Dick Brackett KNLS.ORG, World Christian Broadcasting Alaska... http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett.html Mon, 23 Oct 2017 05:49:00 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Friends http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/106-friends.html http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/106-friends.html function get_style106 () { return "none"; } function end106_ () { document.getElementById('uxu106').style.display = get_style106(); }

Aside from my family, I value my friends above everything else. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but what I do have is not worth what a friend is to me. I like to make new friends, and I never hesitate to greet someone I do not know and try to be friends with them. My personal philosophy is that a stranger is merely a friend I haven’t gotten to know yet.

The Bible has a lot to say about friends.  Most of these references are in the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, and were probably written by Solomon, possibly the wisest man ever to live.

Start with this:  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Or think about this: “A man that hath friends must show himself to be friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” I have some friends who are closer to me than my own brothers.

Then Solomon tells us, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so does the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”

And how reassuring this is: “Your own friend and your father’s friends, will not forsake you.”

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God calls Abraham His friend.

I believe that there are only two ways to find a new friend…you can either be assertive and seek a friendship with someone, or you can be passive and wait while you are willing to welcome friendly overtures. Pity the person who holds back and closes up his mind, not willing to receive friendly gestures from someone else. These people will never have many friends, and certainly few close friends.

I believe that friendship is more about giving to others than about getting from them. If you expect to receive more from a friend than you are willing to give, you will not have a very balanced friendship. On the other hand, if you are willing to give with no hope of getting back, you will find yourself with more friends than you can count.

In the New Testament, in the Book of John, we learn that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, as a gesture of service. When He was finished, He asked his friends if they really knew what He had done for them. Then He said, “You call me Lord and Master and you say well, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

Jesus was not talking just about washing people’s feet, but I believe He chose a very basic and humbling task to illustrate how we should look for opportunities to do good things for other people, even if it is just to wash their dirty, smelly feet. A true friend will give you opportunities to live as Jesus asks us to, by allowing us to be servants to them in some way. A favor you can do for someone else will enhance your own life.

You may have heard of the Boy Scouts.  These young men take an oath to go out of their way to “Do a Good Turn Daily.” In fact, the Boy Scout program was brought to the United States from England, as the result of an English Boy Scout doing a good turn for a visiting American businessman. William D. Boyce was lost and confused one foggy night in London in 1909, looking for a particular building. A Boy Scout saw his dilemma and offered to lead Boyce to the building. When Boyce offered the boy a tip for his courtesy, the young Scout remarked, “Oh, no, Sir! Boy Scouts do not accept payment for doing a good turn for someone. It’s part of our Scout duty.” Boyce was so impressed that he returned home and the following year started the Boy Scouts of America. A single act of kindness has resulted in millions of boys who have become Scouts and learned life-transforming attitudes.

My prayer for all of us is that we will always have friends who are willing to share their lives with us and allow us to be friends with them.

To paraphrase John Kennedy, a popular United States President of the 1960’s, “Ask not what your friends can do for you. Ask what you can do for your friends.”

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khtan@worldchristian.org (Dick Brackett) Dick Brackett Tue, 15 Jun 2010 15:41:16 +0000
Better or Bitter http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/105-better-or-bitter.html http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/105-better-or-bitter.html function get_style105 () { return "none"; } function end105_ () { document.getElementById('uxu105').style.display = get_style105(); }

Over the course of my life, I have learned that there are two basic ways of looking at life, and the one you choose will determine the quality of your life. You might be able to think of other ways of doing this, and, if so, go right ahead. Your way is probably as good as mine and maybe better. If it works for you and you are happy with it, that’s great!

I believe that you can either accept what happens to you and make the most of it, or you can choose to gripe about everything and spend your time complaining about things. Think of an 8-ounce glass with only 4 ounces of water in it.  Some say that if you think the glass is half empty, you are a pessimist; but if you looked at the glass as being half full, you were an optimist. I would add to that, “A person dying of thirst would look at the glass and say, “Who cares whether it is half full or half empty, just give me the drink!”

Everything that happens to us will have some effect on us, either positive or negative.  The Apostle Paul spoke of this, in the New Testament, in the book of Philippians, chapter four, verse eleven, when he wrote, “I have learned to be content in whatever condition I find myself.” In other words, he could adjust to whatever happened to him and not let it upset him. That is saying a lot, because Paul was subjected to more punishment and hardship than most people ever have to face. Listen to how Paul describes his own experiences: “Are they servants of Christ? I more so, in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten numberless times, often in danger of death. Five times I received thirty nine lashes from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, and spent a night and a day in the deep of the sea. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers from false brothers. I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure, not to mention the daily pressures on me concerning all the churches.”

And yet, because of his faith in Christ, Paul could still say, “I have learned to be content in whatever condition I find myself.”

My grandson Donovan has a neat way of putting it. He said, “What happens to you can make you either better or bitter, it’s up to you.” I think Donovan’s right! I can’t control what happens to me, for the most part, but I can certainly control how I react to it!

We are all subject to the same surroundings and conditions as those around us. How we receive the events of our lives and how we react to them is entirely up to us. We can either accept them and work with them to our own advantage by leaning on the arm of Jesus, or we can blame other people, or bad luck or FATE, and allow ourselves to become negative about life.

As Donovan would say, “We can become better or bitter. It’s all up to us.”

This is Dick Brackett, wishing all of you a better day than you have ever had before.

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khtan@worldchristian.org (Dick Brackett) Dick Brackett Tue, 15 Jun 2010 15:39:42 +0000
Balance the Nickel http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/104-balance-the-nickel.html http://www.knls.org/reading-pleasure-main/dick-brackett/104-balance-the-nickel.html function get_style104 () { return "none"; } function end104_ () { document.getElementById('uxu104').style.display = get_style104(); }

My good friend Ray Jackson once worked for the Nashville Bridge Company, which built not only bridges, but barges and towboats as well. During a recent visit in my home, he told me of a unique practice used by his boss Harry Dyer to check the quality of their work. Bear in mind that these towboats must be capable of moving as many as 20 barges at a time, both upstream and down river. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, right on the Ohio River, where I could watch these massive strings of barges moving up and down the river every day. In elementary school, every student learned to identify each towboat by the distinctive sound of its whistle.

Each towboat was outfitted with three huge engines, capable of delivering 10,000 horsepower, to turn the massive propellers that drove the boat through the water. From our vantage point on the river bank, we kids could hear the deep thrumming of the mighty engines under full power, going upstream. So, with this background, I could fully appreciate the significance of what Ray Jackson told me about how Harry Dyer checked the quality of the construction of these powerful little boats.

Before delivering a finished towboat to the company that bought it, Harry Dyer would assemble the entire construction crew; the engineers, the draftsmen, the welders, the bookkeepers and accountants, everybody, to come aboard the boat. Once everyone was gathered, Harry would order the engines started and brought up to a certain rate of speed. Then he would take out a new nickel and balance it on its edge near the outside rim of the deck. If the nickel stood on its edge, with the mighty engines running, Harry would pronounce the boat worthy of his high quality standards, and ready to be delivered. He would then place the nickel in a little velvet bag, and present it to the new owner as a keepsake and a reminder of the high standards under which the boat was built. Then they would all hold a little party to celebrate the completion of a high quality piece of work. If the nickel fell over during the demonstration, Harry would reject the entire project and order corrections that would reduce the vibrations to an acceptable level. Not until the nickel could stand on its edge would the boat be delivered.

Listener Friend, wouldn’t you like to know that everything you bought or every deal you made was held to these high standards? I certainly would! And I would also like to know that everyone I dealt with had confidence that my work could meet these high standards. As a Christian, I believe that God directs me to hold myself to standards like this, and expects me to see to it that all of my deals are honest and straightforward.

In the Bible, in the book of Second Corinthians, chapter eight, verse 21, we are told that we should be “providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” And in Second Corinthians, chapter 13, verse seven, we are told by the Apostle Paul, “Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest.” And in the book of Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 18, Paul asks his readers, including us, to, “Pray for us, for we trust that we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.”

The world would be a much better place, if we could all hold ourselves to the high standards of quality and honesty exemplified by such men as the Apostle Paul and Harry Dyer.

Nothing we do is good enough until we can stand the nickel on edge and make it balance.

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khtan@worldchristian.org (Dick Brackett) Dick Brackett Tue, 15 Jun 2010 15:32:20 +0000