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January/February Issue 2006 - Volume 25 Number 1
Changing the World
“Changing the World”
The following quote was submitted by Don Dixon and appeared in the online discussion group ABBA on Jan. 17, 2006:
“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered that the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If only I had changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”
- The words inscribed on the tomb of an Anglican bishop in Westminster Abby (1100 A.D.)
Verse for Thought:
Gal 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
There are so many situations and factors that we simply cannot control in life. Try as we may, we cannot change the attitudes of our co-workers unless they see the need to change. We can encourage them, chide them or implore them, but they will only change their behavior when they decide it’s time. In fact, the only one we can control in the workplace is ourself. We usually discover that changing self is a daunting task, and maybe that’s why we prefer to try to change others. When our co-workers won’t or don’t change, then we have a perfect place to lay the blame for an unhappy work environment.
But let’s be fair. Sometimes our co-workers must accept responsibility for their own failures and shortcomings. No matter how much we work on our own behavior, even the changes we make will not guarantee a better work environment. However, the changes we make within ourselves may help us to better cope with the bad behavior of others. We may find peace of mind even if it doesn’t translate into peace in the workplace.
We have used the workplace as an illustration, but these same principles will apply in our family, in our neighborhood, in our school or in our church. The Anglican bishop buried in Westminster points us to an important truth: In order to change the world we must begin with ourselves.
Jonah converted the great city of Nineveh, but he had to turn himself around first. The turning was under God's direction with the help of a large fish. Sometimes turning self around can be a traumatic and even horrendous task, but with God's help it can be accomplished. This turning of self is the first step in making significant changes in our world. May God help us not only to see this truth but also to act on it.
He “was a devout man, one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). His name was Cornelius, and he was a good man. Yet, he was told that in the sight of God there were some things he lacked. He was directed to Simon Peter who would tell him what he must do (Acts 10:6). When Peter came to visit him, Cornelius was waiting for him with his relatives and close friends (Acts 10:24). Peter taught Cornelius and his family and friends about Jesus Christ – His authority, His power, His crucifixion, His resurrection, His future role as Judge of the living and the dead (Acts10:34-42).
Peter also proclaimed the "GIFT" that Jesus offered: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins …And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:43, 48).
Why was a good man – a God-fearing man – told to believe in Jesus and be baptized (immersed in water) in the name of the Lord?
Cornelius was a good man, but he was still a sinner; he needed forgiveness for his sins. So do you. So do I. “As it is written: ‘There is NONE righteous, no not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10-12).
Cornelius, as well as many others, could declare: “I am basically a good person I pay taxes. I don’t cheat on my wife. I don’t do anything to hurt other people. In fact, I try to help others. Why do I need forgiveness?”
Cornelius learned that just being a good, moral person isn’t enough. He needed Jesus Christ and the forgiveness that is found in Him.
Sin is not only breaking the law of God (1 John 3:4); it is also failing to be what God intended for us to be. There are sins of commission – sins we commit – and there are sins of omission – things we should do, but don’t. The truth is that no one can ever be good enough to earn salvation. Only through Jesus Christ can one be saved (Acts 4:12).
God wants us to be good (see Acts 10:35), but He knows – just as you and I know – that we can NEVER be perfect. Each day we fall short in some way, either in thought, attitude, word, or deed. In short, WE ARE SINNERS, and we NEED a Savior!
God, in His great love and mercy, gave us His Son to provide for us what we need the most: forgiveness. Through faith (Acts 10:43), repentance (Acts 17:30), confession (Romans 10:9-10) and baptism (Acts 10:48; 2:38), and faithfulness to Christ (1 John 1:7), we receive forgiveness in Christ.
God loves good people, BUT being good isn’t good enough. ALL people EVERYWHERE – the good and the bad – need the salvation from sin which God has provided.
We must not TRUST in our good works, but rather CONTINUE in them, while trusting and obeying Jesus Who ALONE has finished the work.
God bless you!
David A. Sargent
In ABBA – 4/26/02
“Gospel of John Passage Proven True”
turns out that a specific passage from the Gospel of John wasn't a religious
conceit, that is a kind of poetic license John took to prove a point. It's
true. Now there is proof.
forward to the fall of 2004: When the men repairing the sewer line
uncovered two steps, the work stopped so the antiquities' experts could have
a look. They didn't have to look long before they were "100 percent sure it
was the Siloam Pool," Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority told
the L.A. Times. How could they be so sure? When the workmen
crafted the steps centuries ago, they buried four coins in the plaster, all
of which date from 103 to 76 BC. In addition, in the soil in one corner of
the pool, the archaeologists found a dozen coins that date from 66 to 70 AD,
indicating that the pool was being filled in at that time.
Compuserve What’s New - 8/19/05
“How Did We Survive?”
Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have.
As children we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Our baby cribs were painted with bright colored lead based paint. We often chewed on the crib, ingesting the paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We played with toy guns, cowboys and Indians, army, cops and robbers, and used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or the BB gun was not available. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda, but we were never over weight; we were always outside playing. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Some students weren't as smart as others or didn't work hard so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. That generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem solvers. We had the freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), the term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.
We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of hightop Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.
Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot. How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the school system. Speaking of school, we all said prayers and the pledge (amazing we aren't all brain dead from that), and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention for about the next two weeks.
We must have had horribly damaged psyches. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway) but they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations. I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers that could have befallen us as we trekked off each day about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant 20, built forts out of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who got to be the Lone Ranger. What was that property owner thinking, letting us play on that lot. He should have been locked up for not putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing gate and an infrared intruder alarm. Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!
We played king of the hill on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome and then we got whooped. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.
We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got whooped (physical abuse) there too... and then we got whooped again when we got home.
Mom invited the door-to-door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka trucks (remember why Tonka trucks were made tough... it wasn't so that they could take the rough Berber in the family room), and Dad drove a car with leaded gas.
Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when we went on two week vacations. I should probably sue the folks now for the danger they put us in when we all slept in campgrounds in the family tent. Summers were spent behind the push lawnmower and I didn't even know that mowers came with motors until I was 13 and we got one without an automatic blade-stop or an auto-drive. How sick were my parents?
Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof.
It was a neighborhood run amuck.
To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have know that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!
Received via email - 1/3/03
“The Church Useless?”
Dear brethren in the Lord:
Greetings in the mighty name of Christ the Lord. I received this send from my friend in Dubai I thought this one was worth selecting, copying and pasting:
A Churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a 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 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu 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 these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment! All right ... now that you're done reading ...send it on!!! I think everyone should read this!! So REPOST! LET IT BE KNOWN! "When Satan is knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?”
…Received via email from Samar Madison of Hyderabad, India, 8/25/05