ALCOHOL - Costly to Society
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 1977 (the most recent year for which reliable estimates exist) alcohol abuse cost the nation approximately $50 billion in lost employment and productivity, $17 billion in health care and $7 billion in property loss and crime. That same year, alcohol abuse may have been responsible for as many as 12,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries in auto accidents.
BIBLE - Cannot Destroy
You can destroy the Bible by burning the paper it is on; but you can never destroy that which is the Bible, and the resolute, ineffaceable spirit of God that is in it. It is the God that is in the Bible that makes it immortal, and gives it this power; and the ideals that are in it you cannot destroy. The Bible is the opening of a royal view of the universe; and you are never going to take that away again. You might just as well be afraid that the stars will all go out because some man has a new theory of astronomy.
Henry Ward Beecher
CHILDREN - Can be Frustrating
A lady offered to take care of the 6-year old daughter of a friend when she was called away. The lady arrived in time to prepare breakfast, and brought a plate of ham and eggs to the table for the girl. "My mother always fixes biscuits," said the girl. Wanting to be cooperative, the lady returned to the kitchen and prepared biscuits. As she brought them to the table, the girl said, "No thank you."
"Didn't you say your mother always has biscuits for breakfast?" the lady exclaimed. "Yes, she does," said the 6-year old, "but I don't eat them."
Sign observed on the desk of a minister of education: "For God so loved the world that He didn't send a committee."
EVANGELISM - Importance of
The Reader's Digest recently carried the story of an old man who, as he walked along the beach, noticed a younger man up ahead who was picking up starfish and throwing them into the sea. As he came upon the man, he asked why he was doing it. "Because the starfish will die if left out in the morning sun," was the reply.
"But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish," the old man countered. What difference would it make?
"It makes a difference to this one," said the young man, as he threw a starfish back to safety in the sea.
How true of our calling to share the gospel. You and I may not be able to reach the entire world by ourselves, but God has called us to reach the ones we can. It makes an eternal difference to them.
John Claypool has called the American home "a domestic cloverleaf on which we pass one another en route to meetings."
FORGIVENESS - Jesus Purchased For Us
One of the greatest of the ancient Greek poets was Aechylus. His brother had been convicted of a crime for which he would certainly face the death penalty. The jury assembled and prepared to assess the ultimate penalty, when before them came Aeschylus. This beloved poet was not only known for his writing, but for his service to Athens -- he had lost an arm when fighting with the Greek army in their victory over the Persians at Salamis. As Aeschylus stood before the jury which was about to sentence his brother to death, he said nothing, but slowly pulled back his robe to reveal the place where his arm had once been. Moved by this sacrifice for Greece, the jury voted to release his brother.
In the same way, Jesus' wounds are the basis for our forgiveness. As Isaiah 53:5 says, "with his stripes we are healed."
Bryon Allen, Jr.,
"My Best Friend"
Sometimes even when people mean well they can create more problems then they solve. One young pastor was making hospital rounds for the first time with a visit to an elderly parishioner. He came in and plopped down on the side of her bed. He inquired aggressively into the nature of her surgery. It went on like this until finally he said, "Before I leave, is there anything else I can do for you?"
To that, the sweet-spirited lady replied, "Well, if you wouldn't mind, you could take your foot off my oxygen hose."
LOVE - of God for us
Did you hear about the classified ad that read something like this: "Lost - One dog. Brown hair with several mange spots. Right leg broken due to auto accident. Rear left hip hurt. Right eye missing. Left ear bitten off in dog fight. Answers to name 'Lucky.'"
Lucky? Of course! That was a lucky dog. He was lucky because, with all those things wrong with him, somebody still wanted him and was willing to pay to get him back. Isn't that the story of the gospel? With all of our sin and rebellion, God still loved us enough to pay the ultimate price to win us back to Himself.
OBEDIENCE - Must Hear God
Bats fly by echolocation. They rapidly emit from their mouths high-pitched and high-frequency sounds. Bats tell how close they are flying to objects by the rapidity with which the sounds fly back. Experimenters have tried to confuse bats by making other sounds louder than the sounds the bats produce. No one yet knows how it is done, but a bat continues to pick out his own echoes. Even when the man-made sounds are 2000 times louder than those a bat makes, the flying mammal recognizes the right ones and stays on course.
Could Christianity profit by the example of the bat? With all the loud voices clamoring for attention in our world today... don't we need this sensitivity to line up with the right sounds on God's course? Even the bats aren't batty enough to get off course by trying to listen to all the sounds of all their travelling companions on the evening flights. If we want to keep ourselves on course in life, we need to let our hearts and minds feel the echoes from God.
PRIORITIES - Can Be Forgotten
H.G. Wells told the story of a young Sultan whose beautiful wife died. In her memory he built a memorial stone, and then over the years added an altar, then a grotto. Over the grotto he built a temple, and finally around it a lovely city. In the midst of all this beauty the original stone had become quite out of place and insignificant, and eventually he had it removed.
Our lives can be like that. We establish the right priorities, but as the years pass we can lose that first love in the midst of all the other good things we add. The original stone is forgotten.
RESPONSIBILITY - of the Individual
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edward Everett Hale
SERMONS - Lengthy
A man visited a small church where, throughout the sermon, coughing came from throughout the congregation. "Does everyone here have colds?" he asked someone, to which a member replied, "Those aren't coughs; they're time signals."
SUFFERING - Growth Resulting From
Paul Tournier, the famous Swiss psychologist and Christian author, never knew his father; he died when Paul was an infant. His mother died when he was only six. He and his sister grew up without the home that most of us take for granted. Yet in his books he writes with great insight and deep compassion for the struggles we all face. Could it be that, out of his own tragic situation, God has been able to bring great spiritual growth and knowledge?
Could it be that God can use the suffering you and I face to help shape us in His image -- to make us more like Him?
VICTORY - Out of Tragedy
Russell Conwell, the famous lecturer and preacher of the last century, told the story of a great fire in Boston he covered while working as a newspaper reporter. Outside one store that lay in ashes and ruin was a roughly-drawn sign that said, "Cast down but not destroyed."
How prophetic that sign was! In a corner of the cellar of that store where some drugs had been stored, the intensity of the heat from the fire had produced some amazing chemical changes. The scientific journals were soon reporting on the discoveries which had come out of that fire, and the man who owned the property ultimately gained far more wealth, as a result of the fire, than he had ever owned before.
How reassuring it is to know that, even in the midst of tragedy, God can still work to our benefit. (Romans 8:28)
WAR - Destructiveness of
A group of young soldiers were exhausted as they came back from their foxholes and wearily crawled into their tents. The chaplain, listening to their expressions of frustration and knowing their weariness, said to them as they came through, "Young men, chin up! Keep up your spirits. You are building a new world." One of the soldiers, recognizing the genuine sympathy of the chaplain but knowing also the terror of the battle, replied quietly, "Padre, we are really not building a better world; we are just smashing the old one."
War never builds a better world; it simply destroys the existing one... In the economy of God it was only Jesus who came to earth to build a better world.
R. Earl Allen,
Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs