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Contributed By:
Paddick Van Zyl
 
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In the Supreme Court case between Humanity and Satan, proceedings took on a surprising turn, in the court room when Judge God read out the charge against the defendant (humanity).

Sin was the main charge with a list of violations being read out, some minor & seemingly insignificant while others were major and grotesque. The plaintiff sneered and was getting ready for his closing statement of damnation and requesting for the death penalty. One last witness requested to take the stand to state His witness.
It was then that the Judge gasped and humanity looked surprised. Jesus took the stand and after being sworn in, to tell the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, He requested of Judge God to please take the place and any punishment that might be assigned to humanity as a result of the crime that was committed.

Everyone sighed, humanity cried in disbelief and the plaintiff lost his grin and became angry. After the Judge had a look at Articles 9 of Hebrews, subsection 12 to 28, He accepted the life of Jesus in the place of humanity and what followed was the harshest sentence that was ever laid down on anyone: as the Judge read out the punishment for the crime all became quiet... The Death penalty was imposed on the criminal. No mitigating circumstances was offered or accepted. No mercy was forthcoming. He accepted His fate. He smiled. Love permeated from Him, the peace in the court room was beyond words yet the anger of the Judge was unspeakable, He turned away and would not look at the criminal being led away.

He was led away to Calvary where He would be executed with the other criminals.

The plaintiff smiled and waited for applaus yet no congratulations were given. Humanity was free.

Justice had been served, Jesus took humanity’s place and the price has been paid by His precious blood once for all.

 
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In his men’s seminar, David Simmons, a former cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, tells about his childhood home. His father, a military man, was extremely demanding, rarely saying a kind word, always pushing him with harsh criticism to do better. The father had decided that he would never permit his son to feel any satisfaction from his accomplishments, reminding him there were always new goals ahead.
When Dave was a little boy, his dad gave him a bicycle, unassembled, with the command that he put it together. After Dave struggled to the point of tears with the difficult instructions and many parts, his father said, "I knew you couldn’t do it." Then he assembled it for him.
When Dave played football in high school, his father was unrelenting in his criticisms. In the backyard of his home, after every game, his dad would go over every play and point out Dave’s errors. "Most boys got butterflies in the stomach before the game; I got them afterwards. Facing my father was more stressful than facing any opposing team."
By the time he entered college, Dave hated his father and his harsh discipline. He chose to play football at the University of Georgia because its campus was further from home than any school that offered him a scholarship. After college, he became the second round draft pick of the St. Louis cardinal’s professional football club. Joe Namath (who later signed with the New York Jets), was the club’s first round pick that year. "Excited, I telephoned my father to tell him the good news. He said, ’How does it feel to be second?’"
Despite the hateful feelings he had for his father, Dave began to build a bridge to his dad. Christ had come into his life during college years, and it was God’s love that made him turn to his father. During visits home he stimulated conversation with him and listened with interest to what his father had to say. He learned for the first time what his grandfather had been like-a tough lumberjack known for his quick temper. Once he destroyed a pickup truck with a sledgehammer because it wouldn’t start, and he often beat his son. This new awareness affected Dave dramatically. "Knowing about my father’s upbringing not only made me more sympathetic for him, but it helped me see that, under the circumstances, he might have done much worse. By the time he died, I can honestly say we were friends."

Unfinished Business, Charles Sell, Multnomah, 1989, pp. 171ff

 
Contributed By:
Warner Pidgeon
 
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Tags: Narnia (add tag)
 
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In ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Edmund’s love for ‘Turkish Delight’ caused him to betray his family. He fell into the trap set by the Witch and since it tasted so good he became obsessed with getting more ‘Turkish Delight’. The temptation of luscious ‘Turkish Delight’ became stronger even than his family loyalty; (that’s often what happens when a marriage breaks down due to adultery). Later in the book as the Witch prepares to kill Edmund he is rescued by troops from Aslan’s army. Next morning Edmund comes face to face with his brother Peter and his sisters Lucy and Susan. At this point there could have been an almighty family brawl, the type of brawl which I hope and pray you do not experience this Christmas!

But there’s no brawl and no harsh words. After talking with Edmund Aslan says, “Here is your brother; and there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”

Edmund shook hands with each of the others and said to each of them in turn, “I’m sorry”.

Aslan rescued Edmund, and Edmund was restored to his brothers and sisters. That’s how God desires to be with us. God says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

 
Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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“Mercy Resting Upon Wrath!” John 8: 12-20 Key verse(s): 16: “‘But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.’”

The young man sat before the bench, head held low, hands hanging loosely at his side. His crime had been serious and parents, family and all who knew him had been shocked by what he had done. The jury had found him guilty on all charges and now all that remained to be done was for the judge to pass sentence. As the judge entered the courtroom and order was called, those present, including the young man, arose. As everyone returned to their seats, the young man heard the words that he had been dreading: “The defendant will rise and face the court.” The moment had come and he knew that his entire future now rested in the hands of the man he was now facing.

The judge repeated the charges and reiterated the finding of guilty by the jury on each charge. The young man winced as each charge and finding was repeated. “On the charge of aiding and abetting a criminal act involving the transportation of stolen goods, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of evading an officer, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of possession of a fireman, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of . . .” The charges, six in all, echoed throughout the young man’s mind. How would he ever be able to face his parents, his friends, and especially his girl friend again? Would the judge be lenient since he had never been in trouble before? Would he receive prison time and, if so, how much? What would prison be like? As the judge rattled on, the scene in the courtroom became surreal, almost like a bad dream. He lifted his face toward the bench as the judge finished his recitation “ . . . you have been found guilty” and paused.

The judge brought his eyes directly into focus on the defendant as he began his sentencing. “I hope that you know the seriousness of what you have done. James Rogers, you have affected the lives of your parents and everyone who loves you. The law is very specific in demonstrating how serious your offenses are. The penalties it calls for in these circumstances are not lenient. However, this is your first offense and I believe that you are sorry for what you have done. You have shown great remorse in the course of this trial. The character witnesses that were called in your defense spoke highly of you. I have spoken with your parents and have come to the conclusion that there will be no repeat of this behavior. Therefore, I sentence you to one year of probation and two hundred hours of community service.” With those words the young man suddenly felt a cooling sense of relief filter down from his head to his toes. His knees wobbled and he grabbed for his attorney’s coat sleeve feeling that in a moment he might collapse under the strain of the situation.

Following these comforting words, the judge’s merciful countenance slowly began to change. With a stern look toward the young man he added, “It is my job to protect society from those who seek to harm her. It is also my job to uphold the law and punish those who disobey that law.” He then asked the young man to approach the bench. James wondered if there would be additional punishment since the judge was deliberately writing something down on a piece of paper. He folded it and placed it within an envelope. “James, within this envelope are the penalties that I could have brought to bear on you today. I want you to go home and read them over with your parents. And, remember, even though it is my job to show mercy when I feel that it is warranted, if you disregard that mercy I will be forced to do exactly what is written on this sheet of paper....

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Robert Louis Stevenson in one of his stories tells of a passenger ship crossing the Atlantic. It encountered a harsh storm that threatened to overwhelm the ship. The captain ordered the passengers below while the crew battled the storm above. At one point, the passengers grew impatient. They hadn’t heard a word from the bridge in the longest time. Finally, a volunteer ventured out to see how things were going. A short time later, the man returned to the huddled passengers. “Did you see the captain? What did he say? Are we going to make it?” The messenger responded, ‘I didn’t talk to the captain. But I saw him. He looked at me and smiled. All is well!” And that was enough!

 
Contributed By:
Donnie  Martin
 
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Charles Swindoll once said of his father:

My dad died last night. He left like he had lived. Quietly. Graciously. With dignity. Without demands or harsh words or even a frown. He surrendered himself into the waiting arms of his Savior. As I stroked his hair from his forehead and kissed him goodbye, a hundred boyhood memories played around in my head.
--When I learned to ride a bike, he was there.
--When I wrestled with the multiplication table, his quick wit erased the hassle.
--When I discovered the adventure of driving a car, he was near, encouraging me.
--When I got my first job (delivering newspapers), he informed me how to increase my subscriptions and win a prize. And it worked!
--When I mentioned a young woman I had fallen in love with, he pulled me aside and talked straight about being responsible for her welfare and happiness.
--When I did a hitch in the Marines, the discipline I had learned from him made the transition easier.
Last night I said goodbye. I’m still trying to believe it.”

Steve Shepherd, Father’s Day 2001, a sermon found on SermonCentral.com.

For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org

 
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Years ago, there was a wicked emperor by the name of Dionysius. He discovered that near to where he lived was a cave shaped in the form of a funnel with an opening right at the surface. Dionysus used this cave as a workshop for his slaves. He put all the slaves in caves and then he’d go up and put his ear at the top of it. Inside the slaves were uttering all kinds of harsh and cruel things about him. Then the next day they would go before him where he would repeat everything they had said about him to their face. And it cost many their own lives or severe torture. Now God is a good king, not a wicked king. At the same time, He knows every thought you’ve had, every word you’ve spoken and everything you’ve done, and all He says about you is "ungodly." Even your best does not impress Him. Therefore, He is not asking, "How well have you behaved?"

 
Contributed By:
Jeff Simms
 
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In his book “The Weight of Your Words” author Joseph Stowell tells the following story:
My junior high school had scheduled its annual operatic production. Talented students were quick to try out for the various parts. I was not so certain of my abilities and had decided that singing in an operatta wasn’t really for me.
Then Mrs. Wilson, my music teacher, asked me to try out. It was not a coveted role, but it did have three solos.
I am certain that my audition was only mediocre. But Mrs. Wilson reacted as if she had just heard a choir of heavenly angels. “Oh, that was jusst beautiful. It was perfect. Your are just right for the role. You will do it, won’t you?” I accepted.
When the time came for the next year’s operatta, most of the students who had played the leads the year before had graduated. And Mrs. Wilson had transferred to another school. In her place was a rather imposing figure who had an excellent singing voice and a sound knowledge of music theory.
As tryouts began, I was ready. I felt confident that my talent was just what the operatta needed. With approximately 150 of my peers assembled, I knew everything would go well.
But if I live for an eternity I will never forget the words spoken on...

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Contributed By:
Anne Benefield
 
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Earlier this week, I was talking to our music director, Jim Turk, about this sermon. I told him that I was going to challenge you to live out your faith. I told him a story about myself that makes me very self-conscious. It is a story I had never told anyone else. I explained to Jim that it was a story I didn’t feel I could share with you. When I finished the story, Jim said, “You have to tell that story.”

As embarrassing as it is, I know he is right. Here’s the story:

When I was the retail advertising manager at the San Antonio Light, one of the salespersons came to see me. Her name was DeeDee. She came into my office, asked if we could talk and when I said, “Yes, of course,” she closed the door.

She said, “You are different from other managers. There is something about you that we all trust. We work harder for you than we have worked for other managers. I want to know why you are different.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I questioned her some more. Ultimately, she said, “You are kinder, more encouraging. You also seem to be calmer than the others.”

I still wasn’t really sure what she was saying, but the only thing I could think of was my faith. I told her that maybe the difference was that I was a Christian. She looked at me with a strange expression, a surprised look. I asked her if she thought that was the difference and she said, “Yes.”

A few days later, she came again. This time, she asked me if I could recommend some scriptures that she could read. I gave her a Bible and told her about some passages that had meant a lot to me.

Over the coming months, three other salespeople quietly stopped in to talk about faith. I turned out giving away a number of Bibles. I feel self-conscious telling this story because I don’t like to talk about myself in this way, but I want you to know that I’m not asking you to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

All I ask is that this week, you carry the Spirit with you and you share a word of kindness in a harsh world; a word of healing in a hurting world; a word of hope in a despairing world; and a word of caring in a cynical world. You may be amazed at what happens when you let the Holy spirit sparkle and fizz in your life.

 
Contributed By:
Timothy Darling
 
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Tags: Atonement (add tag)
 
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THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE A HOME

The father and son never could get along. The boy was constantly in trouble and the father was harsh in his attempts to correct him.
F: What have you done this time?
S: What difference does it make? You always take the other side no matter what I say.
F: If you weren't such a trouble maker, I might be able to trust you.
S: If you would trust me a little you might see that some of the "trouble" as you call it has another side to the story.
F: What other side? You constantly bring shame on yourself and your family wth your irresponsible ways and shady friends.

The shouting match continues, but the words are unimportant, because neither is listening. It is a replay of a hundred quarrels. The son's accusations, the father's ultimatums reach fever pitch, and the fight ends the way they all do. The son turns on his heels and walks out of the house, slamming the door behind him.

What the father does not know is that this time is different. His son does not come back in time for dinner. This is not new, it has happened a dozen times. He does not come home to sleep. This is not unique, he's done that a time or two. But the next day stretches on and the son does not come home. The mother sits down with the father during dinner.

M: What happened?
F: I don't know. He was being unreasonable as always.
M: What did you say?
F: I told him he was a troublemaker.
M: That wasn't very helpful.
F: I suppose it wasn't.
M: Where did he go?
F: He didn't say.
M: Maybe we should make some calls.
F: He'll be back.
M: Aren't you a little concerned?
F: He has friends. He'll be fine.

The father goes into his study and closes the door, the mother sits by the phone and begins calling her son's friends to see if she can find him. No one is willing to say that they have seen him. Yes, they've heard from him and he is angry. No, they don't know where he went. The mother bends her head, depressed and frustrated. She makes one more call, and this time it is right. Her son's friend puts him on the phone.

M: Son, come back home.
S: Why? So dad can berate me some more?
M: He dosn't mean it.
S: Then why does he say it so often?
M: He really loves you. I love you.
S: I really don't think I can put up with it any more.
M: Please.
S: No, mom. I love you, but He is too much. Good bye.

She hangs up the phone and is lost in thought. The father comes out of the study.

F: What's wrong?
M: I think I know where he is.
F: Where?
M: He is at that tall boy's house. The one that lives four blocks over, beyond the traffic light.
F: Is he coming home?
M: No, he is still angry with you.
F: What do you think we should do?
M: I'm going after him.
F: I'll come along.

The two leave and quickly walk a few blocks. At the traffic light in the glare of a street lamp near a coffee shop, they see him. He is standing with his back to them. The tall boy he is talking with sees them and points. He turns, looks with surprise and begins walking up the street, away from them. The mother calls out, "Wait!" He keeps walking. She rushes after him. She does not see the truck bearing down on the intersection. The father shouts, the son turns, brakes whine, but it is too late.

The tall boy at the corner pulls out a phone and begins frantically punching in 911. The son turns and rushes back to the street. The father is immediately at her side, gently holding her head in his hands. The driver comes around, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry ... I couldn't stop."

The son rushes into the street where he kneels on the other side of his mother, speaking gently to her. As he looks up he sees his father's eyes, distorted by tears. Great sadness is in his face as he sees his son across from him, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry ... I couldn't stop," he says.

The two men, kneeling in the road, realize together that they really do have something in common: a love for this woman who completely disregarded herself to bring them together.

 
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