Anecdotes and Other Nice Stuff
Page 3

Hypocrites in the church!
Musings on Miracles

Package Deal!

Jenny's Pearls


All those stinking hypocrites!

Here's an old chestnut I'm sure you've heard...

"I don't go to church. There are too many hypocrites there."

  • Maybe you have tried to argue with folks who make such statements.
  • My OPINION? Stop arguing! There really ARE a lot of hypocrites in the church.
  • And why not? Churches are for sinners, and...
  • Christians ARE sinners. NOT perfect! Only forgiven.

The way I answer complaints about hypocrites in church is this:

"You're absolutely right to avoid church!
While you're at it, you should avoid hospitals, too.
I hear they're filled with sick people."

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Mt 9.12a, 9.13b

Just a line to say I'm living,
That I'm not among the dead,
Though I'm getting more forgetful
And mixed up in the head.

I got used to my arthritis,
To my dentures I'm resigned.
I can manage my bifocals,
But God, I miss my mind.

For sometimes I can't remember
When I stand at the foot of the stair,
If I must go up for something
Or have I just come down from there.
And before the fridge so often
My poor mind is filled with doubt.
Have I just put the food away or
Have I come to take some out?

And there are times when it is dark
With my night cap on my head,
I don't know if I'm retiring, or
Just getting out of bed.

So, if it's my turn to write you
There's no need getting sore,
I may think that I have written
And don't want to be a bore.
So, remember that I love you
And wish that you were near,
But now it's nearly mail time
So I must say goodbye, dear.
Here I stand beside the mailbox
With a face so very red,
Instead of mailing you my letter,
I have opened it instead.

Musings on Miracles

Many liberal theologians dismiss Bible verses that speak of miracles as being merely folklore.

"Miracles can't happen," they say.

A person who says, "The Bible's miracles are NOT true," manifests as much faith as the Christian who says, "The Bible's miracles ARE true."

  • The difference between these two statements is not BELIEF versus UNBELIEF.
  • Instead, the difference is a choice between two RIVAL BELIEFS.
  • The Christian says, "I believe that God can work in ways I don't understand."
  • The liberal says, "I believe in a world where nothing can happen that I don't understand."

The liberal's mind-block is that he or she views a miracle as something that is contrary to nature.

  • In reality, however, a miracle is merely contrary to what we KNOW of nature.
  • For an all-powerful God there are NO miracles.
  • Anything God does is natural to Him, even if it seems miraculous to us.

And now for a tricky question. Namely...
In your opinion, what was God's most amazing miracle?

Read backwards, right to left, for Bellgamin's opinion.
01.4 nhoJ tsriF .su devol eH taht tub ,doG devol ew taht toN

Package Deal!

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The widowed, elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. A few weeks later, his father received a telegram. His beloved son had been killed in the act of rescuing a fellow soldier. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.

On Christmas morning, there was a knock on the door. As the depressed old man went to answer the knock, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."

As the two talked, the soldier told of how the man's son had informed everyone of his love of fine art. "I'm an artist,"said the soldier, "and I want to give you this."

The old man unwrapped the package, revealing a portrait of his beloved son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting portrayed the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the solider, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace.

As soon as the soldier departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

During the days and weeks that followed, the old man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those people he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the old man's grief.

The painting of his son immediately became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest he had in the paintings for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and died. The art world was in anticipation! According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day.

When Christmas came, art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day. Many prospective bidders hoped soon to be able to claim, "I have the world's greatest art collection."

To everyone's surprise, the auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.

"Will anyone open the bidding?" he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke.

From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in agreement.

"No, the old man's will requires us to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the son?"

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke, "Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it."

"The bid is ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer.

After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone." The gavel fell.

Sighs of relief filled the room and someone muttered, "At last we can get down to business and bid on these treasures."

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced, "I'm sorry friends. The auction is OVER!"

Stunned silence filled the room. Finally someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son GETS IT ALL."

Puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Just as those art collectors discovered on that Christmas day, the message is still the same: the love of a Father! A Father whose greatest joy is in His Son, who went away and gave His life saving others.

And because of that Father's love, whoever takes the Son, gets it all!

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son...

  • He who has the Son has the life
  • He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.
1 John 5.11b-13

Jenny's Pearls

Jenny was a bright-eyed, pretty five-year-old girl.

One day when she and her mother were at the grocery store, Jenny saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50. How she wanted that necklace!

When Jenny asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her mother said, "Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of money. I'll tell you what -- I'll buy you the necklace, and when we get home we can make a list of chores that you can do to pay for it. Okay?"

Jenny eagerly agreed, so her mother bought the plastic pearl necklace for her.

Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day until finally she paid off the pearls.

How Jenny loved those pretty plastic pearls. She wore them to kindergarten, to bed, and when she went out with her mother to run errands. The only time she didn't wear them was in the shower.

Now Jenny had a very loving daddy. When Jenny went to bed each night, he would get up from his favorite chair and read stories to her until she fell asleep.

One night when he finished reading a story, Jenny's dad said, "Jenny, do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you," Jenny replied.

"Well, then, give me your pearls," said her daddy.

"Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!" Jenny said. "But you can have Rosie, my favorite doll. And you can have her tea party outfit, too. Okay?"

"Oh no, darling, that's okay." Her father brushed her cheek with a kiss and murmured, "Good night, little one."

Several days later, her father once again tucked Jenny into bed and asked her, "Jenny, do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you."

"Well then, give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls! But you can have Ribbons, my toy horse. Do you
remember her? She's my favorite. Her hair is so soft, and you can play with
it and braid it."

"No, that's okay," her father said, and brushed her cheek again with a kiss.
"God bless you, little one. Sweet dreams."

Several days later, when Jenny's father came in to read her a story, Jenny
was sitting on her bed and her lips were trembling.

"Here, Daddy," she said, and held out her hand. She opened it and her beloved plastic pearl necklace was inside. She let the necklace slip into
her father's hand, then knuckled the tears from her eyes.

With one hand her father accepted the plastic pearls, and with the other he
silently pulled a blue velvet box from his pocket, then handed it to Jenny.

When Jenny opened the box, her eyes went wide with wonder and joy. Nestled on the blue velvet inside was a string of genuine pearls, luminescent with their beauty.

Her daddy had been keeping them all along, patiently waiting for Jenny to give up the fake, cheap stuff so he could give her the real thing.

And so it is with your Heavenly Father. He is waiting for you to surrender the cheap stuff that your flesh so adores, so that He can replace it with the beautiful and eternal treasures of the spirit.

Got a fake necklace? Trade it in today!

(Jesus said...) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
(Mt 6.19-21)

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