Tag Archives: obedience

“The Flyswatter”

Story of the Day for Friday January 27, 2012

“The Flyswatter”

                 Don’t forget to do good and share with others, because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

                                                                      Hebrews 13:16

One hot, summer day, our family shared the living room with a pesky fly. My dad asked my sister, Mary, who was two years old, to get the flyswatter. Mary eagerly scooted off on her mission. She returned without the flyswatter, but my parents were pleased nonetheless.

 

Before I tell you why my parents were so delighted with their little daughter, let me ask you a question: Do you live with an on-going sense of failure in your relationship with God? I’m not talking about the times you deliberately do wrong things, but the times you’re trying to get it right. When you pray, does it feel as if God expected you to have prayed more? When you share with others, does it always feel as if God wanted you to give more than you did?

If you picture the Lord as looking at you with his arms folded across his chest in a perpetual scowl, then maybe you’ve forgotten how you laughed at a baby’s first words.

What do parents do when they hear their child first say, “Mama” or “Dada”?  Or when their child attempts those first wobbly steps?  They’re ecstatic!  They can hardly wait to call friends and family and tell them the news. Parents are so very pleased by every step of growth in their children’s lives.

 

But can I ask you another question: Do you think parents are satisfied by the first, immature actions of their children? Of course not. They won’t be satisfied until their kids learn to talk and walk and act like adults.

 

The Scottish writer, George MacDonald, points out that, in the same way, our heavenly Father is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.

If we don’t know God as our Father, but only as Judge, then everything we do is doomed to failure. We simply can’t keep his perfect law.

But once we become his children, everything changes. God is not only pleased, but delighted by our far-from-perfect attempts to do his will. We don’t have to be perfect in order to please him. Like any loving parent, our heavenly Father is pleased by every step of growth that his children take.

If you feel as if your every action is a deep disappointment to God, maybe you need to ponder the kind of relationship you were meant to have with him.

 

When my two-year-old sister was asked to bring the flyswatter, she bounded off to do what she was told. Instead of getting the flyswatter, however, she ran into the kitchen and returned with a glass of water. She proudly handed the glass to my dad, “Here’s the flies’ water!”

And my dad could hardly have been more pleased.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

One Order That Will Never be Rescinded

Story of the Day for Wenesday November 16, 2011

One Order That Will Never be Rescinded

                    This is God’s command: that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other – just as he commanded us. 

                                                                    1 John 3:23

 When the Japanese Emperor surrendered to the U.S. in 1945, World War II was over for just about everyone except Lt. Hiroo Onoda (HEAR-oo OWN-ah-dah).  He was sent to the island of Lubang as an intelligence officer with orders to conduct guerilla warfare and note enemy movements. Onoda’s orders clearly stated that, under no circumstances, was he to surrender or commit suicide.

Onoda took his orders seriously. Along with three other soldiers, they conducted such disruptive operations that they became known the “the mountain devils.”

 

After the war, search parties of 13,000 men (at a cost of a half million dollars) combed the jungles to root them out, but could never find them.

The Japanese then took to the jungles with foghorns, telling them the war was over, but they considered it an enemy trick. The Japanese dropped leaflets from airplanes telling them the war was over but Onoda considered it a ruse of the enemy.

Over time, Onoda’s three comrades surrendered or died, but no one could convince Onoda to surrender. They sent his brother, Toshio, but Hiroo considered him an impersonator. They sent another brother, Tadao, and his sister, Chie. He finally believed they were truly his siblings, but refused to disobey his orders.

 

In February, 1974, almost thirty years after World War II ended, a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, set out to search for Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman – in that order. Suzuki did locate Onoda, and they became friends. But he still refused to surrender, saying he was under orders from his commanding officer.

Suzuki returned to Japan with photographic proof of Onoda’s identity, and the government sent Onoda’s former commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, to Lubang.  Taniguchi met his faithful officer in the jungle and officially rescinded his order.

 

Hiroo Onoda’s tenacious loyalty to the Imperial Emperor teaches us an insightful lesson about obedience. No one can be obedient for long when motivated merely by a sense of obligation. Obedience works best when it’s the response to a passionate belief.

 

Christians view talk about obedience with suspicion – fearful of giving the false impression that we can earn our way to heaven by obeying a moral code. Nevertheless, despite the fear of being misunderstood, we must encourage an unyielding obedience to God’s commands. His orders are simple: trust in the mercy of Jesus, and love each other.

Onoda reminds us that obedience to orders may call for great sacrifice. But God’s command to faith and love is one order that will never be rescinded.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Newfangled Quartz Movement Contraptions

Story of the Day for Saturday September 3, 2011

Newfangled Quartz Movement Contraptions

                  “The time is coming,” the Lord declares, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the old covenant.” 

                                                                              Jeremiah 31:31-32

 When Jesus reached in his pocket and pulled out a new contract from God, the people who had the hardest time accepting it were those who were legal experts on the original contract.

 

In 1968, Switzerland dominated the world of watch making – owning over eighty percent of the market share in profits.

The Swiss were proud of their watches – and for good reason: they made watches of exceptional craftsmanship.

Yet, in a little over a decade, Switzerland was devastated. Their profit share plummeted to less than twenty percent. By 1988, employment in the watch industry in Switzerland sank from 90,000 to 28,000.

 

What happened?

The quartz movement watch captured the world’s attention. It was not only cheaper than a mechanical watch, but far more accurate.

 

The devastation of the Swiss dominance in watch making, however, is not so much tragic, as ironic. After World War II, the Swiss invented a quartz clock. In 1962, a laboratory was established in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, to develop the quartz movement watch. The world’s first prototype quartz wristwatches were displayed in 1967. That year, their laboratory in Neuchâtel entered their quartz movement watches in time trials and won the first ten places for wristwatch accuracy. Two years later, their Beta 21 was available for commercial production.

But the Swiss watchmakers couldn’t adjust to such a radical change.  They focused, instead, on their proud history. They had a well-deserved legacy for making fine mechanical watches. They weren’t about to change their way of life for some newfangled quartz movement contraptions.

 

Switzerland was well-positioned to dominate the world in quartz movement watches, just as they had for so many generations with their mechanical watches. But they refused to invest in the new technology because they had mastered the old so well.

 

God’s first covenant stipulated that we would be blessed if we were obedient. Since no one was obedient, God announced his new covenant: he would forgive all who looked to him for mercy.

This new covenant, like the quartz movement watch, was definitely a change for the better.  The only ones who have ignored it are the self-satisfied: those who are (falsely) proud of their religious accomplishments.

                                       (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)