Awesome Thought


He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

~Isaiah 53:3, NLT


Hurt is the essential ingredient of ultimate Christlikeness.

~Calvin Miller {Into The Depths}

Thomas Arnold lived in the middle of the 18th century. He was an educator who had a great deal of influence on the English public school system. Thomas had a sister that he described as delightful. As a child, she took a vow to never speak of herself. Thomas said of his sister, “I never saw a more perfect instance of the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. She was thoughtful about the finer details of your life but never spoke about herself; she was thoughtful of others and thoughtless of self.” Can you imagine such a creature? At Grace Point we have some “story tellers” and I am one of them. I was patiently listening to one such story yesterday when I thought of a story myself. So I waited patiently for a time to speak and then I started my story, but I barely got the first line out of my mouth before my friend started another story. A decade or so ago, I was asked to speak to a small group of pastors in Guatemala. When the driver came to pick me up, he said, “where is you suit and tie.” I said, “I didn’t bring one.” “You can’t go dressed like that,” he said. So I made no attempt to get in the car and I told him to leave without me. With that he began to berate me as he told me to get into the car. He ran out of steam by the time we got to the foot of mountain and then I began asking him questions about himself. From that point on, the conservation was pleasant because he was thrilled to talk about himself. It is an old Jedi trick that will work with most people but it would not have worked with Arnold’s sister. When I read her story…I leaned back in my chair and said WOW! I am not like her but I need to be. Boy, do I need to be. I will not name names to protect myself but I thought of some folks who are much, much closer to Arnold’s sister than I am.

You have all heard of Elizabeth Barrett Browning the poet. She was an invalid. She wrote…

I praise Thee while my days go on; I love Thee while my days go on: through dark and dearth, through fire and frost, with emptied arms and treasured lost, I thank Them while my days go on.

God healed the world from a hilltop through the pain and suffering of His incarnate Son. I pray almost daily for the world to look to that old rugged cross and repent of their sins. God must be working in my spirit, because lately I have a burden for the world; for people I don’t even know. I have no doubt, God uses pain, sorrow, failure, disappointment, and even heartbreak to sanctify us and make us like Jesus. E. Stanley Jones said, “Jesus always looks not at what a man is or has been but what he is going to be.” When Jesus meet Simon, Andrew’s brother, the scripture says, Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Peter {Rock}”. Jesus has the ability to see what we are going to become. You and I see a big hunk of rock but the gifted artist sees the sculpture before he applies the hammer and chisel. Remember the Bill Gaither song…

He’s still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me.


More beautiful weather. I never remember a more pleasant February. Vellene Tanner’s CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE is Saturday at Pecks. Visitation from 10:00-11:00 and service at 11:00. Bill Southern has to stay in hospital 4 more days. Bill has covid, bronchitis and pneumonia but he is feeling better. Lincoln has been at home but has to go back to St. Jude’s later this week {I think}. I may have misunderstood. Ole Gregg is doing pretty good. He and Traci were in a store yesterday, he pulled a valentine card from the shelf, read it to her, then put it back and said, “Happy Valentines.” That is vintage Gregg. I am not that creative. I thought I was watching for it but it snuck up on me, again. I kept Jackson for thirty minutes this morning where June could get a shower; I guess that will be my valentines. Like I said, I am not as creative as Gregg.

I will say this, February is zipping right on by and we have only four weeks until the time change. The time change this year is on March 12th and if I understand correctly, they may go with it year round. I hope so: springing up is rough. I thought the delay in the permanent change was with the school buses running before daylight but I read where Airline schedules was the hold up. That surprised me: again there is a chance that I misunderstood so I would check that out if I were you.

High today is 67 so enjoy. Any time it gets this warm in winter in Alabama, rain is on the way. Have a good day and thanks for reading the blog.


Narcissus, in Greek mythology,  was a hunter from Izmir who was known for his extraordinary beauty. He was so attractive that he rejected all romantic advances, eventually falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. He was entranced by his own good looks and eventually drown himself trying to embrace his own reflection. Into todays world, narcissism is a fixation with oneself marked by grandiose self-worship and the excessive need for attention, admiration and praise. A narcissist has no ability to sympathize with others or to even think of others. Modern day Izmir is in Turkey and very close to ancient Ephesus.


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