Tag Archives: Mother Theresa

Coming to Know Him

Story of the Day for Saturday January 14, 2012

Coming to Know Him

                    May grace and peace be multiplied to you by the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

                                                                              2 Peter 1:2

Can you know things beyond what you can comprehend with your conscious intellect?   Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Blink, cites a gambling experiment at the University of Iowa where you are given four decks of cards – two red and two blue.  Your task is to turn over cards in any deck you choose to maximize your winnings.  What you don’t know is that the red cards are rigged so that you can win a lot at times, but can never win in the end.

After about 80 cards, most players can understand intellectually why the red decks are a bad choice.  But, after 50 cards, most people develop a hunch and start choosing the proper deck, but have no idea why.

But it gets even more intriguing.  The players were hooked up to machines that measured sweat glands in the palms as well as temperature.  Stress and nervousness can be measured this way.  After only 10 cards were played, the Iowa scientists could detect stress when players chose a red card – 40 cards before they had a “hunch” and 70 cards before they intellectually figured out the game.


Peter is telling us that the source of the grace and peace we receive is found in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.  But what does it mean to know God?  Is it just an intellectual comprehension of facts about God?  I don’t think so.


A newborn baby immediately cuddles with its mother.  That little infant finds comfort from its mother long before it is old enough to intellectually grasp the concept, “You are my mommy.”  Just as in the experiment with the four decks of cards, there is a kind of knowing that extends beyond our conscious, intellectual recognition.


When we know someone, we know them in a deeper way than what documented facts can provide.  Let me give you an example.

The FBI caught a ring of forgers in San Diego.  They were selling thousands of fake autographs and fraudulent historical documents.  How did the FBI discover this ring of counterfeiters?  Among other things, the curiosity of the federal officials was no doubt aroused when they attempted to sell baseballs autographed by . . . Mother Theresa!

Before the feds could document whether Mother Theresa was hawking autographed baseballs, we have an intuitive hunch that Mother Theresa is not like that.  We feel that we know her enough to doubt she would autograph baseballs before we can prove it intellectually.


As we grow in our faith, we are not just learning facts about God; we are coming to know him.  What you will find at the end is a shower of grace and peace.

                                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


A Simple Smile

Story of the Day for Monday November 21, 2011

A Simple Smile

                         A cheerful heart is good medicine.

                                                                            Proverbs 17:22

 Ron Gutman, a recent graduate of Stanford University, has engaged in intensive study of the smile. It sounds like a frivolous subject for legitimate academic work, but Gutman is very serious about the effect of a smile.


Gutman cites a study in which researchers took baseball cards from 1950 and sorted them into three groups: those players who were not smiling, those with a slight smile, and those with beaming smiles. They discovered that the average lifespan of those not smiling was 72.9 years, those who slight smiles, 75, and those with broad smiles lived to an average of 79.9 years.

The researchers didn’t put it in these words, but what they discovered was that the Bible has it right: a cheerful heart is good medicine.


Those saddled with a persistent case of the gloomies will be quick to point out that the Bible also says there’s a time to laugh and a time to weep. Well, of course there is. Both mourning and dancing are appropriate in their time.

Cheerfulness, however, isn’t the opposite of mourning; it’s the opposite of scowling – the dour attitude that makes us miserable and deflates the spirits of others.


Others are suspicious of cheerfulness because they’ve seen the phony, plastered grins of those trying to manipulate us for selfish ends.

Curiously enough, however, “scowlers” have a tougher time distinguishing false from genuine smilers. A French study had participants hold a pencil in their mouth with their lips – which forces a frown. The other group didn’t get pencils. When both groups were asked to identify photos of faked and genuine smiles, those without the pencil were great judges. Those who were forced to frown suffered impaired judgment.


Gutman cites another study in which the frontal lobes of patient’s brains were examined by FMRI scans. A smile sent the frontal lobe into activity greater than receiving $30,000 in cash . . . or even eating chocolate.

A cheerful heart is good medicine. It reduces stress-enhancing hormones and increases mood-enhancing hormones.


Cheerfulness is good for us, but the real point I’m working toward is that it’s a gift we can give to others. A simple smile is able to brighten the mood of others.

And, while I know I’m supposed to be saving the planet, averting nuclear war, and ending world hunger, sometimes I need to start with the little things and work my way up. I like how Mother Theresa put it, “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”

                                                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)