Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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Well, we're not going to forget for a long time, even as the years pass, the images of the World Trade Center attacks and those heroic rescue efforts that followed them. One moment still sticks with me. It hit me. It was this interview with a big guy who was helping the rescuers. He was sitting on a curb at Ground Zero, talking with a reporter from a cable news network. He told how he had been delivering food to the rescuers, and then he was making his way back through the rubble when he decided to reach into that rubble just on the chance someone might be there. Unbelievably he suddenly felt this warm hand grabbing his arm. Immediately, he went and got helpers who pulled a firefighter out of there alive! And then that's when he lost it in that interview, and he choked out these words, "He touched me first."

Monday, August 27, 2018

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Power-that's what mattered most to Napoleon. He wanted power, and he got it. Under his leadership, the armies of France won some stunning victories. They extended control well beyond their borders, but that wasn't enough for Napoleon. It is said that one day he gathered all the top officers together around this large table. Laid across that table was a map of Europe with a big red spot on it. That spot was England. He pounded his fist on the table, and he raged: "If it weren't for that red spot, I could have it all!" 

Friday, August 24, 2018

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Lots and lots of marble steps – that's one thing I remember from our family trip to Washington D.C. when the kids were little. In fact, our youngest was about two years old the first time we went there. In fact, he told me that at that time he was very interested in seeing the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government firsthand. Yeah, he said that to me. Oh, but those steps! Have you ever been to the U. S. Capitol building or the Lincoln Memorial? Maybe you remember feeling new feelings in your legs by the time you reached the top. Imagine our little guy. He looked up at those stairs and he knew there was no way with those short little legs. So he was stuck at the bottom with no hope of reaching the top of the steps. No, wait a minute. That's not true. He had me! And I had one of those child carriers on my back which he got in. And he made it where he never could have gone himself, because someone bigger carried him.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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"Y'all come see us!" You hear that pretty often in the South. It's called southern hospitality; sort of an open invitation to stop by, as they say, and "visit." That's why I was surprised at the welcome mat they had at a cabin we recently stayed in. I was speaking at a conference in the south, and my wife and I were wonderfully given a picturesque log cabin to stay in. But then there was the welcome mat. Well, it was sort of a welcome mat-maybe more of an unwelcome mat. You walk up to the door, you look down at the mat, and you're greeted with these wonderful words, "Oh no! Not you again!" 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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Some dear friends of ours lost their 19-year-old son. Because of the way it happened, his death was a sudden, gut-wrenching tragedy. With Jesus as their anchor, even through this, they made this incredible faith statement, his mom and dad. They said, "God wants life to come from his death.” One way that's happened is through their decision to donate his organs to help save and improve some other lives. Not long after their son's death, the word came back that someone in a neighboring state had received their son's heart. That's been a source of comfort and encouragement to them. As they say, "Our son's heart is giving life to someone else.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park-it's situated in a remote corner of New Mexico. It's a place where a thousand years ago, the ancient ancestors of some of today's Indian tribes enjoyed this thriving civilization. They were, as an article in USA Today reported, "astronomically observant." For modern observers, it's still a great spot to be astronomically observant; a place where you can see the heavens without the interference of the artificial light that's all around us much of the time. Several years ago, a woman came to the visitor's center desk to report something remarkable she'd seen in the sky. The ranger held his breath for another "UFO sighting," only to be surprised by the woman's excited description of a "lane of white powder" she said that she had seen spanning the heavens above her campsite. The ranger had the great pleasure of informing this lady that, for the first time in her life, she had actually seen the Milky Way. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

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And now once again it's time for another of my science guy experiments. Let's say I'm looking at this beautiful scene on a calendar. It's a picture of snow-capped mountains in the background with stately evergreen trees in the foreground and a azure-blue sky. In the upper left-hand corner, an eagle is soaring majestically over the trees. I love eagles, so I decide that's the thing in the picture that most catches my attention. In fact, forget the rest of the picture, I'll just take a closer look at the eagle. So I bring him closer to my eyes and closer and now my nose is touching the calendar. I am totally focused on the eagle and I am suddenly cross-eyed!

Friday, August 17, 2018

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I was speaking at a Bible conference, set right near the shore of a beautiful lake. I was responsible for speaking about eighteen times in six days, literally, so I was a pretty busy boy. But I did something that would have made my wife proud, even in spite of how busy I was. I took time to smell the flowers; well, at least to admire the flowers. I have to admit, I'm partially colorblind, but even I was struck by these rich purple flowers blooming all over this sprawling vine in the garden outside my window. The flowers seemed to be everywhere in the garden. I asked someone from the conference what I was looking at. He told me it's a Vinca vine. He said they had transplanted that vine from a pot to the soil of this garden. And I was told a Vinca vine doesn't produce any flowers when it's in a pot-only when you plant it in the ground. Well, what do you know?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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My wife and I have always, yeah we enjoyed Mexican food. Actually, I just like food, but she really liked Mexican food, but she liked it much hotter than I do. She liked the salsa, the hot sauce – the really hot stuff. I like wimp sauce, yeah. But not even she could handle what our friend from Mexico went for. See, he doesn't just like hot sauce on his food. He likes molten lava. Even the candy he eats has chilies in it. (What in the world?!) It brings tears to our eyes; he pops it like we do M & M's. Recently, he told me about a Mexican pepper that he had never tasted before. Some friends recommended it to him. He took a big bite out of it and he really enjoyed it. It wasn't hot, it was actually mild. He enjoyed it so much, he ate some more. No fire, no burn, just a nice taste experience – until a few minutes later. Here's how he told it, "Suddenly, my mouth burst into flames!" Now, when he thinks something's hot, it's on fire, man! But there was no hint of the fire when he was biting into it. I loved what he named this particular pepper. He calls it "The Liar."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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Treasure Island, A Child's Garden of Verses-those are just some of the literary classics written by Robert Louis Stevenson. He must have had a way with words from the time he was a boy. Anne Graham Lotz tells of a night in his boyhood when his nanny just couldn't get him to bed. Young Robert just kept staring out the window, oblivious to her talking to him. Finally, she said, "Robert, what in the world are you looking at out there?" As she pulled back the curtain, she realized he was watching the lamplighter making his way down the street, lighting one street lamp after another. Young Robert Louis Stevenson saw something more. He said, "Look at that man! He's punching holes in the darkness!"

            

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