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To Illustrate







ortia  Nelson  has written a piece titled: "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters." It reads:

Chapter I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the

sidewalk. I fall in.

I am lost... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a

way out.

Chapter II

I walk  down  the  same

street. There is a deep hole in the


I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the

same place,

but it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to

get out.

Chapter III

I walk  down  the  same

street. There is a deep hole in the

sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in . . . it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same

street. There is a deep hole in the

sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

— Peter A. Alwinson Winter Springs, Florida

| P |

icture this: Eric Valli, a professional photogra­pher, is dangling by a nylon rope from a 395-foot cliff in Nepal. Nearby on a rope ladder is another man, Mani Lai, doing what he has done for decades: hunting honey. Here in the Himalayan foot­hills, the cliffs shelter honeycombs of the world's largest honeybee.

At the moment, thousands of them are buzzing around both men. Lai, a veteran of hundreds of such attacks, is calm. Not so Mr. Valli. Describing that moment in National Geographic, he says, "There were so many bees I was afraid I might freak out. But I knew if I did, I would be dead. So I took a deep breath and relaxed. Getting stung would be better than finding myself at the bottom of the cliff." He overcame his fears and won a photo competition for his efforts.

Fear can send a person plummeting to destruction. Some believers, fearing the stings of persecution, testing, and temptation, have compromised their faith and slipped from the lifeline of Christ — which is why the Bible teaches us to fear God alone.

— Craig Brian Larson Arlington Heights, Illinois



n July 1976, Israeli commandos made a daring raid at an airport in Entebbe, Uganda, in which 103 Jewish hostages were freed.  In less than fifteen minutes, the soldiers had killed all seven of the kidnapers and set the captives free.

As successful as the rescue was, however, three of the hostages were killed during the raid. As the commandos entered the terminal, they shouted in Hebrew, "Get down! Crawl!" The Jewish hostages understood and lay down on the floor, while the guerrillas, who did not speak Hebrew, were left standing. Quickly the rescuers shot the upright kidnapers.

But two of the hostages hesitated — perhaps to see what was happening — and were also cut down. One young man was lying down and actually stood up when the commandos entered the airport. He, too, was shot with the bullets meant for the enemy. Had these three heeded the soldiers' command, they would have been freed with the rest of the captives.

Salvation is open to all, but we must heed Christ's command to repent and make him Lord. Otherwise, we will perish with the judgment meant for the Enemy.

— Scott F. Marsh Winchester, Virginia

| S |

uppose you are alone in your house with your preschool children, and an intruder enters. If you doubt your power over the intruder, your love for your children offers no consolation, and your house becomes a place of terror. But if you have undisputed control, you don't mind someone com­ing into your house.

The universe is God's house, and an Intruder has entered and is even now desecrating the house. Many times when we see him walking around, we are on the brink of terror. We need not fear, how­ever, since he and our Fa­ther met head-on in com­bat in the tomb, and God emerged the undisputed Victor! We are safe from the Intruder. This is the message of Easter: the most fearsome enemies we can face have been overpow­ered by the One who loves us.

— Harold N. Miller Corning, New York



hen Michigan played Wiscon­sin in basketball early in the season in 1989, Michigan's Rumeal Robin­son stepped to the foul line for two shots late in the fourth quarter. His team trailed by one point, so Ru­meal could regain the lead for Michigan. He missed both shots, allowing Wis­consin to upset favored Michigan.

Rumeal felt awful about costing his team the game, but his sorrow didn't stop at the emotional level. Af­ter each practice for the




rest of the season, Rumeal shot one hundred extra foul shots.

Thus, Rumeal was ready when he stepped to the foul line to shoot two shots with three seconds left in overtime in the national-championship game. Swish went the first shot, and swish the second. Those shots won Michigan the na­tional championship.

Rumeal's repentance had been genuine, and sorrow motivated him to work so that he would never make that mistake again. As Paul wrote, "Godly sorrow leads to repentance" (2 Cor. 7:10).

— Charles Edward White Spring Arbor, Michigan



n the November 1987 Reader's Digest, Betty Wein retells an old tale she heard from Elie Wiesel: "A just man comes to Sodom hoping to save the city. He pickets. What else can he do? He goes from street to street, from mar­ketplace to marketplace, shouting, 'Men and wom­en, repent. What you are doing is wrong. It will kill you; it will destroy you.' They laugh, but he goes on shouting, until one day a child stops him. 'Poor stranger, don't you see it's useless?' 'Yes,' the just man replies. 'Then why do you go on?' the child asks. In the beginning,' he says, 'I was convinced that I would change them. Now I go on shouting because I don't want them to change me.' "

— S. M. Henriques, Jr. Clarksdale, Mississippi



ruce Thielemann, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, told of a conversation with an active layman, who mentioned, "You preachers talk a lot about giving, but when you get right down to it, it all comes down to basin theology." Thielemann asked, "Basin theology? What's that?" The layman replied, "Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus? He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing. But Jesus, the night before his death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. It all comes down to basin theology. Which one will you use?"

— Philip A. Williams Meridian, Mississippi



he March 1988 Rotarian tells about a bounty of $5,000 offered for each wolf captured alive. It turned Sam and Jed into fortune hunters. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests looking for their valuable prey.

Exhausted one night, they fell asleep dreaming of their potential fortune. Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by about fifty wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. He nudged his friend and said, "Jed, wake up! We're rich!"

— Gary G. Payne Reidsville, North Carolina



illie Baltrip is a good bus driver. In fact, accord­ing to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of June 17, 1988, the Houston school district nominated her for a safe-driving award. Her colleagues even trusted her to drive a busload of them to an awards ceremony for safe drivers. Unfortunately, on the way to the ceremony, Lillie turned a corner too sharply and flipped the bus over, sending herself and sixteen others to the hospital for minor emergency treatment. Did Lillie, accident free for the whole year, get her award anyway? No. Award committees rarely operate on the principle of grace. How fortunate we are that even when we don't maintain a spotless life-record, our final reward depends on God's grace, not on our performance!

— Grant Lovejoy Fort Worth, Texas




n To My People with Love, John Killinger writes:

"In her beautiful novel about Maine, The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sara Orne Jewett describes the ascent of a woman writer on the pathway leading to the home of a retired sea captain named Elijah Tilley.

"On the way, the woman notes a number of wooden stakes randomly scattered about the property, with no discernible order. Each is painted white and trimmed in yellow, like the captain's house. Curious, she asks Captain Tilley what they mean. When he first plowed the ground, he says, his plow snagged on many large rocks just beneath the surface. So he set out the stakes where the rocks lay in order to avoid them in the future.

"In a sense, this is what God has done with the Ten Commandments. . . . He has said, 'These are the trouble spots in life. Avoid these, and you won't snag your plow.' "

— Steven F. Kindle Caruthersville, Missouri

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