I’ll never forget my first experience using an automatic car wash. Approaching it with the dread of going to the dentist, I pushed the money into the slot, nervously checked and rechecked my windows, eased the car up to the line, and waited. Powers beyond my control began moving my car forward as if on a conveyor belt. There I was, cocooned inside, when a thunderous rush of water, soap, and brushes hit my car from all directions. What if I get stuck in here or water crashes in? I thought irrationally. Suddenly the waters ceased. After a blow-dry, my car was propelled into the outside world again, clean and polished.
I read a fable about a man who was browsing in a store when he made the shocking discovery that God was behind a sales counter. So the man walked over and asked, “What are You selling?” God replied, “What does your heart desire?” The man said, “I want happiness, peace of mind, and freedom from fear . . . for me and the whole world.” God smiled and said, “I don’t sell fruit here. Only seeds.”
A wise Bible teacher once said, “Sooner or later God will bring self-sufficient people to the place where they have no resource but Him—no strength, no answers, nothing but Him. Without God’s help, they’re sunk.”
When my husband and I first went out as missionaries, I recall being concerned about the growth of materialism in our society. It never crossed my mind that I myself could be materialistic. After all, hadn’t we gone overseas with almost nothing? Weren’t we choosing to live in a shabbily furnished, rundown apartment? I thought materialism couldn’t touch us.
In John 3:16 we read, "For God so loved the world." But what about His love for individuals? The rest of the verse reveals the central purpose behind God's sacrifice of His Son: "That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Therefore, without exception, every person may interpret John 3:16 like this: "For God so loved me!"
I read about a young couple whose business had failed, and they had little money to spend at Christmas. They were going to have to move out of their house after the new year. But they didn’t want their holiday season to be spoiled because of it. So they decided to throw a party. When the guests arrived, they saw a cedar tree decorated with one string of lights and small rolled-up pieces of paper tied to the limbs with ribbon.
In her down-to-earth book More Than Sparrows, Mary Welch tells of her discussion about worry with a group of teenagers. Although they were Christians, they were as worried as unbelievers about the common things of life. As she lovingly listened to them, an unusual idea came to her for a game they could play. It went like this: