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Illustration results for Best Kept Secrets

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I like the story about 3 prospectors who found a rich vein of gold in California during the gold rush days. They realized what a great discovery they had, & decided, "We’ve a really good thing going here as long as no one else finds out about it." So they each took a vow to keep it secret.

Then they headed for town to file their claims & get the equipment necessary to mine the gold. True to their vows, they didn’t say a word to anybody. They filed their claim, bought the equipment, & headed back to their mine. But when they did, a crowd of people followed them.

And the reason was because the expression on their faces had given them away. Their faces were aglow in anticipation of the wealth that soon would be theirs. People knew that they must have found something very special. So a crowd followed them out of town.

Contributed By:
Wade  Hughes, Sr

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Why do people wear masks?

Several years ago, I had a nightmare, it was terrible.
For many days my spirit was greatly troubled.
In a dream, I saw one of my most serious workers at
church dying a terrible death.
As my church worker was dying,
I saw a battle going against my member.

I was broken beyond belief, as I saw this dedicated
Christian worker die and the Devil was grabbing the
individual and taking the soul to hell.

The smell was terrible, I could smell the enemy and
hell. This was so real.

In the dream, I started screaming, this is a terrible
No way enemy, you can’t have this worker!
I have counted on them to do many things to build
this church.
They have touched many people and led many to the
I am a better pastor because of this individual, and
the church is a better church, after all the hours
and efforts this family has invested in the church.

The enemy was slowly dragging my church member toward
the lake of fire and great torment.
We could hear the horrible sounds coming out of hell.
The smell was so real and horrible, I shall never

I was thinking, maybe there was secret sin, and they
were playing Christian games.
This was not the problem. I tried to fight for my
dear friend and the enemy kept slowly pulling my
member towards hell.

The fight was very painful.
I said, this is a good person.
This family paid their tithes.
They were faithful to church.
I could count on them.

What is going on here?
Jesus help me? What is going on here?

With tears in His eyes, Jesus came to me,
and said, I have tried and I have tried to change the
events of this day.
I have personally sent messages through you to warn
this individual?
I have sent radio messages to expose the sin?
I have given the words to television preachers, and
they watched with zeal, but My words were unheeded.
This person has cassette tapes that has warned them,
but they have not heard the message I have spoken to
This person has books on their shelf, they have read
the parts they like, but the message I warned them,
was unheeded.

As a matter of record, when they heard the message,
they said the message was for someone else.
They even said, amen, let it be, but they thought the
message was for the other party.

I again questioned, Why Jesus, what is the wrong?
I knew them! They are good people.

With tears running down Jesus’ face,
Jesus said, "This individual was very angry,
and full of wrath.
Bitterness was rampant daily, and unforgiveness had
helped to bring an early death.
The home was full of coldness and painful rejection.
This person had allowed a critical spirit to tear
down the confidence in everyone.

They refused to pray.
Their hurt and disappointments had become the driving
force in their heart.
The anger they carried had brought physical
affliction, yet this never got their attention to

The person had rejected forgiveness, and justified
because of unforgiveness.

I was absolutely broken, as I saw one of my best
friends escorted into hell.
I could do nothing to change the hard heart, the
the bitterness, --- the bait had been accepted.

The trap had locked on the neck.
I understood blasphemy as never before.
By focusing on the bitterness and pain, the person
had shown contempt and the lack of reverence for God
or His people.

Jesus had warned, the anger was turning into wrath,

Contributed By:
Sermon Central Staff

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Terry Schafer, a young wife, lived with her husband in the small city of Moline, Illinois. She had a special gift she wanted to give to her husband for Christmas but was afraid that they would not be able to afford it. She started shopping for it in September, knowing it was a specialized piece of equipment and not every store would sell it. She finally found it -- and to her dismay it was way beyond their budget. But she came up the idea of laying it away and making payments to the storekeeper. She pitched her idea to the store manager. The business man sympathized with her situation and said, "Since your husband is a policeman, I doubt that you're going to take advantage of me. Why don't you give your first payment today -- and I'll let you take the gift home. Make sure you make the other payments and pay it off before Christmas." She agreed.

The only problem was she was one of those people who couldn't keep a secret. She couldn't wait till Christmas to give the gift to her husband. That September night she stood there beaming with a wrapped present on the table of their small home. She said Merry Christmas and gave her husband a peck on the cheek.

Neither one of them realized at that moment how significant that gift would end up being. In fact in the not-to-distant future it would mean the difference between life and death for her husband.

On Oct. 1 of that same year Patrolman David Schafer was working the night shift and got a call on his police radio. A drugstore robbery was in process. Racing to the scene he arrived just in time to observe the suspect getting into his car, starting the engine and speeding away. Quickly David switched on his siren and began the pursuit. Three blocks later the getaway car suddenly pulled over the side of the road and stopped. The suspect was still behind the wheel of his car as David cautiously approached. He got about three feet from the window when the suspect fired an automatic pistol sending a .45 caliber slug into David's abdomen.

7:00 AM the next morning -- Terry answered the door of their home to face a police officer telling her that her husband had been shot trying to apprehend a robbery suspect. As he detailed the news, he said he had bad news and good news. As she listened, she was glad that she didn't wait till Christmas to give her husband the gift. David had been shot point blank with a 45 caliber pistol and survived. She was very glad the shopkeeper had let her take that gift home that day. The gift Terry had purchased for her husband was a bullet proof vest -- and it had saved his life. He was in the hospital with deep bruises to his chest, not a bullet wound. She had given her husband the gift of life.

The reason Christ came -- was to provide for us a vest of righteousness. He paid the price with His blood that he might protect us with a shield that sin could not penetrate. Put it on. The only way you can lose is if you take it off.

(From a sermon by Tim Vamosi, The Breastplate of Righteousness, 1/4/2011)

Contributed By:
Scott Sharpes

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Jason’s Praying Pencils
How a student gave his teacher a special education
by Hugh Chapman

I was an hour-and-a-half into my new teaching career when I saw him at the other end of the hallway. He was the reason I almost didn’t take the job; before long, he became the reason I stayed.
Though I had never met Jason Banning before, I knew his situation. He was a 13-year-old special needs seventh-grader who had been confined to a wheelchair virtually all his life.

As Izard County (Arkansas) Consolidated School’s newest special education teacher, I was hired to teach Jason and attend to his personal needs. He had medicines that needed to be administered and diapers that needed to be changed twice a day; odd tasks for a man who had made a habit of fleeing his own kids at medicine and diaper-changing time.

My educational certification is in business, but there had been no positions available in that area. Special education was the only job open. It wouldn’t be easy: I would have to go back to school during summers and evenings to be certified in special ed. But because my own kids were in the school system, I wanted very much to be involved.

So I stood at my end of the hall, watching Jason being pushed toward me by his friend Delbert. I whispered a quiet prayer. "God, please help me with this." I expected an angry child, resentful of the life he had been dealt.

More than a student
As I watched him, I had to admit that he had every right to be angry. Jason had spina bifida, a congenital defect of the vertebrae. He had already undergone a dozen surgeries and his family anticipated more. He was being cared for, full time, by elderly grandparents.

His prognosis was poor. I remember seeing Jason at the school’s sixth grade graduation. His grandmother had invited the entire family and had ordered balloons and flowers for the event. She wanted the celebration to be special for Jason, because, as she later explained, it might be the only graduation he would ever see.

Yet if Jason was bitter, I saw no sign of it that day. Wheeling up to me in the school hallway, Jason realized who I was. Holding out both arms in greeting, he said, "Welcome, friend. It’s good to see you."

Though it took us a while to adjust to each other and our new surroundings, we eventually settled in. During our conversations, Jason often shared his heart. He told me he had attended church for as long as he could remember, and a couple of years before he had given his life to Jesus. Someday he hoped to become a preacher.

Prayer in the school
One time my first year, when his 80-year-old grandfather was ill, Jason asked me to pray with him. Not wanting to jeopardize my future, I was reluctant. Tactfully I explained that our government had regulations about teachers and students praying together on school grounds. Jason seemed to understand.

Two hours later, though, when Jason was in band class, God spoke to me—not in an audible voice—but through a feeling of deep remorse that weighed heavily on my heart. It is a sad world indeed, when a public school teacher is so wrapped up in the system that he is afraid to pray with a frightened child, I thought.

I dropped what I was doing and found my friend among the tubas and clarinets. I wheeled him back to the nurses’ station and there, in the quiet of the room, Jason and I prayed for his grandfather. He recovered soon after.

Secret code
Many times after that, Jason and I prayed together. I told Jason I often prayed silently in my classroom, and he suggested a way the two of us could pray silently together. He would lay his pencils (he always had at least two) on his desk in the form of a cross, as a signal to me that he was praying. From wherever I was in the room, I would join him.

Once when I was having a bad day, Jason’s friend Delbert came to class without a pencil. Jason and Delbert knew that I expected my students to be prepared for class, and Jason would often secretly loan paper or pencils to Delbert. I noticed Jason slipping a pencil to Delbert. I was annoyed, but said nothing.

Later, I gave the students an in-class written assignment. Jason wheeled up to my desk with tears welling in his eyes. "I don’t have my pencil," he said.

"Jason," I said, irritated, "if you didn’t keep giving your things to Delbert, you’d have a pencil, wouldn’t you?"
Then I noticed a pencil in Jason’s shirt pocket. Annoyed that the disruption had been unnecessary, I pulled out the pencil and held it in front of him. "Jason, here’s a pencil in your pocket!"

A tear rolled down his cheek. "That’s the pencil I write with," he explained. "It’s the pencil I pray with that I don’t have."
I choked up, ashamed for jumping all over him. I immediately found him a pencil. From that moment, I made a point to have lots of spare materials on hand.
No longer afraid
As the school years went by, I realized how I had been changing inside. At first, I had thought of Jason as a student, then a friend. Now, he was much more than a friend. Jason was like a son to me.
I had a chance to pray another time with Jason, when he was frightened because of an upcoming hospital stay. "Will you pray with me, Mr. Chapman?" he asked. "It seems to work better when you help."

I explained that God listens to everyone’s pray...

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Contributed By:
Davon Huss

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Tony Gwynn has been one of the best hitters in major league baseball. Gwynn has hit .300 or better in 17 major league seasons. He’s won 8 league batting titles. He has collected more than 17,000 hits. What the secret of his success? It’s not a secret to the people who watch him work every day. Gwynn says, "There’s got to be a passion for it, a love for the game. And I still love it." San Diego Padres General Manager Kevin Towers said, "I think the key thing is his passion for the game, a passion for what you do. Never take anything for granted, keep trying to hone your skills and be better… that’s what Tony Gwynn is all about."

Contributed By:
Mark Brunner

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“Secret of the Fifth Man!” Mark 2:1-5 Key verse(s) 3:“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.”

Five people passed the beggar but only one stopped to help. The will it seems to get somewhere on time, a preoccupation with self, easily thwarted a fragile affection that stirred in each heart but bloomed in only one. Why did the fifth man stop? Why did he stop, discover, propose and act? What did the others miss that this man saw?

Tennessee Williams tells a story of someone who forgot – the story of Jacob Brodzky, a shy Russian Jew whose father owned a bookstore. The older Brodzky wanted his son to go to college. The boy, on the other hand, desired nothing but to marry Lila, his childhood sweetheart – a French girl as effusive, vital, and ambitious as he was contemplative and retiring. A couple of months after young Brodzky went to college, his father fell ill and died. The son returned home, buried his father, and married his love. Then the couple moved into the apartment above the bookstore, and Brodzky took over its management. The life of books fit him perfectly, but it cramped her. She wanted more adventure – and she found it, she thought, when she met an agent who praised her beautiful singing voice and enticed her to tour Europe with a vaudeville company. Brodzky was devastated. At their parting, he reached into his pocket and handed her the key to the front door of the bookstore.

“You had better keep this,” he told her, “because you will want it some day. Your love is not so much less than mine that you can get away from it. You will come back sometime, and I will be waiting.” She kissed him and left. To escape the pain he felt, Brodzky withdrew deep into his bookstore and took to reading as someone else might have taken to drink. He spoke little, did little, and could most times be found at the large desk near the rear of the shop, immersed in his books while he waited for his love to return.

Nearly 15 years after they parted, at Christmastime, she did return. But when Brodzky rose from the reading desk that had been his place of escape for all that time, he did not take the love of his life for more than an ordinary customer. “Do you want a book?” he asked. That he didn’t recognize her startled her. But she gained possession of herself and replied, “I want a book, but I’ve forgotten the name of it.” Then she told him a story of childhood sweethearts. A story of a newly married couple who lived in an apartment above a bookstore. A story of a young, ambitious wife who left to seek a career, who enjoyed great success but could never relinquish the key her husband gave her when they parted. She told him the story she thought would bring him to himself.

But his face showed no recognition. Gradually she realized that he had lost touch with his heart’s desire, that he no longer knew the purpose of his waiting and grieving, that now all he remembered was the waiting and grieving itself. “You remember it; you must remember it – the story of Lila and Jacob?”

After a long, bewildered pause, he said, “There is something familiar about the story, I think I have read it somewhere. It comes to me that it is something by Tolstoi.” Dropping the key, she fled the shop. And Brodzky returned to his desk, to his reading, unaware that the love he waited for had come and gone. (Signs of the Times, June, 1993, p. 11.)

When we focus on ourselves continually we often fail to see what is happening around us. We feel affection, friendships, even erotic love. But, when it comes to acting on these things they are, as C. S. Lewis put it, nothing but flowers surrounded by weeds unless there comes a gentle gardener to till the weeds and primp the garden. So, what caused that fifth man to act when four others did not? Why did Brodzky fail to grasp the one opportunity of love he thought he had always lived for? One man’s passion was compelling. The other’s was not. The former in affection reached out beyond sympathy. He did not miss love when he found it because the “gentle gardener,” Christ, had cultivated the love in his heart giving it beauty, purpose and mission. Brodzky and the four who did not stop missed an opportunity to manifest their love because they were preoccupied with the most important thing in life, themselves. The flowers of affection and friendship were choked by the weeds of self-interest. Christian love, charity as it was once called, takes the natural loves God puts in all men’s hearts and tend them, giving them purpose and, most of all, action. Charity doesn’t stop at sympathy. It carried the lame man to Christ where sympathy could only stand and watch. This is the secret of the fifth man.


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Is your relationship with Jesus one of your best keep secrets with the people God has placed around you.(Example)If your office had a bring your lord and personal savior to work day.Who would you bring Jesus or your golf clubs.

Contributed By:
Dave McFadden

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Seven Principles of Finance for the Believer
By Jim and Pam Elliff

One of the most recognizable differences in
the believer and the world he lives in is his
unusual relationship to money and possessions.
However, even serious believers
sometimes balk at the seeming extremities in the teaching and lifestyle of Christ and the leaders of the New Testament church. Can we duplicate this New Testament lifestyle in our day? This outline provides the diligent believer with some key principles
preparing him/her for radical, other-worldly financial behavior.

Take some time alone (or if you are married, with your
spouse) for reading the Scripture texts and thinking about the obedient response in each area. Then write out what you find.

There is only one thing for you to do after this meditation: obey!

Consider these seven principles of finance for the believer, taken from a pamphlet by the same name written by Jim and Pam Elliff:

1. The Principle of Non-Attachment

I will purchase or receive nothing that I cannot give away.

And He said to them, "Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

(Also see Luke 12:32-34; 16:13-25; 1 John 2:15-17)

What must I do to obey these verses?

2. I will owe no man anything but to love him.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

(Also see Proverbs 22:7)

What must I do to obey these verses?

3. The Principle of Liberality

I will constantly seek to give away possessions for God’s glory.

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:3-5).

(Also see 2 Corinthians 9:7; Luke 6:38)

What must I do to obey these verses?

4. The Principle of Recall

I will keep accurate records of God’s dealings with me
financially in order to show others that God answers prayer and provides for His own.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

(Also see Proverbs 27:23-27)

What must I do to obey these verses?

5. The Principle of Security

I will save and invest only if God is leading, with the understanding that I will give it all away at His slightest instruction.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up your treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal (Matthew 6:19-20).

(Also see Proverbs 28:8; 1 Timothy 6:9-11)

What must I do to obey these verses?

6. The Principle of Compassion

I will not pray for someone else’s needs financially unless I am willing to be the instrument God uses to meet that need if He should desire.

We know love by this, that He ...

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Contributed By:
Mark Brunner

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“Don’t Give Pain the Short Shrift!” Luke 13:10-17 Key verse(s): 16:“‘Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’.”

Many things in this life get short shrift. Perhaps its the lot of the underdog or simply because some things are more glamorous than others. I am not sure. But one thing I know, a level playing field is not often a given in this life. Take for example money. Some have much while others have little. Whether it be clothing, houses, life styles or whatever else blesses mankind, you will find it difficult to discover a level playing field when it comes to who’s got what and how much. Yet, we live in a society that has made “leveling the playing field” one of its foremost goals. If this were not the case, why would government be trying so hard and spending so much on behalf of those who “have not” all the while requiring from those who have that much more?

Fairness, as a principle, seems to be a quality of governing and living that both liberals and conservatives alike are able to embrace. Without fairness there would be no system of justice, no way of, well, leveling the playing field. We have woven fairness into almost everything we do; almost to the point of distraction. Obsessed with the principle which once was a guiding and now is driving, we scour every crack and crevice of society in search of inherent unfairness in an effort to strike it down, and self-righteously eliminate it. In fact, in that process we have turned fairness around and made it the very thing which separates and not brings together. In order to make some who feel mistreated better we penalize those believed to be the cause for the “unlevel playing field” in order to ameliorate the issue. In that amelioration we grate, chafe and grind at the very grain of society until, as a stout tree finally cracks under the application of a wedge, what had stood for centuries is suddenly laid out broken, naked and “transformed” for other “better” use. In an effort to equalize we do far more to destabilize and unbalance. The drive to be fair often ends up in a crusade which does little more than to deepen old wounds and drive apart those who might have come together naturally. Leveling the playing field often leads to the creation of canyon of spite and discord separating one sideline from the other.

The old adage the “life isn’t fair, so deal with it” is perhaps a better guide to unanimity and peace than “life isn’t fair, make it so!” As Christians this ought to be very apparent to each of us. In a perfected state all things would be equal and there would be no need to standards of fairness. Those things would come naturally and without effort. It is sin that grants unfairness so liberally throughout this life. Is this then how a Christian should deal with the issue of pain in his life? “Life isn’t fair, so deal with it?” Perhaps, if pain were a commodity like money, clothing or an automobile. But pain is no mere commodity upon which we can chant this adage and go our way. Pain happens but pain is not chance. Pain, I am afraid, has gotten indeed gotten pretty short shrift when all is said and done. “Author Phil Yancey writes: “I have never read a poem extolling the virtues of pain, nor seen a statue erected in its honor, nor heard a hymn dedicated to it. Pain is usually defined as ‘unpleasantness.’ Christians don’t really know how to interpret pain. If you pinned them against the wall, in a dark, secret moment, many Christians would probably admit that pain was God’s one mistake. He really should have worked a little harder and invented a better way of coping with the world’s dangers. I am convinced that pain gets a bad press. Perhaps we should see statues, hymns, and poems to pain. Why do I think that? Because up close, under a microscope, the pain network is seen in a entirely different light. It is perhaps the paragon of creative genius.” (Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts?)

Have we given pain short shrift? When you think about it we really have, haven’t we? It really is something that deserves a fair shake, a leveler playing field. For, unlike wealth and other possessions, pain truly merits attention when it comes to judging matters fairly. We ought to pay far more attention to how we value and embrace pain than whether or not this one has gotten that trinket or that one this bauble. There is no doubt that the lack of pain is a blessing. Nonetheless, the presence of pain is certainly a blessing of no value. It is truly a remarkable concept that only a God like our God could have conceived. A woman “bound” with pain for eighteen years is suddenly released from it. Think then–how could the release have been such a blessing unless the pain had made that release so necessary? The pain that crushed our Savior on the cross was the necessary “blessing” that engaged the bliss of eternity for every Christian. So, don’t give pain the short shrift. When you think about it, only through pain will we ever find the peace we all long for.


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Moses’ Stutter The hallway is silent now except for the two wheels of the mop bucket and the shuffle of the old man’s feet. Both sound tired. Both know these floors. How many nights has Hank cleaned them? Always careful to get in the corners. Always careful to set up his yellow caution sign warning of wet floors. Always laughing to himself as he does. “Be careful everyone,” he chuckles to himself, knowing that no one is near, not at three A.M. Hank’s health isn’t what it used to be either. Gout keeps him up at night. Arthritis makes him limp. His glasses are so thick, his eyeballs look twice their size. Shoulders stoop. But he goes about his work. Slopping soapy water on the linoleum. Scrubbing the heel marks left by the well-heeled lawyers. He’ll be finished an hour before quitting time. Always finishes early. Has for twenty years. When he finishes, he will put away his mop bucket and take a seat outside the office of the senior partner and wait. Never leaves early. He could. No one would ever know. . . but he doesn’t. He broke the rules once. . . Never again. Sometimes if the door is open, he will enter the office. Not for long. Just to look. The suite is larger than his apartment. He will run his finger over the desk. He’ll stroke the soft leather couch. He’ll stand at the window and watch the gray sky turn into gold. And he’ll remember. He once had an office. Back when Hank was Henry. Back when the custodian was an executive. Long ago. . . . before the night shift. . . . before the mop bucket. . . before the maintenance uniform. . . . before the scandal. Hank doesn’t think about it much anymore, no reason to. Got in trouble, got fired, and got out. That’s it. Not many people know about it, better that way. It’s his secret. . . Hank’s story, by the way, is true. I’ve changed a detail or two and put him in a different century. But the story is factual. It was a mistake, in Hank’s case, but it was one he could never forget. A grave mistake. Hank killed someone. He came upon a thug beating up an innocent man and Hank lost control. He killed the mugger. When word got out, Hank got out. He would rather hide than go to jail. So he ran. The executive became a fugitive. It’s a true story and generally a common one, although the details are not as extreme as Hank’s. He was trained in the finest institutions of the world, yet working the night shift in a minimum wage job so he wouldn’t have to see the day. But all of that changed the day when he heard the voice from the mop bucket. At first he thought the voice was a joke. Some of the fellows on the third floor play these kinds of tricks. “Henry, Henry,” the voice called. Hank turned. No one called him Henry any more. “Henry, Henry.” He turned toward the pail. It was glowing. Bright red. Hot red. He could feel the heat ten feet away. He stepped closer and looked in. The water wasn’t boiling. “This is strange,” Hank mumbled to himself as he took another step to get a closer look. But he voice stopped him. “Don’t come any closer. Take off your shoes. You are on holy tile.” Suddenly Hank knew who was speaking. “God?” I’m not making this up. I know that you think I am. Sounds crazy. Almost irreverent. God speaking from a hot mop bucket to a janitor named Hank? Would it be more believable if I said that God was speaking from a burning bush to a shepherd named Moses? (Adapted from Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name)

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