Tag Archives: Joseph

“War Bombs”

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 15, 2012

“War Bombs”

                “You intended evil against me, but God intended it for good so as to bring about this present result: the saving of many lives.” 

                    Genesis 50:20

 The distance from Eureka, Montana to just about anywhere else on earth is endless. When we go to the Midwest, we drive over five hundred weary miles . . . and we’re still in Montana.

Near the end of a long day of driving, I was beginning to flag in zeal. One of my kids noticed my drowsiness and offered me a candy called a War Bomb, or something like that.

WHOA! That thing was sour enough to peel the hair back from your scalp. If those candies were actually approved by the FDA, it only further erodes that fragile bond of trust that exists between government agencies and those they claim to protect.

When your mouth is puckered by candy that sour, your moans take on a muffled, pitiful tone. My kids were having a delightful time.

But that sour bomb worked. I was no longer drowsy.

After the funeral for their father, Joseph’s brothers feared that Joseph would avenge them for selling him into slavery. Instead, he forgave and comforted his brothers. Joseph was able to look back and see that God had used all the cruddy things that happened to him to keep the Egyptians – and his family – from starving.

Adolf Hitler unleashed a storm of suffering and death. World War II saw the tragic loss of millions of lives.

Yet, before 1941, doctors had no access to antibiotics to revere the course of infections. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, but the medical community treated it more as a curiosity than the “miracle drug” it would later be called.

The war prompted intense research. English scientists brought the penicillin culture to America were they learned to mass produce it in an agricultural lab in Peoria, Illinois.

By 1943, only 28 pounds f penicillin had been produced, at a manufacturing cost of $200,000 a pound. Within two years, researchers produced 14,000 pounds and a cost of two dollars per 100,000 units.

The desperate need for antibiotics caused pharmaceutical companies to step up their efforts. Selman Waksman from Rutgers discovered streptomycin, which treated tuberculosis. Soon, many more antibiotics were discovered and manufactured.

A medical historian, Dr. Russell Maulitz, observes that “War is the perverse handmaiden of medical progress.”

Millions died in a tragic war. But, because of it, many more millions of lives were saved through the intense antibiotic research it provoked.

Sucking on sour candy while I drive is far from pleasant. But it makes me perky as I consider my children and plot my revenge.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

A Pickle for the Knowing Ones

Story of the Day for Friday May 4, 2012

A Pickle for the Knowing Ones

                          Joseph said, “You meant to do evil against me, but God meant it for good.” 

                                                                     Genesis 50:20

Timothy Dexter was deprived of a formal education. Born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1747, he worked the farm since he was eight. When he turned twenty, he gathered his life savings of eight dollars and moved to Newburyport.  A few years later, he met a wealthy widow in her early thirties, and married her.

 

Timothy would soon learn that his contemporaries resented his newly acquired social status, and worked to ruin him. They encouraged him to invest in stocks and led him to buy large amounts of worthless Continental currency.

Once they realized his naivety, they offered outrageous “business tips.” One merchant told Dexter that the West Indies was desperately in need of warming pans and mittens. Poor Timothy, not realizing that the West Indies was a hot, tropical climate, bought 40,000 New England warming pans and 40,000 pairs of mittens, and shipped them to the West Indies.

Newcastle, England was the center of Great Britain’s coal mining industry. Businessmen urged Dexter to “carry coal to Newcastle.”  Timothy hired scores of ships to sail across the Atlantic with inferior Virginia coal to sell to the coal mining district of England.

Dexter was not only a dim bulb, he was a bit of a goof. He took to calling himself “Lord Dexter,” and celebrated his brilliance by writing a book about himself, entitled: A Pickle for the Knowing Ones. He proclaimed, among other things, “Ime the first Lord in the younited States of A mercary Now of Newburyport it is the voise of the peopel and I can’t Help it and so Let it goue Now as I must be Lord there will foller many more Lords pretty Soune . . .” Lord Dexter neglected to include any punctuation in his book.

 

Joseph knew what it was like to have others envy and hate him and plot his harm. He was sent as a slave to a foreign land, was falsely charged with a crime and imprisoned.

It’s when we sit in our prisons, with rats gnawing at our toes, that we compose our most eloquent tirades about God’s unfairness.

But Joseph’s story wasn’t over. And neither is ours. God is able to collect all the nastiness of an evil world and use it for good in the end.

 

Timothy Dexter, who was tricked into buying worthless stock, found that the Hamilton funding system reinvigorated its value and made him a fortune. He sent warming pans to the West Indies – where they discovered they were ideal molasses scoops for making sugar. A fleet of Russian ships arrived in the West Indies at the same time his mittens did, and he sold them all at a healthy profit.

It turned out there was a miner’s strike at Newcastle when Lord Dexter’s coal shipments arrived, and he sold it all – making him one of the wealthiest nitwits on earth.

Oh, yeah – and his book. It’s so painfully awful, it’s now a valuable collector’s item.

                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Speaking Clearly Without Saying a Word

Story of the Day for Tuesday December 6, 2011

Speaking Clearly Without Saying a Word

                 And Joseph got up from his dream and did what the angel of the Lord told him.

                                                                        Matthew 1:24

When we read the Christmas story and hear about Mary and Joseph, does it come as a surprise to you that, in the Bible, Joseph never speaks a single word?

Why does this seem so odd?  Maybe it’s because Joseph “speaks” so powerfully by his life.

After Joseph was engaged to Mary, he discovers she is pregnant.  At this time, he doesn’t know what’s going on.  But he does know that Mary isn’t pregnant because of him.

In the Old Testament, if a woman is betrothed and another man sleeps with her, both are to be executed.  Not only that, but in the culture of the day, Joseph is expected to stand up and defend his innocence by publicly denouncing Mary.

 

But Joseph didn’t do this.  Instead, he planned to divorce her quietly.  Engagements could only be legally dissolved by divorce, but he could do so without making a big stink about it.

Do you see what Joseph’s plan meant?  Mary, he thought, had been unfaithful to him.  As heartbreaking as this was, Joseph didn’t plan to retaliate by harming her.  But think about it: if he divorced Mary quietly, who would everyone assume got her pregnant?  Joseph!  Yet, Joseph was willing to bear the public shame in order to protect Mary.  And, not only that, by divorcing her quietly, he also loses the dowry he paid for her.

Joseph had no idea Mary was pregnant because of the Holy Spirit.  Only later, in a dream, does the angel of the Lord tell Joseph what is happening and that he must take Mary as his wife.  And he does.

 

In the 19th century, one of the most well-known preachers in America was Charles Spurgeon.  On the side, Spurgeon and his wife raised chickens and sold the eggs.  Some of Spurgeon’s close friends and relatives expected a discount on the price of his eggs.  Spurgeon refused. He insisted that everyone pay the full price.

Needless to say, Spurgeon earned a reputation for being a cheapskate.  It wasn’t until after Spurgeon’s wife  died that the public learned all of the money the Spurgeons raised from the sale of his eggs went to support two poor widows.

Charles Spurgeon was willing to let gossips attack his character rather than reveal the true motive for his egg prices.  Joseph was willing to bear dishonor and humiliation rather than to expose Mary to public disgrace.

Are you willing to do the same?

Joseph’s displayed a higher kind of righteousness; he showed mercy.  And, in the years to come, Joseph’s son would proclaim that God longs – not to give us what we deserve, but to show us mercy.  And Jesus would invite us to both accept and adopt this higher law.

That is why Joseph speaks so clearly without saying a word.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Next Step

Story of the Day for Friday October 21, 2011

The Next Step

                Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. 

                                                                 Psalm 119:105

 When Lewis and Clark led the expedition with the Voyage of Discovery, they knew they would travel through much uncharted territory.  What many don’t realize is that they knew the exact location of their destination on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Robert Gray, on the ship Columbia, sailed into the estuary of a large river that he named after his ship. Gray precisely established the latitude and longitude.

Before the voyage, William Clark was trained in the use of the sextant and other navigational tools, and was able to establish the expedition’s location as they traveled. And so, they knew precisely where their journey would end, but had little notion where their path would take them until they reached the mouth of the Columbia River.

 

The journey of the Voyage of Discovery sounds a lot like our lives.  We know the destination. God is leading us home to heaven.  But we have no idea where the path will take us before we make it home.

All of God’s people are occasionally baffled – and even frustrated – with the path the Lord is leading us on.  God leads Abraham up the hills of Moriah to sacrifice his only son. God has Joseph taken captive as a slave and later thrown into prison in a foreign land. God devastates Job’s prosperity and health.  And none of them know what God is up to.

 

We want to know The Plan. We want to see the Big Picture.  But God refuses to tip his hand. In the midst of bankruptcy, or divorce, or the cancer tests that come back positive, we want God to explain himself and show us how these things will work out. We cry out to God with these kinds of questions. But he does not answer.

 

When Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark for their journey, he possessed the most extensive library in the world on what lay before them. His books told him of giant, prehistoric creatures on the upper Missouri River. He learned that all the great rivers of the west: the Missouri, Colorado, Rio Grande, and the Columbia – all began on a single mountain. His books told him the Blue Ridge Mountains of his home were probably the highest mountains on the American continent.

 

God does not guide us by showing us the Big Picture. Instead, he shows us the next step.

When the psalmist says that God’s word is a lamp for his feet, you should understand that the light does not illumine the whole path.  The feeble light of an ancient lamp is only bright enough to show you the next step.

Lewis and Clark did not know what lay around the next bend. You don’t need to know either. All you need to know is where to put your foot for the next step. And where your journey will end. The Lord’s word will  give you the light to do that.

                                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)