Tag Archives: motivation

Even a Bug Can Teach

Story of the Day for Wednesday February 22, 2012

Even A Bug Can Teach

                  When pride comes, disgrace with follow. With humility comes wisdom. 

                                                      Proverbs 11:2

The 19th century was the golden age of British conquest. The sun never set on the British Empire, and the cultured English bathed in their glory.

Having conquered and colonized vast uncivilized cultures of the world, in the spring of 1845, they set out to conquer Nature.

Sir John Franklin led the best-funded expedition in history to find the fabled Northwest Passage to the Orient. Two 350-ton vessels were equipped with steel reinforced hulls, a 1000 book library, and heated cabins.

Confident of their invincibility, they defied the arctic seas . . . and lost.  The massive ice flows slammed into their ships and wedged them fast.  For two years they waited for the ice to release its grip, but the ice refused to budge, and all of Franklin’s men perished.

 

Oddly enough, Franklin’s men met the native Inuit of the area. A decade later, Francis Hall spent time with the Inuit, who told him of their encounters with Franklin’s crew. The Inuit gave seal to the starving men, but the British sailors never asked for help in survival. Though the Inuit could travel long distances on their dog sleds, they never asked for help in sending out a rescue party.

The Victorians of this age were intent upon asserting their superiority over all other cultures. They saw the arctic natives as ignorant savages, and refused to swallow their dignity by begging them for assistance.

 

Years later, twenty-eight-year old Roald Amundsen, slipped out of the harbor at Oslo with six others in a small, second-hand fishing boat. They sailed until the arctic winter set in and found themselves in the same vicinity as Franklin’s stranded expedition.

But Amundsen sought out the Inuit. He befriended them and learned their secrets of survival in the arctic. They taught him how to hunt seals and build igloos. He was amazed to find their reindeer clothing far better than his own. He lived on their diet.

When he borrowed their sled dogs for an exploratory trip, he bogged down and had to dump half his supplies to make it back to the Inuit village. They were amused, but showed him how to reduce the friction of the sled runners.

 

When the spring ice thawed and allowed the Norwegians to continue their journey, Amundsen dismayed the crew by refusing to sail. He claimed they still hadn’t learned enough from the Inuit in how to survive in the Arctic.

Amundsen would not only sail on to discover the Northwest Passage, but would later outrace the British to plant the first flag on the South Pole.

 

God tells us in the Bible to observe the behavior of ants and learn from them. Even a bug can teach us spiritual truth, but only the humble have the ears to listen.

                                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Best Encourager in the World

Story of the Day for Saturday February 18, 2012

The Best Encourager in the World

                                                     We never flattered you. 

                                                               1 Thessalonians 2:5

When I browse through a sporting goods store and find a new gizmo that I simply can’t live without, I quickly track down my wife, sweep her in my arms and whisper, “Honey, have I ever told you that your eyes sparkle like shimmering pools of moonlight on a warm summer’s night?”

She sighs, rolls her shimmering pools of moonlight, and asks, “So, what do you want to buy this time?”

My wife, to my great misfortune, can shrewdly distinguish between praise and flattery. Even though both sentiments glow with admiration, she knows that praise and flattery differ greatly in their sincerity.

We flatter when we have an ulterior motive. The goal of flattery is not to give to others but to get something out of the one on whom we lavish insincere praise.

 

When the apostle Paul writes to the newly formed congregation at Thessalonika, he assures them he never seeks to flatter. He had no hidden agenda.

Yet, before disavowing flattery, he has been showering them with praise. He tells them they are a shining model for the other believers in the area. He writes of their joy in the face of severe suffering, their responsiveness in imitating Paul’s example, their faith, their love, their endurance. Paul could hardly be more effusive in his praise.

 

Unlike flattery, praise is sincere. Yet, even though the intention of praise is to encourage others, sometimes praise can inadvertently harm them.

Carol Dweck, a Ph.D from Stanford University, oversaw an experiment with hundreds of fifth graders. A student was given blocks with different colors on each side and asked to form the blocks into the pattern shown on a card.

The first card showed an easy pattern. When a student completed the puzzle, half were told: “Wow, you did really well; you must be really smart.” When the other group finished the easy puzzle they were told: “Wow, you did really well; you must’ve worked really hard.”

Dr. Dweck then had all the students tackle a far more challenging puzzle — one which forced every student to struggle.

When each student finished the two puzzles, they were asked: “Which problems do you want to work on some more: the easier ones or those harder ones?” Those kids who were praised for their intelligence usually wanted to do the easier ones. But the students who were praised for working hard preferred the challenging puzzles.

Dr. Dweck maintains that praising inherent talent motivates kids to not want to grow. New challenges are welcomed by kids praised as hard workers, but are a threat to those who must maintain their reputation for being intelligent.

True praise should always seek to encourage and make others better. And if you learn to praise others wisely, I’m sure you can become the best encourager in the world!

Or is that flattery?

                                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


Join a Church and Adopt Stray Kittens

Story of the Day for Wednesday January 25, 2012

Join A Church and Adopt Stray Kittens

                 For Christ’s love compels us, because . . . one died for everyone . . . and he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.   

                                     2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Back in the old days, a telephone operator had to manually route every phone call. But then, in 1889, a new invention allowed you to dial and connect to a party without the intervention of an operator.

The man who invented the rotary dialing system, Almond Strowger, did not work for the telephone company.  He was, of all things, a funeral director.

 

Back in the late 1800s, Mr. Strowger was one of two funeral directors in Kansas City, Missouri. He noticed that, as telephones began to be installed in his town, his business declined. Odd.

He decided to pay the telephone company a visit and discovered that the telephone operator was the wife of the other funeral director in town. When someone called and needed a funeral director, guess who this telephone operator was connecting them to?

Instead of grumbling about his fate, Mr. Strowger did something about it. In 1889, he invented and later patented, a rotary dial phone and an automated switchboard.

Strowger was not an inventor who accidentally bumbled into a discovery; he was highly motivated to keep his pesky competitor’s wife from ruining his business.

 

The term, “motivation,” is based on two Latin words: “moto,” which means “to move,” and “vation,” which means . . . um . . .

Anyway, let’s not stray from the point – which is that motivation gets us moving.

In life, it’s not just important what you do but why you do it.  You can dance because you’re happy that your daughter just got engaged, or you can dance because a cowboy in a black hat is shooting his .44 at your feet and hollering, “Dance!”  In both cases you’re performing the identical action, but your motivation for doing so makes a huge difference in your disposition.

 

Many people join churches and adopt stray kittens because they hope that, if they do enough good things in life, God will let them go to heaven. But this kind of motivation for being good really stinks. Everything we do becomes ultimately motivated by selfishness. We don’t help old ladies across the street because we care about them; we’re doing it for ourselves, to earn our way into God’s presence.

Jesus changes our motivation for living. He left all our sins nailed permanently on the cross and now offers us life as his gift to us.

Once we understand a love like that we’ll still want to join a church and adopt stray kittens, but now we’ll do it for love.

Motivation changes everything.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

Story of the Day for Friday July 29, 2011

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

                     All hard work is profitable, but mere talk leads to poverty. 

                                                                  Proverbs 14:23

 Johann Sabastian Bach is considered one of the most talented musical geniuses of all time. Maybe so. But Dr. K.Anders Ericsson, one of the world’s foremost experts on genius and natural talent has discovered something surprising.

 

But, first, let’s go back to Bach. Young Johann was surrounded by musical relatives. An orphan at the age of ten, he moved in with his oldest brother, who was an organist and composer. At fourteen, he studied music for two years near Hamburg.

At seventeen, he walked 250 miles (one way) to study for four months under the greatest organist of the day, Dietrich Buxtehude. He overstayed his visit by three months.

Bach’s passion to learn music was so intense he would stay up late to copy the works of great composers by candlelight – to better internalize the works of the masters.

Once hired as a musician in Leipzig, he composed a new cantata for every Sunday and feast day of the year.  Bach’s compositions total 1127 – and this doesn’t account for his many works that have been lost.

 

Is there such a thing as innate talent?

Well, what kind of a stupid question is that? Of course there is.

Yeah, well, have you heard of the work of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University?  Ericsson joined two colleagues at Berlin’s Academy of Music, and, had them divide the school’s violinists into three groups: expert, good, and acceptable. All the musicians were asked the same question: over the entire course of you career, how much have you practiced?

Those in the highest category practiced about 10,000 hours, those in the middle group around 5000, and those in the least accomplished class practiced only 2000 hours.

Ericsson looked to find “naturals” – musicians so talented they excelled without great effort, and “grinds” – musicians who practiced harder but never excelled.

He couldn’t find either.

Those accepted at the music academy obviously had musical talent. But the only factor that determined achievement from that point was not genius, talent, or inspiration, but how hard each student worked.

 

Don’t wait to feel inspired to pray or read Scripture. Don’t wait to feel inspired to do anything. Just do it. Hard work isn’t the enemy of God’s blessing, but one of the conduits to receiving it.

 

“I have worked hard,” Bach said to sum up his achievements, “anyone who works just as hard will go just as far.”

(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)

Crooning Moon River

Story of the Day for Saturday June 11, 2011

Crooning Moon River

 

                            The Lord your God is in your midst . . . He will quiet you with his love.

                                                                    Zephaniah 3:17

  Someone discovered that cows give more milk when they’re listening to music. So, scientists in Great Britain gathered in barns to play music to a thousand cows. They played fast songs, slow songs, classical and rock – and kept careful records of milk production. When the researchers finished serenading the cows, they reported that the cows’ favorite song was Moon River.

What in the world were they thinking! (The cows, not the scientists). We’re talking Henry Mancini “elevator music,” for Pete’s sake.

 

Yet, despite their backward taste in music, cows have much to teach us about our life with God. My friend, Ruth, recently told me about a farmer in Nebraska who tried to force a hesitant cow into her milking stanchion. The cow panicked and kicked him so hard his leg swelled up to the size of a gigantic, swollen leg.

You can’t force cows to give milk.

 

Don’t get me wrong: fear is a wonderful motivator. It can greatly improve our performance when we’re being chased across the pasture by an angry bull. It can even motivate us to schedule a colonoscopy.

Not only that, but, if you want to get a cow out of your garden (and I speak with some authority on this subject), instilling fear will aid your cause, and, possibly, preserve your row of peas.

But fear has its limitations. You can’t slap a cow on the fanny and force it to give more milk. Instead, you have to calm her. You have to relax her. You have to play slow, schmaltzy “elevator music” to her.

 

If we should decide to hold a picnic on the railroad tracks, God may thunder and bellow – not because he hates us, but because he doesn’t want us to destroy ourselves. But even the almighty, all-powerful God can’t threaten us into loving him.

That’s why Jesus didn’t try to terrify us, but to lay his life down for us.

That is also why (and I hope you’re not easily offended) the Lord is willing to treat us like dairy cows. He wants to calm us down, and quiet us with his love.

 

Last week, I made a disturbing discovery. Three legends of rock music: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Elton John have all . . . give me a moment to say this, for it pains me greatly . . . have all recently performed Moon River in concert.

Playing Henry Mancini to increase milk production is one thing, but crooning Moon River to add cows to your fan base is simply pandering.

                                         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Stories for Nov. 29-Dec. 4, 2010

 

Story of the Day for Saturday December 4, 2010

God Only Forgives People Who Are Wrong

 

If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” your merciful love, O Lord, will hold me up.

Psalm 94:18

 

 

I hate to admit I’m wrong.

But, over the years, to my good fortune, I have noticed that I seldom am wrong – about anything.

 

Don’t get me wrong – being right all the time does have its burdens. Once I discovered that I was always right, I shrewdly realized that “other people” must be the ones who are screwing things up. I bemoan the faults and idiocy of Democrats, tree huggers, and Presbyterians, it dawned on me that being irked by the faults of others took up a good part of my day.

One day I discovered that the joy of always being right is not a joy. I had become a thief . . . and I was robbing from myself.

 

Zig Ziglar tells the story of Emmanuel Nenger.  In 1887, Nenger walked into the local grocery store to buy turnip greens. He gave the clerk a twenty dollar bill, but as she put the money in the cash drawer, she noticed ink from the bill had stained her hands, which were damp from handling the turnip greens.

The clerk has known Mr. Nenger for years.  He can’t be a counterfeiter!  But, finally, she goes to report the incident to the police, who confirm that the twenty dollar bill is a counterfeit.

With a search warrant in hand, the police search Mr. Nenger’s home.  In the attic  they find the room where he is counterfeiting money.  Emmanuel Nenger is a master artist and he was reproducing money with paint and brush.

The police also found three portraits that Nenger had painted and confiscated them. These later sold at auction for $16,000 (in 1887 currency).  The irony is that Nenger spent as much time counterfeiting a twenty dollar bill as it took to paint a portrait that would sell for over $5000.

Emmanuel Nenger was a thief, but the person he stole from was himself.

 

I’m a slow learner, but I have begun to realize that, when I refuse to admit my faults, I am robbing myself.  I’m robbing myself of the grace of God.  God can’t show mercy to people who are always right.  He can only forgive people who are wrong.

When my foot would slip, I used to claim that I was just practicing a dance step like Fred Astaire did in Singing in the Rain.  But I’m starting to learn that when I admit that my foot slipped, the merciful love of the Lord will be there to support me.

 

 

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

 

 

 

 

Story of the Day for Friday December 3, 2010

 

 

Not a One Size Fits All Deal

One person judges a day more special than others; another person considers each day no different than the other.  Each one should be convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:5

I have a message that will be fascinating to some of you, and meaningless to others, but I need your help.

Pick a number between 1 and 10, (and don’t tell me what it is.)

Multiply your number by 9.

If your new number has two digits, add the two digits together.

Take your new number and subtract 5.

Now, we want your number to correspond to a letter of the alphabet.  So, A = 1, B = 2, C= 3, and so on.  Convert your number into a letter.

Think of a country in Europe that begins with your letter.

Whatever your letter is, select the next letter in the alphabet, and think of an animal, let’s say, from Africa.

As we attempt to live out our faith, one of the biggest temptations we face is thinking that everyone should be like we are.

Have you ever heard the story of the two pack mules?  The first mule carried a heavy load of salt. In the heat of the day, he decided to cool off, and waded into a pond.  All the salt dissolved, and he walked up on shore with a greatly lightened load.

Excitedly he told another mule about it.  “You’ve got to wade into this pool.  You walk in with your heavy load, and when you come out, the weight is gone!”

The other mule replied, “But why should I wade into the pool to lighten my load?  My load isn’t heavy to begin with.”

The first pack mule, however, urged the second one to try it.  The mule waded into the pool . . . and drowned. He was carrying a load of sponges.

Christian living is not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal.

The truths of God on things like prayer and worship do not change.  They’re just true.  But each one of us can express our faith in strikingly different ways. The notion that what’s good for me may not be good for you, grates against my religious sensibilities.  But the fact remains that the Lord leads people in different ways.

Some believers in the early church thought the “brethren” who ate meat were compromisers.  Didn’t they know that meat is dedicated to pagan gods?  Not to be outdone, the meat-eaters scoffed at the vegetarians for not seeing the higher truth that all food belongs to the true God.

God leads us in different ways.  If you’re still finding this notion hard to accept, sit down with the 14th chapter of Romans, and wrestle with it for a while.

Oh, and before I forget, the message that is meaningful to some of you and not to others is this: “There are no elephants in Denmark.”

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Thursday December 2, 2010


Getting Into the Water

 

 

There is profit in all hard work, but more talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 14:23

 

 

John W. Holt describes an exercise used by Outward Bound in their program on Hurricane Island, Maine. Twenty people are told to squeeze into a cave that is only wide enough for one person to walk through. The group comes to a dead end. The only way out is to climb up to a crack above them and climb out to the other side. The group is lined up alternating a tall person with a shorter one. The instructors tell them they must climb up and exit the cave in this order within twenty minutes.

Want to know what typically happens?  They argue for 19 minutes about how to solve the problem. The instructor warns them they have one minute left. They stop planning, and by brute force, they climb up through the crack. The point of the exercise is that talking and planning can go on and on. At some point you have to stop talking and just do it.

 

That’s the hard part: gettin’ ‘er done.  It’s so much easier to talk about what we want to do rather than starting the hard work necessary to accomplish our dreams.

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, says, “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now.  Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.” Bushnell then concludes, “The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

We would do well to apply Bushnell’s words to our life of faith. John Michael Talbot, in Changes: A Spiritual Journal, does just that. He says, “I am wearied by a fellowship of many words. I grow tired of talking about the worship. I would much rather simply worship. I grow tired of talking about music. I would much rather simply make music. I grow tied of talking about humility and love. I would rather simply serve in humility and love.”

 

Obviously, you always precede work with talk. With ideas. With discussion of ideas. And a plan. But the focal point is not the talking; it is the work to be accomplished.

When I was in college I took a course in evangelism at a local congregation. The class was great, but the pastor confided to me his disappointment. He told me that the members love the evangelism class. But they don’t want to go out and share their faith.  Instead, they want me to start another class so they can keep on studying about evangelism.

 

For eight years, Kim Linehan held the world record for the women’s 1500 meter freestyle.  When she was 18 years old, her coach called her the leading amateur woman distance swimmer in the world. It took a lot of hard work for her to accomplish such a feat.  Do you know the hardest part of her training?  Kim says it’s, “Getting into the water.”

 

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

 

 

Story of the Day for Wednesday December 1, 2010

 

A Test of Strength

 

. . .so that we might know his exceedingly great power for us who believe. . .which he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

Ephesians 1:19

 

Although he didn’t intend to, a Massachusetts farmer brought us a picture of the resurrected life. Brilliance is often seeing the obvious. A farmer realized what we already know: that germinating seeds and growing plants have an almost miraculous power.

For example, what is stronger: a dandelion or a concrete slab? Pave a sidewalk over a dandelion seed and you’ll find out. The dandelion can exert a force that will crack the sidewalk.

Rutherford Hayes Platt, in his book, The Great American Forest, describes a farmer who wanted to measure this force, so he cobbled together a device with a counterweight and dial to measure pressure. He strapped various fruits and vegetables to his device . . . and could hardly believe what he was seeing.

Imagine the entire offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys standing together on a plank. One of the farmer’s vegetables was capable – not only of raising up the entire offensive line, but of lifting three times their weight!

Not altogether surprising, nobody believed him. So, Rutherford began setting up exhibits and crowds flocked by the thousands to see for themselves. They were dumbfounded.

In one sense, growing things are so weak: whack a melon with a rolling pin and you have a smushy mess on your hands. But there is an almost unbelievable power within them exerted because they are alive.

God exerted power when he brought his dead Son to life. But what he wants us to know is that this same resurrection power is active within us.

I’m not entirely sure I understand how God takes such weak things as us and makes us powerful, but he does. And I can tell you that, starting with a handful of unassuming disciples from Galilee, God would transform the world through the power working in them.

The Dallas Cowboys in a test of strength against an acorn squash? Doesn’t sound like a fair fight, does it?  But a Massachusetts farmer has demonstrated who the real winner will be.


 

 

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

 

 

Story of the Day for Tuesday November 30, 2010

 

 

Fit it on a Bumper Sticker

 

. . .Our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”. . . However many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:18, 20

 

 

At church, I often park next to a red pickup, with a sticker that says: DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT.  “Well,” I think to myself, “what kind of a Christian truck is that?”  But when I learned that the truck’s owner is a grandmother, her sheer spunkiness was inspiring. You go, grandma!

 

Let’s talk about bumper stickers.  Now, I didn’t choose this Bible verse from 2 Corinthians because I have the slightest intention of explaining what Paul means by it, but because it summarized the fulfillment of all God’s promises by one word: “YES.”  In Jesus, everything God promises is “YES.” That’s as pithy as it gets.

 

Bumper stickers have to be like that. You can’t blab. If your kid is an honor roll student at Westwood High, or if you visited Carlsbad Caverns, you have to get to the point.

 

Bumper stickers can also be used as a witness to Jesus – which is why I never use them – I’m not that good a driver. But, in addition to that, I’m a bit snooty about the  whole thing.  Bumper stickers are a little too simplistic for my refined sophistication. How can you fit the depth of God’s wisdom on a bumper sticker?  I have scoffed at the shallowness of it all.

But I have repented.

Yes, the wisdom of God is deeper than anything that will fit on a bumper sticker.  Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that, when you can state your goal or belief in a phrase short enough to fit on a bumper sticker, it is more helpful than complex formulations of faith.  When I am lazy and want to veg out, “Carpe Diem” (“Seize the Day”) gets me going.  On cold, gray mornings, when I don’t want to put snowshoes on and run the dogs up the mountainside, it helps to say “Just Do It.”  When confronted with repeated failure, a friend taught me to say what Peter said to Jesus: “. . . nevertheless, at your word, I will let down the nets.”  When I want to judge a fallen brother, I am aided by the phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

 

Jesus habitually pushed the envelope by shocking and surprising people to get them to think about the kingdom of God.  In my bumbling way, I want to do the same.  But maybe finding spiritual edification in bumper stickers is going too far.

Maybe.

But think about it: if the biblical truth you want to ingrain in your life can be put in one phrase, it becomes a practical motivator.  Something you can apply.

Listen to God’s Word.  Then distill the truth down until you can . . . fit it on a bumper sticker.

 

 

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Story of the Day for Monday November 29, 2010

 

 

How Hard is it for You to Give Up Sugar?

 

 

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but you don’t see the log in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3

 

 

What annoys you the most when you are driving?  Researchers did of study of this and found the most common pet peeve of drivers is other drivers who talk on a cell phone while driving. But here is what made this study especially intriguing: the majority of drivers who listed this as their main annoyance admitted that they, too, talk on a cell phone when they drive!

Do you think the things that most annoy us in others are the things we are guilty of ourselves?  Just asking.

 

Hugo McCord writes of a military inspection at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.  The inspection was conducted one time by a full colonel.   As the colonel reviewed the line of soldiers he stopped and snapped, “Button that pocket, trooper!”

The flustered soldier stammered, “Right now, sir?”

“Of course, right now!”

The soldier, then, very carefully reached forward and buttoned the flap of the colonel’s shirt pocket.

You have to admit – we notice the faults of others much easier than we notice our own.  Jesus comments on this inconsistency – only he isn’t diplomatic, like me.  He just calls it hypocrisy.  “Hypocrites!” Jesus says, “first, take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

We learn from an early age that we don’t feel nearly as guilty if we focus on the guilt of someone else.

“Marty, did you just hit your brother?”

“He hit me first.”

If I am embarrassed because my feet stink, what have I accomplished if I go around complaining about other people whom, I claim, have stinkier feet?  Nothing.  They are annoyed by my criticism . . . and I still have stinky feet.

To relieve my guilt, I can make a vain attempt to accuse other people of having stinky feet.  Or, I could ask Jesus for some soap and water. Once we have dealt with our own problem, we can be kind and understanding in helping others.

 

There is an old legend about a mother in India who went to the local wise man for guidance.

“My son has horrible eating habits.  Please,” she said, “come and tell him to stop eating so much sugar.  He will listen to you.”

The teacher listened sympathetically, then said, “Come back next week and talk with me.”

The mother returned next week, and lamented, “Please come and speak with my son.  He won’t eat vegetables or fruit; he just eats sugar.”

“Come back and see me next week,” the wise man said again.

The next week she returned and the wise man agreed to go with her and talk to her son.

“I am grateful that you will take the time to speak with my son,” she said, “but why did you wait so long?”

“Because,” he replied, “I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to give up sugar.”

 

(Copyright 2010 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)