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Contributed By:
Manuel Amparo
 
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A grandfather found his grandson, jumping up and down in his playpen, crying at the top of his voice. When Johnnie saw his grandfather, he reached up his little chubby hands and said, “Out, Gramp, out.”

It was only natural for Grandfather to reach down to lift the little fellow out of his predicament; but as he did, the mother of the child stepped up and said, “No, Johnnie, you are being punished, so you must stay in.”

The grandfather was at a loss to know what to do. The child’s tears and chubby hands reached deep into his heart, but the mother’s firmness in correcting her son for misbehavior must not be lightly taken. Here was a problem of love versus law, but love found a way. The grandfather could not take the youngster out of the playpen, so he crawled in with him.

God did not spare Paul and Silas the suffering and imprisonment, but He did come down into the prison with them.

God did not keep the three Hebrew children out of the fiery furnace, but He went into the furnace with them.

God will not always deliver us from trouble and heartache, but He has promised grace for every situation of life.—By Fred W. Parsons, These Times, March 1969.



 
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.

 
Contributed By:
Bishop Lalachan Abraham
 
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RAVI ZACHARIAS: SYMBOLS OF THE PURSUIT OF GOD

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."

Ravi Zacharias said: "The pursuit of the Hebrews was idealized and symbolized by light. 'The Lord is my light and my salvation.' 'The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.' 'This is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.'

"The pursuit of the Greeks was symbolized by knowledge. That’s why the Biblical writers say, 'These things are written that you might know that you have eternal life.' For the Hebrews, it was light. For the Greeks, it was knowledge.

"For the Romans, it was glory. The apostle Paul, a Hebrew by birth, a citizen of Rome, living in a Greek city, had to give to them the ideal of his ethic. And he says this: 'God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, has caused His light to shine in our hearts, to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.'

"For the apostle Paul, the ultimate ethic was not an abstraction, not symbolized merely by light, not merely by knowledge, not merely by glory, but in the very face of our Lord.

 
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SermonCentral 
 
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PRECIOUS BLOOD

Several years ago in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, George and Vera Bajenksi’s lives were changed forever. February 16, 1989. A very normal Thursday morning. The phone rang at 9:15 a.m. "There’s been an accident..." It involved their son Ben.
As they approached the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe Streets near the high school, they could see the flashing lights of the police cars and ambulance units. Vera noticed a photographer and followed the direction of his camera lens to the largest pool of blood she had ever seen.
All she could say was, "George, Ben went home--home to be with his Heavenly Father!" Her first reaction was to jump out of the car, somehow collect the blood and put it back into her son. "That blood, for me, at that moment, became the most precious thing in the world because it was life. It was life-giving blood and it belonged in my son, my only son, the one I loved so much."
The road was dirty and the blood just didn’t belong there. George noticed that cars were driving right through the intersection--right through the blood. His heart was smitten. He wanted to cover the blood with his coat and cry, "You will not drive over the blood of my son!"
Then Vera understood for the first time in her life, one of God’s greatest and most beautiful truths...why blood? Because it was the strongest language God could have used. It was the most precious thing He could give-- the highest price H...

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Contributed By:
Jeff Strite
 
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TONY EVANS ON GETTING UN-STUCK

Tony Evans, a popular black preacher from down in Texas, spoke of being on an elevator in a high-rise building. He said he’d never been particularly comfortable on such elevators. There was something about riding up and down in a little box several hundred feet off the ground that has never sat well with him. He worried that something would go wrong.

One day it did. The car he was riding in got stuck in between floors way up in the higher floors. He noted that some of the people in the car became frantic. They began to beat on the door hoping to get someone’s attention. Others began to yell in the hopes that their voices would get someone on the surrounding floors to come to the aid. But nobody heard their noise or their cries.

Then Evans quietly made his way to the front of the car, opened a little door in the wall and pulled out a telephone. Immediately he was connected with someone on the outside. He didn’t need to beat on the wall to get their attention. He didn’t need to speak loudly in the phone to receive their help. He could have whispered and they would have heard him.

Evans said that - in this world, we’re going to get "stuck" in places we aren’t comfortable with. Some people begin to beat against the walls, others cry out in dismay. But the person who trusts in the power of confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who hears their call and comes to their aid.

Hebrews 10:19ff tells us that we now can have "boldness" (KJV) to enter into very presence of God because of the blood of Jesus. We can think this way only because Jesus has opened the way for us to approach God’s throne and earnestly ask whatever we desire according to His Will.

 
Contributed By:
Jeff Strite
 
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WHY DID JESUS NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?

So why would Jesus need to be baptized by John?
Well... Jesus' baptism by John was the beginning of Jesus' ministry

Mark 1:1 starts out: "The BEGINNING of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" and then Mark starts telling us about Jesus' baptism by John.

In Luke 3:23 we're told of Jesus' baptism by John and then we read: "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he BEGAN HIS MINISTRY..."

Obviously, for some reason, Jesus' ministry began with His baptism.

Now, at this point in Jewish history, water baptism served one of 3 purposes.
1st, there was the Baptism Of Repentance.
This was what John the Baptist's was preaching.
But of course Jesus didn't need to repent because He hadn't sinned.

The 2nd kind of baptism was for people who desired to convert to Judaism.
It was a Baptism Of Conversion.
If you were a Gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism, they baptized you in water.

ILLUS: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown explained that: "The Jews were accustomed to say of a heathen proselyte, on his public admission into the Jewish faith BY BAPTISM, that he was a new-born child."

So, baptism was used when someone wanted to convert to Judaism. But Jesus had no need to convert to Judaism. He already was one. He'd been born a Jew.

So baptism in those days could be for repentance or conversion... and Jesus did not need to be baptized for those reasons. So, for what OTHER reason would a person be baptized in water back then???

Well, the only other people who experienced baptism - in the Jewish faith in that day were priests. The Law dictated that especially the High Priest was to "washed with water." And the Temple had pools set aside for just that purpose.

In Leviticus 8:6 we're told that - by the instruction of God -- "Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water."
Then, later, during that ceremony Moses "poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him." Leviticus 8:12

This act INITIATED Aaron's ministry as High Priest. When Aaron and his sons were washed with water and anointed with oil, they BEGAN their priesthood and were empowered to make sacrifices and to handle holy things as God's representatives.
At that point (their baptism) God put His mark of approval on the ministry of Aaron and his sons.

The Bible tells us that Jesus' ministry began with His baptism by John.
After His baptism, the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit as it descended on Him in form of a dove. And the Father put His mark of approval on Jesus by loudly declaring:
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

This was the beginning of Jesus' ministry as our High Priest.
Did you realize Jesus was our High Priest?
Indeed He is!
Hebrews 4:14: "...we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..."

From the day of His baptism by John at the Jordan until His death on the Cross, Jesus (as our High Priest) prepared the ultimate sacrifice for our sins... His own body.

 
Contributed By:
Vera Hughes
 
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John 5:1-7 (Impotent man)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

Man had been this way 38 years. Jesus asks strange question ‘do you want to be healed?’

‘Of course I do, you’d say.

What was response?

Excuses – v.7

Feeling sorry for self won’t help.

God responds to faith, not tears.

Jesus didn’t allow the man room for self-pity.

His confidence was in angels and bubbles, not in God.

This man needed to stand up on the inside first before he stood up on the outside.

The man was in self pity; self pity feeds on itself and God can’t help you.

Do you really want to be made whole? Then have confidence in God.

Don’t dwell on past failures or defeats. Dwell – meditate on God’s grace and mercy.

Don’t wait for someone also to rescue you.

 
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MODEST GRATITUDE

In a sense, gratitude is an expression of modesty. In Hebrew, the word for gratitude - hoda’ah - is the same as the word for confession. To offer thanks is to confess dependence, to acknowledgment that others have the power to benefit you, to admit that your life is better because of their efforts. That frame of mind is indispensable to civilized society.

SOURCE: "The Power ...

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Contributed By:
Paul Dietz
 
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Be Someone's Consistent Help


Paul, in his letter to the Hebraic Christians, makes this point:
"…exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." [Hebrews 3:13]

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to the inner-workings of my automobile that I know diddley-squat. Believe me, I know very little about the mechanical makeup of any car. I am what is known as "mechanically-challenged." But I do know of several guys that are very familiar about such things as internal combustion engines, the drive train and electrical system of anything on two or more wheels.

One such person is Dan Morlen, my mechanic! He seems to always know what is wrong with either of my SUVs when either is not quite running the way a vehicle should. All I have to do is call and then drop by his garage, and I know that I am going to be assisted in locating the problem. I also know that once the troubling factor has been located that he or someone he knows will be able to fix it with a simple solution and get my means of transportation back on the road.

Why do I know this as a fact? Dan has always been consistent in helping me when I need him the most mechanically: my Envoy or my Outlander is broken and needs fixed.

That is how God wants us to be within the community of faith: To be more consistent in assisting those who need our help, prayers and encouragement. Many today struggle with hardship and disappointment. That means it is the responsibility of a person's brother and sister in the faith to pick up the slack; to aid in putting the pieces back together; to be consistent in our efforts of brotherhood and sisterhood. We are called by the Christ to love those who are hurting and to stand by those who are suffering persecution for the sake of Jesus.

 
Contributed By:
Troy Borst
 
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
1. Materialism
2. Pride
3. Self-centeredness
4. Laziness
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
6. Envy
7. Gluttony
8. Lying

Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

 
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