Recent Story Posts…May 5-10,2011

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 10, 2011

Willing to Bow

                  I am free, but I make myself a servant of everyone, in order that I might win more.

                                                                   1 Corinthians 9:19

When he died in October of 2001, his funeral brought together politicians from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton sat next to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Ted Kennedy attended along with Jesse Helms. He was loved by both Democrats and Republicans alike because, though he served as Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in history, though he was one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, he always treated everyone with kindness. He was a servant.

In April 1981, Mansfield was serving as Ambassador to Japan, under Ronald Reagan.  A U.S. nuclear submarine, the USS George Washington accidentally rammed a Japanese freighter, the Nissho Maru. To make matters worse, the American vessel did not stay on the scene to attend to the dead and wounded, but disappeared.

The submarine was under orders not to disclose its location, but this act created outrage among the Japanese.

Mansfield was in the center of the controversy. He demanded a full report from the U.S. .Navy, and delivered it, in person, to Japan’s Foreign Minister, Sunao Sonoda.

As Charles Ferris recounted the incident, he said that Mansfield requested the cameras remain on him after their greeting. This was an odd request because Mansfield never enjoyed being in the limelight. But he knew what he was doing.

As the cameras were allowed to remain on, Mansfield bowed deeply from the waist before giving the report to the Foreign Minister. He knew Japanese culture well. A deep bow expresses the depth and sincerity of an apology.

Mansfield’s biographer, Don Oberdorfer writes, “That five seconds was played and replayed on Japan’s TV stations many times over . . .” The political issue was defused by a public act of regret and humility.

The apostle Paul was a free man. Yet, he used his freedom to become a servant to everyone. He didn’t have to position himself below others, but he chose to because he wanted others to know the life of Christ.

What do you think?Do non-Christians today feel as if the Christians they know all stoop down to serve them? Or do they feel as if they’re being hammered by churchgoers who loom over them and swing the Truth like a weapon?

The Japanese still speak fondly of Mansfield. Before he died he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun – the highest honor Japan can bestow on a civilian.

They never forgot the man who was willing to bow.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Monday May 9, 2011

Turn Your Radio On

                              “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:9

Scientists were excited when the Navy discovered an enormous iceberg near Point Barrow, Alaska. The iceberg was 3 ½ miles long and enabled transport planes to land with supplies to build ARLIS II (Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station).

In 1961, scientists erected fourteen buildings and began their research. They were, periodically, resupplied with food and fuel by airdrops. But this was not a simple operation. The iceberg was drifting.

In September of 1963, the situation was growing tense. The research station had drifted near the North Pole, a thousand miles from Point Barrow, and, while food supplies were fine, the researchers were down to their last barrel of diesel fuel. Diesel was used to run the generators which provided electricity to operate the station. Most importantly, it operated the radio navigation beacon that guided supply planes to their iceberg.

One day, an ionospheric storm turned the radio to static. In frustration, the radio operator, Gary Sides, turned the navigational beacon off. He had no idea that a resupply plane was blindly flying in the area and pleading, “Turn on your beacon.”

The plane couldn’t locate the research station and decided to turn back. But just then, for some inexplicable reason, Gary Sides flipped the radio on and heard the pilot say “ . . . beacon on.” Realizing a plane was flying nearby trying to locate them, he turned the navigational beacon back on, and the resupply plane landed within the hour.

If the radioman had not decided to turn the radio on, the scientists on ARLIS II would’ve perished.

Jesus told a story once about a man who sowed seed in his field. Some fell in fertile soil, some fell on a hardened footpath. The seed was the same, but some soils allowed the seed to germinate and others didn’t.

Once, Carl, a friend of mine, was talking to his co-worker who didn’t believe in God. “If God is there,” he challenged Carl, “how come you know he’s there and I don’t?”

Carl told his co-worker his problem was he didn’t have his radio on.

“What do you mean?”

“Look,” Carl asked him, “can you see radio waves?”


“But you believe in them, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” his co-worker answered – wondering where this was going.

“Radio waves are all around us right now. They’re passing through our bodies.” Then Carl asked, “How come we can’t hear them?”

“Because we haven’t turned the radio on.”

“Exactly,” Carl said.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Saturday May 7, 2011

Happy With a Bad Potato

                 “Blessed are you when others mock you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you. Rejoice and be glad . . .”

Matthew 5:11-12

For her work in the field of therapeutic humor, Patty Wooten has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. One of her favorite stories is about a grumpy patient who continually pressed his buzzer for help.

Despite a hectic day, his nurse clung to her good cheer and asked, “What’s wrong?”

The patient complained about his dinner. “This is a bad potato.”

The nurse, determined to keep things upbeat, picked up the potato with one hand and spanked it with the other.  She scolded the potato, “Bad potato! Bad! Bad! Bad!” Satisfied that the potato had learned its lesson, the nurse set it back down on the plate.

The patient was so taken off guard that he burst into laughter. A crabby, irritable patient had been instantly transformed.

What changed his whiny attitude? His circumstances hadn’t changed: he was still lying in a hospital bed with an unappealing dinner before him. But the thought of the naughty potato lying on his plate completely altered how he viewed his situation.

When we’re in a sour mood we feel we’ve earned the right to nurse a bad attitude. That’s because we believe our attitudes are dependent on our circumstances.

They’re not. When we’re crabby, it’s never because of the situation we’re in, but how we are interpreting our situation.

Jesus tells us that when we’re horribly mistreated for following him, instead of moaning, it’s a good time to dance on the table.  The proper attitude to persecution is joy.

No circumstance in life demands a crabby attitude.

One hot summer day, Robert Fulghum was sitting at an oceanfront café on the Greek island of Crete. The temperature was over a hundred degrees and the tempers of both tourists and waiters were rising.

At the table next to Fulghum’s, an attractive young couple, fashionable dressed, were kissing and laughing. Suddenly, they picked up their small table, and stepped off the quay into the shallow water of the harbor. The man waded back for their chairs and gallantly seated his lady before sitting down. The onlookers roared with laughter and applauded.

The surly waiter appeared, raised his eyebrows, and picking up a tablecloth, napkins, and silverware, waded into the water to set their table. Minutes later, the waiter returned with a bucket of iced champagne and two glasses. The couple toasted each other, the waiter, and the crowd – which prompted cheers as the other customers threw flowers to them from their table decorations.

The circumstances didn’t change. It was still hot. But everyone’s disposition was transformed because one young couple taught the rest to see in a new way.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Friday May 6, 2011

Soggy With Grace

                    An angry man stirs up disputes, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

Proverbs 29:22

When you lose our temper and let someone “have it,” what are you hoping to accomplish?  Teach them a lesson and improve their behavior? Sounds noble, but no one’s buying it. Let’s not fool ourselves: anger seldom motivates other people to be better people. It increases hostility in those who feel our heat.

In our honest moments, we know better. When we lose our temper, we want to hurt somebody. We don’t call it a “tongue lashing” for nothing.

A hot temper stirs up anger in others. We’re starting a forest fire. But do you realize what your anger does to you in the process of hurting others?

In 1940, Douglas Thompson, a Tennessee paper boy, was delivering papers when a neighborhood dog attacked and bit him. Thompson had the dog impounded, and it was later released in a few days.

But the dog’s owner, Gertrude Jamieson, was outraged that her dog was impounded.  She began harassing Douglas with obscene phone calls several times a day.  She continued her hateful phone calls for forty three years! The harassing calls ended in 1983 when Gertrude was 85 – not because see finally let go of her anger, but because she suffered a debilitating stroke. Oh yes, she made Douglas Thompson pay for his “crime.”  But she destroyed herself by nursing her smoldering anger.

When a bee plants its stinger into your flesh it introduces you to a lot of pain. But, once a bee loses its stinger, it dies. We cannot unleash malice on someone without destroying ourselves in the process.

Margaret Tiffle, a 62-year old woman from suburban Paris, would get upset when others would part in the “No Parking” zone in front of her house.  So, when she found this fancy Citron parked in her front yard, she lost it. Furious, she got a stiff wire brush and mercilessly scratched up the paint job on the new car.

Margaret’s husband came home and was inconsolable. For their 40th wedding anniversary he had bought her a new car. . . but someone had already vandalized it!

Anger flares because there is fuel. And you cannot escape the fuel. You will always have others who tailgate you, and scratch your CDs, and lock the keys in the house.

I live in the Rockies where huge tracts of dry timber ignite into forest fires.  You can’t eliminate all the fuel of dead timber, but last year, there were virtually no fires.  Know why? Rain. Lots and lots of rain.

The fuel for anger will always be there. But the Lord wants to drench your life with his love. Fuel doesn’t burn when it’s soggy with grace.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Thursday May 5, 2011

The One Who Sang a Perfect Song

                   Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord – but not like his father David. Instead, he followed the example of his father Joash.

2 Kings 14:3

A woman from Asheville, Alabama, bought a mynah bird, but as soon as she brought it home she discovered it was sick. The bird started wheezing and coughing and hacking as if it trying to clear its throat. The vet said the bird looked healthy, but maybe it had a rare aviary virus, so he gave antibiotics to clear up its respiration.

After treatment with antibiotics, however, the bird continued to cough and wheeze. But, finally, the bird’s problem was solved.

Can you guess the problem? Like parrots, mynah birds mimic sound. When they tracked down the previous owner, they discovered it was recently owned by a woman who had emphysema.

All of us influence each other. The good news is that we can become a positive influence in the lives of others. The bad news is that our faults are a bad influence on others. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick which of our traits will affect the lives of others.

A man owned a lovely Chinese plaque with raised figures on it. He hung it on his wall, but one day it fell and broke it half. He wanted the valuable handmade plaque replaced, so he glued the plate together as best he could and mailed it to China so that they could make a copy of it.

A half a year later, his new plaque was finished and mailed to him. The copy was exquisitely made – just like the original . . . including a crack across the center.

As the king of Judah, Amaziah got off to a good start. But, while he could’ve been a great king if he sought to model his rule after king David, he instead followed the example of king Joash, and needlessly bungled things up.

The village of Andreasberg, Germany, became famous for raising canaries. The birds, although not native to the Harz Mountain region, nevertheless, were known worldwide for the quality of their beautiful songs.

The secret to the superior song of these canaries was no great mystery. The Germans of Andreasberg understood that a bird learns to sing from others around it. So, they wouldn’t sell their best songbirds – they kept them so that the other canaries would be influenced by their song.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for those times you’ve been a bad influence on others. That’s why forgiveness is so refreshing.

But, if we want to grow in becoming a helpful influence on those around us, the best place to begin is by placing our lives under the influence of the One who sang a perfect song.

(copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)