harles Swindoll, in Growing Deep in the Christian Life, writes about a man who bought fried chicken dinners for himself and his date late one afternoon. The attendant at the fast food outlet, however, inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the day's business — a bag of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken.
"After driving to their picnic site," Swindoll writes, "the two of them sat down to enjoy some chicken. They discovered a whole lot more than chicken —over $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car and drove all the way back. Mr. Clean got out, walked in, and became an instant hero.
"By then, the manager was frantic. The guy with the bag of money looked the manager in the eye and said, T want you to know I came by to get a couple of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money here.'
"Well, the manager was thrilled to death. He said, 'Let me call the newspaper. I'm gonna have your picture put in the local paper. You're one of the most honest men I've ever heard of.'
"To which the man quickly responded, 'Oh, no. No, no, don't do that!' Then he leaned closer and whispered, 'You see, the woman I'm with is not my wife. She's, uh, somebody else's wife.' "
Harder to find than lost cash is a perfect heart.
— Phillip Gunter Los Alamos, New Mexico
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uguste Bartholdi traveled from France to Egypt in 1856. There the grandeur of the pyramids, the magnitude of the mighty Nile, and the beauty of the stately desert Sphinx stimulated his artistic mind.
Meanwhile he met another visitor to Egypt, Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was there to sell an idea. To save merchant ships the long journey around the tip of the African continent, de Lesseps proposed cutting a canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
De Lesseps' concept inspired the artist Bartholdi. He decided to design a lighthouse for the entrance to this canal — but no ordinary lighthouse. It would symbolize the light of Western civilization flowing to the East. Over the ten years it took to build the Suez Canal, Auguste worked on his idea, drawing plans and molding clay models. He scrapped plan after plan — until he found the right one, the perfect design.
Only one problem remained. Who would pay for it? He looked everywhere, but no one was interested. The Suez Canal finally opened — without a lighthouse. Defeated, Auguste returned to France. Ten years of toil wasted.
With him he took his concept. His lighthouse would have been a colossal robed lady standing taller than the Sphinx. She held the book of justice in one hand and a torch lifted high in the other that would light the entrance to the canal.
Back in France, the French government sought his artistic services. They wanted to give a gift to America. They chose Bartholdi's lighthouse, which now stands in New York harbor, and is called the Statue of Liberty.
Great dreams eventually find the right open door.
— Joseph M. Stowell III in The Upside of Down
ccording to the Pittsburgh Press, shortly after former announcer and catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals Joe Torre was named manager of the Cardinals, New York Yankees' announcer Phil Rizzuto suggested that managing could be done better from high above the baseball field — from the level of the broadcasting booth.
Thoughtfully, Torre replied, "Upstairs, you can't look in their eyes."
In Jesus Christ, God also chose to come down on the field and look into our eyes.
— David R. Martin Jefferson, Pennsylvania
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irst, huge shovels dig house-sized scoops of lignite coal. Pulverized and loaded onto railroad boxcars, the coal travels to a generating plant in east Texas, where it is further crushed into powder. Superheated, this powder ignites like gasoline when blown into the huge furnaces that crank three turbines.
Whirring at 3,600 revolutions per minute, these turbines are housed in concrete-and-steel casings 100 feet long, 10 feet tall, and 10 feet across. They generate enough electricity for thousands of people.
A visitor to this plant once asked the chief engineer, "Where do you store the electricity?"
"We don't store it," the engineer replied. "We just make it."
When a light switch is flipped on in Dallas one hundred miles west, it literally places a demand on the system; it registers at the generating plant and prompts greater output.
God's grace and power likewise cannot be stored. Though inexhaustible, they come in the measure required, at the moment of need.
— Reggie McNeal Mt. Pleasant, Texas
t 7p.m. on October 20, 1968, a few thousand spectators remained in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. It was cool and dark. The last of the marathon runners, each exhausted, were being carried off to first-aid stations. More than an hour earlier, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia — looking as fresh as when he started the race — crossed the finish line, the winner of the 26-mile, 385-yard event.
As the remaining spectators prepared to leave, those sitting near the marathon gates suddenly heard the sound of sirens and police whistles. All eyes turned to the gate. A lone figure wearing the colors of Tanzania entered the stadium. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. He was the last man to finish the marathon. His leg bloodied and bandaged, severely injured in a fall, he grimaced with each step. He hobbled around the 400-meter track.
The spectators rose and applauded him as if he were the winner. After crossing the finish line, Akhwari slowly walked off the field without turning to the cheering crowd.
In view of his injury and having no chance of winning a medal, someone asked him why he had not quit. He replied, "My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it."
— Wes Thompson Cheyenne Wells, Colo.
he story of "Wrong Way Riegels" is a familiar one, but it bears repeating. On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played ucla in the Rose Bowl. In that game a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for ucla. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Beeny Lorn, ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. Several plays later the Bruins had to punt. Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the ucla team.
The strange play came in the first half. At halftime the ucla players filed off the field and into the dressing room. As others sat down on the benches and the floor, Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands.
A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels.
When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, "Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second." The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn't budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels didn't move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second."
Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. "Coach," he said, "I can't do it. I've ruined you. I've ruined the university's reputation. I've ruined myself. I can't face that crowd out there."
Coach Price reached out, put his hand on Riegels' shoulder, and said, "Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over."
Riegels finally did get up. He went onto the field, and the fans saw him play hard and play well.
All of us have run a long way in the wrong direction. Because of the forgiveness offered in Jesus Christ, however, the game is only half over.
— Wayne Rouse Astoria, Illinois
uring Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqi war machine was overwhelmed by the Coalition Forces' ability to strike strategic targets with never-seen-before accuracy. Unknown to the Iraqis, the Allied Supreme Command had dropped Special Operations Forces (sof) deep behind enemy lines. These men provided bombing coordinates for military targets and first-hand reports on the effectiveness of subsequent bombing missions.
To avoid unintended targets, pinpoint bombing was often required. A soldier from a sof unit standing on the ground would request an aircraft high overhead to drop a laser guided missile. Using a hand-held laser, the soldier would point at the target. The missile would hone in on the soldier's target for the hit.
In much the same way, the prayers of Christians focus the attention of the spiritual powers on high.
— Steve Schertzinger Seattle, Washington
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