The mischievous boy saw her coming. He shrank deeper into the shadows. A cruel grin broke his hardened face. She was his classmate. She seemed to think she was better than he . . . at least, the fact that she didn’t seem to recognize his existence told the same.
Today the girl had been sent on an errand of mercy by her mother. This was common for they were good and compassionate people. She was wearing a spotless white dress. She walked carefully to avoid the puddles from the shower of last evening. In her arms was a bouquet picked just that morning from their flower garden. She was on her way to the home of a grieving widow hoping to bring cheer during this time of distress.
The boy slipped from tree to tree favoring their deep shadows. She seemed to not realize that the boy had become her shadow. Just as she neared her destination the boy saw his moment of opportunity. Scooping up a handful of mud from a nearby puddle he hurled it at his target.
With elation he saw the beautiful white gown ruined with the mud splatter of his missile. She stopped dead in her tracks and then slowly turned face her attacker. Her lips trembled as she fought to hold the tears in check. Then to his surprise she smiled and stepping forward placed the bouquet in his arms.
His head dropped in shame. He had come to intimidate. He desired to hurt. Instead he had met a peacemaker face to face. His defensive facade was shattered. It seemed as if the music made by the rustle of the leaves stirring in the breeze was saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
By Dr. Gayle Woods
A former president of Moody Bible Institute, Joseph Stowell, was visiting with a consultant to some of the largest companies in the country. In the course of the conversation, Dr. Stowell asked the man about quality control. He thought he might gain some beneficial insight since ministry is a form of human quality control. The answer he received was not what he expected. The man replied, “In quality control, we are not concerned about the product. We are concerned about the process. If the process is right, the product is guaranteed.”
Although the insight was not what he expected, Dr. Stowell received a much more valuable lesson. It is a very simple and relevant lesson. We often want to see the products of righteousness but fail to remember that if we do not give attention to the process we will not receive the product. It is essential for us to live carefully each day, continually seeking to know how we can better please the Lord. That is the process. It is not something we do only when others are watching. It is not something we only do on Sundays, Wednesday nights or during revival campaigns. It is a moment by moment walk with the Lord. The Psalmist said, “Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” Verse 2 summarized the process. It is an upright walk, a daily work of righteousness, and speaking only truth from the heart.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
2:27 p.m., March 30, 1981. President Ronald Reagan, the 70-year-old president, had only been in office for a few months. After delivering a speech to leaders of the AFL-CIO he came out of the Washington Hilton. Waiting about 15 feet away was John Hinckley Jr., holding a .22-caliber revolver. The president waved to the crowd. Then he stepped toward the open door of his armored limousine.
Six shots were fired and the nation froze. Press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty were all wounded. One bullet struck the limo’s armored glass; another ricocheted off the car. Jerry Parr the lead agent pushed the President into the limousine. A command was given and the car sprung forward. Then Jerry Parr noticed that the president’s mouth was frothing blood. He told the driver to rush them to the hospital.
Proper security procedure had been followed but still we came close to losing a president. Surrounded by Secret Service agents ready to offer their lives in sacrificial protection all precaution had not been enough. And yet, it is absolutely necessary. In like manner, following the supreme command to love our neighbor as ourselves may not always been enough, but it is our responsibility as Christ followers to watch out for others. We have the message of salvation,” the battlement for the roof,” (vs/ 8) that can keep them from falling to their eternal ruin.
By Dr. Gayle Woods