Are we on maneuvers?
When an army is on a campaign, the soldiers have to “bivouac.”
This is, they spend the night in the open-air, and every one remains on guard. Ought not this to be the position of God’s people, now at war against the world, the flesh, and the Devil?
The night is setting in. Let God’s people BIVOUAC–every one become a watchman. “But what I say to you I say to all, Keep on the watch.” (Mark 13:37).
Point to consider: Do we conduct ourselves as “on maneuvers”, not becoming too comfortable in a life-style that dulls the senses and minimizes our sense of urgency and danger?
Bees and flies in a jar
Imagine an experiment. Take a glass bottle and put six bees and six flies into it.
Place it so the base is pointed toward a sunlit window leaving the open end pointed the other way.
The bees, seeing the light, will persist in trying to leave through the base that they will eventually die. The light coming through the base seems to convince them that this is the only way to go.
The flies, of much less intellectual power than bees, just fly around in all directions and in a matter of minutes will be out of the bottle.
Thus, the bees remain prisoners of their own logic while the flies meet the reward that often awaits the simple.
We need to follow the simple truths of God’s Word. Don’t get bogged down by so-called intellectual men who don’t know as much as they think.
Horse not looking so good
Did you hear of the man that had a horse for sale. This man did not speak too much English, so when the buyer came he told the buyer that the horse was “not looking so good”.
The buyer insisted that this was a beautiful animal and that the price was right. So he bought the horse.
Two days later he was back complaining “Why did you not tell me the horse was blind !”
The man replied: “I did tell you the horse was not looking so good!”
Doesn’t this remind you of the times that we should be “paying more than the usual attention” ? This can be applied to the service as well as paying attention at the meetings.
How to stay awake
Tech support people like me spend our days on the phone with customers. Many like to chat while waiting for their computers to reboot. One man told me he’d been a long-haul truck driver.
I’d love to drive a big rig,” I said, “but I’d worry about falling asleep at the wheel.”
“Here’s a tip to stay awake,” he offered. “Put a $100 bill in your left hand and hold it out the window.”
— source unknown
The art of attention
Improving one’s memory is not all that difficult. Most of us simply don’t expend the time or effort required. ‘the true art of memory,? wrote an English historian, “is the art of attention.? We can improve our memories by simply putting our minds to it and by following a few simple rules:
1. Remember to remember. Telling yourself that you want to remember this or that fact and concentrating on it will improve your memory immediately. We remember what we WANT to remember.
2. Sharpen your observation. Pay close attention to what you see and hear. Use images. Shut your eyes and try to SEE it. Notice details. Really LOOK at things. Few people actually do.
3. Practice recall. Forgetting is most rapid soon after learning. It helps, therefore, to make a deliberate effort to repeat and review immediately. Repetition will help fix the fact or image in our minds.
4. Concentrate. Eliminate distractions. The mind is at its best when it is centered on one thing at a time. Avoid such things as fatigue, noise, and competing visual images during the time you are trying to learn.
Bits and Pieces, October, 1989.
As I sit and stare my mind is there, but then begins to wander,
I try to pull it back, too late, already it’s out yonder.
It begins to float past houses, trees, through clouds and past the moon,
And now it’s soaring ‘tween the stars, may stay out there ’til noon.
What’s out there? What can occupy those ones with duties there?
Is it only emptiness, dark, frigid, stars in vacuum glare?
Can they share stories, be companions? Feel warm camaraderie?
For don’t they have Jehovah’s attributes, even more than we?
Wake up! I have things to do, I must bring my mind back here,
I can’t do the things that I must do, when in the stratosphere.
Through space just traveled, down to earth, reality attain
I force my mind to the task at hand… But it will run away again.
— Wallace E. Agy
It doesn’t do any good to sit up and take notice if you just keep on sitting.
Situational Tubercular Myopia
See the Cake … Cindy glanced nervously at the clock on the kitchen wall. Five minutes before midnight. “They should be home any time now,” she thought as she put the finishing touches on the chocolate cake she was frosting. It was the first time in her 12 years she had tried to make a cake from scratch, and to be honest, it wasn’t exactly an aesthetic triumph. The cake was … well, lumpy. And the frosting was bitter, as if she had run out of sugar or something–which, of course, she had.
And then there was the way the kitchen looked. Imagine a huge blender filled with all the fixings for chocolate cake–including the requisite bowls, pans, and utensils. Now imagine that the blender is turned on. High speed. With the lid off. Get the idea?
But Cindy wasn’t thinking about the mess. She had created something, a veritable phoenix of flour and sugar rising out of the kitchen clutter. She was anxious for her parents to return home from their date so she could present her anniversary gift to them. She turned off the kitchen lights and waited excitedly in the darkness. When at last she saw the flash of the car headlights, she positioned herself in the kitchen doorway. By the time she heard the key sliding into the front door, she was this close to exploding.
Her parents tried to slip in quietly, but Cindy would have none of that. She flipped on the lights dramatically and trumpeted: “Ta-daaa!” She gestured grandly toward the kitchen table, where a slightly off-balance two-layer chocolate cake awaited their inspection.
But her mother’s eyes never made it all the way to the table. “Just look at this mess!” she moaned. “How many times have I talked to you about cleaning up after yourself?”
“But Mom, I was only…”
“I should make you clean this up right now, but I’m too tired to stay up with you to make sure you get it done right,” her mother said. “So you’ll do it first thing in the morning.”
“Honey,” Cindy’s father interjected gently, “take a look at the table.”
“I know–it’s a mess,” his wife said coldly. “The whole kitchen is a disaster. I can’t stand to look at it.” She stormed up the stairs and into her room, slamming the door shut behind her.
For a few moments Cindy and her father stood silently, neither one knowing what to say. At last she looked up at him, her eyes moist and red. “She never saw the cake,” she said.
Unfortunately, Cindy’s mother isn’t the only parent who suffers from Situational Timbercular Myopia — the occasional inability to see the forest for the trees. From time to time we allow ourselves to be blinded to issues of long-term significance by Stuff That Seems Awfully Important Right Now–but isn’t. Muddy shoes, lost lunch money, and messy kitchens are troublesome, and they deserve their place among life’s frustrations. But what’s a little mud–even on new carpet–compared to a chid’s self-esteem? Is a lost dollar more valuable than a youngster’s emerging dignity? And while kitchen sanitation is important, is it worth the sacrifice of tender feelings and relationships?
I’m not saying that our children don’t need to learn responsibility, or to occasionally suffer the painful consequences of their own bad choices. Those lessons are vital and need to be carefully taught. But as parents, we must never forget that we’re not just teaching lessons–we’re teaching children. That means there are times when we really need to see the mess in the kitchen–and times when we only need to see the cake.
Did it ever occur to you when looking up at the stars on a dark night, perhaps far out in the country away from the “light pollution” of the cities that if such a sight only happened once every 100 years or so that spectators would be crushing around you?
However, it can be seen so often that people give not much thought to the beauty overhead. Because they can see it most any night, perhaps they never will.
Two horses: A lesson in being observant
Once there was a farmer who couldn’t distinguish between his 2 horses. Since he didn’t
know what to do he asked his neighbor for an advice.
“Why don’t you trim the tail of one of the horses”, advised the neighbor.
“You are a very clever man”, said the farmer.
For a couple of months it was all right, but then the tail grew back to its normal size.
“You’d better trim the mane of one of the horses”, advised again the neighbor.
For another couple of months it was ok, but then the mane grew back.
“I think the best thing to do is to look for something characteristic that doesn’t vary with the time, like the height of the horses”, said the neighbor.
“You are a very wise man, I’ll measure it and tell you about it.”
After a few hours the farmer returned to his neighbor:
“You were perfectly right, I’ve measured their height and indeed the white horse is 3 inch taller than the black one.”
James says the Bible is a mirror. The brother brought out that when we look into it we see two images. One is the perfect image of what a Christian should be, and the other is our own imperfect image. Do we really hear and see the difference and make the relevant changes?
There was a young customs official whose job was to search vehicles entering the country for any smuggled goods. One day a woman rode up to his gate on a very nice motorcycle. Strapped behind her seat was a large box full of sand. The guard immediately sensed in his gut that the woman was smuggling something, so he emptied the box of sand on a table and sifted through its contents. All he found was plain ordinary sand. Without any evidence, he had to return the sand and let her go.
For several weeks, the same woman continued to pass through the official’s gate just as she had before. Each time she came through, he would search though her box of sand hoping to find something. However, he never found anything but ordinary sand.
One day as he was searching through yet another box of sand, the guard became so frustrated that he called a co- worker over from the gate next to him. The second guard glanced at the sand, looked at the woman’s papers, and then arrested her for smuggling motorcycles.
Wright brothers fight announcement
In December, 1903 the editor of the hometown newspaper where the Wright brothers lived missed the scoop of the century.
They had been busy in North Carolina trying to get their aircraft to fly and finally succeeded. They promptly sent a telegram to their sister back in Ohio. It read something like this: “Have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas”.
She ran down to the newspaper office and shoved the telegram under the editor’s nose. His reply, after carefully reading it was, “How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas.”