Keep Your Promise

Lou Gehrig in Columbia uniform, 1921

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Lou Gehrig, the famous homerun king of the New York Yankeesbaseball team, visited a hospital for crippled children just before a World Series game. He told the children in the ward, “You can do ANYTHING if you want to do it badly enough.”

Then a little boy who was Yankee fan asked the great ballplayer to do him a favor, “Please knock two homeruns in today’s game.”

“Two home runs in a World Series game is a lot to ask,” said Gehrig. But now he had to back yup what he had said about being able to do ANYTHING if you really wanted to do it badly enough. So he turned to the little boy and said, “I’ll make a bargain with you. I’ll knock two homeruns today if you promise me that you will walk again.” It was a deal; they shook hands on it.

Gehrig knocked his two homeruns that afternoon. But somehow, he never got around to going back to that hospital. One day, years later, he was entering Yankee Stadium when a tall young man stepped up and asked, “Do you remember me?”

Lou couldn’t place him.

Then the young man said, “Well then, look! I CAN WALK! I kept my half of the promise.”

— Turbells Teachers’ Guide


God’s Wisdom

Small mangoes growing on a tree in Ghosh Grove...

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A wise old religious man sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat, and he looked at his pumpkin pines growing nearby. He said to himself, “How foolish God is. Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin onto a weak vine, which can’t do anything but just lie on the ground. And then he hangs those small mangoes onto a tree which can hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I think I could do better than that.”

Just then a bit of a breeze came up and knocked a loose mango off the tree. It fell right on the man’s head. Now he had a bump on his head, which made him a sadder and wiser man. “Suppose,” he thought now, “that there had been a pumpkin up there, instead of a mango… Never again will I try to plan the world for God, but I shall thank God that he has done so well.”

Joy in the Midst of Hardship

A group of pilgrims were walking along a road, headed for a sacred shrine, to make a special petition. Each of them was carrying a burden of some sort. But they kept their mind on their goal, and not on what they were carrying. An angel joined the little band and passing from one to another, threw onto the burdens a few little white seeds. These sprouted and grew into a pair of large wings which carried the burdened travelers along the dusty road.

Farther down the same road there was another party of pilgrims moving along with downcast faces and complaining of their heavy loads. The same angel came up to them and kept on going. Someone asked him, “Why didn’t you give them wings, too? They are so downcast and gloomy; they need help more than the cheerful ones up front.”

The angel answered, “The kind of seeds I have will only grow in the right kind of soil. They need cheerfulness and helpfulness; but an atmosphere of grumbling kills them.”

— Tony Castle

When faced with burdens, it is often so much easier for us to complain and ask God, “Why me?” Maybe instead of grumbling, we should, like the first group of pilgrims, ask God, “Lord, what do You want me to learn from these?” and keep our eyes on the goal.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Don’t our doctors tell us the same thing? 🙂

Bible for Illiterates

Title page of The Holy Bible, King James versi...

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Four clergymen were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James version because of its simple, beautiful English.

Another liked the American standard version best because it comes closer to the original Hebrew and Greek.

The third liked Moffat‘s translation best because of its up-to-date words.

The fourth clergyman was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, “I like my mother’s translation best.”

The other three expressed surprise and wanted to know what he meant. “Well,” he explained, “my mother translated the Bible into her everyday life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”

—- after William Barclay

A wise person once told me that the way I behave and act at home and at work is the best way to show people the true meaning of Christianity. In short, my life is an open testimony of what it means to be a follower of God. And I am ashamed to say that I have not always been the best example for my loved ones and friends, especially for those who are still non-Christians.

We can stand on a pulpit and preach the gospel ’til we’re blue in the face. We can put on shows, concerts, theater performances that will entice crowds and audiences. But the real show starts when the lights are off, when the stage is down, when we think nobody is watching.

Is our life a living testimony of Christianity, or are we just Christians in words, but not in deeds?

“Dear children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works is dead, being alone.” (James 2:15-17)

May our lives always be a first-rate version of the bible.

Whiners and Losers

After a devastating shipwreck, a sailor was washed ashore in an uninhabited island in the middle of the ocean. He is the sole survivor. He gathered some wood and leaves and made a hut for his shelter. He also stored his food in the hut. Day and night he prayed and waited for someone to rescue him but no one came. One day, lightning struck his hut and the hut, along with all the supplies inside, burned to the ground. He was so angry, he said, “God, why have you done this to me?”

The next day, rescuers came. He asked, “How did you know I’m here?” They replied, “We saw a smoke signal.”

Ouch! Did that hit home? Like the sailor in the story, I’ll be the first to admit that on most days, it is soooo much easier to whine and complain when unfortunate events happen in my life. My initial reaction is usually, “God, why me? How could you let this happen?”. How about you?

I like this short story because it reminds me that God’s plans are always greater than my own. We need to trust Him when unfortunate events happen in our lives. Maybe the next time life throws us a curve ball, instead of whining, “Why me?”, we should ask God to help us see what we can learn from it. 🙂

Buy a Lottery Ticket

The front of a used Mark Six ticket

The front of a used Mark Six ticket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an old Italian joke that goes like this:

A long time ago, in a small village, there lived an old man. This old man visited the statue of a great Italian saint everyday. And everyday, he prayed for the same thing: “Please, please, please, make me win the lottery.” Rain or shine, the old man would visit the saint’s statue and pray the same thing over and over again. Finally, one day, the saint had enough! When the old man came to the statue again and prayed to win the lottery, the saint finally replied, “My dear old man, please buy a lottery ticket first!”

Silly old man, right? Of course, he should’ve bought the lottery ticket first. But aren’t we sometimes like this old man? When we want something, we pray.. and well, that’s it. Nothing wrong with praying, of course. It is our means of communing with God. But, partnered with prayer should be our own effort and action. There is a popular Filipino saying that goes – Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa. (God’s mercy is on those who help themselves.) I know we’re all familiar with this saying and you’re probably going, “Duh, everybody knows that.” Yes, we all know it, but do we all REALLY practice it?

Sometimes, we Christians tend to use the term “God’s will” a little too far. I have some single Christian guy friends who LOVE using this term to excuse them from having to court a girl. If someone asks them why they don’t court anyone , they’ll be like, “Oh, cause I haven’t found the right girl yet. I’ll just wait for God’s will.” And they really do just sit around and wait. Unfortunately, life is not like an Axe commercial where hot girls will just fall out of the sky and land at your feet. We all want to meet our life partner according to God’s will – no argument there. But guys, do you expect God to do the courting and dating for you, too?

Or how about someone looking for a job? Yes, we all want a good job. But do we just sit around and wait for God to hand the job to us? That’s not really the way it works. You expect God to be the one to put on a suit and go from job interview to job interview?

I just think that Christians who keep using “God’s will” as an excuse for everything that’s happening (or not happening) in their life are misleading testimonies of Christianity. We are NOT exemplifying great faith by this kind of behavior; we’re displaying laziness and a waste of God-given skills and talents.

After all, “God’s will is not an itinerary, but an attitude.” It’s not a step-by-step life guide we demand from God. As children of God, we have the free will to choose our paths in life – but always with submissiveness to God’s will for us. Now that’s what I call faith.