Virginia Brandt Berg (1886-1968) was a well-known American evangelist, and one of the first radio evangelists in America. She authored “The Hem of His Garment” and “Streams That Never Run Dry” and a series of inspirational radio programs titled “Meditation Moments.”
When I was a little girl, I went to my first circus. There, before my awestruck eyes, were three rings in full action—performing animals in one, and acrobats leaping and flying through the air in another. What interested me most, though, was taking place in the third ring. A girl and a boy were flinging brightly colored missiles, which, after they had crossed the ring, turned and returned to the very hands that had flung them. No matter which direction they were thrown, the things curved and came back swiftly to the young performers, who would catch and fling them again.
I watched in amazement. “They are boomerangs,” someone beside me said. It was the first time I had heard the word, and I tucked it away in my young mind.
I once attended a meeting where a 16-year-old boy sang several gospel songs, and as he sang, his face shone with the joy of the Lord. I learned later that he had grown up in a horrible home environment. From the age of 12 he had been sent out to steal to support his family, while his father and mother would sleep off their drunken stupors. Within a year he was also stealing to support his own drug habit, which his life of crime had led to. He had been arrested for theft and drunkenness, and had been in and out of juvenile correctional centers. But one day some young people met him on the street and led him to receive Jesus, and his life was completely transformed.
As we stand before the New Year, we don’t know what’s in store for us. But there’s one thing we do know, and that is that we can leave the past, with all of its cares, pains, heartaches, and mistakes, behind. We can’t undo one single act or unsay one single word, but if we will give our grief and regrets to God, He can make this New Year a fresh start.
Every day of the past year is beyond our reach, and we should leave it there. God has the past in His keeping, and we should not go back and be tormented with regrets. It’s sad how some people say they’re trusting God, yet they worry about the blots and stains on the pages of their past.
What is the greatest weakness in most families? According to Dr. James H. Bossard, a former professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who spent 40 years probing what he called “neglected areas of family life,” it is the way parents talk in front of their children.
After studying extensive recordings of table talk, he wrote, “I had no idea I would discover a real pattern in the [mealtime] conversation of families. I just wanted to learn what families talked about, but to my amazement I have found that family after family had definite, consistent conversational habits, and that the critical pattern was the most prevalent.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The Lord once used that Bible verse to drive home a vital lesson, as well as to demonstrate His ability to give specific, immediate guidance as we listen to Him in prayer.
I needed to get in touch with a woman whose address I did not have, and it was an emergency. Every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety. I felt as though I would fly to pieces if I didn’t get some word to her. As I prayed about what to do next, suddenly a paraphrase of Scripture came to me. Just be still. Get quiet and know that I am God.
The Word of the Almighty God cannot fail; you can depend upon it. When I first learned that, I realized that through the years the Bible had never been a living, vital thing to me, but rather a sort of combination of creeds, doctrines, wise sayings, and printer’s ink. I hadn’t known the power in the Word of God, that it could bring miracles to pass. I don’t know why someone hadn’t told me the truth of these things before, but suddenly a deep conviction dawned on my soul that God could not fail to keep His promises!
I had considered myself a Christian all my life, but I had never really believed God’s Word, nor had I met Christ personally. It was through a little gospel tract that I had that glorious experience. Christ came into my life to fully satisfy. Gone was my unbelief and the accompanying sense of futility and disappointment in life, and there arose in my heart an unfamiliar hunger.
“I just cannot overcome my bad thoughts,” a woman wrote me, asking for advice. “As you may remember, I wrote you before about someone near to me who is very spiteful and says such unkind things, and I told you that I had overcome my urge to say anything back. I have been able to control my tongue, but I haven’t changed my thinking any. I may have self-control outwardly, but I’m seething on the inside.”
That letter reminded me of a story about a little boy named Jimmy who was punished for doing something that his mother had told him again and again not to do. At last she said, “You sit in the corner until I tell you that you may get up.” Jimmy sat there, but he was very angry and willful about the whole thing. After a while his mother asked, “Jimmy, are you ready now to obey?” And Jimmy said, “Well, I’m sitting down, but I’m still standing up on the inside!”
I was standing in the doorway of a department store a few Christmases ago, enjoying a lovely Nativity scene in a store window, when a mother and her little girl came hurrying by. Catching a glimpse of the beautiful scene, the child grabbed her mother’s hand and exclaimed, “Mama! Mama! Please let me stop for a minute and look at Jesus!” But her mother replied wearily that they weren’t even half through with their shopping list and didn’t have time to stop—and walked on, dragging her disappointed daughter behind her.
In the Northeast Blackout of 1965—the largest blackout in U.S. history—at least 25 million people in Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. Northeast, including New York City, lost electricity for up to 12 hours. Such outages were commonplace in other parts of the world and still are, but this one was totally unexpected and caught everyone unprepared.
This article is taken from a talk given shortly after the incident.
Regardless of whatever else we may be looking for in life, we all have one aspiration in common: we all want to be happy.
Happiness is different things to different people, of course, but some seem to think that it is as simple as having a good time. As children, we all do that. We think that happiness means doing as we please, having lots of fun and not much work. Eventually, after getting into plenty of mischief and suffering many stomachaches, most of us learn that happiness does not come from grabbing everything we want—that happiness is not the product of idleness and chocolate creams.