Opportunity


There is a strange Greek statue which has disappeared completely. But it could be reconstructed today from a stone inscription which used to be the base on which the statue stood. That inscription is a very unusual one: it makes the statue talk to you while you are reading the text.

Here is what is says:

Formerly part of the Borghese collection ; pur...

Formerly part of the Borghese collection ; purchased in 1807. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What is your name, O statue?”

“I am called OPPORTUNITY.”

“Who made you?”

Lysippus.”

“Why are you standing on your toes?”

“To show how quickly I pass by.”

“Why is your hair so long on your forehead?”

“So that people may hold on to me when they meet me.”

“Why, then, is your head so bald in the back?”

“To show that when I have once passed, I cannot be caught.”

“And what is your name again?”

“OPPORTUNITY.”

— after Aesop

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)

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Wooden Indian or Wooden Christian?


English: "Cigar store Indian" outsid...

English: “Cigar store Indian” outside of a tobacco shop in Long Beach, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aunt Sophie, a converted scrub woman, used to say that she had been called to scrub floors and to preach. Wherever she went, she would tell others of Christ the Savior.

Someone made fun of her once by remarking that she had been seen some time ago talking about Christ to the wooden Indian statue standing in front of the cigar store.

Sophie’s reply was, “Perhaps I did. My eyesight is not so good. But talking about Christ to a wooden Indian is not as bad as being a wooden Christian who never talks to anybody about Christ.”

— after William Barclay

If this story hit home, as it did to me, then it’s time we become witnesses (or better witnesses) for God. In my daily prayers, I ask God guide my thoughts, words, and deeds – that in all these things I honor Him and I serve as a testimony to the people around me of God’s grace and love.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.'” (Mark 16:15)

Pain Does Good


Shaun the Sheep

Shaun the Sheep (Photo credit: Diva Sian)

A lady tourist was visiting mountainous Switzerland. One day, she waked up to a sheep pasture on a hillside. There sat a shepherd with his flock of sheep lying at rest around him. Nearby on a little pile of grass lay a sheep which seemed to be in pain. It was; it had a broken leg. The lady asked the shepherd, “How did it happen?”
To her amazement, he answered, “Missus, I broke that sheep’s leg myself.” He went on to explain, “Of all the sheep in this flock, that one was the most disobedient; it would never obey my voice. It always wandered off and led the rest of the flock astray. I had had this problem before, so I knew how to cure it. I broke its leg to save it and my other sheep.”
“On the first day, I went to it with food and it tried to bite me. I left it alone for a few days and it got hungry. Then I went back to it. Now it not only takes the food but licks my hand as well.”
“Let me tell you something; when this sheep is well again – as it soon will be – it will be the model sheep of the flock. No sheep will hear my voice more quickly. None will follow so closely at my side.”

— Bert Balling

Why are we so afraid of pain? Or to be more exact, the possibility of incurring pain? When I was around 10 years old, my father taught me how to ride a bike. After three lessons, I did successfully learn how to ride a bike. But while he was teaching me, there was one thing he said which I never forgot. He said that it’s okay to fall from the bike and that I SHOULD fall. I was like, are you crazy? My goal is NOT to fall from the bike. Then he said, If you never experience falling off a bike, you would always be afraid of falling. But if you fall, then you learn how to fall properly, and you will not be afraid of falling anymore because you have seen that it’s not as bad as it looks.

Sure, getting hurt is no fun at all. It’s a pain in the ass. But pain makes us stronger, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Little Sins


Stones

Stones (Photo credit: rkramer62)

Two sinners visited a holy man and asked his advice. “We have done wrong,” they said, “and our conscience is troubled. What must we do to be forgiven?”

“Tell me of your wrongdoing, my sons,” said the old man.

The first man said, “I have committed a great and grievous sin.”

The second man said, “I have done some small things, nothing much to worry about.”

“All right,” said the saint. “Go and bring me a stone for each sin.”

The first man came back with a big boulder. The second man cheerfully brought a bag of small stones.

“Now,” said the old man, “go and put them all back where you found them.”

The first man lifted the rock and staggered back to the place where he had gotten it. The second man could not remember where half the stones belonged to, so he just gave up. It was too much like work.

“Sins are like these stones,” said the old man. “If a man commits a great sin, it is like a heavy stone on his conscience. But with true sorrow it is removed completely. But the man who is constantly committing small sins which he knows to be wrong, gets hardened to them and feels no sorrow. So he remains a sinner.

“So you see,  my sons,” concluded the old saint, “it is as important to avoid little sins as well as the big ones.”

— Tony Castle

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3 : 19)

Meaning of Christmas


Русский: Исмаил 1й 1487-1524

Image via Wikipedia

Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know about the hardships they suffered. Often he dressed in the clothes of a workingman or a beggar and went to the homes of the poor. No one he visited thought he was their ruler.
One time he visited a poor man who lived in a cave. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke kind, cheerful words to him. Then he left. Late, he visited the poor man again and told him clearly, “I am your king.”
How surprised the poor man was! The king thought that the man would surely ask for some gifts or favor. But he did not. Instead, he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart. To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself.”

— Walter B. Knight

A Quaint Prayer


Praying Gopher

On a wall near the cathedral of Chester, England, hangs this very practical prayer:

Give me a good digestion, Lord,

And something to digest.

Give me a healthy body, Lord,

With sense to keep it at its best.

Give me a healthy mind, Good Lord,

To keep the good and pure in sight,

Which, seeing sin, is not appalled,

But finds a way to set it right.

Give me a mind that is not bored,

That does not whimper, whine, or sigh;

Don’t let me worry overmuch,

About the fussy thing called “I”.

Give me a sense of humor, Lord,

Give me the grace to see a joke,

To get some pleasure out of life,

And pass it on to other folk.

— Keep Smiling

Christ in People


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A Portuguese novel tells the story of  a young man who travelled to the Indies to seek a fortune, and in a few years, returned to Lisbon with several ships laden with wealth.

“Now,” he thought, “I’ll play a trick on my relatives.” He put on some worn-out clothes and went round to see his cousin Pedro.

“Here I am, your cousin John. After some years in India, I have come back home. You see how I am fixed… Could I stay at your house for a time?”

“Oh, my dear John, how I wish I could put you up. Unfortunately, there isn’t a room free in my house.”

John went round to another friend, and another, but everywhere he found the door closed against him.

Then he returned to his ships, got into his best clothes, and sailed into town with a dozen servants attending him. He bought a large mansion right on the main street of Lisbon. Within a few weeks his fabulous wealth was the talk of the town.

“Who could have imagined it?” said his friends and relatives who had given him the brush-off. “If we had only known, how differently we would have acted. But now we have spoiled our chances with him forever.”

Our Lord comes to us every day in the guise of those who need our help… How do we respond?

Faultfinding Repaid


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Image by Barbour via Flickr

There is a story about a young artist who had a genius for finding fault with others. He could immediately detect any weakness in them.

One night, he had a dream. He saw himself on a barren road, struggling beneath a heavy burden. He cried out in pain as he tried to support it. He complained out loud, “What is this weight that I must carry? And why must I carry it?”

From nowhere he seemed to hear, “It is the weight of the faults which you have found in others. Why do you complain? You were the one who discovered them, so shouldn’t they belong to you now?”

— Maurice Masterlinck

Working for God


Joe had always been a helpful neighbor and so the lady next door asked him if he could drive her little son to the hospital. Actually, Joe had other plans but he did not know how to say no. So he sat the little boy onto the cat seat, fastened his seat belt, and started off on the 50-mile trip to the hospital.

As they were driving along, the little boy slowly turned to Joe and asked, “Are you God?”

Startled, Joe said, “No.”

The boy continued, “I heard my mommy asking for some way to get me to a doctor. If you are not God, do you work for him?”

Joe replied, “I guess so – sometimes. And now that you ask, I will be doing it a lot  more.”

— Quote

What is Salvation?


a catholic cross

Image via Wikipedia

Longfellow could take a sheet of paper, write a poem on it and make it worth sixty thousand dollars. That is talent.

Rockefeller could sign a piece of paper and make it worth a million. That is capital.

Uncle Sam can take an ounce of gold and stamp an eagle on it and make it worth $40. That is money.

A mechanic can take material worth five dollars and make it into an article worth $50. That is skill.

A merchant can buy an article for 8o cents, put it on his counter and sell it for a dollar. That is business.

God can take a worthless sinful life, wash it, cleanse it, put His Holy Spirit within it – and make it a blessing to all humanity. That is salvation.

— Sunshine