What’s Your Story?

EVERYONE HAS A STORY. THERE ARE GIVERS AND THERE ARE TAKERS, the gave-uppers and the overcomers. There are those who suffered great tragedy, those who committed great sin, but through their tears and broken hearts they held on just one more hour.

God told Moses to lead, but he was a stutterer and had killed a guy.

David was just a kid when he became a hero.  But as king he let his hormones get the best of him and had the husband of the object of his affection killed.

Hosea the prophet happened to marry a prostitute.

Peter cut a guy’s ear off.

Paul went around killing Christians.

O, BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO and in the Bible to boot, you say. Nevertheless, that was their story. What’s your’s?

I’M NOT FREE TO REVEAL a name, but I know of a prince-of-a-man, [Dallas Baggett] friend of my dad, who was born of a prostitute under a bridge in the early 1900s before there was a system in place to take care of him. Some Christian people, members of a little clapboard church found him when he was 6 years of age, and took him to Sunday School.  He gave his heart to Christ. They nurtured him along the way. He grew up, went to a Christian college with no money, could not pay tuition, and slept on the lawn for three days. The college authorities had compassion, gave him a job as a plumber; he graduated and became a leader in his church denomination. So what is your story?

A CONFUSED MAN stumbled into our little church located on a dirt road in a rather poor part of town. We gave him a job at $5.00 per week helping to clean the church. He couldn’t read or write. He came forward to accept Christ as his personal Savior. With him, he brought his two little daughters or maybe they brought him. What a sight that was; kneeling in front with his little 7 year old daughters as they hugged him, all three with tears streaming down their cheeks. They lived in a little house built with soda pop signs picked up along the dirt road. The floors were swept clean – made not with hardwood, but dirt. The first time I visited them the little girls were sweeping the dirt floor with weeds. It was clean as a pin. I saw them grow and learn as they came to church, hair combed and clean, excited to learn more about Jesus.  That’s their story. What’s your’s?   🎼🎶🎹

“Keep holding on, just one more hour

May bring to thee the promised pow’r;

Keep holding on, thy Lord doth care,

He’ll not forget to answer prayer.

“Keep holding on, keep holding on,

The victory will soon be won;

The longest day will soon be gone,

Keep holding on, keep holding on.

“Keep holding on, Christ knows thy need,

He doth the hungry sparrows feed;

Keep holding on, He’ll hear thy cry,

Thy Lord is watching from on high.”

(William C. Poole)

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Matthew 25:23

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LOVE!

LOVE! THE TRUE MEANING HAS BEEN PERVERTED FOR SO LONG  BY HOLLYWOOD USING SOUND AFFECTS, PICTURES and PLATITUDES disguised as profound until we’ve essentially resorted to making it entirely physical.  A good example is the 1970 movie with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, LOVE STORY.  A memorable line is, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  [O how sweet!]  Not too many people can define LOVE. Our culture, philosophy, education and experiences all influence the way we think of LOVE.  

I guess Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald defined and sang LOVE this way:

“I’ve got the world on a string

I’m sitting on a rainbow

Got that string around my finger

What a world, what a life; I’m in love.”  (Ted Koehler)
In the 1960’s our culture redefined LOVE to mean a whole list of decadent behaviors.  Our American “enlightenment” has proven The Scriptural statement:  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 (kjv))  Using the ’60s definitions & behaviors, one could do anything, act any way, and as long as its called love, all is OK!  I think the 60s is when the innocuous statement got started, [gotta sing it] “luv yeew.”  No you don’t and I don’t!  But as long as we kind of sing it, it legitimizes it. True LOVE goes beyond and above.  LOVE is willing to go to the mat, make any sacrifice, lift any load, go the second mile, and do all this without complaining. 

 Do I have the ability to define LOVE apart from the Word of God?  No!  But the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  penned one of the most memorable, declamatory and eloquent chapters in the Bible writing to the Corinthians.  

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t LOVE others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t LOVE others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t LOVE others, I would have gained nothing. LOVE is patient and kind. LOVE is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. LOVE never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But LOVE will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and LOVE —and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (nlt)

“Because of His great LOVE for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

Ephesians 2:4-8 (niv)

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the LOVE of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (nlt)

“Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13 (kjv) 

🎼🎶🎹

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

“Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.”

(Frederick M. Lehman)