Tag Archives: General Sherman

Impossible Beginnings

Story of the Day for Saturday August 11, 2012 

Impossible Beginnings



      And in those days, Peter got up in the midst of the brothers – a group numbering about a hundred and twenty. 

                                             Acts 1:15



Have you ever seen a tree that is six feet in diameter? I’ve seen only a handful of trees that large in my lifetime.

That is why I was impressed when I read, that in January 2006, in California, a branch fell off a tree that measured more than six feet in diameter! A branch.


The branch came from a Great Sequoia, named “General Sherman.” This tree towers 275 feet high and measures over 100 feet around at the base.  Its bark is about three feet thick. And – get this – the tree was already 3,327 years old when Columbus reached the new world.

Want to know something else about this tree? The General Sherman once started as a seed. A really, really tiny seed, in fact.  3000 sequoia seeds weigh only one ounce!


After Jesus ascended to heaven, he entrusted the work of God’s kingdom on this earth to a small handful of followers. After their first head count, they only number one hundred and twenty believers.

Jesus’ followers faced immediate opposition from the Jewish leaders.  But, beyond that, the mighty Roman Empire loomed over this meager bunch of disciples, and its emperors would soon dedicate themselves to eradicating all followers of Jesus from the earth.

Things didn’t look promising, to put it mildly. But, look around today at what God has accomplished from this small beginning.


So, what’s the point?  I’m not entirely sure I should tell you. (Have you ever noticed how often Jesus told parables and made puzzling comments, and then let us wrestle with his words?)

But, surely you’ve heard the old slogan, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Well, yeah, that’s true. But, sometimes the first step seems so insignificant, that I’m tempted to cancel the trip and watch a football game instead.


If you’re ever discouraged by beginnings, maybe this will help. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago had an exhibit. A checkerboard had one grain of wheat on the first square. Two grains on the second square. Four on the next square.

By doubling a single grain of wheat each square, how many grains will you have by the final 64th square? Enough to cover the entire subcontinent of India fifty feet deep!

All big things start as small things.  When the Lord sets a dream before you, don’t be afraid to start. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a seed . . . “

                         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Not Just “Pie in the Sky”

Story of the Day for Wednesday July 13, 2011

Not Just “Pie in the Sky”

                  Hope that is seen is not hope, because if he sees it, why does he still hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it patiently.

                                            Romans 8:24

 One of the marks of our secular age is the loss of hope. If we believe that the future will not fulfill our longings, then the result is despair. Hopelessness means not only that the future will be bleak, but the very realization means that our present lives will be marked by gloom.

John Maxwell talks of a small town in Maine that stood in the way of a proposed hydroelectric dam. All the residents were told that their town would be submerged by the dam and they would have to relocate.

As construction began on the dam, the town changed. No one painted their house. Roads and sidewalks were not repaired. Long before the dam was finished, the town looked shabby and abandoned. One resident noted, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”

When modern man abandons God, he abandons hope. Sigmund Freud was honest enough to admit, “My courage fails me, therefore, at the thought of rising up as a prophet before my fellowmen. I bow to their reproach that I have no consolation to offer them.”

Many ridicule our Christian hope. They see it as a illusory dream which lulls us into inactivity in the present world. “Pie in the sky by and by.” But that is not how hope works. It does not weaken our daily actions but invigorates them.

To break the back of the South and end the Civil War, General William T. Sherman marched through the heart of the South. As Sherman’s army pushed toward Atlanta, his adversary, General Hood circled north and began attacking his supply line. Hood’s men tore up nine miles of the railroad that supplied Sherman’s huge army. Then the Confederates moved toward the Union’s main supply post at Altoona, which held over a million and a half rations for Sherman’s army.

The Union army had less than 2000 men under Brigadier General John M. Corse to defend Altoona Pass from an advancing Confederate division of over 3000. After furious fighting, Corse had lost a third of his men and was forced to retreat to another position further up the pass. How much longer could Corse hold out?

But then, General Sherman, on the top of Kenesaw Mountain twelve miles away sent a signal-flag message to Corse to “hold fast; we are coming.” Corse’s men let out a cheer. Although the fighting was fierce, Corse’s outnumbered men stubbornly refused to surrender or retreat. They fought valiantly because they knew that help was on the way. It was that hope that enabled them to hold the pass and save the Union supply depot.

The Bible says, “We rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.” But this hope is not just “pie in the sky.” Hope gives us power to persist through all adversity. And that is why Scripture continues, “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our trials, because we know that trials produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us. . . “

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)