It was a quiet winter’s evening. The temperature had not risen much above zero, and the morning frost had hung heavy in trees and hedgerows all day. On my way home, I took the road through the forest. It was a long and straight road only used by locals and sales reps, looking for a fast shortcut.
I must admit, I was going quite fast, seventy-five, maybe eighty miles an hour, but hey, I drove over thirty thousand miles a year in my job, and anyway, I was in an Audi, so the rules don’t apply to me.
I smirked at that thought and reached down, momentarily, to turn up the radio to sang with the old Doobie Brothers song blaring from the speakers.
“Got those highway blues, can’t you hear my motor runnin’?
Flyin’ down the road with my foot on the floor
All the way in town they can hear me comin’
Ford’s about to drop, she won’t do no more…..”
That’s as far as I got. When I looked up, ahead in the road stood a deer. I slammed on my brakes, the car skidded on the frosty road, hit the curb, and then flipped over, and over, and over, and over. I think I counted seven, stopping only when the car wrapped itself round a tree. Somehow, I was thrown from the car, landing in a dazed heap about twenty feet down the road. I didn’t get up despite the cold. I’d seen enough ambulance documentaries my wife loves to watch to know you shouldn’t move until the paramedics came and gave you the once over. Anyway, it didn’t seem that cold. I was just dazed, disoriented, and my mind seemed it was in a fuzz, so probably best if I didn’t move. You must be sensible in these situations, better to be safe than sorry, I thought.
It wasn’t long before I heard the wail of sirens coming from both directions, an ambulance heading towards me one way and a fire engine coming towards the car. They had all their lights on, so what I didn’t expect was the ambulance to head straight for me. I was in the middle of the road, for crying out loud. Surely, they could see me.
At the last moment, I rolled over to the side of the road. If I hadn’t, he would have gone right over me. What an idiot.
I was going to have words, but I found I couldn’t move easily. I was giddy, still dazed, and things were not very clear.
I decided to sit up in the road. I knew, I shouldn’t do that, I might have a spinal injury, and that could be life-changing. But nothing was hurting, so I thought I’d give it a try. There, it was fine, no harm done.
The paramedics were both looking into the car, shaking their heads. Had they still not noticed there was no one in it? After another few minutes, the police arrived. I was glad I hadn’t had that second pint; they were bound to breathalyse me. I’ll be fine.
They’d closed the road in both directions, but still, they were ignoring me.
“That’s it,” I said to myself. “I’d better just get up and go and see them because they still hadn’t seen me.”
It was a struggle getting up, but once vertical, I seemed just fine.
“I reckon he must have been doing eighty down here, look at the skid marks,” one of the coppers said.
“Excuse me, I wasn’t doing anything over sixty if you don’t mind.”
He totally ignored me, so that was their game because they thought I’d been a naughty boy, they were just going to pretend I wasn’t there
I walked over to the car to have a look.
Oh, my goodness, there’s someone inside. How did they get there?
I looked at the car.
“Phew, that’s not mine, mine is much longer than that, and it’s a completely different shape to mine, same colour though,” I said to no one in particular. “Excuse me, have you seen my car? It must be around here somewhere.”
They didn’t answer, just stood there looking at the bloke in the car, shaking their heads.
“Bloody fool,” one of them said.
“I couldn’t agree more,” I answered.
It seemed like hours, but eventually, they cut him out of the car and put him in a body bag.
I knew it was morbid, disrespectful even, but I went over to have a look before they zipped it up.
I couldn’t make out much face. It was covered in blood.
“Stop!” I shouted, “I saw his lips move. He’s still alive.”
I bent to listen. He was singing, actually singing at a time like this.
“Oh, rockin’ down the highway
Oh, rockin’ down the highway
Oh, rockin’ down the highway
Oh, rockin’ down the highway.”
Wasn’t that what I was singing just before the crash?
The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrel infestation. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded that the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they should not interfere with God’s divine will.
At the Baptist church, the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistry. The deacons met and decided to put a water-slide on the baptistry and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim, so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.
The Lutheran church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist church. Two weeks later, the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water-slide.
The Episcopalians tried a much more unique path by setting out pans of whiskey around their church in an effort to kill the squirrels with alcohol poisoning. They sadly learned how much damage a band of drunk squirrels can do.
But the Catholic church came up with a more creative strategy! They baptized all the squirrels and made them members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.
Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue. They took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven’t seen a squirrel since.
Prize fighter James Corbett was once asked: ‘What’s the most important thing for a man to do to become a champion?’ He replied, ‘Fight one more round.’ Successful people have different talents, but they all have these qualities: perseverance, tenacity, and stick-to-it-iveness (I know, made up word). Thomas Grey wrote seventy-five drafts of ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ before he was satisfied with his poetic masterpiece. S.N. Behrman, the American playwright, wrote plays for eleven years before he sold a single one. End of Summer being possibly his most famous. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve different publishers before finally being accepted. Somerset Maugham earned only five hundred dollars in his first ten years as a writer. While working full time in a factory, Enrico Caruso the operatic singer studied voice for twelve years before becoming a successful performer. George Gershwin composed almost one hundred melodies before he sold his first one – for five dollars. There’s an important lesson for you in each of these stories: if your dream doesn’t come true immediately, don’t get discouraged. Continue to pursue your craft and develop your talent. Study and learn. Grow by experience. Keep working. Victory goes to the man or woman who is willing to ‘fight one more round’.
Post borrowed from The Twisting Tail. Murdochmouse.wordpress.com
Desperation aids faith through beliefMystical hope can welcome reliefBut suffering sin, is an act withinNothing but time helps release the grief Quatrain form with an ab rhyme scheme.The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a of couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and […]
As we face 2021 there will be times when we feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by the things that are coming against us. Have you heard the saying, “when it rains, it pours.” For example, at the same time as the central heating needs repairing, the car breaks down, and then you get the news that […]
Acts 4:13-22 AMP Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (that is the Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.  And seeing the man who had been healed standing there with them, they had nothing to say in reply.  But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves,  saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.  But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.”  So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority].  But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves];  for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.”  When the rulers and Council members had threatened them further, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because [of their fear] of the people, for they, the people, were all praising and glorifying and honouring God for what had happened;  for the man to whom this sign (or attesting miracle) of healing had happened was more than forty years old. Acts 4:29-31 AMP And now, Lord, observe their threats [take them into account] and grant that Your bond-servants may declare Your message [of salvation] with great confidence,  while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders (attesting miracles) take place through the name [and the authority and power] of Your holy Servant and Son Jesus.”  And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage.
Acts chapter 4 is such a great chapter, there are so many things you can take from it. It has so many facets that I’m sure our minister could do a whole sermon series just on this one chapter
Verses 1 – 4 tell of how on that day 5,000 men, because only the men mattered in those days, 5,000 men believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and were saved. We may assume that there at least that number of women plus several thousand children, so maybe 10, 11 or 12,000 people came to Christ that day. By way of thanks, Peter and John get arrested and thrown into jail for the night. But were they bothered? No, I expect they added a few more believers during their night in jail because they were fired up and unstoppable. Verses 8 – 12 are a complete mini gospel all on their own telling the story of Jesus in five short verses 13 – 22 is the trial before the Sanhedrin and a lesson in defiant apologetics. 29 – 31 shows how powerful spirit filled prayer brings a powerful and earth moving response from the Lord. And finally 32 – 37, a model for the church about the love of the brothers and sisters, their fellowship and their sacrificial provision for each other.
Three things to take from the parts of passage we read above.
Verse 13. Now when the men of the Sanhedrin saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus.
The Sanhedrin were in awe of these uneducated men. Why? Because they could see that they had been with Jesus. They grasped the fact that they had been with the Risen Lord, it does not say that it was reported to them, nor does it say that they had foreknowledge that they had been with Jesus, it came to them as a realisation, these men were so different to others of their class, they had such boldness, eloquence and authority when they spoke that the only explanation was that they had been with the Risen Lord. Their very appearance said everything about them. They must have been so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were leaking, and anyone who saw them knew that they had been with Jesus. Even the Sanhedrin, who were a stiff-necked people with hearts of stone.
Verse 19, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves];  for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.
Why would they want to do that? They had been threatened and ordered by the highest court in the land not to speak of Him again. Why? Simple, because they were not under earthly authority, they were under heavenly authority. It reminds us of when Jesus said in Luke 19.40, If I may paraphrase it a little, If we keep silent, the stones will cry out in praise. They had no fear of men only a fear of the Lord.
And finally, Verse 23, When the rulers and Council members had threatened them further, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because [of their fear] of the people, for they, the people, were all praising and glorifying and honouring God for what had happened;
The fear we have here is a mortal fear, fear for their own safety, they were frightened that the people would turn against them and may even start a riot and attack the Sanhedrin. What we do not have here is any fear of the Lord. The Sanhedrin, the religious leaders of the day had no fear of God! Now in biblical terms, a fear of the people is quite different from a fear of the Lord. Fear of people is all about personal safety and self-preservation, a fear of the Lord is a reverential fear, and awestruck veneration because of God’s holiness. So, here we have the so called holy men, (that’s holy with a small h), the holy men of Israel showing no fear in God but only self interest in their own position and fear of the mob.
Now the peroration. (That’s a new word I learnt this week). We are not the religious leaders of our day, who preach a gospel to keep us safe and not to offend the ears of those who hear, we want to preach the uncomfortable and true gospel with the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, so that people will be astounded, and begin to recognise that we too have been with Jesus. And secondly, we want to pray as they prayed, when they prayed they prayed in the Spirit, they went to the mercy seat with Christ seated under the wings of the Cherubim, not as Moses did, in the tent of meeting in the desert, but into the heavenly realms, and so, verse 31 again, and when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage, and that is my prayer for us all today.