Please continue to share Simposious with all your friends.
Exodus 7-8; Matthew 15:1-20
In the 19th century, ships were often recklessly overloaded, resulting in those ships going down and the crews being lost at sea. In 1875, to remedy this negligent practice, British politician Samuel Plimsoll led the charge for legislation to create a line on the side of a ship to show if it was carrying too much cargo. That “load line” became known as the Plimsoll Line, and it continues to mark the hulls of ships today.
Sometimes, like those ships, our lives can seem overloaded with fears, struggles, and heartaches. We can even feel that we are in danger of going under. In those times, however, it is reassuring to remember that we have a remarkable resource. We have a heavenly Father who stands ready to help us carry that load. The apostle Peter said, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). He is capable of handling the cares that overwhelm us.
Though the testings of life may feel like a burden too heavy to bear, we can have full assurance that our heavenly Father loves us deeply and knows our load limits. Whatever we face, He will help us to bear it.
on. I am tired, I am weak, and I am worn. Thank You
that You know my limits better than I do. And that, in
Your strength, I can find the enablement to endure.
A Goodbye Kiss
The Board Meeting had come to an end. Bob started to stand up and jostled the table, spilling his coffee over his notes. “How embarrassing. I am getting so clumsy in my old age.”
Everyone had a good laugh, and soon we were all telling stories of our most embarrassing moments. It came around to Frank who sat quietly listening to the others. Someone said, “Come on, Frank. Tell us your most embarrassing moment.”
Frank laughed and began to tell us of his childhood. “I grew up in San Pedro. My Dad was a fisherman, and he loved the sea. He had his own boat, but it was hard making a living on the sea. He worked hard and would stay out until he caught enough to feed the family. Not just enough for our family, but also for his Mom and Dad and the other kids that were still at home.”
He looked at us and said, “I wish you could have met my Dad. He was a big man, and he was strong from pulling the nets and fighting the seas for his catch. When you got close to him, he smelled like the ocean. He would wear his old canvas, foul-weather coat and his bibbed overalls. His rain hat would be pulled down over his brow. No matter how much my Mother washed them, they would still smell of the sea and of fish.”
Frank’s voice dropped a bit. “When the weather was bad he would drive me to school. He had this old truck that he used in his fishing business. That truck was older than he was. It would wheeze and rattle down the road. You could hear it coming for blocks. As he would drive toward the school, I would shrink down into the seat hoping to disappear. Half the time, he would slam to a stop and the old truck would belch a cloud of smoke. He would pull right up in front, and it seemed like everybody would be standing around and watching. Then he would lean over and give me a big kiss on the cheek and tell me to be a good boy. It was so embarrassing for me. Here, I was twelve years old, and my Dad would lean over and kiss me goodbye!”
He paused and then went on, “I remember the day I decided I was too old for a goodbye kiss. When we got to the school and came to a stop, he had his usual big smile. He started to lean toward me, but I put my hand up and said, ‘No, Dad.’
It was the first time I had ever talked to him that way, and he had this surprised look on his face.
I said, ‘Dad, I’m too old for a goodbye kiss. I’m too old for any kind of kiss.’
My Dad looked at me for the longest time, and his eyes started to tear up. I had never seen him cry. He turned and looked out the windshield. ‘You’re right,’ he said. ‘You are a big boy….a man. I won’t kiss you anymore.’”
Frank got a funny look on his face, and the tears began to well up in his eyes, as he spoke. “It wasn’t long after that when my Dad went to sea and never came back. It was a day when most of the fleet stayed in, but not Dad. He had a big family to feed. They found his boat adrift with its nets half in and half out. He must have gotten into a gale and was trying to save the nets and the floats.”
I looked at Frank and saw that tears were running down his cheeks. Frank spoke again. “Guys, you don’t know what I would give to have my Dad give me just one more kiss on the cheek….to feel his rough old face….to smell the ocean on him….to feel his arm around my neck. I wish I had been a man then. If I had been a man, I would never have told my Dad I was too old for a goodbye kiss.”
-Bishop Thomas Charles Clary
Sirach 6: 14-17
A LOVE STORY
One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me.
He asked me, “Do you love me?”
I answered, “Of course, God! You are my Lord and Saviour!”
Then He asked, “If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?”
I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t; be able to do, the things that I took for granted.
And I answered, “It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You.”
Then the Lord said, “If you were blind, would you still love my creation?” How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation.
So I answered, “Its hard to think of it, but I would still love you.”
The Lord then asked me, “If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?” How could I listen to anything being deaf?
Then I understood. Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts.
I answered, “It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word.”
The Lord then asked, “If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?”
How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks.
So I answered, “Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.”
And the Lord asked, “Do you really love Me?”
With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, “Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!”
I thought I had answered well, but God asked, “THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?”
I answered, “Because I am only human. I am not perfect.”
“THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST? WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY THE EARNEST?”
No answers. Only tears.
The Lord continued: “Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?”
The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.
“Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?”
I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.
“You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all.”
DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME ?”
I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? My heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child.”
The Lord answered, ” That is My Grace, My child.”
I asked, ” Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?”
The Lord answered, “Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever.”
Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done?
I asked God, “How much do You love me?”
The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Saviour. And for the first time, I truly prayed.
The Last “I Love You”
There were other ironic twists: It was Carol’s fiftieth birthday, and Jim had two plane tickets to Hawaii in his pocket. He was going to surprise her. Instead, he was killed by a drunk driver.
“How have you survived this?” I finally asked Carol, a year later.
Her eyes welled up with tears. I thought I had said the wrong thing, but she gently took my hand and said, “It’s all right; I want to tell you. The day I married Jim, I promised I would never let him leave the house in the morning without telling him I loved him. He made the same promise. It got to be a joke between us, and as babies came along, it got to be a hard promise to keep. I remember running down the driveway, saying ‘I love you’ through clenched teeth when I was mad, or driving to the office to put a note in his car. It was a funny challenge.
“We made a lot of memories trying to say “I love you” before noon every day of our married life.
“The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen and slipped out to the car. I heard the engine starting. Oh, no, you don’t, buster, I thought. I raced out and banged on the car window until he rolled it down.
“Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying I love you!”
“That’s how I’ve survived. Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were ‘I love you!’
Written by Debbi Smoot