The older I get, the less excited I am about theory . . . and the more I care about reality. Who cares if the stuff that flows from my pen stimulates the intellect and gives folks fodder for philosophizing? So what if these words tickle ears and answer questions nobody is asking? Provocative, relevant, issue-related writing with enough creativity and honesty to keep the reader reading is what interests me . . . not much else. And so every once in a while I frown, squint, and peer objectively at a page and ask hard questions: Am I in touch? Is this worth mentioning? Does it scratch an itch? Will it make any difference?
I did that after I wrote a column on an “affair.” Just decided to face the facts, say it straight, and risk being bold rather than subtle. Another risk is being overzealous and offensive. There’s a fine line between being necessarily straightforward and needlessly blunt. Jesus, who never once compromised with sins of the flesh, had a remarkable way of keeping the sinner’s dignity intact, a la John 8. I love that about Him as much as anything He modeled.
Anyway, the upshot of all this is a letter that I received in response to my “affair” column. The person who wrote it reinforced my hope that my words would indeed connect and communicate. Here are a few excerpts.
I rarely write letters like this! But I feel so strongly about what you’ve written. . . . I was the unfaithful partner in a marriage. Although it was many years ago, it is still a painful memory. It did happen before I knew the Lord, and it has been His grace that has healed and sustained our marriage. My point in writing at all is really to commend and encourage you to continue to address these very difficult subjects. A stand must be taken and too many evade the confrontation. . . . Thank you for your convictions and the courage to speak on them.
So I include this here to ask, again, if this speaks to anyone out there. Perhaps you are still on the fence. Still trying to break off an illicit relationship and come back to your original commitment. Wondering if you dare. If you can. If it’s worth it.
You do the same. Walk back into your mate’s arms, and never walk away again.
As Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
Telling the truth in love can uncover the lie of sin. Examine your own life with this in mind.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Day by Day with Charles Swindoll (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2000), 191. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
When he had to confront King David, Nathan told a story. When Joshua urged Israel to choose whom they would serve, he told a story. When the Son of God wanted to reveal truth to His followers, He too told a story.
The Plan in a Child's Heart
A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
but a man of understanding draws it out. (Proverbs 20:5)
Go for It
How many people stop because so few say "Go!"?
In his fine little book Fully Human, Fully Alive, author John Powell relates an experience which happened to a friend while he was vacationing in the Bahamas. The friend was sightseeing when he noticed a crowd gathered toward the end of a pier. He walked down to investigate the commotion. Powell says:
. . . he discovered that the object of all the attention was a young man making the last-minute preparations for a solo journey around the world in a homemade boat. Without exception everyone on the pier was pessimistic. All were actively volunteering to tell the ambitious sailor all the things that could possibly go wrong. "The sun will BROIL you!" "You won't have enough food." "That boat of yours won't withstand the waves in a storm." [And, of course, those familiar words] "You'll never make it."
When my friend heard all these discouraging warnings to the adventurous young man, he felt an irresistible desire to offer some optimism and encouragement. As the little craft began drifting away from the pier towards the horizon, my friend went to the end of the pier, waving both arms wildly like semaphores spelling confidence. He kept shouting: "BON VOYAGE! You're really something! We're with you. We're proud of you!"
How ironic that it would be non-Jewish men from distant lands who searched out Jesus’ arrival to offer Him gifts and bow before Him in worship.
Scholarly Jews acted indifferently toward Jesus’ advent. King Herod, the half-Jew, acted with fear and hostility.
Pastor Chuck Swindoll sweeps away the dust of tradition that has clouded this familiar Scripture passage to give you a fresh portrait of the significance of the wise men from the East.All Sermons by Chuck Swindoll