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"Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus.  In Jesus, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.  God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting God's Yes within us."  -  II Corinthians 1: 20-21


The difference between Winners and Whiners is:


The Whiner says, “I don’t know, and I’m sure nobody else knows either.”  The Winner says, “Let’s find out.”


When a Whiner makes a mistake, s/he says, It wasn’t my fault.”  When a Winner makes a mistake, s/he says, “I’m responsible, and I’m going to see what can be done to set things right.”


A Winner says, “There ought to be a better way to do it.”  A Whiner says, “That’s the way it’s always been done.  Why change?”


A Winner says, “I could be a lot better, and I’m going to try to improve.”  The Whiner says, “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.”

(by Sydney Harris)


Forgiveness and Grace

Not long after Appomattox, Robert E. Lee was at Sunday worship in the conquered Confederate capital (Richmond) --at St. Paul's Church, where a list of communicants read like a 'Who's Who' of the Confederacy.  As the invitation was issued to communion, a black man strode directly to the altar.  When the other parishioners hung back, shockedat this breach of the racial code, Lee walked forward alone and knelt beside the man at the communion rail--to be followed soon by the rest of the congregation.  (from the Lee biography by Emory M. Thomas)

It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck (death camp).  He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time.  And suddenly it was all there--the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, (my sister) Betsie's pain-blanched face.  

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said.  "To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!"

His hand was thrust out to shake mine.  And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand by my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.  

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand.  I could not.  I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.  And so again I breathed a silent prayer - Jesus, I cannot forgive him.  Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself. (from The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom) 





A Special "Thank You" Note

In a blinding rainstorm, the older African American woman desperately needed a ride.  Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car that came along.

A young white man stopped to help her--something that was generally unheard of in Alabama in the conflict-filled 1960s.  The man took her to safety, helped her get the assistance she needed and even put her in a taxi cab at his own expense to get her where she finally needed to go.  She seemed to be in a hurry.  She wrote down his address, thanked him, and then went away in the cab.

Seven days later, there was a knock at his door.  To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.  A special note was attached which said:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.  The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirit.  Then you came along.  Because of you, I was able to get to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away.  God bless you for helping me and for unselfishly serving others."  Mrs. Nat King Cole

"If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would be sufficient."

Meister Eckhart  

14th century Christian mystic



Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863

It has seemed to me fit and proper that our bounties should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and voice, by the whole American people.  I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in heavens; and I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him, for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

What is the Pentecost moment like?

A group of Americans traveled to the Philippines to dedicate with Wycliff Bible Translators a new Kagayanan version of the Bible.  The ceremony included a folk dance. As the band played a waltz-like tune one couple began to spin and rock together on the floor.  After several measures of the music had played, the couple split, each  inviting a new partner to dance with them.  Now two men held two women who spun and twirled with dresses flouncing out.  Soon, these couples divided again and reached out to new partners, smiling, nodding and laughing as the dance expanded from two dancers to four, then to eight and sixteen!  Each time, as the music crescendoed, dancers invited observers to join the dance until everyone was dancing in the room, celebrating the good news.   

Spiritual Success

“ laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to have appreciative beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seeing God’s Light

An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.  “Could it be,” asked one of the students, “when you see an animal in the distance and can tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?”
“No,” answered the Rabbi.
Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?”
“No,” answered the Rabbi.
"Then when is it?” the pupils demanded.
"It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother.  Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.”  
~ from Tales of the Hasidim


Satisfaction in Life


Fuller Seminary President Richard Mouw tells the story of being in a luxury box at the Rose Bowl prior to the Rolling Stones Voodoo tour concert.  Mick Jagger entered the box, greeted the group and was introduced to President Mouw.    Aproximately eighty thousand people were already singing to the preconcert (recorded) music, "I can't get no satisfaction!" Jagger pointed to the crowd below and said to Mouw, "Eighty thousand people worship voodoo and the Rollig Stones.  What do you say to that?"

Mouw noted the background music and replied, "Jesus Christ can give you satisfaction in life!" 


Being in love

"To love a thing is to see a thing as existing in its own right--to go out to its existence.  And to go out to a thing in this way when it is a living thing, and particularly when it is a living person, is fundamentally to have pity for it....  For the insight into its existence which makes us rejoice in its existence is at the same time an insight into its suffering, its defencelessness, its profound vulnerability."  Iris Murdoch