President Calvin Coolidge was a classic Vermonter, but not a classic politician. He was a man of few words, great common sense, and very strong character. Even after his presidency, he remained very popular with the American people. One of his traits was the ability to remain cool under pressure - such as the day when a letter was handed to him in Los Angeles warning of a plot to assassinate him. Coolidge blandly handed the note to his guard with just five simple words: "Guess this belongs to you."
And he was right - that's what guards are for, it's what they specialize in.
In like fashion Psalm 37:5 says we are to "commit our way unto the Lord, trust also in Him." It is foolish to fret about things we have no control over. Let's practice doing better at turning things over to the Lord! As the old song says: "Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there." Yes, it does belong to Him.
I once read about the time one-sixth of a vote kept a man from being governor. Back in 1874, each county in Missouri was represented by one delegate, providing it had a population of at least 500. Counties with less than that number were represented on a pro-rated status. In those days of sparsely populated areas, some counties had less than 100 inhabitants and were entitled to only one-sixth of one vote. Charles Hardin defeated Marion Cockrell by exactly such a margin: one-sixth of one vote!
In much the same manner, a fraction of imperfection would keep a soul out of Heaven. To enter that land which is fairer than day it is necessary to be clothed in perfect righteousness. Thank God, the availability of that righteousness is described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And by coming personally to Christ and trusting in Him is the way for God to treat you just as if you had never sinned.
The old saying is true: "Good is the enemy of best." Take lighting for example. We're all thankful for electric lights - life would be much more difficult without them. Yet in a city filled with artificial light, it's hard to see the far more awesome sight of the stars.
The same thing is true with knowledge and information. We do live in the "information age" when so much knowledge is at our fingertips through the internet. But don't let that distract you from the most important and highest source of knowledge and wisdom - God's Word.
Let's face it. Our Christian forefathers didn't have nearly the wealth of facts and figures at their disposal. But what they did have was a richer Christian experience than we do. They didn't settle for anything less than the best.
Some years ago the Wilkinson Sword Company conducted a contest and advertised it as follows: "Fifty lucky persons will win an authentic Wilkinson Infantry Sword, the same sword used in Royal Parades and the Trouping of the Colors. Just think what it will mean to a lucky winner when this sword hangs over their fireplace or on a rec room wall!"
That may be all well and good, but swords are really for battle, not for display. And so it is with the Bible, the Christian's spiritual sword. God meant for us to use it in battle, to use it as a weapon against the many temptations that attack us every day. No "sword" sitting on a coffee table on "display" and unopened will be a defense against Satan's assaults upon our devotion to Christ.
Let's not just make our Bibles a living room decoration, but a vital weapon to be used for our defense, not just display.
This article was written from church in Oklahoma that bears repeating. Pastor Weger writes: "Today there is an evil that is rapidly spreading throughout the church. The devil has convinced many churches that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people in hopes of winning them."
"Churches today are toning down their testimony and 'winking' at sin that they once opposed. Their plan is to reach the masses. But providing entertainment is found nowhere in the scriptures as a function of the church."
"Think with me, were the prophets of old persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused to amuse the people?"
"The mission of amusement fails to affect the desired end. Amusement produces no converts...and it works havoc on new converts. The need today is HOT Bible preaching so understood and felt that it sets men on FIRE!"
Wise words, indeed! Our gaol is not to humor people but "set them on fire."
An unknown author made some wise observations about Christian conduct. He said that if students went to school like some people go to church (when they feel like it), they would fail. If an employee went to work like some people go to the task of reaching others (indifferently), they would be fired. If a person ate meals like some partake of the Lord's Supper (irregularly), they would starve. If one paid bills like some support the church (occasionally), they would have no credit. If a ballplayer played with as little intensity as some serve the Lord, he would be sitting on the bench. If one spoke to others as some pray to God, they would be branded as antisocial.
Wise observations indeed! Let's put as much heart into serving the Lord as we do in the ordinary details of life.
Sometime ago I was in line at the post office when a lady approached the clerk with a package. As is customary, the clerk asked: "Is there anything liquid, fragile, hazardous or perishable in it?" The next person in line was a bubbly-type woman, and she jokingly asked the clerk: "Does anyone ever admit they are mailing something hazardous?"
Not likely. But there are plenty of hazardous materials that come through the mail, appear on TV, and jump at you over the internet. They're labeled "entertaining" instead of "hazardous", but they're destructive all the same.
May God help us not to be a victim of the poisonous pollution of pornography. It truly is hazardous...to your walk with the Lord and your attitude toward others.
The scriptures teach that a believer is "not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think." Pride is the great roadblock to receiving God's blessings (James 4:6) as well as the great catalyst of personal disputes.
After Charles Lawrence had developed the engine for "The Spirit of St. Louis," the aircraft Charles Lindbergh flew non-stop across the Atlantic, a dinner was held in his honor. But at the occasion, Lawrence made the comment: "This is nice, and I appreciate it very much, but who ever heard of Paul Revere's horse?" He knew the real credit belonged to Lindbergh.
When we follow that example of "esteeming others better than ourselves," life just seems to run more smoothly, and we become a candidate for God's blessings as well.
At the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., there is a large wooden altar from a synagogue that was vandalized by Nazi soldiers who had come to remove the Jewish citizens of the city. Across the altar is a single phrase of Hebrew carved deeply into the wood. Though it bears the hack marks of axes that attempted to delete the words, the phrase is still decipherable. It simply reads: "Know before whom you stand."
Today the Nazis are gone, but others have taken their place to try to eradicate the notion of God from our country and from our world. It is a futile attempt. Proverbs 1 says that the God "before whom they stand" will one day laugh at their destruction. No one has ever fought God and won. Not then, not now, not ever!
All of us have been hurt or disappointed by others in some way, shape, or form. The key is not to let those experiences produce a spirit of bitterness.
The Civil War left a tragic aftermath of hatred and resentment in America. One man who refused to participate in or condone this terrible spirit of anger was General Robert E. Lee. In word and deed he urged reconciliation between the North and the South. One day, a lady in Lexington, Virginia showed him the scarred remains of what was once a large, beautiful tree in her yard. All the limbs had been shot off by Federal artillery. She thought the general would share in her sense of outrage. Finally General Lee spoke, "Cut it down, my dear madam, and forget it."
In many ways, that is good advice for all of us. We may have been hurt or slighted in some way, and bitterness has set in, but what needs to be done is to "Cut It Down and Forget It!"