Archive for the ‘Today’s Walk in the Word’ Category

Grow As You Go

Jun
2018
22

Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?
                             —Job 12:12

“As you grow, you learn more,” said Morrie Schwartz, in Tuesdays with Morrie. “If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth.”

Laura Carstensen, Stanford University’s top aging expert, slams the social norm that tells older people to go away quietly into the night. She believes older people should be saying, “I’m not done yet. I’ve got stuff to do, and I’m going to make a difference.”

We can’t decide what to call the older set: elderly, senior citizens, geriatrics? Whatever moniker we choose will offend someone. Laura has a suggestion: “I like the term ‘perennials’—we’re still here, blossoming again and again.”

The trick is not to be as dumb at eighty-two as we were at twenty-two.

Wisdom doesn’t always come with age;
age sometimes comes alone.

Live as children of light.
    —Ephesians 5:8

Most of us are not beacons, just small lights: not playing on the big stage, but filling an important, though unheralded, role on a small platform. Whatever the part, someone saw something in us, believed in us, encouraged us.

For me, it was parents, friends—and other early influences: Mrs. Womack, my First Grade Sunday School teacher; Vance Mitchell, my Jr. High Sunday School teacher; Clarence Nelson, an elder in my boyhood church.

For you, it was ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________________________

Your influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone . . . in other words, your influence has no end point.

You are influencing someone in the future
just as someone in the past influenced you.

[L]et us consider how we may spur one another
on toward love and good deeds.
        —Hebrews 10:24

A common ingredient in the lives of people who have lived up to their potential is the gift of encouragement. Someone believed in them, supported them, ignited the fire.

For John Wesley, it was his mother, Susanna.

For John Quincy Adams, it was his father, John.

For cleric Henry Ward Beecher, it was a teacher who taught only one year in the rural elementary school he attended.

For humanitarian and author Stanley Mooneyham, it was a County Superintendent of Schools.

For Paul Harvey, it was his widowed mother Anna and his beloved elementary school teacher, Miss Harp.

For American Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, it was her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles.

Your influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone . . . in other words, your influence has no end point.

There’s something you may not be able to do,
but someone you influence may.

As iron sharpens iron,so one man sharpens another.
                             —Proverbs 27:17

You might never have heard of the apostle Paul if Barnabas hadn’t run interference for him. He stood up for him in Jerusalem, where church leaders wanted nothing to do with him. Later, Barnabas launched Paul’s public ministry and accompanied him on his first missionary journey.

You’d probably know nothing about John Mark if Barnabas hadn’t taken him under his wing.

After jump-starting the careers of these two evangelists, Barnabas faded into the background. He never wrote a book or letter that found its way into your Bible, but it was his encouragement that launched the ministries of these two men who, combined, wrote half of the New Testament.

Your influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone . . . in other words, your influence has no end point.

Your big opportunity may be influencing someone
to make the most of their big opportunity.

A student is not above his teacher.
         —Matthew 10:24

John Glenn: astronaut and four-term U.S. Senator.

American flags were flown at half-staff for nine days following John Glenn’s death on December 8, 2016.

His history of accomplishment is on display at Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

One panel of the exhibit features Glenn’s high school civics teacher, Harford Steele, citing the prof as the person who taught him the importance of public service—in Glenn’s words, “igniting a fire in me that never did go out.”

Flags weren’t lowered when Harford Steele died, but his influence caused them to descend all over the world when John Glenn died.

Your influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone, whose influence touches someone . . . in other words, your influence has no end point.

A statistic you will never know is
how many people your life will influence.

[T]here is a friend who sticks
closer than a brother.
  —Proverbs 18:24

In 1957, Sam Rayburn—the longest-tenured Speaker of the House of Representatives in history—received the news late one night that a friend’s teenage daughter had died in an accident. Early the next morning Sam walked through his friend’s front door, went to the kitchen and started making breakfast.

The surprised father said, “Mr. Speaker, I read that you and Senator Johnson were to have breakfast with the president at the White House this morning.”

“We were supposed to,” Sam said, “but I called the president’s secretary and told her that I have a friend who’s suffered a terrible loss, and I have to be with him. I can’t come to breakfast.”

It’s a cold world at times. We all skid through icy patches where we need the warmth of comforting companions.

Someone needs you. Be alert.

You can’t help everyone,
but you can help someone.

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
                  —Ecclesiastes 4:10

At a Special Olympics race—where children with disabilities were competing—a cute kid named Timmy quickly took the lead and was far ahead. He was nearing the finish line when he looked back and saw that his friend had fallen and hurt himself.

Timmy stopped.

People shouted, “Run, Timmy, run!” He ran alright—back to his friend. He helped him up, brushed off the dirt, and the two jogged together, arms around each other’s shoulders, coming in last.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prv 17:17). Sooner or later we all fall; it’s included in the price of the ticket to life. We need the help of others—and they need ours.

The best heart exercise
is lifting someone up.

Growing Up

Jun
2018
13

[W]e shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is.
    —1 John 3:2

When we were children, we put our small feet in dad’s or mom’s big shoes. We couldn’t wait to be big enough to wear grown-up shoes.

My dad has been gone for years, but his shoes are still too big for me to fill.

The apostle Peter said that Jesus left an example, “that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pt 2:21); big shoes to fill. When we follow his example, we “are being changed to be like him” (2 Cor 3:21 NCV). The growth is gradual: “we become more and more like him” (NLT); “from one degree of glory to another” (ESV).

Then one glorious day we will see him as he is and “we shall be like him” (1 Jn 3:2).

Number one on Today’s To-Do List:
be more like Jesus today than you were yesterday.

Passing It On

Jun
2018
12

[F]rom generation to generation
we will recount your praise.
     —Psalm 79:13

Patek Philippe, the luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, buys full-page ads in classy magazines—mostly white space, with this brief text:

You never actually own
a Patek Philippe.

You merely take care of it for
the next generation.

You may not be ready to cough up $50,000 for a Patek Philippe (they have gone for as much as $2.5 million) to take care of for the next generation. But you probably have a family heirloom or legacy that will be passed on: a necklace that’s been passed down for four generations; a recipe that’s survived for three; a handwritten letter that’s over a hundred years old.

The greatest hand-me-down is the legacy of faith—and the deepest heart-hurt comes when a family’s culture of faith fails to survive passage from one generation to the next.

The faith of our fathers is the most
valuable gift we can pass on to our children.

[Y]et will I hope in him.
       —Job 13:15

Norman turns every positive into a negative with, “Yeah, but . . .”

“Isn’t this weather gorgeous?”
“Yeah, but it won’t last.”

“Hear you got a raise.”
“Yeah, but inflation and taxes will eat it up.”

Norman finds a worm in every apple.

Habakkuk was the opposite. His nation was in chaos; the economy was in the tank: no fruit on the trees, no grapes on the vines, no sheep in the pens, no cattle in the stalls (Hb 3:17).

“Yet,” said Habakkuk—his three-letter word for turning negatives into positives—“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hb 3:18).

Theologian Karl Barth called joy a “defiant nevertheless.” Problems are inevitable—nevertheless, you have a yet that turns negatives into positives.

On a scale of 1 to 10,
how’s your attitude?