[forthright] Forward Planning / By Our Love

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 07:47:57 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: REALITY CHECK

Forward Planning
 by Stan Mitchell

I love the expression "forward planning," or "planning
for the future." What other kind of planning could
there be?

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but
abundant crops come by the strength of the ox"
(Proverbs 14:4, ESV).

Once a missionary decided to speak to an African friend
about the number of cattle he had on his land. He
explained that the overgrazed land was a direct result
of his running too many cattle on too little land.

He pointed to a couple of oxen and declared: "You could
slaughter those oxen over there and have many meals
from them."

The African farmer looked him straight in the eye and
asked: "Would you eat your tractor?"

It might seem that getting rid of oxen would save
money, but this was a false economy. The strength of
the ox would provide many more meals alive than he
would dead.

In a day of easy credit and instant gratification, it's
as well to remember that planning, management and
living within one's means is still the best way to
provide for your loved ones. An "abundant harvest"
comes from attentive planning.

----
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COLUMN: ENCOURAGING WORD

By Our Love
 by Paula Harrington

Recently, after having dinner with friends, the
waitress asked if there was anything else she could do
for us. There wasn't, but one of the people in our
group surprised us all when he asked, if there was
anything we could do for her.

She thought for a moment and then casually replied, "I
guess you can pray for me." What happened next will
never be forgotten.

We joined hands and asked what she wanted us to pray
about. It was then that her emotions took over. Through
her tears, she mentioned her family and the many
struggles they were facing. There wasn't a dry eye in
the room after that prayer.

Jesus tells us that we will be known by our love (John
13:34-35). It won't be what kind of car we drive, how
well our children are dressed, or where we work. It
won’t be our political affiliation or views on worldly
matters that will show others that we belong to him.

The number of friends we have on Facebook, how many
people follow us on Twitter, or how popular our blog
is, won't make us stand out in a crowd either. Neither
will what version of the Bible we use, what brotherhood
lectureship we attend, or which Christian college we
happen to support.

The only way that the world will know who we belong to
is how well we treated them. Were we nice to the
waitress? Did we spend time with the sick, lonely, and
abandoned?

Did we have a genuine love and concern for the
addicted, abused, and mentally ill? Did we serve others
joyfully? What did we do and, more importantly, how did
we do it?

We can be in the church building every time the doors
are open, but if we're rude, arrogant, or hateful in
the world, then we may as well be sleeping in on Sunday
mornings.

Lord, help us to be like Christ because the world is
watching.

----
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