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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fetilizer Food

“Sir, our lawn fertilizer is totally organic. It contains nothing harmful to dogs.”

“Okay,” I replied, “fertilize both lawns.

After the application, I kept Molly our Maltese and Rosie our Toy Poodle off both lawns for several hours in spite of the lawn care specialist’s assurance that his product was harmless. In retrospect, I should have kept them off the lawns until the following day. Molly’s visits to the backyard had no ill effects, but Rosie’s had a dreadful effect. She ingested some of the “harmless” fertilizer pellets and gave Gloria and me a night to remember.

Her violent shaking and vomiting began near midnight, and when it became clear she was suffering severe stomach pain, we rushed her to an all-night emergency animal clinic. The diagnosis pointed to a highly irritated stomach with burning caused by fertilizer.

The clinic staff administered a couple of injections, attached a water pouch under Rosie’s skin, and billed us $165. We took her home, where she slept soundly the rest of the night. She regained her energy the following day.

Next time a lawn care specialist tells me his fertilizer is harmless to dogs, I may ask him to eat some.

Like “harmless” fertilizer, some religious teaching is injurious to spiritual health. First-century Christians had to cope with several religious teachings that contradicted healthful doctrine. Legalism was one of those poisonous teachings. Its proponents argued that people must earn salvation by performing rituals and adhering to the Law of Moses. Their concept of the way to Heaven contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture that salvation is a gift from God that is received through faith in Christ (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8, 9; 1 John 5:11-13).

Even a soft-spoken, silver-haired, cherub-cheeked fatherly minister may peddle harmful teaching. He may claim it is harmless, but we should examine it in the light of Scripture. If it fails the test, we shouldn’t apply it to our lives. Ingesting poisonous religion might cost us plenty.

—From Meditations for Dog Lovers by Jim Dyet. © 2005, AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books

Friday, January 9, 2009

Joe Louis and I

A photo in my office shows Joe Louis, a sports commentator, and me. Joe and the sports commentator were playing golf. I was caddying for Joe. At the time, I was 14, and Joe Louis, the former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, was everybody’s hero. I considered it a privilege to be his caddy, and to this day I treasure his autograph and the photo.

Joe was good golfer. He hit long, low, straight drives, but had a tendency to “punch” the ball. He was also a gentleman.

Struggles face the Christian who endeavors to live according to the Bible. Trials and temptations might knock us down for the 10 count if it were not for the Lord’s sustaining grace and our resolve to “fight the good fight of faith “(1 Timothy 6:12). I can assure you the “fight” doesn’t slacken as we grow older, but neither does the Lord’s promise to take care of us. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Victory Lies Just Beyond the Bunker

Every golfer has been there: in a sand trap, behind a tree, in a gully, in a thick rough, in a bunker. At such times we can decide to sell our clubs, give them away, or relax, keep the head down, and play a recovery shot that our golf buddies will recall for a long time.

A plaque in a bunker in the rough, off the left side of the 17th fairway at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s in Blackpool, England, bears silent testimony to a historic and dramatic recovery shot. Playing in the 1926 Open Championship and tied with Al Watrous, Bobby Jones Jr. hit a 5 iron out of the bunker’s sand. The ball sailed 170 yards over the rough and landed on the green, inside Watrous’s second shot. Jones parred the hole. Apparently, Watrous was so unnerved by Jones’s recovery shot that he three-putted and lost the championship and its $100,000 prize.

Sometimes in spite of our best efforts to follow the straight and narrow path God has marked out for us in His Word, we wander into a bunker, and feel like giving up. Fortunately, God grants recovery shots. Our greatest victory may lie just beyond the bunker.

Peter was determined to follow the Lord closely. Courageously, but self-confidently, he boasted he would never deny the Lord (Matthew 26:35). But later, when the Lord was arrested and subjected to an illegal trial, Peter denied three times that he was one of the Lord’s followers. He failed to confess Christ even in the presence of a young servant girl (vv. 69-74). Peter had fallen into a bunker, and he might have stayed there a long time if our Lord wasn’t such a master of recovery shots.

Following His resurrection, Jesus restored Peter to Himself and commissioned him to feed His sheep (John 21:15-17). Not long after this restoration, Peter preached to a massive crowd of Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. Three thousand in the audience responded by believing on Christ (Acts 2:14-41). Peter’s greatest victory had occurred just beyond the bunker.

Hebrews 10:35 cheers us on to victory: “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” No matter how impossible a challenge seems today, trust God to turn it into an opportunity to manifest His power. He can get you out of the bunker in fine shape.

—From Out of the Rough by Jim Dyet © 1996, Thomas Nelson Publishers

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Do you wonder how some TV reporters and ad writers got hired? You would think they would have learned English grammar long before they entered their careers. Here are a few examples of their bad grammar:

“Buy one and get the second one for free.”

“The officers found the body laying in the street.”

“The accident happened just outside of town.”

“He is one of the better punt returners in the league.”

“The car veered off the road and sunk in the pond behind me.”

“It has already started snowing where I am at.”

“Learning is so fun.”

Did you find the errors? If you did, give yourself a round of applause. Here are the corrected statements:

“Buy one and get the second one free.”

“The officers found the body lying in the street.”

“The accident happened just outside town.”

“He is one of the best punt returners in the league.”

“The car veered off the road and sank in the pond behind me.”

“It has already started snowing where I am.”

“Learning is so much fun.”

I feel much better now! Class dismissed!