[forthright] A Great Man

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 16:38:31 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Outlines of Faith 

A Great Man
by Greg Tidwell

Peter Robinson, in his recent book "How Ronald
Reagan Changed My Life", highlights Reagan's
character as an influence on those around the
President, thus defining public policy during his
administration.

A speech writer for President Reagan, Robinson
gives an insider's perspective on Reagan's
achievements. Interestingly, he credits Reagan's
religious faith with the President's ability to
forgive faults in other people. This attitude
enabled Reagan to mobilize a diverse and talented
team to achieve great things.

A Practice of Humility

For Christians, it is hardly surprising that faith
produces a forgiving attitude. "Remembering what
God has done for us, in forgiving our
transgressions," the apostle enjoins, "we must
forgive others" (Eph. 4:32).

Reflecting on the greatness of God naturally
cultivates an attitude of humility which, in turn,
leads a believer to be more forgiving of other's
failures. Grudges are, by nature, an extension of
pride. Forgiveness, in contrast, is a practice of
humility.

True Greatness

Christians, likewise, are not surprised to see
humility, which springs from faith, producing
amazing accomplishments. When someone looks beyond
himself, he is able to become a better person. It
is a profound spiritual truth that real greatness
comes through humble service. As Jesus told the
disciples, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall
be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35).

These principles, which Robinson ascribes to
President Reagan, actually come from Scripture,
embodied in the life and teachings of the Savior.
However great a President may be, all men pale in
comparison to the example of humble service
rendered by the Son of God.

The Lord's church, instructed by this divine
example, should lift our eyes beyond ourselves.
Seeking His glory, we should achieve great things
in His name.


COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

His First Night Alone
by Tim Hall 

The young man had difficulty falling asleep that
night. The place where he lay down to rest was in
unfamiliar territory. Strange noises filled the
darkness, and his imagination leaped at each
sound. But there was something larger that filled
him with sadness. His family was now far behind
him, and it wasn't clear when he would see them
again. One person who wasn't sorry to see him go
was his twin brother. It was common knowledge that
his brother wanted revenge, and this made the
weary traveler even sadder. 

Genesis 28 is where this story is told. Jacob was
the young man on the run, fleeing from his
brother, Esau, whom he had tricked into selling
his birthright. Rebekah had advised her younger
son to flee to Haran where her brother would take
him in. Now Jacob felt the loneliness close in
around him as the darkness of night fell. 

Jacob would learn, however, before the night was
over that he really wasn't alone. God appeared to
him in a dream speaking words of encouragement:
"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever
you go, and will bring you back to this land; for
I will not leave you until I have done what I have
spoken to you" (Gen. 28:15, New King James
Version). That promise, combined with the vision
of angels on a staircase leading up to heaven,
gave Jacob the strength he needed. He now knew he
was not alone after all. 

This is the time of year when many young adults
strike out from their homes feeling very alone.
Their sheltered years of living with Mom, Dad, or
other loving adults is now history. Before them
looms college and all the demands of independence.
There was a time when independence looked so
exciting! But that was before reality settled in.
Now it is clear that independence means leaving
the familiar behind. Sometimes being on your own
means feeling so very alone. 

If only heaven could be opened, and that same
vision of angels could again be seen! If only we
could hear the voice of God, just as Jacob did
that night! That would help us through the lonely
night. We would have courage knowing that we are
not really alone. 

Christian young people can have that same
assurance. Before laying down amidst the
unfamiliar sounds of a strange place, open your
eyes to the promises God has given every follower
of His Son. Hebrews 13:5,6 is a good example: "Let
your conduct be without covetousness, and be
content with such things as you have. For He
Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor
forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is
my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to
me?'" And this is just one of many, many such
promises of the Lord's presence and help. 

This may be your first night alone. Or you may be
feeling again the despair of being separated from
the comforts of home. If you are a child of God,
know that you are not alone. God is faithful to
fulfill all of His promises, and He will not leave
you nor forsake you. 

Open your Bible; open your eyes. You'll sleep
better tonight.

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