Jones jumped up from the card table white with rage. "Stop this game," he shouted, "Smith is cheating!" "How do you know?" "He's not playing the hand I dealt him."
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"When Nothing's Happening" 1 Samuel 13:7
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I seem to vaguely remember this old nursery rhyme from when I was a kid. It went like this: "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" If you asked our four and seven-year-old grandsons that question, they'd probably say, "Real slow!" Maybe that's why Mary was so contrary. Last Spring, the boys worked with their Dad to clear a little area in the yard where they could have a vegetable garden. And they were all excited about planting those seeds in the ground: tomato seeds, green beans, carrots, lettuce. They went out the next day to look at what they had planted. Nothing. Then the next week, and the next week, and the week after that. They watered the garden when it didn't rain. They pulled up weeds. For the longest time, they went out to that garden to see what was happening and nothing was happening - or so it looked. Had they tried to dig up the seeds to see if anything was happening, they would have ruined everything. But you know the story. It finally h! appened. The tomatoes and beans and carrots and lettuce. It just took a little while.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When Nothing's Happening."
Something had been happening all along to those seeds. Just because you can't see what God is doing doesn't mean He's not doing anything! In fact, that may be something important for you to remember right now. You've been praying about that need, that situation, that person for a long time and it looks like nothing's happening. Key words: looks like. When a seed's been planted, it looks like there's nothing going on for some time until that plant breaks through and ultimately produces some wonderful fruit. When a new life has begun in a woman's body, it doesn't look like anything's happened for quite a while. But every day, that life is growing where we can't see it grow. Until it first reshapes that mother's body and ultimately appears as that precious little baby being born.
The problem is that when it looks like nothing's happening, we tend to say, "Well then, I've got to do something!" And most often, it's the wrong thing; like digging up the seed to see if it's growing or plowing up the garden because it looks like nothing's happening. In 1 Samuel 13, beginning with verse 7, our word for today from the Word of God, we've got a sobering example of how much we have to lose when we can't wait for God to do it His way. Saul, Israel's first king, has been told by God's man Samuel, "Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings ... but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do."
With the Philistine forces massing against them, the Bible says, "Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel, but Saul did not come to Gilgal, and Saul's men began to scatter." Okay, so Saul panicked, and he did what no king was allowed by God to do: he offered the burnt offering himself and he crossed a sacred line. And "just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived." When Samuel asks, "What have you done?" Saul answers by talking about what "I saw," "I thought," "I felt." Samuel says, "You acted foolishly. You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you ... now your kingdom will not endure."
Saul forfeits the major legacy of his life because of disobedience that disqualified him; a disobedience that came because he couldn't wait for God to do it His way. You and I are so prone to making that same kind of mistake. Nothing seems to be happening, things are starting to fall apart, and it looks like we're at the point of no return. So we take matters into our own hands and, in so doing, ruin what God was going to do.
God is so often the God of the eleventh hour. He waits until the moment when everyone will know it had to be Him. He waits so our faith can stretch farther than its ever stretched before so He can do greater things for us than He's ever done before.
Flowers show us - vegetable gardens show us - babies show us the ways of God - that something's happening all the time it looks like nothing's happening. God is working in ways we can't see, so ultimately something beautiful will be born for all to see. So, as the Psalmist says: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this ... be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:5, 7).
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“Every morning I log onto the worldwide web, not because
I’m a computer geek, but because I want to understand what’s
going on in the world. I’ve long since turned my back on the
print media for accurate and timely news reporting, and it’s
getting to the point where I can’t even bring myself to watch
a televised news broadcast anymore.”
That opinion by conservative political commentator Edward Daley quite accurately mirrors the reaction that most Evangelical Christians have developed about the weird interpretations of daily events which the elite media foists upon us. With almost the sole exception of the Fox TV News Channel, and the occasional reliable newspaper like the Washington Times, the American public is being lied to by Liberal biased “reporters” who are actually “commentators” delivering in print, radio broadcast or TV newscast their personal opinions rather than accurately reporting what is happening in the world. Like Mr. Daley, many of us have come to rely upon Internet sites to get accurate reports on current events.
In the newspaper field, the New York Times seems to have a grip on first place as the most politically biased, unreliable and untrustworthy publication, followed closely by the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and others. There are the occasional exceptions, and if you live where a daily paper accurately reports the news – rejoice! In the television field, the major networks: ABC, CBS , CNN and NBC all seem to suffer the same malady of Liberal domination of their reporting. A somewhat bright spot in the dismal TV lineup is the Fox News channel, but even this mostly reliable source experiences an occasional deviation from the goal of “Fair and Balanced” or the announced intent: “We Report – You Decide.”
As to which is the worst of the bad, it is difficult to make a final decision. Perhaps it is when the newscasts venture out of the realm of current events and the attendant political and economic ramifications and get over into an area where they are totally unqualified – namely religion and specifically Christianity – that we feel inclined to try to counter some of their more objectionable presentations.
Brian Williams is the “anchor man” of NBC-TV’s “Nightly News." On Friday, April 7, just before the start of Christians’ “Holy Week,” he made this incredible assertion: “By one way of looking at this past week, would anyone blame you if your faith in some long held beliefs is tonight permanently shaken?” Such a statement is, of course, a demonstration of Mr. Williams lack of any understanding of the Christian faith. And when a news reporter has absolutely no personal knowledge of what he is talking about, doesn’t it make more sense to remain silent, rather than to suggest that a person’s faith could be “permanently shaken” by some current happening?
Here are the items which so concerned Mr. Williams. (1) Doron Nof, an oceanographer at Florida State University, questions the Biblical account of Jesus walking on the water, and suggests that ice might have formed on the Sea of Galilee so that Jesus really walked on the ice. Mr. Williams suggests that this would “throw a lot of the Bible into confusion.” The confusion associated with ice on the Sea of Galilee in a warm climate would spread to many other areas of thought, like the fact that the Sea of Galilee (actually a lake) is a fresh water lake some 300 yards below sea level, the second lowest body of water in the world, and is in a year round warm climate. But more important than any pragmatic answers like those is the fact the we have a Biblical record of Jesus having walked on the water. End of discussion. Our faith is not permanently shaken.
(2) Mr. Williams' second dramatic faith-shaking story -- that scientists think they have found a skeleton of a fish whose fin structure resembles arm bones, and thus is the “missing link” between sea and land animals. Like so many elements of Darwin’s theory of evolution, this one, too, has its flaws, and can be relegated to the “theory” file, while the Biblical account of creation remains intact. Fish still swim in the water, and our faith was not permanently shaken by this one . . . in fact, not even jostled.
(3) The third faith-shaking event which Mr. Williams cited is the discovery of a manuscript called “The Gospel of Judas.” Included in the hype concerning the release of the translation of this manuscript discovered in 1970 was this prediction that “it will shake Christianity to its foundations.” Mr. Williams must have been swayed by that announcement, which reminds one of Mark Twain’s reaction to the New York Times erroneous announcement of his death: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” It is claimed that the manuscript was written by Judas, although the evidence is clear that it was written long after his death – perhaps in 170 or 180. The story told in this manuscript is in sharp contrast with the accounts of Jesus’ life and death in the four canonical Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It appears to be an indication of the struggles which the early Church faced in defending the Christian Gospel against the attacks of the Gnostics. Through the centuries the so-called “Gospel of Judas” was never accepted by Biblical scholars as being authoritative or authentic. And beyond these factual reasons for discounting the effects of this most recent effort, there remain the facts as portrayed in the four canonical Gospels which have been accepted through the years. And antedating those Gospel records are the Old Testament prophecies, some accurately portraying the actual betrayal of Jesus, and all in clear contradiction of the story contained in the Judas manuscript. No, Mr. Williams, no shaking of our Christian faith over this one.
It is reasonable to assume that Brian Williams, or someone like him, will again attempt to predict the downfall of Christianity with the release of the film version of the “Da Vinci Code” on May 19, or thereabouts. The important fact to remember in any discussion about Dan Brown’s book, or the film version of it, is that the “Da Vinci Code” is a work of fiction, nothing more. Even its presentation of the Catholic organization, Opus Dei, is false, and the group’s members have been making extensive efforts to correct the erroneous information about their work and ministry.
Jesus said it so simply and clearly . . . we need to reflect often on His words when critics attempt to shake our faith, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me …I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14: 1-6) Those words are eternally true, and not shaped or affected by any temporal event.
An Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male buffalo with the other. He says to the waiter, "Want coffee."
The waiter says, "Sure chief, coming right up." He gets the Indian a tall mug of coffee.
The Indian drinks the coffee down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun, causing parts of the animal to splatter every where, then just walks out.
The next morning the Indian returns. He has his shotgun in one hand pulling another male buffalo with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, "Want coffee."
The waiter says, "Whoa, Tonto! We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, anyway?"
The Indian smiles and proudly says, "Training for upper management position in United States Government: Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day. ======================= Protect the birds. The dove brings peace and the stork brings tax exemptions. ======================= I have an 8-track mind in a DVD world.
He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life. Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water. Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King. Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons. Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears. Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world. Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd. Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.