Archive for August, 2019

Have Faith 8-11-2019

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

It was an hour you did not expect. In fact, it was in the middle of a
dream that you are led to a huge hall, like a place for medieval banquets.
All along the beautiful carved panel walls are…large oil paintings of
your ancestors.
“Wow”, you say. I had no idea anyone like this was in my
family”.
“Take a look at your grandfather, Abraham”, whispers your
companion. “What a man! When God told him to travel, he didn’t even
wait to be told where. He packed up everything he owned, and the
people he loved…and just started walking. He knew God would tell him
where he was supposed to arrive when the time came. He didn’t need to
know details. He had faith.
“And blow a kiss to your grandmother Sarah. (point) No children
for the first sixty years of marriage, with a womb as dry as the Sahara.
God asked her to open her brittle body one last time to your grandfather,
because there’d be a surprise. Nine months later she was nursing a
beautiful baby boy.
You look down the hall, and there are hundreds of paintings of
other ancestors in faith. Noah, Samson, David, Samuel from the Old
Testament, Mother Mary, Peter, Paul, Martha, Mary of Bethany…from
the New, followed by Francis, Clare, Benedict, Elizabeth Seaton,
Mother Teresa, and on and on.
Your companion sighs. “Yes, you come from quite a family.
They had their sins, their problems, every kind of physical or emotional
or spiritual ailment you could think of…but they were people of faith.
They all lived by the conviction that somehow things would turn out.
They didn’t cave in. They trusted God. They trusted life…even when
things looked impossible.”
Your companion’s voice grows louder. “You come from good
people—the best—and now it’s your turn to live by faith. It’s your turn
to trust God and live according to God’s direction even when it appears
unworkable, irrational, nonsensical, unrealistic or even impossible.
Good lives, holy lives, always appear like that at times.”
You start to stutter. “I…I don’t know if I’m up to it.”
Your companion smiles, “You may not be up to it. But God is.
God will help you. God always does. Faith is confident assurance
regarding God’s promise.”
You look into the eyes of this companion and realize it is, and
always has been, Jesus.
He pats you on the back. “Do not be afraid any longer. Don’t let
fear rule your life. Have faith – the conviction that no matter what – in
this life or the next – things will work out.

The Richest Man in the Valley 8-4-2019

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

There was a wealthy lord who lived in the Scottish Highlands. He
was more then richly endowed with this world’s goods and amongst his
vast possessions was a mansion overlooking a beautiful valley. But
there was a basic emptiness in his life. He had no religious belief, he
lived alone, possessed by his possessions.
In the gate lodge at the entrance to his estate lived John, his
herdsman. John was a man of simple faith and deep religious
commitment. With his family he was a regular churchgoer. God’s
presence was a reality in his home and often at night when he opened the
gate to admit his employer, the Scottish lord noticed the family in
prayer.
One morning the lord was looking out on the valley resplendent in
the rising sun. As he gazed on the beautiful scene, he said to himself, “It
is all mine.” Just then the door bell rang. Going down, he found John
on the door step. “What’s the matter, John?” he asked. “Are the horses
alright?”
John looked embarrassed. “Yes, sir,” he replied. “Sir, could I
have a word with you?” He was invited onto the plush carpet, and his
presence there pointed up the striking contrast between their lifestyles.
“Sir,” said John hesitantly, “last night I had a dream, and in it God
told me that the richest man in the valley would die tonight at midnight.
I felt I should tell you. I hope, sir that you don’t mind.”
“I don’t believe in dreams. Go on back to your work and forget
it.”
John still looked uneasy. “The dream was very vivid, sir, and the
message was that the richest man in the valley would die at midnight
tonight. I just had to come to you, sir, as I felt that you should know.”
The lord dismissed him, but John’s words bothered him so much
that he finally took out his care and went to the local doctor for a check-
up. The doctor examined him, pronounced him fit and said he’d give
him another twenty years.
The lord was relieved but a lingering doubt caused him to invite
the doctor around for dinner and a few drinks that evening. They
enjoyed a meal together and shortly after eleven-thirty, the doctor got up
to leave. When the lord asked him to remain on for a few nightcaps, he
agreed.
Eventually, when midnight passed and he was still in the land of
the living, the rich man saw the doctor to the door, and then went up
stairs muttering, “Silly old John…upset my whole day…him and his
dreams.”
No sooner was he in bed than he heard the door-bell ringing. It
was twelve-thirty. Going down he found a grief-stricken girl at the door
whom he recognized instantly as John’s teenage daughter.
“Sir,” she said, looking at him through her tears, “Mummy sent me
to tell you that Daddy died at midnight.”
The lord froze. It was suddenly made clear to him who was the
richest man in the valley.