Showing Compassion…

Proverbs 15:1a “A soft answer turns away wrath…”

Prov 14:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.

Showing Compassion…

Carl was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much. He would always greet
you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our
neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him
very well.

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The
lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight
limp from a bullet wound received in W.W.II. Watching him, we worried
that although he had survived W.W.II, he may not make it through our
changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence,
gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers
for caring for the gardens behind the minister’s residence, Carl responded
in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always
feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the
day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to
intimidate him, he simply asked, “Would you like a drink from the
hose?” The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, “Yeah,
sure,” with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to
him, the other two grabbed Carl’s arm, throwing him down. As the hose
snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl’s
assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.

Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his
bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came
running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack
from his window, he couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it. “Carl,
are you okay? Are you hurt?” the minister kept asking as he helped
Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed,
shaking his head.

“Just some kids. I hope they’ll wise-up someday.” His wet
clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted
the nozzle again and started to water. Confused and a little
concerned, the minister asked, “Carl, what are you doing?” “I’ve got
to finish my watering. It’s been very dry lately,” came the calm
reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister
could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their
threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time
they didn’t rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched
him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their
humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing
catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the
hilarity of what they had just done.

Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving
sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering. The summer was
quickly fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was
startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him.

He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he
struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer
tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

“Don’t worry old man, I’m not gonna hurt you this time.” The
young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl.

As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket
and handed it to Carl.

“What’s this?” Carl asked. “It’s your stuff,” the man explained.
“It’s your stuff back.  Even the money in your wallet.” “I don’t understand,”
Carl said. “Why would you help me now?”

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease.
“I learned something from you,” he said. “I ran with that gang and hurt
people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we
could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead
of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn’t
hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.” He
stopped for a moment. “I couldn’t sleep after we stole your stuff, so
here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing
what more there was to say. “That bag’s my way of saying thanks for
straightening me out, I guess.” And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened
it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening
his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at
the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people
attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister
noticed a tall young man that he didn’t know sitting quietly in a
distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl’s garden as a
lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, “Do your

best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget

Carl and his garden.”

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: “Person
needed to care for Carl’s garden.” The flyer went unnoticed by the busy
parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister’s
office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and
tattooed hands holding the flyer. “I believe this is my job, if you’ll
have me,” the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had
returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl’s kindness

had turned this man’s life around. As the minister handed him the keys to
the garden shed, he said, “Yes, go take care of Carl’s garden and honor him.”

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended
the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time, he went to
college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community.
But he never forgot his promise to Carl’s memory and kept the garden
as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he
couldn’t care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy
smile, “My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she’s bringing him
home on Saturday.”

“Well, congratulations!” said the minister, as he was handed
the garden shed keys. “That’s wonderful! What’s the baby’s name?”

“Carl,” he replied.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I Cor 13:11 “When I was a child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing
“Silent Night”. Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either. Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what
they are doing and wave back. Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes
me clean it up again. Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try
cheering someone else up. Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my
parents are strict with me. Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of
advice. Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great
pleasures. Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed
me there. (Or gotten there before me)Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live
so that no one will believe it. Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t
know how to show it. Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a
little note. Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his
or her need to cast blame on others. Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the
phone. Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles
these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights. Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet
full of pills. Age 52

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a
life. Age 58

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you
miss them terribly after they die. Age 60

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your
children, work to improve your marriage. Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
(but not often) Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on
both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But if you focus on doing God’s will, loving your family, meeting the needs of others, doing your work with joy, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually
make the right decision. Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72

I’ve learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth,
I’ve seen several. Age 75

It is all about your Perspective…

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

It is all about your Perspective…

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the
weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made
her daily trek to the elementary school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with
thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that
her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she
herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword,
would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into
her car and drove along the route to her child’s school.

As she did so she saw her little girl walking along, but at each
flash of lightning, the child would stop, look and smile. Another and
another followed quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking at
the streak of light and smiling.

Finally, the mother called her over to the car and asked, “What
are you doing?” The child answered, “God just keeps taking pictures of me.”

“And a little child shall lead them…”

That story is a great lead in for truths from God’s word. It reminds us that

God desires pure and unquestioning faith for us to first be ‘born again’ and then

to please Him during our walk as CHRISTians. The faith like little children display.

Here is the test. For that need you have this morning, what or Who are you trusting to fill it?

Luke 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

 

Hebrews 10:38 “But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrinks back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.”

Worry is a Fog…

II Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Worry is a Fog…

According to the National Bureau of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of something less than one glass of water. That is, all the fog covering seven city blocks 100 feet deep could be, if it were gotten all together, held in a single drinking glass; it would not quite fill it.

This can be compared to the things we worry about. If we could see into the future and if we could see our problems in their true light, they wouldn’t blind us to the world — to living itself — but instead could be relegated to their true size and place.

And if all the things most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably stick them all into a water glass, too.

Like Thomas the choice is ours. Walk by faith or walk by sight? Of course to walk by faith you must first know the One you have faith in. How is your faith this morning or does fear and anxiety rule?

Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

There is one exception. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you do have something to worry about.

Rev 20:14-15 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Matthew 6:27-34 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Heart is…

Serving Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords requires that we check out the priorities of our hearts and ask whether they are the same as those Jesus would set.

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Rom 12:1, 2 “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Heart Check

We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We spend too recklessly,

Laugh too little,

Drive too fast,

Get too angry too quickly,

Stay up too late,

Get up too tired,

Read scripture too seldom if at all,

Pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom and lie too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve tried to add years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We’ve conquered outer space, but not our inner space; We’ve done larger things, but not better things;

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; We write more, but learn less;

Plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait;

We have higher incomes; but lower morals;

More food but less appeasement;

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication;

We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; Tall men, and short character; Steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips,

Disposable diapers,

Throwaway morality,

One-night stands,

Overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

The solution is one you will not hear very often in this world.

The solution is a personal relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to direct and control our lives!!!!

You can never get too much of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!

The percentage of how much of our life Jesus controls is directly proportionate to our level of commitment.

Rom 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

The Apple of His Eye…

Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us, “as the apple of His eye.”

The Apple of His Eye…

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.” “Well,” he continued, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.  “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.

It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.

Mat 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Kids Letters to God…

Luke 18:17 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child shall not in any way enter it.”

~~~ Kids’ Letters to God ~~~

Dear God,
In Sunday School they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on
vacation? – Jane

Dear God,
I think about You sometimes even when I’m not praying. – Elliot

Dear God,
Did You really mean “do unto others as they do unto you?”
Because if you did, then I’m going to fix my brother. – Darla

Dear God,
I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made
on Tuesday. – Margret

Dear God,
I read the Bible. What does “begat” mean? Nobody will tell me. – Love, Allison

Dear God,
Are you really invisible or is that a trick? – Lucy

Dear God,
Is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in
the house? – Anita

Dear God,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? –
Norma

Dear God,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You
just keep the ones You have now? – Jane

Dear God,
Who draws the lines around countries? – Nan

Dear God,
The bad people laughed at Noah – “You made an ark on dry land you fool”.
But he was smart, he stuck with You. That’s what I would do. – Eddie

Dear God,
I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?
– Neil

Dear God,
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.
– Jane

Dear God,
You for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. – Joyce

Dear God,
Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day
of rest. – Tom L.

Dear God,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look
it up. – Bruce

Dear God,
If we come back as something – please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton
because I hate her. – Denise

Dear God,
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha Ha. – Danny

Dear God,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their
own rooms. It works with my brother. – Larry

Dear God,
I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair
all over. – Sam

Dear God,
You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways. – Dean

Dear God,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole
world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. – Nan

Dear God,
Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the
best. – Rob

Dear God,
My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t sound right.
They’re just kidding, aren’t they? – Marsha

Dear God,
If You watch me in Church Sunday. I’ll show You my new shoes.
– Mickey D.

Dear God,
I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.
– Love, Chris

Dear God,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it.
So, I bet he stolid Your idea. Sincerely, Donna

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”