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The philosopher Plato said
The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.
Author and teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks tells the story of a young man who strayed from the Lord but was finally brought back by the help of a friend who really loved him. When there was full repentance and restoration, Dr. Hendricks asked this Christian how it felt away from the Lord. The young man said it seemed like he was out at sea, in deep water, deep trouble, and all his friends were on the shore hurling biblical accusations at him about justice, penalty, and wrong.
“But, there was one Christian brother who actually swam out to get me and would not let me go. I fought him, but he pushed aside my fighting, grasped me, put a life jacket around me, and took me to shore. By the grace of God, he was the reason I was restored. He would not let me go.”
One enterprising group of college students tried to literally manage time, but in the end it came back to haunt them. At this particular university the rule was that if the professor had not arrived in class within the first fifteen minutes of the hour, class was considered a "walk" and the students were free to leave - with no penalties for missing class. The rooms this school were equipped with the old style clocks where the minute hand mechanically ticked ahead after each minute. Some of the students discovered that they could cause the clock to jump ahead one minute if they hit it with an eraser from the black board. The professor of this class was not the most punctual so it became a ritual for these students to take target practice at the clock. After a few well-aimed erasers hit their target, bingo, 15 minutes had passed and the class walked.
At the end of the semester the final exam rolled around. The professor strolled into the room and passed out the test. He said, "You have one hour to complete it." He then proceeded to collect all the erasers in the room and gleefully took aim at the clock. When he had successfully jumped the clock ahead one-hour, the professor called "time’s up" and collected the exam papers.
STUBBORN JOY--Communion Meditation
"No man had more reason to be miserable than this one – yet no man was more joyful.
His first home was a palace. Servants were at his fingertips. The snap of his fingers changed the course of history. His name was known and loved. He had everything – wealth, power, respect. And then he had nothing.
Students of the event still ponder it. Historians stumble as they attempt to explain it. How could a king lose everything in one instant? One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.
His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet – and usually the hard earth. He never owned even the most basic mode of transportation and was dependent upon handouts for his income. He was sometimes so hungry he would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it was like to be rained on, to be cold. He knew what it meant to have no home.
His palace grounds had been spotless; now he was exposed to filth. He had never known disease, but was now surrounded by illness.
In his kingdom he had been revered; now he was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch him. Some called him a lunatic. His family tried to confine him to their house.
Those who didn’t ridicule him tried to use him. They wanted favors. They wanted tricks. He was a novelty. They wanted to be seen with him – that is, until being with him was out of fashion. THEN they wanted to kill him.
He was accused of a crime he never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. No lawyer was assigned to his defense. A Judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.
They killed him.
He left as he came – penniless. He was buried in a borrowed grave, his funeral financed by compassionate friends. Though he once had everything...
Let me give you an example to what I’m saying by sharing with you a story that I recently read in one of the history books in my library. I read how on July 3l, 1838 on the Island of Jamaica, a man named William Knibbs, gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island. They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, branding irons, chains, fetters of all kinds, slave garments and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcome end.
At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, "The monster is dying." At each stroke of the bell that followed this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. At the twelfth stoke 10,000 voices cried out, "The monster is dead, the monster is dead, let us bury him." They then screwed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.
There is a tragic side to this story. While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves, that lived in remote areas of the island, that did not know they had legally been set free. Because they didn’t know, for many years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been made a law, they still continued to serve their slave masters. Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage.
Now let me tell you an even sadder story. Today, if we’d hear a story of something like that happening, we’d be shocked, sympathetic and even angry. But the truth is, the same type of thing is happening in our day. Jesus Christ, because of his victory against sin on the cross, has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of liberty and freedom from sin to everyone on this earth. But like some of the Jamaicans were, there are those today that just don’t understand that they no longer have to live as slaves to sin any longer, and the devil is trying to keep them in that mind set.
The message of the cross is this: Satan has been defeated and sin’s penalty has been paid. We no longer have to surrender to sin or be controlled by Satan. We can belong to Jesus and live to please God.
A. Todd Coget
[Odd Laws Still on the Books, Citation: Robert W. Pelton in The Door. Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 5.]
Young girls are never allowed to walk a tightrope in Wheeler, Mississippi, unless it’s in a church.
In Blackwater, Kentucky, tickling a woman under her chin with a feather duster while she’s in church service carries a penalty of $10.00 and one day in jail.
No one can eat unshelled, roasted peanuts while attending church in Idanha, Oregon.
In Honey Creek, Iowa, no one is permitted to carry a slingshot to church except police.
No citizen in Leecreek, Arkansas, is allowed to attend church in any red-colored garment.
Swinging a yo-yo in church or anywhere in public on the Sabbath is prohibited in Studley, Virginia.
Turtle races are not permitted within 100 yards of a local church at any time in Slaughter, Louisiana.
Someone tells about the lady who walked into a hat store to buy a hat for a special night out on the town. She wanted something original, so she chose an emerald-colored ribbon and asked the weaver to make her a hat immediately. Within fifteen minutes, he made the most beautiful hat she had ever seen.
She asked, “How much?”
He replied, “Five hundred dollars.”
The lady shouted, “For a piece of ribbon!”
The man calmly unraveled the hat and responded, “You can have the ribbon for $5.”
Ingredient-wise, we may not be that unique from other creatures, but don’t forget that God did not make amoebas, elephants and your pet dog in His image. He made human being in His image, and He shed the blood of His only Son to pay for mankind’s penalty for sins.
There is no career more noble than that of motherhood at its best.
There are no possibilities greater and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties. To attempt this task unprepared and untrained is tragic, and its results affect generations to come. On the other hand, there is no higher height
To which humanity ...
The Temple in Jerusalem was built with a 3’ to 4’ high wall which ran through the court and separated the court of the Gentiles from the rest of the inner court. Only Jews were permitted past this dividing wall. Archaeologists in 1871 uncovered the inscription: ‘No man of another race is to proceed within the partition and enclosing wall about the sanctuary. Any one arrested there will have himself to blame for the penalty of death which will be imposed as a consequence.
Timothy McVeigh. Six years ago, on April 19, 1995, at 9:01 a.m., Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb which destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In doing so, he ended the lives of 168 people, nineteen of them children, and became the worst mass murderer in American history. The suffering caused by this horrible crime, this single act of rage, is incalculable; not only of those who died or were injured, but of the families destroyed, the mothers and fathers ripped from their children, the children torn from their parents. And to this day, Timothy McVeigh has never expressed any remorse, or sorrow, or pity, or even regret. If ever there was a case deserving of the death penalty, this is it. In fact, Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to be executed 3 ˝ weeks from now, on May 16th.
And if, by some last minute act of grace and mercy between now and then, if God were to grant Timothy McVeigh repentance for his sins, and Timothy McVeigh were to seek forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, then on May 16th, when the poison is injected into his veins to carry out the death sentence, he would walk into heaven and be welcomed by God as warmly and enthusiastically as any of us hope to be when we die. God would not receive him grudgingly, or reluctantly. On the contrary, God would be overjoyed to receive him. Why? Because the basis of our acceptance before God, and of our welcome into heaven, is the finished work of Christ on the cross. It has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with what we deserve. We can do nothing to add to Christ’s work, or detract from it; all we can do is receive it in faith. And anyone who comes to God on that basis, even a mass murderer like Timothy McVeigh, someone who caused so much pain and suffering, anyone who repents of their sin and seeks forgiveness in Jesus Christ, will be forgiven, and not only forgiven, but joyously welcomed, and enthusiastically embraced by God the Father.