Monthly Archives: December 2011

Locked Fire Hydrants

Eric Aderholt can speak as an expert about the ramifications of a locked fire hydrant.  His suburban Fort Worth, Texas, house burned down this past August, not because fire fighters took so long to arrive but because they did not have the key to unlock the hydrant.  In response to Homeland Security measures in the wake of 9/11, many rural neighborhoods’ hydrants were outfitted with a locking device meant to prevent vandalism and especially terrorism.  When there was no fire, that hydrant in Aderholt’s Alexander Ranch community may have provided some sense of security and confidence just by being there.  But when the need existed, the very substance that could make the difference was not even introduced.  There was no water when water was most needed.

A great fire will come at a time no one expects (2 Th. 1;7-9).  God has provided a means to keep us from suffering total loss when this occurs.  The “key” to proper preparation rests in one of the most neglected “tools” of all time-the Bible.  How do we know about the fire?  How do we know about eternal loss prevention?  How do we know about the only true and living water (cf. John 4:10-11)?  How do we know Who the fire escape is?  Yet, so many who think everything is OK are unprepared.  Even more tragic are those who should know better, who have even been shown the “key.”  They throw it away or refuse to take it.  They chose not to be protected.  The fact of Jesus’ sacrifice and grace is wonderful, but that fact will not save.

We must unlock the benefit of God’s grace by faith-filled obedience (cf. Heb. 5:9).  Simply acknowledging His existence or even His identity is insufficient.  There is a “key of knowledge” (Luke 11:52).  Let us use it and show others how to use it, too!

–Neal Pollard

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That's not nudity, that's art

As a junior in a high-school history class, I remember watching a movie that covered several important times, events and people in American society. At one point it flashed a topless pose of Marilyn Monroe.

I was shocked that they would show this to a class of high-school students. My teacher quickly stopped the classroom buzz by saying, “That’s not nudity, that’s art.”

There is no question that our society is obsessed with pornography. While it is never a comfortable issue to address, it has become an American epidemic.

Though pornography has been a problem for a long time, only recently has it become something so public. People are no longer ashamed, but actually quite proud, of the pornography industry. Pictures of the “Playboy” bunny are now found on clothing, car stickers and other places.

The pornography industry makes more money than professional baseball, football and basketball combined.

It is a true problem in the world around us and, sadly, it has even filtered into the church.

We need to guard ourselves and our families by whatever means possible to keep from being sucked into this godless pastime.

Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1 NKJV).

We, too, should make a covenant with our eyes and keep from joining in with the sex-crazed society around us. Our prayer should be like the psalmist who said, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Psalm 119:37).

Sadly, we live in a world of perverts who call pornography art.

Let us not be one of them, but let us make a covenant with our eyes, and let us turn away our eyes from worthless things.

–by Garrett Bookout @ http://www.forthright.net

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How to better understand women

IN HIS BOOK “The Purpose and Power of Love & Marriage,” Myles Munroe says:

.  When a male demands, a female reacts; she doesn’t respond.

.  When a male gives, a female responds.

.  When a male commits, a female submits.  Nothing is more precious to a female than a committed male.  Nothing is more depressing to a female than an uncommitted male.

.  When a male abuses, a female refuses.  Whenever a man abuses a woman, she refuses to respond.

.  When a male shares, a female cares.  If you find a man who is willing to share with the woman in his life, you will find a woman who is willing to care for her man.

.  When a male leads, a female follows.  When a man carries out his God-given responsibility for leadership, a woman responds by following his lead.  Leadership does not mean being bossy, always telling others what to do.  Good leaders lead by example, not by decree.  Jesus led by example, and so did Moses, Peter, Paul, and all the other great leaders in the Bible.  Leading by example means doing ourselves the things we wish others to do.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Ephesians 5:22 – 33

Mike Benson

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A trick used by thieves

FORMER POLICE officer tells of the tactics of roving bands of thieves:

They enter the store as a group. One or two separate themselves from the group, and the other start a loud commotion in another section of the store. This grabs the attention of the clerks and customers. As all eyes are turned to the disturbance, the accomplices fill their pockets with merchandise and cash, leaving before anyone suspects.

Hours–sometimes even days–later, the victimized merchant realizes things are missing and calls the police. Too late.

THOUGHT: How often this effective strategy is used by the devil! We are seduced into paying attention to distractions, while evil ransacks our heart and lives.

“Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” ( 2 Cor. 2:11).

–Mike Benson

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What do you give a baby?

For those of us with parents in the “golden” years, it’s a challenge to give them something for Christmas. They already have everything they need and what they don’t have, they can buy. It’s similar to giving Christmas gifts to your baby for his/her first year or subsequent years. What do they need? Nothing. What can they play with? Not a lot. It’s a challenge.

What did the wise men bring to Jesus? Gold, frankincense and myrrh. What kind of good did that do a baby? Not much. Maybe Joseph and Mary used the gold to buy food and sold the frankincense and myrrh to have funds to travel back home. They were expensive gifts no doubt. But not practical. What do you give to someone who doesn’t need anything?

The girls came home from school and said, “Dad, my friends get more allowance than I do.” I responded, “You don’t even NEED an allowance! What do you NEED that we don’t give you anyway?” What can you give someone who doesn’t need anything?

What does God need from us? Nothing. What does God want from us? Nothing. He doesn’t need anything. Nothing we can give God makes Him any wealthier or happier. It’s all His anyway. If He wanted something, He could produce it out of thin air.

When we first started giving an allowance to the girls, one Sunday I asked the girls what they were going to give to “church.” They held out their hands with all of the allowance. My first reaction was, “You DON’T give all of it!” (We’re trying to teach them to budget.) But then I stopped myself. Isn’t that what God tells us to do? Doesn’t He want us to give Him everything? We can’t give God any thing. He doesn’t need it.

But what God does want is all of us. If we are immersed in Christ, there’s no question how we’ll use our time.  If we are immersed in Christ, there’s no debate over how we’ll use our money. If we are immersed into Christ, we don’t have to make decisions about whether to use our abilities to serve Christ.

What does God want? He wants a living gift. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

Today, remind yourself that your time and money are on loan from God. How will you use it for Him?

–Paul Holland

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Then I get scared

In a Peanuts cartoon, Linus tells Charlie Brown, “When I hear those coyotes howling at night, it totally depresses me. I start to feel lonely … Then I get scared.”

Charlie Brown says, “I thought holding onto that blanket made you secure.”

Linus replies, “I think the warranty has run out.”

Isn’t that true for us? We fear life, we fear death, and everything in between. We are afraid of little things like a black cat crossing our path or spilled salt. Or, leaving our home at night lest we become a victim of crime. Or, the fear that floods our hearts as we wait for the doctor to
tell us if we have cancer. Or, the fear that startles us when the shrill sound of the telephone jolts us awake in the middle of the night.

The antidote to our fears is found in the coming of Christ into the world. The first words of Adam are “I was afraid.” But the first words at the birth of Jesus are, “Don’t be afraid.”

Ian Chapman, Don’t Be Afraid

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God became flesh

The following story was told many years ago by Paul Harvey on his popular radio broadcast.  The first time I heard it I was deeply touched by its message.  I still am, and hope you will be too.

The Christmas story—the “God-born-in-a-manger” and all that—escapes some moderns.  Mostly, I think, because they seek complex answers to their questions, and this one is so utterly simple.  For the cynics, the skeptics and the unconvinced, I submit a modern parable.

This is about a modern man.  One of us.

He was not a Scrooge.  He was a kind, decent, mostly good man.  Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men.  But he did not believe in all that Incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas time.  It just didn’t make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise.  He just could not swallow the Jesus story.  About God coming to earth as a man.

“I am truly sorry to distress you,” he said to his wife, “but I am not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.”  He said he’d feel like a hypocrite.  That he would much rather stay home.  But that he would wait up for them.

He stayed.  They went.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall.  He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper.

Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound.  Then another, then another. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow.  They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well . . . he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze.

He remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony.  That would provide a warm shelter if he could direct the birds to it.

He quickly put on coat, galoshes.  Tramped through the deepening snow to the barn.   He opened the doors wide and turned on a light.

But the birds did not come in.

He figured food would entice them in and he hurried back to the house, fetched breadcrumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide-open doorway of the stable.

But to his dismay the birds ignored the breadcrumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow.

He tried catching them.  He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms.  Instead, they scurried in every direction—except into the warm, lighted barn.

Then he realized they were afraid of him.  “To them,” he reasoned, “I am a strange and terrifying creature.  If only I could think of some way to let them know they can trust me, that I’m not trying to hurt them, but to help them.”

How?
Any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them.  They just would not follow . . . they would not be led or shooed because they feared him.

And then – snap – the thought struck him.  “If only I could be a bird myself.  If only I could be a bird and mingle with them and speak their language and tell them not to be afraid and show them the way into the safe, warm barn.”

“But I’d have to be one of them . . . so they could see and hear and understand.”

At that moment the church bells began to ring.  The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind.

He stood there . . . listening to the bells. . . Adepter Fidelio . . . listening to the bells pealing the glad tiding of Christmas.

And he sank to his knees in the snow.

Hugh Guilford

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