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Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
THE CATERPILLAR JOURNEY
I heard a quote in college that struck me: "The caterpillar is the most confused creature which roams the planet, because undoubtedly stamped in his soul is the call to fly."
Caterpillars must go through four stages before their metamorphosis is complete. They begin as eggs, next they hatch as caterpillars, then they go through a stage where they eat, and eat, and eat some more. Eventually, they become a chrysalis before the transformation is complete and they can finally emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3: 1 "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Often, we want to walk straight into the calling God has for us. We want to do and be everything God wants us to be and not only that, but we want to skip the journey that takes us there and do it NOW! We want to go from being caterpillar eggs to butterflies! However, we all know that there are risks to anything being born prematurely. In order for anything to be birthed, whether it is a vision or a calling, we who are to fulfill it must go on a journey. We must go through stages and seasons of preparation.
For weeks, our class would observe the caterpillars I had ordered. We would begin to notice that each day they would crawl to the top of the aquarium and stand upside down. It was as though they were saying "Is today the day? Is today the day my transformation will begin?" When they realized it wasn't, they would walk back down and eat the day away. Every morning upon returning to the classroom, we would always be amazed at how much the caterpillars had grown.
Sometimes our lives can reach a point where they seem routine and mundane. Like the caterpillars, we are walking up and down, up and down. We may feel bored with where we are, like God has forgotten us, or as though we are not accomplishing much with our lives. We go through the day wondering. Is this the day? If we find it's not, our response should be like the caterpillars. It's not the day, but God has promised it, so I'm going to prepare for it nonetheless! We should eat, and eat, and eat from the Word of God. We should spend daily time in prayer and worship. We should be building, preparing, and strengthening our spirit man to accomplish the things which God has stamped on our souls to do.
After about two weeks, we would usually come to class one morning to find that many of the caterpillars had formed a chrysalis. From the outside of the chrysalis, it always seemed to my students as though nothing were happening. After a while, they would lose interest in the chrysalis. It wasn't fun to watch, and it wasn't spectacular to look at.
I'm convinced that like the caterpillar, God wants to take us on a journey. I'm convinced there is a process. Job said "For He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Sometimes there is pain in the process. Sometimes the journey is difficult, but God knows and sees exactly where you are. When others look and see an ugly cocoon, He looks inside and sees the beautiful creature that is being transformed. Before David became king of Israel, he was first a shepherd boy. Some of his brothers were more handsome than him and greater in stature, but God did not choose them. In the Bible God spoke in 1 Samuel 16: 7 concerning David "for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." God chose the young, ruddy shepherd boy who had a heart after Him. All those years David spent alone in the field, God was preparing him. Don't despise the cocoon. God may simply be waiting for your character to catch up with your calling.
It is in the difficult process of breaking out of the chrysalis that the butterfly becomes strong. However, if the caterpillar breaks its way out of the cocoon prematurely, he will never survive. His wings will not be developed enough to allow him to properly fly. God does not want us to simply arrive at our calling, He desires for us to be successful in it. You may be a caterpillar with the word 'butterfly' stamped on your forehead wondering "When is it going to happen?" Consider this thought.is it possible that you have yet to visit the cocoon? If you're having trouble waiting for the moment that you break out into your calling, just remember. "He has made everything beautiful in HIS time." (Ecclesiastes 3: 11)
Jesus infuriated the Jewish leaders because He claimed to be the “stone which the builders rejected.” This is a reference to the building of Solomon’s Temple. It took 30,000 workmen over seven years to complete the temple. According to I Kings 6 all the stones were quarried far away from the building site, so there was no sound of hammering heard there. Jewish tradition says one day the building superintendent saw an unusual stone being delivered. Because it was cut in an odd shape, he thought it was flawed. He had it rolled away into the Kidron Valley where it lay untouched and unnoticed. Years later, the builder sent word to the quarry that he was ready for the main corner stone. The quarry master came and reported, “Why, I had that stone delivered years ago. When they began to search they discovered the discarded stone in the valley was the main cornerstone. It was covered with debris and moss. It took many men working hard to raise the massive stone out of the valley. When they raised it and set it, it fit perfectly! The chief cornerstone was the very rock they rejected.
Uriah the Hittite was in the hottest part of the battle and his fellow soldiers withdrew from him on the command of King David - We do the same thing to our fellow soldiers when we withdraw our prayers from them
In this genealogy, there are 4 women mentioned. Now, it is unusual enough to find women listed in a Jewish genealogy, but if you were to look for matriarchs listed in ancestors of Jesus, you would expect to find godly women; women like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. These 4 women stand out because they are missing. Instead, Matthew lists 4 other women. He lists, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and “her who had been the wife of Uriah.” Now, what was it that made these 4 women stand out?
*v3 Tamar – If you remember, Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law. Her first 2 husbands died, and she was childless. So, she dressed like a prostitute, slept with her father-in-law Judah, and gave birth to his son. She was guilty of incest.
*v5 Rahab – If you remember, Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho. She hid the Israelite spies and so they spared her when they destroyed the city.
*v5 Ruth – The Bible records nothing truly sinful about Ruth, other than the fact that she was a Moabitess. She came from a nation of people who did not believe in the one true God, but who worshipped idols instead.
*v6 Bathsheba – In Verse 6 we find mentioned “she who had been the wife of Uriah.” That is Bathsheba. Her sin was so terrible that Matthew blushed at the thought of even mentioning her name. Bathsheba is the woman who cheated on her husband with king David. She became pregnant by him, so David had her husband killed. She then married the man who killed her hu...
Wade Hughes, Sr
Flag Folding & The Meaning of Each Fold!
I guess this settles the "One Nation Under God" debate once and for all.
Do you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?
Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention correctly folding the American flag 13 times?
You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!
The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.
The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense
of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity
and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely
folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of
our nation’s motto, "In God We Trust."
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in,
it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever
reminding us of the soldiers who served under
General George Washington, and the Sailors
and Marines who served under Captain John
Paul Jones, who were followed by their
comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces
of the United States, preserving for us the rights,
privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
There are some traditions and ways of doing
things that have deep meaning. In the future,
you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.
Alexander the Great and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. when the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men. The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff. The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.
Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment.
Edited from Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright1994 by Youth Specialties, Inc.
I think one of the area we need to work on the most is expressing that love to our kids. I believe that most Dad’s love their children but for some reason it seems to be hard for us to express it. David had that problem. After Absolom murdered Amnon he fled the country and lived in exile for 3 years. David was mad about the murder to be sure but the Bible says that David still loved Absalom. In fact it says in 2 Sam. 13:39, "David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom." (LB) But as much as he wanted Absalom to come back he never told him that. He never sent word saying, "Your forgiven, I understand your anger, I’ve done horrible things too. Come back, let’s make a fresh start." He just left him in exile. Finally, some of David’s advisors convinced David to let him come back to the city. And David said, "He may go to his own quarters,” the king ordered, “but he must never come here. I refuse to see him." Pride- for 2 years Absolom lived in the city and everyone grew to love Absolom but David wouldn’t see him. Finally, after 5 years David said, "Okay, I’ll see him." But by that time the resentment was so deep that Absolom revolted against his Dad and tried to take the throne away from him. Absolom and David’s forces fought against each other and finally there is a concluding battle in the woods of Ephraim and as Absolom is trying to escape, his long hair catches in an Oak tree and he can’t get free himself. And Joab David’s captain finds the young man and takes three javelin’s and plunges them into Absolom’s heart. And one of the most pitiful scenes in the Bible is played out in 2 Sam. 18. David waits news for the battle but each time a messenger comes he cares not about how the battle is progressing but he keeps asking, "Is the young man Absolom safe?" Finally, a runner tells him that his son is dead. And the Bible says in one of the saddest verses: “The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to his room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I could have died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”(NLT) How tragic. But now it’s too late. If you love your child, express it. Tell them. Touch them with a hug or embrace.
The Bible tells the story of Absalom. He was the son of King David — Israel’s greatest king. Through a series of circumstances, Absalom began to despise his father and made plans to become king in his father’s place. He surreptitiously sowed seeds of division and rebellion in his father’s kingdom. In the beginning he did things that did not seem to be a danger, but he was winning the hearts of the people of Israel. The day came when he saw an opportunity and openly led a rebellion against his father David in an attempt to take over his kingdom. David’s greatest fear was that Absalom would be destroyed in the battle, which is what eventually happened. When word came that Absalom had been killed, far from being happy about it, the Bible says, “The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you — O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2 Samuel 18:33).
David’s heart was not to destroy his son, but to save his son, even if it meant dying in his place — in spite of what Absalom thought. Absalom wanted to be king, an...
If God had Voice Mail
Most of us have now learned to live with "voice mail" as a necessary
part of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered what it would be
like if God decided to install voice mail?
Imagine praying and hearing the following:
Thank you for calling Heaven.
For English, Press 1.
For Spanish, press 2.
For all other languages, press 0.
Please select one of the following options:
Press 1 for Requests.
Press 2 for Thanksgiving.
Press 3 for Complaints.
Press 4 for all other inquiries.
I am sorry; all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners
right now. However, your prayer is important to us, and we will answer
it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line.
If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1.
Jesus, press 2
Holy Spirit, press 3.
If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding,
To find a loved one that has been assigned to Heaven, press 5,then
enter his or her social security number, followed by the "pound" sign.
(If you receive a negative response, please hang up and try again.
For reservations at Heaven, please enter J-O-H-N, followed by the
For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth,
life on other planets, and where Noah’s Ark is, please wait until you arrive.
Our computers show that you have already prayed today. Please hang up
and try again tomorrow.
The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday.
Please pray again on Monday after 9:30am.
If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance,please
contact your local pastor.
Thank you, and have a heavenly day.
A Thanks Offering For God's Grace
In this country, the entire nation celebrates Thanksgiving in November. Some celebrate by busily preparing food, watching football and gathering with family. These are great Thanksgiving celebrations. However, Christians have a greater blessing in the opportunity to give thanks to God. Whether people in this world want to recognize it or not, everything they own is given to them by the Lord and there is going to be a day when all will give an accounting.
Christians are thankful for God's saving grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This is one of the great evangelistic summaries in the Word of God. F.F. Bruce so wonderfully points out, "This is the watchword for the reformation theology: 'By grace alone, through faith alone, to God be the glory.'" The Bible teaches that everything Christians have comes by grace. "Grace" (charis) here affects man's sinfulness. It not only brings forgiveness to repentant sinners, but also joy from the Holy Spirit and heartfelt thankfulness to the Lord Jesus. This grace changes repentant sinners into new creations without destroying their individuality.
Those who live on this earth were marked by sin that came down to them as a curse from the time of Adam. It was decided and agreed upon by God the Father, Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit that Jesus would come to earth and redeem sinful mankind from willful sin. Christians have been saved by grace and they are sustained only by the grace of God. The precious children of God feast from the manna of God's Word daily, just as Mephibosheth did at King David's table. And there will be that day when all who have Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord will be eating at that geatest Thanksgiving feast, the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God." What a day that will be!
Does your life Express God's Grace?