The Texas Rancher and the Eagle

A Texas rancher was hunting in the mountains and came upon an eagle’s nest.  He took one of the eggs back home with him and placed it under a setting hen.  The eagle hatched, and was cared for by the mother hen.  For some period of time, the eagle seemed perfectly content to remain in the barnyard and feed along with the chickens. 

But one day, it heard the harsh scream of a mature eagle, swooping down in search of prey.  In the blink of an eye, the young eagle ascended into the sky and was never seen again.  He had found his new home in the mountainside cliffs, for he was not made for the barnyard dirt.

When we keep in step with the Holy Spirit, following His lead and walking intimately with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have just a taste, a glimpse of life in the eternal kingdom of God where we will be face-to-face with Jesus. 

We were not made to live in the barnyard dirt of this world.  We are not meant to walk in the mire of darkness, to plod along in despair, to wrestle meekly in the morass of sin and temptation.  We were meant to fly with wings like an eagle and soar with the wind of the Holy Spirit.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 41:31

Source: “Set My Heart on Fire” by Catherine Martin

My Danny Wuerffel Moment

In this short piece, you are going to hear about three stories, all true.

His Story

Danny Wuerffel was the winner of the 1996 Heisman Trophy and star quarterback on the University of Florida football team.  In the 1996 national collegiate championship against Florida State, in the last minutes of the fourth quarter, Wuerffel threw an incredible pass that won the game and the championship.  Immediately after the game, the national news media thrust a mike in his face and asked him what it was like to throw that pass and win the national championship game. 

Without missing a beat, Wuerffel replied that he gives all the glory to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all that he is able to do.  The news media immediately switched to another announcer, but it was too late.  Danny Wuerffel’s witness to the Lord was broadcast on national television.

My Story

This is really a story of how not to do things, but I feel the Lord wants me to share it with you anyway.  The year was 2016, and I was employed by the University of Arkansas as a Community Development Specialist.  A colleague nominated me for a top national award in our national professional society.  To my utter surprise, I was selected and invited to come to the national conference to receive the award at the annual banquet.

Over the years I had gotten to know many colleagues from Arkansas and other states, and we have always gotten along well as professional colleagues.  I also came to the conclusion that most are not Christians, but come out of a social science background that is perhaps secular, universalist, naturalist, Marxist, or New Age.  Many would describe themselves to be “spiritual” but not “religious”, which I understand means they have some sense of God and eternity, but do not identify with one particular religion such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam. 

As the day approached and I traveled to the national conference, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to speak out at this event, to state that our nation is in trouble, and unless we repent, we will face God’s judgement. 

This is the last thing in the world I wanted to do, as I knew how it would be received by my friends and colleagues.  As the other award winners were announced, they were not given an opportunity to speak, so I rationalized that there would not be such an opportunity for me to speak either, and I was off the hook.

Then I realized that the awardee before me was given a chance to say a few words, which he did, thanking his friends and colleagues for their support.  Then it was my turn.  I realized it was time to put up or shut up, so I gulped and blurted out thanks to my friends and colleagues and especially my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, that our nation is facing great challenges, and if we do not repent and turn back to the Lord, our nation will face severe crises and judgement.

I did it!  I couldn’t believe I did it, but I did, and I thank the Lord for the courage He gave me at that moment.  I was relieved it was over, and pleased that a few people came up to me when the event was over to talk about the Lord and our nation. 

This is how the Lord works – He asks us to give up worldly things for a life in Christ, here and in eternity.  But He won’t force us to do so.

After meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul, the “Hebrew of Hebrews”, gladly gave up everything to follow Christ.  He even called his worldly achievements “rubbish”, that he may gain Christ.

My reluctant witness was the opposite of the apostle Paul, boldly preaching Jesus Christ to Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, and high government officials, ready to face stoning, beatings, and even death.  He had a clear and strong conviction that he was a child of God and an ambassador of Christ sent to witness the life-saving Gospel to an alien and pagan culture, before the Lord would take him home.  Now that’s what we (I) should aspire to do and become!

Your Story

Now it is your turn.  Each of us will have our Danny Wuerffel moments – opportunities to witness to our Lord, to speak the truth and love of Jesus Christ into the lives of those who come across our path.  Just think – some time in the near future you are in some setting with family, friends, neighbors, or even the guy at the local dry cleaners, and the conversation turns to what is happening in that person’s life or in the world.  Will you witness to our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that it might be a divine appointment from the Lord? 

Do you remember how Mordecai encouraged Queen Esther, asking her in effect, have you not come into the kingdom as queen for this very purpose?

Each of us was created to be alive at this time; let us not waste these moments, for they will not come around again, and the eternal destiny of those around us may depend upon our response.

To God be the glory

Mark Peterson

Excuse Me, Are You Jesus?

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently knocked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become bruised; these he set aside. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you OK?”

She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”  As the salesman started to walk away, the blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, “Are you Jesus?”  He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That’s our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.  We are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Who Should Decide the Future of Crimea?

Crimea was part of Russia until Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine in 1954.  Who should decide where their home should be?  The West?  Ukraine? The Crimeans?  Putin?

When our president told Russian Prime Minister Medvedev “tell Vladimir after the election, I will have more flexibility”, what did he mean?

After cancelling the anti-missile shield we promised to eastern Europe, why should they trust us now?

Recently our president took credit for helping (while a U.S. Senator) convince the Ukrainians to eliminate their nuclear weapons.  What would the Ukrainians say about that now?

We are unwilling to return Germany’s gold, and Russia provides them major industrial commodities and natural gas.  Given the cold German winters, why would they would want to remain our ally?

How can we talk about promoting democracy when we supported (with $5B) the overthrow of the democratically-elected (and Russia-leaning) president of Ukraine?

The Russians have only two warm water ports, one of which is in Crimea.  Did we really expect them to give it up when our people came to power in Ukraine?     

When we levy sanctions against Russia, are we aware that they and their Chinese friends can crash the dollar by selling their treasuries?  (Get ready for $10 milk and $12 gas.)

Our nation is staring at WWIII, and it won’t just happen over there.  The sovereign, living God of the universe is not surprised by these events.  He is available 24/7, and is waiting to hear from us.  But time may be short.

Giving Up His Son

AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS,

THE CHURCH’S PASTOR SLOWLY STOOD UP, WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND, BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE EVENING, BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.
 
IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PASTOR TOLD THE CONGREGATION THAT THE GUEST MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SERVICE. WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE PULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.
 
“A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC COAST.” HE BEGAN.

“WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO THE SHORE. THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE SWEPT INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED.”
 
THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT, MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN, LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.
 
THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY, “GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE
MOST EXCRUCIATING DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY
WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE.
 
HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION.

THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HE
ALSO, KNEW THAT HIS SON’S FRIEND WAS NOT.
 
THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE TORRENT OF WAVES.
 
AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, ‘I LOVE YOU, SON!’

HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON’S FRIEND.
      

BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO
THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT.
       

HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.
 
BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP
STRAIGHT IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT
WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER’S MOUTH.
 
“THE FATHER,” HE CONTINUED, “KNEW HIS SON WOULD STEP INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT BEAR THE THOUGHT OF HIS SON’S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY WITHOUT JESUS.. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO SAVE THE SON’S FRIEND. “
 
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE
SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE.”
 
WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.
 
THE PASTOR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND
DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE
END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL. WITHIN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE AT THE OLD MAN’S SIDE.
 
“THAT WAS A NICE STORY,” POLITELY STATED ONE OF THEM,
“BUT I DON’T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER
TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON’S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER
BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN.”
 
“WELL, YOU’VE GOT A POINT THERE,” THE OLD MAN REPLIED
GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE BROADENED HIS NARROW FACE. HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS AND SAID, “IT SURE ISN’T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT I’M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME. YOU SEE…
          
I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PASTOR IS MY SON’S FRIEND.”

Who’ll Take the Son?

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They  would often   and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.  The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.   He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved man lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.  He often talked about you, and your love for art.

The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.

“Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.

“We will start the bidding with this picture of the son.  Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?”  Another voice shouted angrily. “We didn’t come to see this painting.  Wecame to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!”  But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.”  Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” “Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son.  They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel.

“Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!”

A man sitting on the second row shouted. “Now let’s get on with the collection!”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.”   “What about the paintings?” “I am sorry.  When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will.  I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time.  Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.

Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!”

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross.  Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The son, the son, who’ll take the son?”

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.   

                                                                                          Author Unknown

Want a Donut? Incredible Story

There was a certain Professor of Theology named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.

When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson’s class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk. Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good of a condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.

When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?” Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow..

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups.. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in the room. The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then 

Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Christianson, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone,

I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here is the only student with a perfect grade.

Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups.. He and I made a deal for your sakes. Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, Into thy hands commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life.. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant” said the professor, adding “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who spared not the only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever.

Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends … John 15:13

Walking With God

There are two times recorded in the Bible where God walked among us, and spent large amounts of time on a daily basis interacting with humans.  The first time is in Genesis, where we see God walking with Adam and Eve on a daily basis.  It is the beginning of mankind as we know it, and modern science has revealed to us why it was necessary for God to spend this amount of time with Adam and Eve.

When you make a human being, you do not have a complete human yet.  Biologically, you have an animal, but to take it to the next level and get a human being, there are years of work still left to be done.  And God did this in the beginning.  He literally raised Adam and Eve, and downloaded (if you will allow the computer metaphor) the required information into their brains that finished the work of creation. 

He was literally a father to them, in that he raised them and taught them how to think, speak, etc.  God jumpstarted humanity in the Garden.  He designed the system to be self-replicating, but the original content of “Humanity”, in the image of God, came directly from Him.  He put it in Adam and Eve, the first humans, and then they in turn passed the information on down through the generations.

When a human baby is left in the wilderness and grows up without human contact, eventually that person is never able to learn language or to be a civilized/socialized human.  We know this, because a few of them have been found.  (You can check this out on the internet if you are interested in learning more about it.) 

Science has shown us that the human brain continues to develop as late as our early 20’s usually, and that if the neural pathways are not formed during this period, especially ages 0-5, they never form, and the brain is not normal, not as human, more like an animal.  In order for these pathways to form, interaction with other humans is required so that the information that God put into Adam and Eve can be downloaded into the new human.  In the process of downloading this information, our brains build the neural network that allows us to speak, think, reason, imagine, etc.  It is what distinguishes us from the animals.  It is the image of God, that He put there in the Garden.

We read about God’s word being in all of us, and it turns out, it literally is.  It has been passed down to us all the way from the original two humans, Adam and Eve, through socialization as discussed above, and also genetically (it turns out that some information is actually passed down biologically somehow, but we do not fully understand it yet – if you want to discuss this further, please give me a call – too long to go into this here).    But there was another thing that happened in the Garden that has been passed down to us.

We often hear or talk about a “God shaped hole” that is in all of us.  We try to fill it with all kinds of things to no avail.  But only God can fill this hole.  Where did this hole come from?  It came from Adam and Eve.  They walked with God.  The God shaped hole that is in us all, came from our original parents literally walking with God on a daily basis. 

We were meant to be with God every day, and once we were removed from the Garden, we have had this empty place in our lives that we try to fill with all kinds of things, but only God can fill this hole in our being.  Just as we inherited the sin nature and our humanity from Adam and Eve, we also inherited our God shaped hole from them.

So humanity tools along for centuries, and then in the fullness of time, God shows up again, in the form of Jesus.  God is among us again on a daily basis, and the world is never the same.  Think of it as a software upgrade.  Jesus downloaded new information into humanity, and it has spread the world over.  His life impacted every aspect of human society and civilization. 

There is a great book by John Ortberg about this if you are interested in learning more (Who is this Man?).  In addition to the software upgrade we received, we also received something else.  That God shaped hole can finally be filled again.  At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed up, and filled the hole in the lives of the first Christians.  And He has been filling the hole in Christians lives ever since.  Amazing.

Are you walking with God today?  Have you let the Holy Spirit fill the God shaped hole in your life yet?  If not, what is holding you back?  What are you putting in that hole that is not working out?  Are you ready to live life the way you were designed by God to live? 

Turn to God today, and walk with him in newness of life.  Let Him fill that hole in your life today, and you will walk with God as Adam and Eve did.  And when you are tempted to put something else there, remember that God is your life, not that thing or that person.

Be Blessed,

Ed Levy

Two Great Stories – True and Worth Reading

     Two Great Stories – BOTH TRUE – and worth reading!

STORY NUMBER ONE
Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big , but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great!

So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street . But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.


STORY NUMBER TWO
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gage and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron on and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man
So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located be tween Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?


Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

These Men Have Been With Jesus

From:devotions@davidwilkersonglobal.org
Sent:Fri 4/03/09 7:43 AM

In Acts 3, we find Peter and John going to the temple to worship. Just outside the temple gate sat a beggar who had been crippled from birth. This man had never walked a step in his life. When he saw Peter and John, he asked them for alms. Peter answered him, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee” (Acts 3:6). Peter then prayed for the beggar, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth., rise up and walk” (3:6). Instantly, the man was healed! In utter joy, he began running through the temple, jumping and shouting, “Jesus healed me!”

 Everyone in the temple marveled at the sight because they recognized the man as the cripple. When Peter and John saw the crowds gathering, they began preaching Christ. Thousands were saved. Yet, while Peter and John were preaching, the synagogue rulers “came upon them, being grieved” (Acts 4:1–2). These high and mighty men asked the disciples, “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” (4:7). Peter was emboldened by the Holy Ghost. He answered the rulers, “His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the man you crucified just three weeks ago. God raised him from the dead. And now he’s the power that healed this man. No one can be saved by any other name. You’ll be lost if you don’t call on Christ’s name” (see 4:10–12). 

 The rulers sat stunned. Scripture says, “They marveled [admired them]; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (4:13). The phrase took knowledge comes from a root word meaning “known by some distinguishing mark.”

 What was this mark that distinguished Peter and John? It was the presence of Jesus. They had Christ’s own likeness and Spirit.

 Those who spend time with Jesus can’t get enough of him. Their hearts continually cry out to know the Master better, to draw closer to him, to grow in the knowledge of his ways. Paul states, “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7; see also Romans 12:3). What is this measure Paul speaks of? It means a limited amount. In other words, we’ve all received a certain amount of the saving knowledge of Christ.

 For some believers, this initial measure is all they ever desire. They want just enough of Jesus to escape judgment, to feel forgiven, to keep a good reputation, to endure an hour of church each Sunday. Such people are in “maintenance mode.” And they give Jesus only the bare requirements.

 Paul desired the following for every believer: “And he gave some apostles …prophets…evangelists… pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints…till we all come in…the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men…whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–15).

 Paul was saying, “God has given these spiritual gifts so that you may be filled up with Christ’s Spirit. This is crucial, because deceivers are coming to rob you of your faith. If you’re rooted in Christ and maturing in him, no deceptive doctrine will ever sway you. Yet, the only way to grow to such maturity is by wanting more of Jesus.”