Thursday, April 20, 2017

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I have some friends who live near this industrial area - it's a steel mill type of industrial. You could take me there blindfolded and I'd know where I am, because the mills produce a distinctive aroma - OK, smell? Stink? Yeah. All day long you can smell this sulfur-like, rotten eggs type of odor. When you go there for the first time, you sniff and you go, "What's that?" Funniest thing - the people who live there answer, "What's what?" They've lived around that stench so long it doesn't even register anymore. It's gross, but they've gotten used to gross.

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  • Sin
  • distractions
  • temptation
  • godliness
  • media

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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When a little child gets home later than they're supposed to, you know there's going to be something on the other end. There's going to be a worried and not very happy parent waiting for them. I heard recently about a little girl who got home unusually late from school only to find a daddy who was, of course, not happy at all. He asked the little girl why she was late. She said, "Because my friend broke her dolly." Her dad said, "Oh, okay, so you stayed with her to fix it?" He didn't expect her gentle little reply, "No, Daddy. I stayed with her to help her cry."

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  • friendship
  • family
  • outreach
  • empathy
  • coworkers

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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There are few words that strike more fear into hearts in Middle America than the word "tornado". I grew up there, I know. I mean, twisters can hit so suddenly and they do horrific damage. That was proven again when some deadly tornadoes tore through Oklahoma back in 1999. In fact, one of those was so strong it was almost classified as an F6, which would have created a whole new category of tornado. In light of the power of those storms, the story I saw on the evening news was pretty amazing. After hearing one of those tornado warnings for the tornadoes in Oklahoma that day, a mother and her adult daughter went into a room in their house for safety. It's called a safe room or a strong room, and it's built with concrete that's reinforced with metal. And it's built to withstand even a hit by a tornado. Well, sure enough, the tornado hit that house and there was basically nothing left except for one room - the safe room. And when it was all clear, the mother and daughter walked out unscathed in a neighborhood where virtually everything else had been blown away.

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  • pain
  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • stress
  • forgiveness
  • real love

Monday, April 17, 2017

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I guess TV talk shows run out of material sometimes. You can tell when they're desperate. But one day I guess I turned on some talk show that demonstrates my point. They had four women on the show who were, let's say, average looking - which is what most everybody is. But they sent them backstage for a while to give them what's called a makeover. I guess that woman puts herself into someone else's hands - someone who can skillfully change her eye makeup, her coloring, her lipstick, her hairstyle, and her wardrobe. And voila - out comes this no-longer plain-looking lady. The difference can be amazing! Funniest thing, though, I've never heard of them giving a man a makeover. I guess they do; I've never heard of it. Although, I'll tell you what, a lot of us could really use one.

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  • marriage
  • wife
  • love
  • husband

Friday, April 14, 2017

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My friend, Alan, was working with a carpenter friend of his on a building project. Out of the blue, Alan sprang this rather unusual question on the carpenter, "Do you know what the most powerful nails in the world are?" The craftsman paused on his ladder for a moment and then he said, "I don't know. US Steel?" Alan said, "No. The strongest nails in the world are the three nails that held Jesus Christ on His cross." Well, then Alan just walked into the other room. A few minutes later, the carpenter called for Alan. He said, "Man, you've got to help me. Every time I drive a nail now, it's like I'm nailing Jesus to the cross." My friend said, "Well, in a way, we did."

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • church
  • forgiveness
  • Sin

Thursday, April 13, 2017

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I've had to pay my sister-in-law handsomely so I could tell you this story about when she was a little girl. She and her older sister - who you know I married - grew up on a little farm in the Ozarks. One day the family was blessed with the arrival of some new kittens. And my three-year-old sister-in-law loved them so much. So much that she wanted to make sure they had something to drink. So she put them in their full rain barrel. Yeah, I'm sorry to say, the kittens couldn't swim and the kittens drowned. I'm sorry. Her parents asked her why she did such a cruel thing. Turns out, she didn't know it was cruel. She said, "They were thirsty." Well, some cousin insisted that they have a funeral for the kittens, so he lined them up in a shoebox coffin and they gave the kittens a Christian burial. Unfortunately, that was not the end for my dear sister-in-law. She kept wanting to dig them up. And when she was told she couldn't, she just cried and said, "Wanna see kitties." No, you don't!

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  • hurt
  • forgiveness
  • grudge

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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Full disclosure here. I'm not the guy you want to call when you need a guy to do a job with a hammer. Okay. But look, I do know the fundamentals. A hammer can be used to build something, right? Or to tear it down. Either way, what a hammer hits is not going to stay the same. Life's hammers are like that: Losing your job, your health, the one you love most, as I did recently. Tragedy. Divorce. Betrayal by that person you trusted. Family heartbreak. Those are hammers! And maybe one of those has hit you recently. Or it maybe hit a long time ago but its effects are still there today. And whatever the hammer hits can't possibly stay the same. The only question is whether the blows will build you or tear you down. But the hammer doesn't decide that. We do.

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  • loss
  • faith
  • hurt
  • struggle

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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My friend, Nathan, was on the 61st floor of Tower Two that September day when a hijacked jetliner flew into the World Trade Center. I interviewed him for a broadcast, and I was pretty deeply moved by the story Nathan told. He was coming out of the restroom when he remembers seeing a piece of burning paper floating by the window. That was his first hint of the horror that was to follow. As people began to realize they might be in danger, they did what my friend did – they headed for the stairwell. Nathan's account took me right into those stairwells, ultimately jammed with screaming people, through the terror of first the smoke starting to fill the stairwell and then finally the quake when a plane hit their building.

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • Sin
  • saviour

Monday, April 10, 2017

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It was another crazy day in my life of crazy days. I was speaking in downtown Philadelphia early in the morning and then out in the suburbs later in the morning. The Billy Graham team members had organized all this and they arranged for the committee chairman to lead us from one meeting to another. The only way we could make both meetings was to race out of Meeting 1 and take the fastest possible route to Meeting 2. Well, we got behind the chairman and began what turned out to be a modern version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. This guy really knew how to get around that city! There was only one hope of getting to our goal, believe me. We just had to stay really close to the guy who was leading us.

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  • prayer
  • God's will
  • daily devotions
  • God's Plan

Friday, April 7, 2017

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Seven years of junior high band concerts. Yep, that was the special joy Karen and I had since all three of the Hutchcraft kids were in junior high band. Oh, it wasn't always a supreme musical experience, but hey, it's our kids, right? Let's imagine you have never heard of the brilliant composer Ludwig von Beethoven before. And I say to you, "Beethoven was a genius. His music is some of the most beautiful ever written." You're a little skeptical because you've never heard any of his music, but "I suggest a way you could remedy that. See, the junior high band is having a concert this week, and they're performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony." So you go, and you come back to me and you say, "I thought you said this Beethoven guy was a genius! I just heard his music. It wasn't brilliant!" Now what's the problem here? It isn't Beethoven-it's the way the band played his music. Just because they don't play his music well doesn't mean the man who wrote the music wasn't a genius!

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  • Salvation
  • Jesus
  • forgiveness
  • Judgement Day
  • christians

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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