Think for a few moments about favors. People ask for favors all the time. It is a part of life. So, why do people ask favors, and what causes those being asked to fulfill them? Now, before you answer this apparently simple question, think first of all about why people ask favors. The reasons are varied, but generally people ask favors when there is a need or lacking somewhere. For instance, if your neighbor calls and asks you for a ride to the grocery store because his car is being worked on, generally your response is to do the neighborly thing and take him to the store.
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to travel most of the globe: Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, North America, and the Austral Realm.
It is hard for me to believe all that I've been able to see and hear. I have heard languages with clicking within them. I have been the first foreigner in a mountainous remote village in central Asia. I have seen and worked with underground churches in China and Cambodia. I have seen and been able to work with churches thriving in Sicily and the USA. I have met hit men, Mafiosi, thugs, smugglers, politicians, artists, Christians, Hindus, Atheists, agnostics, Catholics, murderers, mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, friends and enemies.
This week my focus for Scott’s Harpings has to be that which seems to be filling the landscape of my mind these days, and that is waiting for the birth of our first granddaughter. Hopefully, by the time you read this piece, our daughter and son-in-law will be enjoying cuddles with little Emma Skye Hooper. She was due on the 25th of March.
All this patient waiting has caused me to wonder why it is said that when a woman is pregnant, she is expecting. The truth of the matter is that daddy, Granddaddy, Granny, and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins are “expecting” too!
When was the last time you confessed to someone that you were wrong? Now, notice I didn’t ask, “When was the last time you said you were sorry.” I asked, “When was the last time you confessed to someone that you were WRONG?” Also, notice that I didn’t say, “When was the last time you SAID you were wrong.” I said, “CONFESSED.”
“ Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. . .” Jeremiah 6:16.
Since the year 2000, it has been my enjoyment and privilege to produce a website totally dedicated to the history of churches of Christ in the world. Some information that appears on the website involves international focus, and includes material about early church history and the period known as the European Reformation. But, the majority of the work on the website is about the work in North America, often referred to as the American Restoration Movement.
It has been my pleasure to see many remarkable sights in this world. Things that have been enacted in my presence have been nothing short of astounding and borderline unbelievable. Showmen, admittedly by slight of hand, have made things appear to be a certain way when in fact they were not. Once I saw David Copperfield make a jet disappear and then reappear. Seeing a person sawn in half on a stage and put back together falls in this category. People who disappear into thin air and reappear in another location nearby may seem beyond belief, but a magician’s art is masterful at such entertainment.
What a storehouse the mind truly is! Its amazing capacity for grasping concepts is nothing short of mind-boggling. The ability to take a thought and store it in the mind upon an invisible shelf and to recall it at a millisecond’s notice is remarkable. How big would the mind be if every thought were physical? Why, your mind would literally be bigger than the universe simply because you just thought of the universe. How blessed we are that God has made it possible that every passing consideration is not physical, making it easy to store in the small, but ever so deep, recesses of the mind.
What would your life be like if you acted upon all your thoughts? Perhaps many good citizens would be in jail! However, more would probably break out of jail if we did all that was in our minds. It is a fanciful thing to think that all of one’s acts could be acted upon, for it is impossible. But, such an idea does lend itself to thinking about what a powerful tool the mind really is.
This past Wednesday night the teens and I sat and talked about the teachings of Jesus. It was an incredible study that opened my eyes to how the world changed, not just because Jesus was the physical Messiah, but because of what He said. What he SAID.
These teachings were and are so important to who we are as Christians. Sometimes I think we focus on the physical cross and His physical suffering and death, and rightfully so, while forgetting His life and teachings. Just take a look at one of these teachings that changed the world.
In Luke 11:9-13 Jesus says, "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
How great is it that we are told to ask for what we need?! How incredible is our God that He tells us to go ahead and just ask. And when we ask, we should expect to receive it!
Now, lets get one thing straight. We may not get what we asked for. In fact, we will most likely get something different. But I can guarantee something incredible will happen. You will get what you NEEDED in the first place.
And how incredible is that?!
I watched a short YouTube video a few months ago called, "Speak with Conviction" by Taylor Mali. It stuck with me. Not only is it quite funny, it is so true and relevant to our world. Not only to our world, our religious world as well.
He speaks about how we have become the most aggressively inarticulate generation since "you know.....a long time ago!". We have inserted "you knows" and "you know what I’m saying" into our very speech and it has made us lose the very nature of declarative sentences. They used to declare things. Now, they simply invite all to jump onto their own bandwagon of uncertainty, as they have not really put any thought into the things they have said.
An office is a good place to find new things. From time to time, someone will slip new things to read or see in my office mailbox. A week or so ago, I came in on my usual Tuesday morning routine (my usual Monday when the other one is not), and when I looked into my box, someone (Thanks to whoever did!) had placed in my box a most interesting article by Paul J. Zak. You can read his credentials below, but to shorten it a good bit, he is a smart guy. Anyway, his research into human behavior is most refreshing, and some of the suggestions he makes are, well, out and out Biblical, though he does not claim it to be so. I have added his article here for your reading.