Surprises by Charles R. Swindoll Genesis 17:15–17; 18:9–14; Joshua 6:1–22; 1 Corinthians 15:52–58 The feelings are familiar. Mouth open. Eyes like saucers. Chill up the spine. Heart pounding in the throat. Momentary disbelief. We frown and attempt to piece the story together without a script or narrator. Sometimes alone, occasionally with others . . . then boom! “The flash of a mighty surprise” boggles the mind, leaving us somewhere between stunned and dumb with wonder. “Am I dreaming or is a miracle happening?” So it is with surprises. O. Henry did it with his endings. World War II, with its beginning. Surprises start parties and they stop partnerships.
A Parable: Saving Lives by Charles R. Swindoll Colossians 4:2–6; Matthew 5:13–16; Ephesians 5:1–33 On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat . . . but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. By and by, it became a
Friendly—Inside Out by Charles R. Swindoll 1 Samuel 16:1–7; 1 Kings 5:1–12; John 15:15 Are you attractive? I’m not referring to external beauty nor facial features. I’m asking if you are attractive—magnetic, winsome, charming, friendly. Listen to Proverbs 18:24a (KJV): A man that hath friends must show himself friendly. Do you see the point of the proverb? To have friends we must be friendly. Friendliness is a matter of being someone . . . more than it is doing something. A prerequisite to friendliness is a positive, healthy self-image. Ephesians 5:29 suggests this fact in a context dealing with a man’s love for his wife. For no one
Cool Skepticism by Charles R. Swindoll Exodus 14; Luke 9:10–17; 2 Peter 3 Nine-year-old Danny came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either his mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his daddy by the leg and yelled, “Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!” His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it. “Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as
Quietness by Charles R. Swindoll Psalm 46; 131; Isaiah 30:15–18; Mark 6:30–32 It is almost 10:00, Monday night. The children are snoozing and snoring upstairs (or they should be!). Aside from a few outside noises—a passing car . . . a barking dog . . . a few, faint voices in the distance—all’s quiet on the home front. That wonderful, much-needed presence has again come for a visit—quietness. Oh, how I love it . . . how I need it. One of my most poignant memories of quietness occurred in California when I was walking with a friend along the sandy shores at Carmel. The
The Dark Side of Greatness by Charles R. Swindoll Genesis 39:19–21; 41:50–52; 45:4–8; Proverbs 18:12; 1 Peter 1:3–9 “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen . . . [and] now he belongs to the ages.” Of whom was this said? One of the Caesars? No. Napoleon? No. Alexander the Great? No. Eisenhower? Patton? MacArthur . . . or some earlier military strategist like Grant or Lee or Pershing? No, none of the above. How about Rockne or Lombardi? No. Or Luther? Calvin? Knox? Wesley? Spurgeon? Again, the answer is no. Well, it was no doubt said of a great leader, a powerful and persuasive personality,
by Charles R. Swindoll September 25, 2015 Hebrews 11:16 Like silent shadows, the heroes of the faith pass beside us, pointing us toward the upward way, whispering words of courage. The memory of all those models of righteousness now gone from view puts needed steel in our spirit, prompting us to press forward, always forward. The legacy of their powerful presence and penetrating pages adds depth to our otherwise superficial existence. Because their convictions live on in words that challenge today’s shallow thinking, we do not—we dare not—remain the same. I would challenge you to do some further reading about these heroes of the faith.
by Charles R. Swindoll September 24, 2015 Romans 5 It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to guess the country, though the towns may sound strange: Offenbach, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Coburg, Heidelberg, Worms. . . . The land of beer steins, sauerkraut, liverwurst, and black bread; cuckoo clocks and overflowing flower boxes; wide, winding rivers and deep green woods; stone castles on hillsides and quiet, efficient trains; and the greatest music ever written. The beloved homeland of Bach, Mendelssohn, Handel, Beethoven, and Wagner. Germany is also where some of the severest yet most essential battles for the faith were fought. It was there that the chain that bound the Bible
by Charles R. Swindoll Philippians 4:13–14 I honestly believe that “forgetting” is the hardest part of “forgiving.” Forgetting is something shared with no other person. It’s a solo flight. And all the rewards are postponed until eternity . . . but how great they will be on that day! Forgetting requires the servant to think correctly which means our full focus must be on the Lord and not on humanity. By God’s grace, it can happen. Ask yourself these two questions: Is there someone or something I have refused to forget, which keeps me from being happy and productive? Am I a victim of self-pity, living out my
by Charles R. Swindoll Proverbs 22:6 Maybe it’s because I’m soon to have another birthday. Maybe it’s because I’m a granddad several times over. Or maybe it’s because of a struggling young seminarian I met recently who wishes he had been higher on his parents’ priority list than, say, fifth or sixth. He was hurried and ignored through childhood, then tolerated and misunderstood through adolescence, and finally expected to “be a man” without having been taught how. My words are dedicated to all of you who have the opportunity to make an investment in a growing child so that he or she might someday be