Archives for : December2011

Isn't It Ironic?

As hard as it may be to believe, news sources say the Bible is consistently atop the list of “the most stolen books.” It seems that each year, especially around Christmas, Bibles are stolen from bookstores more than any other book. Ironic, isn’t it? After all, it’s the Bible that says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15Exodus 20:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Thou shalt not steal.

WP-Bible plugin
). Why would a person steal a book that is to be read for spiritual growth and development? I mean, what would a person willing to steal want with the Bible, a book that condemns stealing?

Certainly, we can all see the irony in the fact that of all books, the Bible is the most stolen one. But before we shake our heads at such irony, maybe we ought to consider other matters that are just as ironic. While the thought of stealing a Bible might never enter our minds, there may be other things we do that are just as ironic.

For instance, consider the irony of one would never miss a church service, but who holds a grudge against a fellow Christian. Isn’t that just as ironic? After all, what good does going to church do for a person who is unwilling to get over a grudge (Matthew 6:22-24Matthew 6:22-24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

WP-Bible plugin
)? I would answer that question by saying, “about the same good a stolen Bible does a thief.”

Consider also the irony of a husband who does not cherish his wife, and who treats her unkindly, yet he wouldn’t think of pillowing his head without saying his prayers. Tell me, what good do you think his prayers will do him (1 Peter 3:71 Peter 3:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered.

WP-Bible plugin
)? Does that not contain the same degree of irony as one who would steal a Bible?

And the list could go on and on. Friends, I hope you can see the point that I’m trying to make. While we would never dream of stealing, of all things, a Bible, we might be guilty of doing other things, that from God’s perspective, may be just as foolish and filled with irony. I know it’s easier to see the mistakes made by the other person, but maybe that’s all the more reason we need to examine our own lives with greater regularity and diligence. Give it some thought.

Steve Higginbotham

Using our time as appropriately and productively as possible

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5Galatians 4:4-5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV).

In 1991, two Americans departed for Bangladesh to spend about two months preaching in that Islamic nation. During their flight Operation Desert Storm (also known as Persian Gulf War #1) was launched.

Upon arrival the Americans discovered that not only was their nation at war with an Islamic nation, but there was an international gathering of Muslims taking place in Bangladesh and feelings were very strong against the United States.

They realized that not only was it unlikely that they could effectively preach there, but that they would be in considerable danger if they tried to do so.

Instead of remaining there, they immediately traveled to Nepal where they were welcomed and spent several weeks preaching with good results. Their effort launched an ongoing evangelistic ministry in this Hindu nation, and has resulted in many conversions and the planting of many churches.

I was impressed many years ago by a novel which noted the impossibility of accomplishing certain things at particular times. The author was especially concerned with technological advances.

He described certain men of great foresight who attempted inventions but were unable to succeed, in part because materials and processes essential to success were simply not available. One example was Leonardo DaVinci, whose visions of flight were simply not possible with the heavy metals and fabrics of his day.

The Bible records instances of providential guidance which seem to reflect this same understanding. For example, on Paul’s second missionary journey he attempted to enter the Roman provinces of Asia and Bithynia but was restrained by the Spirit from doing so (Acts 16:6-7Acts 16:6-7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not;

WP-Bible plugin
).

Later, Paul spent most of his third journey in Asia, centered in the city of Ephesus. We cannot know why he was first prevented, then enabled to work there, but a reasonable explanation is that on his first attempt the time was not yet right.

We are at the beginning of a new year — 2010. It holds many opportunities. No doubt there are things we desire to do during these next twelve months which we will successfully accomplish, but others at which we will fail.

Some failures will be the results of our own mistakes; others may be caused by inappropriate timing. We cannot always know, except perhaps through failure and subsequent success, when this is the real reason.

An even more important application of this principle is to be always aware that opportunities will be presented, and that some of them may not ever be repeated. We must be ready to seize the day (Hebrews 3:13,15Hebrews 3:13,15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: 15 while it is said, To-day if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

WP-Bible plugin
), acting without hesitation or doubt when a special demand is made upon us.

Once today is finished, so may all its promise and rewards be gone forever. The time is right, for something and someone. Let us be diligent to use our time as appropriately and productively as possible.

–Michael E. Brooks @ www.forthright.net

A neurosurgeon in south-central Kentucky

Yesterday, several good friends and I were sitting in the office of a neurosurgeon. We listened to him as he explained why he left a thriving practice in a large metropolis to come a much smaller hospital in our area of the country. He said it was all because of a letter he received.

You see, he had been so busy with his job, he told us that he literally had not seen his little girl in three weeks. Then one night when he came home from work, there was a letter by his bed from his 11 year-old daughter. It was a letter in which this little girl told her daddy that she missed him and wanted more of his time. She acknowledged to her daddy that he had an important job, but she said, “Daddy, doing the ‘right’ thing is sometimes the ‘hard’ thing to do.” It was at this point that this successful neurosurgeon decided he wanted to be a father first. So he left his practice and moved his family to South-Central Kentucky.

I couldn’t help but be touched by this doctor’s story. Before me was a man who knew that there are things in life that are more important than fame, ego, work, and money. It doesn’t take a “brain surgeon” be able to identify proper values and priorities in life. Sometimes, little 11 year-old girls who miss their daddy can discern those things. The question I have for you is have you discerned these same truths? Give it some thought.

–Steve Higginbotham