Tuesday, November 25, 2014


With what presumption have we dared to voice
"Thank You for home (although we hold the deed),
Our acre, trees, and flowers (ours by choice),
Our faithful dog and cat (though it's agree
No one can own the latter), each good book
(A gift, or purchased), all else we foresaw
That we should cherish, and have made to look
Ours by possession (nine points of the law)."

With what presumption have we called them ours,
And even felt unselfish when we shared them--
When, if the truth be known, they have been Yours
From the beginning, Lord! You have prepared them
For us to borrow, using as our own:
So thank You, Father, for this generous loan. 

-- Elaine V. Emans


Monday, November 24, 2014


One of the most positive ways to end the day -- even the worst of days -- is to pause and consider where thanksgiving is appropriate in our lives.  We may begin by being grateful for such basic things as breath, adequate food, shelter, the capacity for thought, and gradually become aware of little, unnoticed events that were causes of joy during a day that may have seemed very routine.  The smile by the woman at the checkout counter; the first crocus in bud, evidence of approaching spring; the Scripture verse that came to mind; the memory of some act of kindness on the part of a neighbor; all these, as they are recalled, begin to change our perspective of life and of God.

Remembering makes the waiting time more bearable, for it fills the present emptiness with hope and allows God to be bigger than the present moment might suggest.

-- Elizabeth J. Canham in  "How Long, O Lord?" from The Weavings Reader, John S. Mogabgab, editor, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Friday, November 21, 2014


Some years ago, Bishop Willis J. King, the first African American bishop in America to receive a Ph.D. in Old Testament, told a true story that touched me deeply. Upon his graduation from Wiley College, he went back home to spend a few days with his parents. He showed them his degree. He was so proud of it. Then he announced, "Tomorrow I'm going to go to the downtown bank, and I'm going to borrow $500 to buy my first automobile."

The next morning, as he was about to leave, his father said to him, "Son, don't you want me to go with you and cosign your note?" He answered, "No, Dad, I can take care of this by myself. After all, I've got my degree now." And so he went on downtown to the bank.

The bank manager said to the young man, "So you want to borrow $500. Tell me, what do you have for collateral? If you're going to get $500 from this bank, you've got to have something of equal value." "Oh yes, sir," young King said, "I've got my degree." The bank officer relied, "Son, I'm sorry, but we can't use the degree as collateral for $500. I'm afraid you'll just have to go elsewhere."

King was in a state of embarrassment and failure when he heard a familiar voice. His dad said, "Son, I've come to cosign your note." "But, Dad," King said, "you can't even write. All you can do is make an "X'." And the banker said, "It may be true that your dad can't write and all he can do is make an 'X'. But I want to tell you something. It's that 'X' that got the loan to get you into school. It's that 'X' that got the loan to keep you in school, and it's that 'X' that got the loan that got you out of school. And if you are going to get a loan from this bank to buy a car, it's that same 'X' that's going to get the loan for you!"

King said that as he watched his dad make an "X" on the bank document, he realized that if you turn the "X" just a bit, it made the sign of the cross.

Bishop King summed up that story like this: "In that moment, I realized something more powerfully than ever before -- namely, how inadequate I am, how needy I am, how insufficient I am alone, and how on Calvary's cross, Jesus cosigned my note! I wouldn't be here tonight if he hadn't. Love lifted me, when nothing else could help. Love lifted me." 

-- "Unlearned Lessons: Excerpts from Zan Holmes," New World Outlook, July/August 1993, as quoted by James W. Moore in When You're a Christian, the Whole World Is from Missouri


Thursday, November 20, 2014


A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 22,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today."

No comments were made on the sermon contents anymore.

-- Unknown


Wednesday, November 19, 2014


You are, I'm sure, familiar with the myth of the "self-made man." But, the truth is that there is no such thing. If you really break apart any life, and examine it closely, you will discover the kernel of truth that everyone stands on the shoulders of someone else. In every life, there are teachers, parents, friends, co-workers, mentors, who have helped a so-called "self-made" person get to where they are today. No one really does it alone. But as Christians, we not only believe this, we believe in the one step more. We believe that not only do others help us along the way, but also that we truly do nothing without the aid and presence of God's Spirit with us.

-- Copyright Eric Folkerth 2000. All Rights Reserved. (Used with Permission)