In my quiet time recently I was reading in Acts 7. The passage gives the account of Stephen's being stoned. Before he was stoned it states that he looked up into the heavens and saw the heavens open and then saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. I believe this paints a picture for us of the Christian life.
I was very impressed recently with the quarterback of the Clemson Tigers. No, it wasn't his playing that most impressed me. It wasn't what he did but what he said. Trevor Lawrence, the quarterback, when interviewed, said, "I put my identity in what Christ says, who He thinks I am and who I know that He says I am." Don't miss that last statement in the midst of a profound statement. "...who I know that He says I am." This young man has grasped one of the most critical components for a successful Christian life...and I might add, even a successful life.
It is in Isaiah that we find the most famous of prophecies concerning the Incarnation. Isaiah 7:14 tells us "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." Later in chapter 9 we read: "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." The promise of a coming Messiah is clear. Unfortunately, we often fail to see them in their historical context.
A couple of weeks ago, while working in my yard, a yellow jacket stung me on the hand. It really hurt and continued to hurt. I asked Debbie what to do. She said dip it into bleach and hold it there. (I had heard of this home-spawned remedy before but I had my doubts.) When I held it in the bowl of bleach, it wasn't long before it stopped hurting. In fact, it was almost instant.
On Monday, August 9, 1993, a 31 year-old woman, Sopehia Mardress White, burst into the hospital nursery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, wielding a .38 caliber handgun. She had come gunning for Elizabeth Staten, a nurse whom she accused of stealing her husband. White fired six shots, hitting Staten in the wrist and stomach.
Author John Steinbeck once said, "A sad soul will kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ." Maybe that is why Solomon said, "A merry (joyful) heart doeth good, like a medicine." Sadly, many today suffer from a sad heart. Depression is one of the most common emotional diseases of our time. In the U.S. it hits 10 to 12 million people every year. Statistics indicate that about one out of every 10 American males and one out of every five females are likely to experience a bout of depression this year.
According to the wire service reports, there is a place in Australia that has become a favorite spot for those who want to commit suicide. It is a rocky cliff near Sydney Harbor called The Gap. For nearly 50 years, a man by the name of Don Ritchie has lived across the street from The Gap. Don sees it as his responsibility to try to keep people from jumping. It is estimated he has saved more than 160 lives by offering conversation, coffee or tea. In some way, he tries to bring them hope.
In Vermont, a farmer was sitting on the porch with his wife. He was beginning to realize how much she meant to him. It was about time-for they had lived together forty-two years and she had been such a great help. One day as they sat together, he said, "Wife, you have been such a wonderful woman, that there are times I can hardly keep from telling you."