Sound Words, June 17, 2018

Sound Words, June 17, 2018

Life’s Little Lessons XVIII

“I Hungered to See the Dawn”

            “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned” (Matt. 4:15-16). A man named Rudd told what it is like to live at the North Pole during three months of darkness. You never see the sun. He said, “I ached and hungered to see the dawn.” Then one morning in February he climbed atop the wind-swept ridge and sat quietly, facing east; the sky was a gray sheet. Then it became a pale blue, which deepened. There was a silent rush of color as the sun rose. Rudd stood blinking with frozen tears on his cheeks.” (From The Minister’s Manual, by James W. Cox, p. 290) For those who sat in darkness and in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Extending Mercy

            “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). In Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables, Jean Valjean served a 19-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread in order to feed his sister’s family. Finally, he is set free. A bishop is the only one who will befriend the embittered man. Valjean rewards him by stealing some of his silver. He is caught red-handed by the police. The bishop is called to the police station to prefer charges. Instead of doing that, he brings Valjean his candlestick holders as well. Valjean is forever changed. He extends grace to an orphan child and raises her as his own. He forgives the policeman who wanted to put him back in jail. Finally he dies, holding in his hand the two candlesticks that the bishop gave him. This embittered man learned to extend mercy because mercy had been extended to him. Let us show mercy because we will receive judgment without mercy if we show no mercy.

Cutting Holes in the Darkness

            “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16). At age twelve, Robert Louis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island) was looking out into the dark from his upstairs window, watching a man light the streetlamps. Stevenson’s governess came into the room and asked what he was doing. He replied, “I am watching a man cut holes in the darkness.” I see this as a marvelous picture of what our task should be as sharers of God’s light – people who are busy cutting holes in the spiritual darkness of our world. (From Illustrations Unlimited, by James S. Hewett, p178-179) Paul said, “…That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Meant to Be Used

            “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). I was cleaning out a desk drawer when I found a flashlight I hadn’t used in over a year. I flipped the switch but wasn’t surprised when it gave no light. I opened the flashlight and shook it to get the batteries out, but they wouldn’t budge. Finally, after some effort, they came loose. What a mess! Battery acid had corroded the entire inside of the flashlight. The batteries were new when I’d put them in, and I’d stored them in a safe, warm place, but there was one problem. Those batteries weren’t made to be warm and comfortable. They were designed to be turned on, to be used. (From Ted Engstrom). The same is true with us. The Christian is not designed to be warm, safe, and comfortable. He must be “turned on,” letting his light shine, putting his love to work, diligently teaching God’s word at every opportunity, and bearing up under persecutions and hardships.

Parable of an Ignorant Church

            A preacher once entered a Bible Class while it was still in progress. He asked the children a question: “Who made the walls of Jericho fall?”  One little boy piped up, “I sure didn’t do it.”

The preacher turned to the teacher and asked, “What do you have to say on behalf of this student?” The teacher said, “This boy is honest and I believe him. I don’t think he did it.”

Leaving the room in bewilderment, the preacher encountered one of the deacons and explained what had happened. The deacon said. “I have known the boy for some time and I am convinced he would never do such a thing.”

By this time the preacher was heartsick and reported to the elders. They said, “We see no point in disturbing the congregation over this matter. Let’s just pay the bill for any damage to the walls and charge it to upkeep.”

We Need Men…

…who cannot be bought,

…whose word is their bond,

…who put character above wealth,

…who are larger than their vocations,

…who do not hesitate to take chances,

…who will not lose their identity in a crowd,

…who will be as honest in small things as in great things,

…who will make no compromise with wrong,

…whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires,

…who will not say they do it “because everybody else does it,

…who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as prosperity,

…who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning are the best qualities for winning success,

…who are not ashamed to stand for the truth when it is unpopular,

…who can say “NO” with emphasis, although the rest of the crowd is saying “YES.”

(By Leonard Wagner)

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