ANGER - Destructiveness of
Frederick Buechner points out that "Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back -- in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you." (Wishful Thinking, Harper & Row, 1973, p. 2)
CHRISTIAN LIFE - Must be demonstrated
Opera singer Mary Ann Brant went to a New York post office to pick up a package. The clerk asked her for some identification, and she realized she hadn't brought any. "I can't give you the package without some identification," the clerk insisted.
"All right," she said. "I'll show you who I am." With that, she began to sing one of the arias for which she was well known. A crowd gathered around to listen, and in a few moments the clerk said, "OK, lady, you can have the package. Just be quiet."
That's what the world wants us to do -- be quiet about who we are. But Jesus has given us a song to sing. (Steve Brown is President of Key Life Ministries and Professor of Preaching at Reformed Seminary, Orlando/FL)
CHRISTMAS - Sensing the wonder
Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of his friends talked late into the night at the White House. At last, President Roosevelt suggested they go but into the Rose Garden and look at the stars before going to bed. They went out and looked up for several minutes, peering at nebulae with thousands of stars. Then the President said, "All right, I think we feel small enough now to go in and go to sleep."
John Killinger says, "We need that sense of wonder, don't we? It is part of what it means to be human. But it is so easily lost in our time.... One of the wonderful things about Christmas is that it is an annual reminder of the importance of seeing the miraculous in our midst." (Killinger is Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Samford University, Birmingham, AL)
CHRISTMAS - Quotations
"The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world." (Anonymous)
"The joy of brightening others lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing each others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas." (W. C. Jones)
"The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable." (Ralph Sockman)
DISAPPOINTMENT - Can result in blessing
Clarence Macartney related that "God disappoints us and baffles us sometimes in order to make us succeed. If Phillips Brooks had succeeded as a schoolmaster, he would never have stood in the pulpit to move men with his mighty ministry. If Frederick Robertson had got his commission in the British army, he never would have written the sermons which still throb with his great and yearning spirit. If Nathaniel Hawthorne had been retained at the custom house, he never would have written those wonderful studies in the deep places of human sorrow and love and sin."
EDUCATION - Value of
Landrum Leavell, president of New Orleans Baptist Seminary, told students that education is needed to serve God to the maximum. "You may say, 'Well, look at the twelve Apostles. They were ignorant and unlearned.' That's right. But when God wanted His Gospel proclaimed throughout the world, He took a trained mind, the mind of the Apostle Paul, who had the equivalent of a Ph.D. degree in his day, having sat at the feet of Gamaliel." (submitted by James F. Looby, Staff Chaplain, U.S. Naval Base, Philadelphia, PA)
EXCELLENCE - Christians called to
The former chaplain of the Boston Red Sox talked with a young player who was constantly quoting Scripture. He told the young man, "Son, don't quote Scripture until you hit home runs!"
HEART - Right with God
When Sir Walter Raleigh was being led to the block where he was to be beheaded, his executioner asked him if his head lay right. Raleigh answered, "It matters little, my friend, how the head lies, provided the heart is right."
Charles Edison, son of Thomas Edison, didn't want to build his own career based simply on his father's reputation. He often said, "I'd prefer you think of me as the result of one of my father's earlier experiments."
REVENGE - Not our responsibility
Did you hear about the young boy who was pushed into the mud by the class bully? His mother told him that it wasn't necessary to get even because God takes care of such people. The boy said, "OK, I'll give God till Friday."
Robert R. Kopp reminds us that "the reality remains, it is not up to us to even the score. That's God's business. Our responsibility is to ask our Lord's blessings upon them.
"It's like the man who said, 'I really hate that guy. He's always slapping me on the back. But I'll fix him. I'll tie a stick of dynamite to my back, so the next time he slaps me, his hand will be blown off." (Kopp is Pastor of Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church, New Kensington, PA)
"Before theology comes doxology," (John Baillie)
WORLD - Unaware of Christ
Steve Brown explains that following the end of British rule in India in the 1940's, a group of social scientists decided to do a study to see the impact of the end of British rule on the life of the nation. They gave up the study after six months, because they discovered as they went through many of the villages that most people were not aware the British had ever been there. The British had been present since the 1600's, but the average Indian villager lived and died without any awareness that the British had been present.
We live in a world where the King has come but millions are totally unaware that He is present. (Brown is Professor of Preaching at Reformed Seminary, Orlando, FL)