Van Yandell

Proverbs 24:16 “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”

Have you ever plugged in an electrical appliance with a two-prong plug and did not have to turn it over? Of course you have; maybe one time in ten thousand! The plug invariably will have to be turned over to make the larger, polarized side fit the wall receptacle.

Is this a curse on the human race or simply a fluke of coincidence? I loaned a friend a trailer hitch lock and there were two keys on the key ring that looked just alike. I told him, “Whichever key you try first, it will always be the other one.” When he returned the lock and keys, he said, “You were right about it always being the other key.”

I steadfastly believe the greatest invention of all human history is the mute button on the TV remote. However, why can the inventor not develop a remote that turns itself in the right direction? No matter, how I lay down the remote, every time I pick it up, it will be pointed in the wrong direction. And, of course, no first ink pen I ever tried, worked.

Many things in life do not turn out the way we want them to the first attempt. An old saying my dad used many times was, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” He taught me many skills when I was young and he knew people often fail on the first attempt at almost everything.

When I was sixteen years old and first got my driver’s license, Dad sent me out on a plumbing job. I was to install all the copper lines in a new house build for two bathrooms and kitchen. He had long ago taught me how to solder the copper pipe into fittings and other basic principles and skills of plumbing.

In my effort to improve and speed up the process, I found a bucket of water and each time I soldered a fitting onto a pipe, I dipped the hot end into the bucket to cool so I could move on with the job. Finally, the lines were all installed, ends capped and I turned on the water. It was like a sudden torrential rainstorm in that house.

The process of disassembly of the system and re-soldering took much longer than the initial job. When I returned to the shop I made the mistake of telling my Dad what had happened. When he was able to calm down from the laughter, he told me what happened. By cooling the joints in water, I crystalized the solder resulting in pin-holes; thus the leaks. Some things, we just have to learn the hard way!

Don’t give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end. The proverb (“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”) has been traced back to ‘Teacher’s Manual’ by American educator Thomas H. Palmer (copied).

It seems, in today’s world, many subscribe to the philosophy, “If at first you don’t succeed, give up and let someone else do it.” Wars have never been won in only one battle. Great inventions of history have never succeeded in a first build and how many politicians lost their first election?

Persistence, perseverance and determination are among the greatest characteristics one can have. If a parent or teacher can instill any attitude in their students (our children are our students too), it is most certainly, “Don’t give up!” I’ve noticed pre-school teachers are excellent proponents of the “can-do” attitude. I still love the story, “The Little Engine That Could.”

My Dad teaching me to stay focused and determined was a much better trait than any plumbing or electrical skill. Having lived through the Great Depression, developed those characteristics in him.

Christians in today’s world seem to have fallen into the rut of conceding too easily. The subject may be church attendance, witnessing for Christ, benevolence or simply in living our every-day lives. It is very easy to conform to the ways of the world and let someone else obey the rules.

“There are 1,050 commands in the New Testament for Christians to obey. Due to repetitions we can classify them under 69 headings. They cover every phase of man’s life in his relationship to God and his fellow men, now and hereafter. If obeyed, they will bring rich rewards here and forever.” This information is from Christian Assemblies International.

For a further discussion of these New Testament commandments, log on to www.cai.org (Ministers, there are some great sermons in there). As we can clearly see, based on this great number, to live a Christian life requires focus, determination, persistence and perseverance. In our fast paced world of instant gratification, it is so easy to become side-tracked and forget who we are and whose we are.

The commands of Jesus, in His teachings, in many cases are lifestyle characteristics. The act of repentance is a change in the individual and certainly results in a new and different lifestyle.

First Corinthians 6: 19, brings the reality of “us” into perspective. To endeavor to follow the command of our Jesus to remember who we are and why we exist, there is a great need for the characteristics listed.

Just as the electrical cord never seems to be turned the right way or the TV remote always seems to be pointed in the wrong direction, our lives manage to get turned up-side-down too. If we go through our lives expecting everything to be perfect, we’re going to be in for big disappointments.

The good news is, no matter how tangled up our lives become, we know who is going to be successful in the end. This is no great secret; actually it is available information to the students of the Bible and the multitudes we must share it with. Just believe: Christ Jesus crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected. Romans 6: 23 “The wage of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.