ANSWERS TO “Losers Who Became Winners”

Here are the names of the bible losers who became winners:

MARK: The first time I accompanied Paul on a mission trip, I couldn’t handle it and headed back home. For a long time, he didn’t trust me, but later I became one of his trusted assistants. I also wrote one of the accounts of Jesus’ life that appears in the Bible.

RAHAB: When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, I protected two of their spies and made a deal with them. Even though I was a prostitute, Israel’s soldiers spared me and my family during the conquest of our city. Because I was awed by their God, I chose to join the Israelites. I married one of their leaders and became an ancestress of King David and Jesus Christ.

PETER: When Jesus was arrested by the religious leaders who opposed him, I let him down. I couldn’t believe it! I had promised to defend him to the death. But after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to his followers. I and many others became fearless in spreading the good news of salvation and restoration available from Christ.

ABRAHAM: To avoid a famine in Canaan, I took my family to Egypt. While there, I talked my wife into telling people she was my sister. I was afraid that a man would desire her for her beauty and eliminate me. In spite of this incident, God appeared to me several times and chose me to be the father of a new nation of people. He knew I would teach my family to respect him and live according to his ways. In fact, I became known as “the friend of God.”

THOMAS: Several days after Jesus was crucified, all of my fellow disciples claimed Jesus had appeared to them while I was somewhere else! I said I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw him myself and felt the nail holes in his hands. Well, it happened. I saw him too. It was an awesome experience, but he was disappointed in my unbelief. I didn’t doubt him any longer. In fact, within a few years, I traveled to India to invite people of that nation to be his disciples.

What do these examples have to say? Here’s what I see:

  • I can become a winner even if I am now a loser.
  • If I love God and want to follow him, he does not hold my past against me.

If you interviewed these people, what do you think they would say to you?

WHO AM I? Losers Who Became Winners

How many of the following bible characters can you identify? Some of you won’t need any clues, but I’m giving some anyway. I’m Man Scratching Headactually giving each person’s name right after their life-story-in-a-nutshell, but . . . the letters are scrambled.

The first time I accompanied Paul on a mission trip, I couldn’t handle it and headed back home. For a long time, he didn’t trust me, but later I became one of his trusted assistants. I also wrote one of the accounts of Jesus’ life that appears in the Bible. (RAMK)

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan into Canaan, I protected two of their spies and made a deal with them. Even though I was a prostitute, Israel’s soldiers spared me and my family during the conquest of our city. Because I was awed by their God, I chose to join the Israelites. I married one of their leaders and became an ancestress of King David and Jesus Christ. (HAARB)

When Jesus was arrested by the religious leaders who opposed him, I let him down. I couldn’t believe it! I had promised to defend him to the death. But after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to his followers. I and many others became fearless in spreading the good news of salvation and restoration available from Christ. (TEERP)

To avoid a famine in Canaan, I took my family to Egypt. While there, I talked my wife into telling people she was my sister. I was afraid that a man would desire her for her beauty and eliminate me. In spite of this incident, God appeared to me several times and chose me to be the father of a new nation of people. He knew I would teach my family to respect him and live according to his ways. In fact, I became known as “the friend of God.” (MARBAHA)

Several days after Jesus was crucified, all of my fellow disciples claimed Jesus had appeared to them while I was somewhere else! I said I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw him myself and felt the nail holes in his hands. Well, it happened. I saw him too. It was an awesome experience, but he was disappointed in my unbelief. I didn’t doubt him any longer. In fact, within a few years, I traveled to India to invite people of that nation to be his disciples. (SMOATH)

Well, did you know all these people? Did you learn something new about any of them?

On the other hand, do you need help identifying some of these? If so . . . check in on Monday for the answers.

An Unexpected Message from the Past

During the last five years of my father’s life, I was re-introduced to the poetry he loved. I say “re-introduced” because I first opened his poetry books and notebooks as a child when I was supposed to be dusting them. I eventually did whisk them off—but not without first getting lost for a while in the sentiments and rollicky rhymes inside.

Now, many of these poems seem quaint. Take, for example, this one from The Best Loved Poems of the American People:

THE MODERN BABY

“The hand that rocks the cradle”—but there is no such hand;
It is bad to rock the baby, they would have us understand;
So the cradle’s but a relic of the former foolish days
When mothers reared their children in unscientific ways—
When they jounced them and they bounced them, these poor dwarfs of long ago—
The Washingtons and Jeffersons and Adamses, you know.

They warn us that the baby will possess a muddled brain
If we dandle him or rock him—we must carefully refrain;
He must lie in one position, never swayed and never swung,
Or his chance to grow to greatness will be blasted while he’s young.
Ah! To think how they were ruined by their mothers long ago—
The Franklins and the Putnams and the Hamiltons, you know. . . .
—William Croswell Doane (1832-1913)

See what I mean? Definitely outdated.

That’s all I saw at first, when Dad showed me this poem. But then several thoughts punctured my 21-century smugness. I realized:

  • Americans of 150 years ago were no less intelligent than we. Their health care professionals—like ours—were continually searching for better ways to safeguard children’s health and development. And parents of that day—like ours—had to trust their own common sense in the presence of those who were supposed to be experts.
  • What is regarded as modern today will soon be old-fashioned. As far as this poem is concerned, that includes our science and our artistic expression.

I found these revelations pretty humbling. They gave new meaning to Paul’s words:

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Rom. 12:3 NIV) but be “honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (Rom. 12:3b NLT).

You know, the poem above, outdated though it was, still spoke to me. I have decided to feel good about what the Lord enables me to do, and leave the results up to him. My words will not be in style forever, but—if I make room for it—my contributions will have the stamp of his eternal genius.

And the Answer Is . . .

If you guessed that the “Middle Eastern farm boy” was an Israelite shepherd boy; that this boy became King Saul’s armor bearer (“the commanding officer’s aide”); that—after King Saul died in battle—this young man became the king of Israel . . . then you know that this mystery person is

KING DAVID

the most influential and revered king of Israel—and the most illustrious ancestor of Christ.

How did this all happen? I mean, so many obstacles stood in the way of his destiny. It took God’s supernatural intervention time after time to position David as ruler of Israel and to keep him there.

God’s first (very touching) action was sending the prophet Samuel to locate this young “nobody” and secretly anoint him as the future king of Israel. This was complicated by the fact that David was out tending the family’s sheep and his father didn’t bother to call for him. He only presented his seven oldest sons to the prophet. But God “found” David anyway. 

“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).

There’s a dramatic song about this incident. As you listen to it, you can imagine it’s about you. Believe that God knows you. He sees you differently than others do. He knows where you are and how to get you where you need to be.

 

 

 

Who Am I? Middle Eastern Farm Boy Makes Good

I am a Middle Eastern farm boy. I live in what you would call 1000 B.C. I have seven older brothers. Three of them joined the army, leaving me at home to tend the livestock and run errands for my father.

Eventually, though, I followed them into military service and became the commanding officer’s aide.

After several difficult years in obscurity, I was suddenly thrust onto the public stage—this time in a political role.

My life has been full of challenges, but I have been so aware of God’s purpose and power in it all. I feel privileged to serve him.

Who am I?

Check in on Monday to confirm your guess! 

Making It Personal

  • Is it necessarily easy to follow God’s purpose for your life?
  • What made it possible for our farm-boy-who-made-good? What will make it possible for you?
  • What will keep you in God’s will during hard times—asking yourself, “Is this making me happy?” or saying to yourself, “Wow, what a privilege to do this for God”?

 

 

A Child’s View of God

Here is a treat for Friday from Inspire21.com. It’s a hilarious example of “reading between the lines” of the Bible. Enjoy!

8 Year-Old’s Explanantion of God

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime.  God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this.

Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God.

Don’t skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.

It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But… you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And this is what I know about God.

What is your favorite “God” quote from a child?

And the Answer Is . . .

The sixteenth-century Spanish knight whose his life story appeared last Friday in “Who Am I?” is . . .

ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA

What was it that drew Ignatius away from a military career to the service of Christ? He was captivated by Christ’s life by imagining what the gospel events were really like.

If you are tired of ho-hum bible reading . . . if you have ever thought, “I wish I had been alive when Jesus walked the earth” . . . click on the Resource tab above to find a simple guide to the kind of bible reading that transformed Ignatius.

For more information on Ignatius of Loyola, click here and here.