During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a bright young doctor was imprisoned for his Jewish ancestry. All liberty and dignity was stripped away. His family was destroyed. His education and experience suddenly meant nothing. Yet even in that horrific place, he discovered, “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.” How? “Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”
He found freedom even without liberty.
What a great measure of gratitude we own to those who have gained both for us!
Joshua led the people in circles around a powerful city for days on end.
Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish.
Peter had a habit of saying and doing anything that came to mind.
Saul was so well trained in religion that he hated Christians.
What was God thinking?
God gave Aaron the words to speak for Moses.
God made the walls fall down.
God took Jonah – still in the fish – to his destination.
God perfected Peter’s mind.
God changed Saul so much He even changed his name.
Well, what do you know? God seems to know what He is doing after all.
In the mid-1400s, the thrilling Renaissance Period, an imposing summer residence was erected for the Archbishop of Salzburg. A beautiful and lasting castle.
Since then it has been captured, confiscated, sold, rented, and auctioned. That marvelous building was intended to bring honor to important men. Today it serves as a novel vacation spot for tourists.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).
Archimedes, a Greek mathematician of the second century before Christ, said, “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the world.”
When a king demanded a demonstration, Archimedes had a huge ship brought ashore; then, using a series of pulleys and a carefully placed fulcrum, with the one-handed turn of a lever, he moved the ship.
Jesus once gave His disciples a promise like that. He said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).
In other words, faith is our fulcrum. So where is our place to stand? “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (v. 21). We stand on prayer and move the world through faith.
by Troy Moore
George A. Straley tells about the sexton of a big city church who was puzzled, for every week he had been finding a sheet of blue-lined book paper crumpled into a small wad lying in the corner of the same rear pew. He smoothed out one of the little wads of paper and saw it had several penciled words: “Clara ill, Lester, job, rent.”
After that the sexton began looking for the paper wads weekly and discovered they were always there after every Sunday morning service. He opened them all and then began to watch for the person who sat in that particular corner of the pew.
It was a woman, he discovered, middle-aged, plain but kind-faced and unassuming. She was always alone. The sexton told the pastor what he had observed and handed him the notes. The pastor read the cryptic text with furrowed brow.
The next Sunday he contrived to meet the woman at the church door as she was leaving and asked her kindly if she would wait for him a moment. He showed her the notes and enquired gently about their meaning.
Tears welled in the woman’s eyes. She hesitated then said softly, “You’ll think I am silly I guess, but I saw a sign among the advertising posters in a bus which said, ‘Take your worries to the church and leave them there.’ My worries are written on those pieces of paper. I write them down during the week, bring them on Sunday morning, and leave them. I feel God is taking care of them.”
“God is taking care of them,” the pastor said softly. “Please continue to bring your worries and troubles to the church and leave them there.”
So to be rid of your worries, simply take them to the Lord and leave them there.
– From an unpublished collection of illustrations by Troy Moore.
They did not like paying taxes. The government was foreign and oppressive. Money was not so plentiful they could happily give up part of what they had. What they wanted to hear was a religious excuse from taxes. What they got was a gentle reprimand.
According to Matthew 22:21 we are to “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things which are God’s.” A country’s money most often bears the image of the nation’s leaders or former leaders. If this was Jesus’ way of telling the people to pay their taxes to the government who had issued the coins, couldn’t we assume it was also His way of reminding us to commit our lives to our Creator?