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Quotes & Stories

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"Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad."
— Proverbs 12:25

  Learning To Live In Two Worlds  

During the many years that I pastored in Oregon I was within a two-hour drive of the renowned sea lion caves where the largest species of seals used to congregate during the mating season. I always enjoyed watching them both in the water and on the rocks, for I seemed to be able to identify with them in at least one aspect: they, too, struggle to live in two worlds simultaneously.

They are air-breathing mammals that come to land to breed and bear their young, but they are far more at home in the water than they are on the land. As swimmers they are graceful, playful, and powerful, but on the land they are lumbering, clumsy, and pain-fully awkward. Sometimes it seems that they are neither mammal nor fish, but some miserable concoction put together by a compromising committee.

Although they are masterful swimmers, it is not inherent in their nature. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963 edition, declares that, "seals are taught to swim by their parents." Born on the rocks, but destined to live in the sea, they must learn to live in a world so different from the one into which they were born.

I relate to that, for although. I was born in the natural world I was destined to live in the spiritual world. My time on the land is short; my full life will be lived in the sea of God's kingdom. But I was not born with an inherent ability to relate to or respond in that world. I have to be taught. Everything in God's world is foreign to me. Even though I may possess strong desires for holiness. I must remain on the rock until someone teaches me how to swim. That has become the work of the blessed Holy Spirit.

He gently leads me from my natural world to his supernatural world. When He first encourages' me to lumber across the rocks into the water, I feel more at home in my awkwardness than in his ocean of love, for I have not yet learned to swim. But I shall learn! I will learn how to be in this world but not of it. I will learn, "how to possess a vessel in sanctification and honor" (1 Thessalonians 4:4). I will learn freedom in God's presence and will skillfully launch out into the ocean of his pleasures.

But it won't be learned in one easy lesson, and it will not be without a struggle. Sanctification has moved us off the rocks to which we were born into the ocean for which we were prepared, but the transition is a struggle both ways. After swimming so effortlessly it is painful to come upon the rocks again, but our mammal nature requires it.

LET US BE HOLY   By: Judson Cornwell

  The Apostle Paul Wasn't Qualified  

One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister. A member of an offical board undergoing this painful process finally lost patience. He'd watched the Pastoral Relations Committee reject applicant after applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise. It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee. So he stood up and read a letter purporting to be from another applicant.

"Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications .... I've been a preacher with much success and also had some success as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I've been a leader most places I've been.

"I'm over fifty years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years. In some places I have left town after my work has caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing. My health is not good, though I still get a great deal done. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I've not got along well with religious leaders in towns where I have preached. In fact, some have threatened me and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized.

"However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you."

The board member looked over the committee. "Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?"

The good church folks were aghast. Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absent-minded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who signed the application? Who had such colossal nerve?

The board member eyed them all keenly before he answered. "It's signed, The Apostle Paul."

Submitted by the Rev. C. W. Kirkpatrick, Ludlow, Mass.

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© 1999 The Old Time Gospel Ministry
"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."