Last Monday Anita and I went to Fort Wayne. Anita put water in my plastic bottle so I would have something to drink. Because she knows I can’t stand drinking plain water (although I do it), she put a lemon slice in the water. When I took a sip, I noticed a different flavor. It wasn’t bad, just not like lemon. I asked her what it was and she said, “Its just a lemon.” I said there was another flavor I couldn’t identify, but it reminded me of something you cook with.
She tasted it and exclaimed, “Its onion! The flavor from the onion soaked into the lemon it was lying next to in the fridge!”
I’ve never of heard of that before. I didn’t know lemon would take on the flavor of onion, but now I do. And that reminded me that its the same with human nature. Whatever kind of characters I hang around, I also will take on that flavor. So, I need to be careful who I fellowship with. I just may begin to taste like onion myself.
This week we’re talking about persistence, that ability to stay the course and never give up. Calvin Coolidge was the thirtieth President of the United States. He had this to say about commitment:
“Press on: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Boy, if that isn’t the truth.
The reason the Iron Curtain came down was the Allies kept persistent pressure on the Warsaw Pact until they bankrupted themselves in the Cold War. The reason I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ is because Christians around kept persistent pressure on me in prayer. Lets be persistent!
Tags: commitment, Coolidge, persistence
True story from evangelist Dwight L. Moody: “When Mr. Sankey and I were in London a lady who attended our meetings was brought into the house in her carriage, being unable to walk. At first she was very skeptical; but one day she said to her servant: ‘Take me into the inquiry room’.
After I had talked with her a good while about her soul she said, ‘But you will go back to America, and it will be all over.’
‘Oh, no,,’ said I, ‘it is going to last forever.’
I couldn’t make her believe it. I don’t know how many times I talked with her. At last I used the fable of the pendulum in the clock. The pendulum figured up the thousands of times it would have to tick, and got discouraged, and was going to give up. Then it thought, ‘It is only a tick at a time,’ and went on. So it is in the Christian life – only one step at a time. That helped this lady very much. She began to see that if she could trust in God for a supply of grace for only one day, she could go right on in the same way from day to day. As soon as she saw this, she came out quite decided. But she never could get done talking about that pendulum. Her servant called her Lady Pendulum.”
Tags: Moody, persevere
Pastor Kutzner shared some great lessons from his 40 years in the ministry. We do learn lessons on this spiritual journey, but we rarely recognize them until we’re through the experience. And the lessons always come with an expectation that we will learn from them and apply what we’ve learned to real life.
If you were to add an eleventh lesson on Life Lessons, what would it be?
I do most of my sermon preparation in my study at home. Out the widow there are a couple of Ironwood trees that have been there long before our house was built and are now pretty good size. Those two trees have crossed each other (literally). One large branch has grown across another large branch. When the wind blows, they grate against one another. After decades of this grating in the wind, and amazing thing has happened.
Both having their bark stripped away, their sap has intermingled one with the other. Each time they begin to scar over, another wind causes them to dig yet deeper into one another. Now, years later, those two independent trees are nestled tightly against one another as if they were hugging. Although they are still independent, you would never know it from their intertwined appearance. They each provide protection for the other in their injury. Broken, they have become one. And they sing a beautiful song of nature when the wind blows.
Do you think there might be a lesson in that for marriages? If this was a word from God, what would it say to couples in need?
Tags: healing, marriage, trees, wind
Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word (Acts 8:4).
Joseph Stalin didn’t plan to assist the church in Russia during his purge of political and religious dissidents. But he did help it when he sent some pastors and Christian leaders to the labor camps of Siberia. From Magadan, where they got off the ships, the prisoners were sent in work gangs to forests, mines and remote areas to clear land, dig out vital ore, and cut roads through remote areas. It was grueling work that many did not survive.
But those believers were not silent. They banded together, and as they were sent from place to place they witnessed and taught, leaving behind clusters of believers. In many communities of Eastern Siberia, strong churches still stand and groups of Christians witness to the faith and courage of those dedicated servants.
Wherever the Lord “scatters” you, look for opportunities to talk about how good your God is. People need that hope.
Tags: evangelism, persecution, Russia
One of the friends that I have connected with over the years in CMI is Pastor Harold. Harold pastors a small independent church in the hills of Pennsylvania. He has an earned Doctorate in missiology (Missions) and has traveled to many countries. He has written several books that have been published. He has pastored this church for over twenty years. Often we’ve talked about his frustration with his small church and his inability to motivate his people for missions.
But Pastor Harold is a very humble man and has never made a lot of money. Now in his fifties, he lives in the church parsonage and has no plan for retirement; he just trusts God.
He took me aside this week at our conference to tell me of his excitement. He had an aunt that died and left him her house. A nice house. On Treasure Lake! In the mountains! Mortgage free! For the first time he is able to offer his wife security in their retirement. God is so good!