Daddy built a tepee in the woods for 5-year-old Bree and her 3-year-old sister Abby. Then he constructed a playhouse for them in a nearby fallen tree. When the leaves were off the trees, the children could see the family cabin from their hideouts. But in the tangled underbrush of summer, the girls thought they were deep in the scary woods.
Bible teacher Robert J. Little wrote about two jars whose contents looked the same but were actually quite different. When the first jar was turned on its side, vinegar ran out. Then the other jar was tipped over and honey came out of it. The two jars appeared to be similar, but when they were upset their true contents were revealed.
A woman desperately needed a kidney transplant. The outlook for her was not good unless a compatible donor could be found. Then came the break. The woman's brother offered to be the donor. His personal sacrifice seemed to provide the perfect solution; their matching blood types made successful surgery almost certain.
For more than 50 years, the Gallup organization has been surveying the religious beliefs of the American people. Here are some of their findings: In 1947, 93% professed faith in God, 73% expected an afterlife, 90% affirmed that they pray, and 41% attended some kind of church service frequently. In 1997, the survey findings were virtually the same, except that professed faith in God went up to 96%.
The prophet Jeremiah learned something about God in a potter's shop (Jer. 18:1-10). The craftsman was working at his wheel, shaping a pot from the clay that swirled through his hands. Then something went wrong. Perhaps there was some impurity in the clay. But the potter did not fling the clay aside; instead, he started forming another pot with a new design.
When a baseball player signed a huge contract that would pay him $8 million a year, he unashamedly declared that he was worth that much. Most of us would disagree. It's hard to understand how anyone can feel he is worth that much money to hit and catch a ball for 6 months.
I have always admired the boldness, courage, and conviction of Daniel. Recently I was struck by the way he stood for his principles in a pagan culture. The Bible tells us that Daniel "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" with food and drink that God said was forbidden for Jews, so he asked his captors for another menu (Dan. 1:8). Instead of crossing his arms and refusing to eat, Daniel asked permission to take a different nutritional approach. When the official refused, Daniel pursued his goal with a polite request to someone else: "Please test your servants for ten days" (v.12).
Several years ago, a fire destroyed a building that contained tons of ice. Author Carl Franke said that although the building had contained thousands of gallons of potential extinguisher, the water was not in usable form. The building was full of frozen assets!
Job was a good man. He feared God, helped the needy, and opposed the wicked. Yet he made the mistake of placing too much emphasis on his own good character. We see this in his bitter complaint (23:2). Job claimed that if God would only listen to him the way a judge and jury listen to a defense attorney, He would conclude that Job is pure gold (vv.2-10).