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Trust Him Anyway

Helen Roseveare, a British missionary in Conga, survived the uprising that resulted from the invasion of the Mau-Mau revolutionaries. This godly, gracious lady was raped, assaulted, and humiliated. But she never abandoned her faith.

While recovering from the horrible attack, Helen and the Lord grew closer together than they had ever been. She wrote a statement in the form of a question that every person needs to ask himself, from God’s perspective. “Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”

Golfer Bernhard Langer had one putt that would decide the Ryder Cup winner, between Europe and the United States. He missed the putt. But he told a reporter afterwards, “If I had made that putt, it wouldn’t have made God love me more. And by missing it, it didn’t make God love me less.”

God’s love is perfect, whether our shots go in or not. It’s one thing to trust him when you miss a putt. But when you go through a truly horrific experience, listen for God’s voice. “Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”

One Word for God

We were in high school. Mary was completely normal in every way but one. Mary was blind. She often asked me to describe what things looked like: clouds, flowers, and the sunset. I could never do it in less than ten minutes. Clouds, flowers, and the sunset are too awesome to describe with just a few words, to someone who has never seen them.

So how would you describe God for someone who have never seen him? The old prophet Isaiah took on this task. Read his words. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole world is full of his glory.”

In the Hebrew language, repetition performed the role of our modern highlighter. Repetition stood for emphasis. No verse ever describes God as “strong, strong, strong” or as “wise, wise, wise.” The only description given three times was “holy.”

The Hebrew word is qadosh, meaning “cut off, separate.” In other words, Isaiah is saying that God is unique. He is like no other. And he calls us to holiness, as well.

Sure, you’re smart, beautiful, and funny. But are you holy?

“Be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

 

The Day Nero Committed Suicide

On this day in the year 68, the Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus committed suicide in Rome. His was a life of extremes and debaucheries. Nero gained the imperial throne as a teenager thanks to the manipulations of his mother, Agrippina, who is said to have achieved this coup by poisoning Claudius, the incumbent emperor, whom she had married.

In the early years of his reign, Nero banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, and allowed slaves to bring civil complaints against unjust masters. But his later scandalous behavior, excesses, and indecorous stage acting shocked even jaded Romans. It did not help that he had his mother assassinated and his wife, Octavia, executed. Rome’s great fire in 64 was blamed on Nero. He ignored rebellions in the provinces that sprung up during the decline of the Roman Empire, and the Senate condemned him to death by flogging. Upon learning of this, he committed suicide.

Life is not about how you start, but how you finish. And one thing all of us share in common, if we are able to read this, is the opportunity to still finish strong.

The Rushmore Report: Regardless of Your Story, God Can Use Your Past

One of the best ways to discover how God wants to use you in the future is to look at how he has used you in the past. God doesn’t want to waste your past. God wants to use it. The Bible says, “Everyone should examine his own conduct; then he will be able to take the measure of his own worth; no need to compare himself to others” (Galatians 6:4). The Bible says we are to examine our own conduct.

It’s not about what your parents do well. It’s not about what your spouse does well. The Bible says we’re to examine our own conduct.

So how do you do that? Here’s an easy exercise to get you started.

Take a half-hour this week. Sit down with a piece of paper, and separate it by a line for every 10 years of your life. Then try to create a life inventory. Examine your own conduct.

What were you good at during each of those stages of your life? What did you enjoy doing? Both are important.

Look for patterns. If you were good at it when you were younger, you’re probably still good at it. Use what you’ve learned about yourself to help you understand what God wants to do through your life.

About the Author

Rick Warren is a best-selling author and pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America’s largest congregations.

Bureaucrats

I love bureaucracy. The Florida Department of Labor recently reported, “The increase in unemployment last month resulted from workers losing their jobs.”

The Ohio Health Department stated, “Death certificates are to be ordered one week in advance of death.”

A government fire prevention pamphlet states, “Exit access is that part of a means of egress that leads to an entrance to an exit.” (Who can’t understand that?)

But here’s my favorite. The Ohio Department of Administrative Services sent a memo to explain how to figure out future Leap Years. “Leap Year is determined if the four-digit year can be divided by four unless the year can be divided by 100. Then it is not a Leap Year, unless the year can be divided by 400. Then it is a Leap Year, unless the year can be divided by 4,000. Then it is not a Leap Year, unless the year is 200 or 600 or after a year that is divided by 900. Then it is a Leap Year.”

People are funny. We have an amazing ability to make the simple appear complex, while God does just the opposite. Life is about complexity. But God is about simplicity. And grace.

On Speed

One day, little Johnny was running through the halls at school. His third grade teacher ordered him to slow down. When he wanted to keep running, she made him sit still in a chair for two hours.

He said to the teacher, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m still running on the inside.”

But Johnny really can’t help it. It’s no wonder people are always on the move. We are made to be active. Did you know your fingernails are always growing, at a clip of .004 millimeters per hour? Don’t take my word for it. Measure them.

The human sneeze is much faster, traveling at 100 mph. Hair grows at a pace of .16 millimeters per hour. Blood traverses our veins at two mph. And the fastest among us can run at speeds up to 28 mph. People are always moving.

The only exception is the man sitting on the bench at the mall waiting for his wife. He hasn’t moved in days.

But did you know the Bible have over 7,000 commands, and none of them says, “Hurry up!” So even if you’re running on the inside, sit down on the outside. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Coke – The Real Thing

It happened on this day in history. On May 8, 1886, Coke was born. Pharmacist John Pemberton sold a carbonated beverage called “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Coke is sold in over 200 countries. On average, 10,000 Cokes are consumed every second of every day. The name was conjured up by Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, who was also a writer. He created the logo that is still used today.

The original Coke had cocaine in it – about nine milligrams per glass. Cocaine was removed in 1903. Over 57 billion servings of Coke products are sold each day, making Coke the most widely distributed product on the planet.

There’s more. Only two countries ban Coke: Cuba and North Korea. And Coke products generate over $1 billion in sales each year.

I loved the old ad from the 1970s. “It’s the real thing.” Indeed, there is nothing else like Coke.

The can is an illustration for us. Jesus is “the real thing.” Think of the can like this. The red represents the blood of Jesus. The white represents forgiveness. The can is recyclable, just like us. and when the can is full, it cannot be bent. Similarly, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we do not easily bend.

Coke is “the real thing.” But Jesus is more than “the real thing.” He is the only “real thing” that really matters. Drink up all the Coke you can. But remember there is One who said, “Drink of the water I give you, and you will never thirst again.”

The Tongue

On a windswept hill in an English country churchyard stands a drab, gray slate tombstone. Bleak and unpretentious, it leans slightly to one side, beaten slick and thin by the blast of time. The quaint stone bears an epitaph not easily seen unless you stoop over and look closely.

The faint etchings read: “Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who, on the 24th of May, began to hold her tongue.”

The tongue. What a study in contrasts! To the physician it’s merely a complex array of muscles and nerves that enable our bodies to chew, taste, and swallow. How helpful! Equally significant, it is the major organ of communication that enables us to articulate sounds so we can understand each other. How essential!

The tongue is as volatile as it is vital.

Washington Irving said, “A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with use.”

And James said, “The tongue is a fire, a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

I have had to apologize for my words many times. But I have never had to apologize for my silence.

The Rushmore Report: Five NFL Players You Didn’t Know Were Christians

In America, football has become a religion. While more people attend church on Sundays than watch NFL games on TV, the NFL is gaining – fast. But Christianity and the NFL are not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of NFL players who work on Sundays – and are very active in their faith. Here are just a few football players who have embraced Christianity, and aren’t ashamed to talk about it.

1. Drew Brees

The man is a saint – twice. First, Brees plays quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. But more importantly, he lives out an active faith in Christ. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior on his 17th birthday, after having knee surgery. He credits his faith for helping him through multiple episodes of adversity in his life.

2. Aaron Rodgers

Widely recognized as the best player in the NFL, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers grew up in a Christian home. This is how he lives out his faith as a football player: “Let your actions talk about your beliefs. Start a relationship with others, then finally when there is a chance for questions, tell them about God.”

3. Russell Wilson

A featured speaker in churches nationwide, Wilson credits his faith for the stability he has come to experience in his personal life. He explains, “I don’t have highs and lows because I play for Him.” Wilson has shared his faith with teammates, and the Seattle Seahawks now have one of the strongest chapel ministries in the league.

4. Mark Sanchez

The back-up quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys has experienced a lot of adversity in the NFL, bouncing from team to team. He expresses his faith by the way he treats others. He says, “How can you show your love for God? He doesn’t need anything you’ve got. You love Him by loving others.”

5. Robert Griffin III

Having earned Rookie of the Year honors with the Washington Redskins, it once looked as though RG3 would become the face of the NFL. Then injuries began to mount. Through trades and down times, he has remained faithful to God. He says, “My relationship with God has been my most important influence. I praise God for everything. Purposefully, you live every day for Him, and when He gives you the opportunity to speak up for Him or to do something in His name, you do it.”

The Evolution of the Automobile

On this day in 1901 the state of New York did something that every other state has done since. They became the first state to require drivers to purchase license plates. That was a sign of growth.

On this day in 2009 GM did something no one could have seen coming just a few years before. They killed the Pontiac. The first Pontiac was produced in 1931. The brand became known for its sedans and occasional sports cars. The GTO, Firebird, and Trans Am were cultural icons, bringing both speed and sex appeal. The demise of the Pontiac was a sign of despair.

But in 2008, GM ceded its role as the world’s top auto maker to Toyota. They soon asked for government assistance to remain afloat, eventually filing for bankruptcy. As part of its reorganization plan, GM discontinued the Pontiac division altogether.

A parable on life, the history of the automobile reminds us of the inevitable change of life. One day the American-made automobile was competing with the horse and carriage. Fast forward. Now the American-made automobile – Pontiac in this case – can struggle for its mere existence.

There are 7,500 promises in the Bible. “Tomorrow” is not one of them. Life is brief and unpredictable. Just like the automobile.