We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Do You Hear His Call?

Do you believe in coincidence? I once heard the story of a man who will never forget the unique set of circumstances God ordained for his life.
It was late one evening when Thom chose a new route home–and almost immediately regretted his decision. He was startled by muffled screams and the unmistakable sounds of a struggle coming from behind a clump of bushes. Yards away from where he stood, a young woman was being attacked.
Thom knew his limitations–he wasn’t brave or athletic. He felt frightened for his own safety. Should he get involved? Or run to the nearest phone to call the police?
But as the girl’s cries grew weaker, Thom resolved to help her–even at the risk of his own life. He felt strangely transformed as he ran around the bushes to grab the assailant, wrestling him to the ground. Moments later the would-be rapist jumped up and fled.
The victim was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. Thom approached carefully in the darkness, not wanting to scare her any further. He spoke reassuringly, “It’s okay. He’s gone. You’re safe now.” And after a long pause, the girl responded with disbelief and wonder. “Dad, is that you?” From behind the tree stepped Thom’s youngest daughter, Katherine.

Sometimes God will arrange to put us in the right place at the right time. Perhaps that’s how we should understand Romans 8:28 – “All things work together for good, to them who love God, to them who are called.” When we follow God’s call, good is sure to follow!

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Accumulated Effects

A father once wrote to me with the following concerns:

Dear Mark,

My 14-year-old son despises school. He sits at his desk and feels as if it’s a prison. He enjoys working with his hands–doing anything from mechanics and woodworking to farming and landscaping. When we tell him that God has gifted him, he just denies it and says he can’t do anything. I tell him that he needs a good education in order to get a good job, but I’m not sure I even believe this. Can you help?

And I replied:

Dear Dad,

First, I would pray and ask God to open an apprenticeship door for your son. He needs the opportunity to work with someone who can teach him a skill and help cultivate his character at the same time. Until this door opens for him, teach him that his devotion to his studies may be the prerequisite for new and greater opportunities ahead. The lives of Joseph, Ezra, and Daniel would be good examples for him to follow, as each endured difficult preparation for the great doors of opportunity ahead.

Next, teach your son about the “Accumulated Effect of Knowledge.” This is what happens when we read, study, take tests, and learn about subjects that are both enjoyable and distasteful! Everything we read and study (except for things immoral) has a positive accumulative effect upon us. Your son might not think that school is helpful now, but down the road, whether he goes to college or not, he will find that opportunities open in direct proportion to his accumulated knowledge–it all adds up! The more we learn, the more potential for unique opportunities!

In Luke 8:18, Jesus says, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

There is much to learn–and many doors waiting to be opened.

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment