Faithlife Sermons


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n an article in Guide-posts, Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the in­cident and so, couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in put­ting the problem to rest.

"His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my fail­ure after two sleepless weeks. 'Up in that church tower,' he said, nodding out the window, 'is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we for­give, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old an­gry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down.'

"And so it proved to be. There were a few more mid­night reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my con­versations. But the force — which was my willingness in the matter — had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at last stopped altogether. And so I discovered an­other secret of forgiveness: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts." — R. David Roberts Johnson City, Tennessee

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n old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York City to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning  from   one   of  his  big-game   hunting expeditions.

No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entou­rage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.

As the ship moved across the ocean, the old mis­sionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."

"Dear, you shouldn't feel that way," his wife said.

"I can't help it; it doesn't seem right."

When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival, but no one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly."

His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"

A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"

"The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!' "

Yes, there are rewards for faithfulness, but not necessarily down here.

— Ray Stedman condensed from Talking to My Father

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s a kid, I saw a movie in which some shipwrecked men are left drifting aim­lessly on the ocean in a lifeboat. As the days pass under the scorching sun, their rations of food and fresh water give out. The men grow deliriously thirsty. One night, while the others are asleep, one man ignores all previous warnings and gulps down some salt water. He quick­ly dies.

Ocean water contains seven times more salt than the human body can safely ingest. Drinking it, a per­son dehydrates because the kidneys demand extra wa­ter to flush the overload of salt. The more salt water someone drinks, the thirst­ier he gets. He actually dies of thirst.

When we lust, we be­come like this man. We thirst desperately for some­thing that looks like what we want. We don't realize, however, that it is pre­cisely the opposite of what we really need. In fact, it can kill us.

— Craig Brian Larson Chicago, Illinois



he Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September 1985 a celebra­tion at a New Orleans mu­nicipal pool. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first sum­mer in memory without a drowning at any New Or­leans city pool. In honor of the occasion, two hundred people gathered, including




one hundred certified life­guards.

As the party was break­ing up and the four life­guards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to re­vive Jerome Moody, thirty-one, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.

I wonder how many visi­tors and strangers are among us drowning in loneliness, hurt, and doubt, while we, who could help them, don't realize it. We Christians have reason to celebrate, but our mission, as the old hymn says, is to "rescue the perishing." And often they are right next to us.

— Steven J. Pedersen Strasburg, Ohio



ruce Larson, in his book Wind and Fire, points out some in­teresting facts about sand­hill cranes:

"These large birds, who fly great distances across continents, have three re­markable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence. And then, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirma­tion. That's not a bad model for the church. Certainly we need leaders who can handle turbulence and who are aware that leadership ought to be shared. But most of all, we need a church where we are all honking encouragement." — Robert Sweat Derby, Kansas



nce there was a little old man.  His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth. Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son's wife didn't like the arrangement.

"I can't have this," she said. "It interferes with my right to happiness." So she and her husband took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with wistful eyes.

One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the earthenware bowl fell and broke.

"If you are a pig," said the daughter-in-law, "you must eat out of a trough." So they made him a little wooden trough, and he got his meals in that.

These people had a four-year-old son of whom they were very fond. One evening the young man noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing.

"I'm making a trough," he said, smiling up for approval, "to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big."

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while and didn't say anything. Then they cried a little. Then they went to the corner and took the old man by the arm and led him back to the table. They sat him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things.

One of Grimm's fairy tales, this anecdote has the crudity of the old, simple days. But perhaps crudity is what we need to illustrate the naked and crude point of the fifth commandment: honor your parents, lest your children dishonor you. Or, in other words, a society that destroys the family destroys itself.

— Joy Davidman from Smoke on the Mountain



n opening day of the 1954 baseball season, the Milwaukee Braves visited the Cincinnati Reds. Two rookies began their major league careers with that game. The Reds won 9-8 as Jim Greengrass hit four doubles in his first big-league game. A sensational debut for a young player with a made-for-baseball name!

The rookie starting in left field for the Braves went 0 for 5. Not a very auspicious start for one Henry Aaron.

— Harry J. Heintz Troy, New York



n the town hall in Co­penhagen stands the world's most compli­cated clock. It took forty years to build at a cost of more than a million dollars. That clock has ten faces, fifteen thousand parts, and is accurate to two-fifths of a second every three hun­dred years. The clock com­putes the time of day, the days of the week, the months and years, and the movements of the planets for twenty-five hundred years. Some parts of that clock will not move until twenty-five centuries have passed.

What is intriguing about that clock is that it is not accurate. It loses two-fifths of a second every three hundred years. Like all clocks, that timepiece in Copenhagen must be reg­ulated by a more precise clock, the universe itself. That mighty astronomical clock with its billions of moving parts, from atoms to stars, rolls on century after century with move­ments so reliable that all time on earth can be mea­sured against it.

— Haddon Robinson in Focal Point

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