be a faithful follower of Christ. On the other hand, loving God by loving his sons and daughters, no matter how difficult that may be, is the only choice worthy of a human person made in the image and likeness of God.

Dan DoyleDan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.

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When I was a kid adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes 
about how hard things were when they were growing up.

What with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill both ways 
through year 'round blizzards carrying their younger siblings on their backs to 
their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average despite 
their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 
35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up there was no way I was going 
to lay that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But ...

Now that I've reached the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around 
and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! 
And I hate to say it but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know 
something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves!

And there was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen! 
And then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox 
and it would take like a week to get there!

And there were no MP3s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to go 
to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or, we had to wait around all day 
to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and 
mess it all up!

You want to hear about hardship?

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and 
somebody else called, they got a busy signal!

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no 
idea who it was, it could be your boss, your Mom, a collections agent, you 
didn't know!!!

You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

And we didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation videogames with high-resolution 
3-D graphics!

We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids"! Your 
guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination! And there were no 
multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever!

And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you 

Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater, there was no such thing as stadium seating! 
All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy sat in front of you, you 
watched his hairstyle!

And sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 20 channels 
and there was no onscreen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide 
to find out what was on!

And there was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday 
morning... D'ya hear what I'm saying!?!

We had to wait ALL WEEK!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. 
You're spoiled!

You guys wouldn't last five minutes back in 1984!

[forwarded by www.SermonFodder.com]


Have you noticed that when someone says "To make a long story short..." it's 
generally too late?



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Question: How do you know when your time on earth is over?
Answer: If you’re breathing, it isn’t.

Hello, friends. I’m not sure where I heard the above query, but it makes sense. There is always a job to do in the kingdom, even if it is simply to be the object of someone’s love.

Jan puts it another way. “About four years ago, I went on a cruise to Alaska,” she says. “We were on our way home to Louisiana, but when I reached San Jose, I felt my front passenger wheel acting oddly. I immediately pulled off to the side, called AAA and reported a flat tire on the truck’s front side.”

Soon a policeman came down the freeway and pulled over next to Jan. “It’s okay, Officer, Jan leaned out her window. “I called AAA about my flat. They’re be here soon.”

The officer was looking at Jan’s front wheel. “Miss, you don’t have a flat,” he said, his face pale. “You’re missing a WHEEL.”

“What?” Jan couldn’t imagine what he meant, and so she got out and looked at the truck front. There was no wheel there. “The wheel drum, brake line, the tire and wheel”…everything that had once been there was gone,” says Jan. “I had to have been going at least fifty miles an hour but no one around me was hurt.”

Jan knows that God is always protecting her, and perhaps angels were holding up the truck so it didn’t flip. But the near-miss made her aware of something even more special: “Guess I still have His work to do,”she says.

Don’t we all?

…..Joan Wester Anderson (joan@joanwanderson.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net New readers are invited to join Joan’s mailing list here: http://www.joanwanderson.com

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