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Jeff Strite
 
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THE LUKEWARM SHEEP

Now, for the sake of my illustration, I want to break a flock of sheep down into 3 groups.

1. The first group of sheep had DECIDED to look to Shepherd & follow Him wherever He leads.
These are the "Good sheep" who follow the "Good Shepherd. Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 KJV

2. The 2nd group wants nothing to do with the Shepherd. They want to run their lives their own way and they deliberately DECIDE to walk away from Him. These are the pagans and atheists of society. They don't want to hear Jesus' voice... they don't want to follow.

3. But the 3rd group DECIDES that they like the Shepherd. They want to hang out with Him... but they don't want to get TOO close to Him. They still want to keep their options open. They want to look for their own grass once in a while. They want to nibble at a little of this and a little of that....

George Orwell once observed: "On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time."

That's the problem with this 3rd group of sheep.
They like being close to Jesus... just not too much, and not just all the time. And because they have this "loose" connection to the shepherd they're the ones who end up wandering off. They're the ones that end up getting lost. They're just close enough to the Shepherd to feel secure. And just far enough away to not hear His voice.
"My sheep hear my voice... and they follow me." says Jesus. John 10:27

And so, they wander off into their own little world, and they end up getting hurt and making bad decisions. And those bad decisions cause them pain and heartache.
As Proverbs 13:15 says, "...the way of transgressors is hard." (KJV)

Because they've chosen NOT to listen to the Good Shepherd and to follow Him closely, they are without the protection of that Shepherd and open to the attacks of Satan and this world.

 
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Ronnie Knight
 
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Do you guys remember the cartoon with Wiley Coyote and Ralph the sheep dog. I use to love that cartoon. Every morning Ralph and Wiley would meet at the time clock which was mounted on a tree. As they clocked in they would great each other and then they would go to their respective departments.

Ralph the sheep dog went to his post on the cliff and took his position as head of the sheep protection department. Wiley, true to his nature, would slink away in to the forest to plan his strategy as head of the sheep acquisition and consumption department.

As the day wore on Ralph sat patiently at his post with a protective eye looking over the flock as Wiley tried one scheme after another in hopes of making his quota of sheep for the day. However, no matter how hard he tried it seemed that poor Wiley’s plan was always thwarted by Ralph at the last moment. Inevitably as the day drew to a close just before the whistle blew, Wiley would pull out all the stops and slip into his sheep costume and meander into the fold with the hope of finally catching his prey only to realize after his pray was in fact none other than Ralph the sheep dog who had dressed himself up as a sheep in anticipation of Wiley’s scheme. Poor Wiley never caught a break.

Wiley’s sheep costume illustrates a tactic that is used by our enemy the devil. In fact in Matthew 7.15 Jesus warns us that in similar fashion Satan will send ravenous wolves into the fold dressed in sheep’s clothing to catch the sheep unaware and snatch them away by false teaching. As we learned last week Satan will do what ever he can to destroy the flock. Therefore, it is imperative that we have discerning spirits so that we can discern the motives of those who are among us.

However, our generation, as I’m sure it has been in generations past, I believe the greatest danger to the work of the Kingdom of God is not as much when wolves come in dressed as sheep, but it is when the sheep go in to the world dressed in wolves clothing. The greater problem in modern American Christianity is when “so called” Christians wear their sheep’s clothing on Sunday only to put on their wolves clothing on Monday.

 
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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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HUGE RESERVES

Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool:

During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch.
With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.

Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.

At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.

And Mr. Yates owned it all.
The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief.
A multimillionaire living in poverty.
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IS YOUR NAME IN THE BIBLE?--THE CASE OF A NEW YORK CITY BAG LADY

Years ago, there was a bag lady in New York City who attended a preaching service at a Manhattan Rescue Mission. Afterwards in the line to receive soup, she mentioned to the preacher she was now ready to give her life to Jesus. She said, "I never knew until today that my name is in the Bible."

The preacher smiled and said, "What's your name?"

She said, "Edith. My name is Edith. And my name is in the Bible."

The preacher said, "I'm sorry ma'am but you must be mistaken. The name Edith never appears in the Bible."

She said, "Oh yes it does, you read it a few minutes ago!" He opened his Bible and she pointed her dirty finger to Luke 15:2. The preacher had been using the King James Version, and it says, "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them." She said, "There it is! Jesus receiveth sinners and Edith with them!"

And indeed, the good news is Jesus does receive sinners, and Edith, and David, and Jane, and Mary, and John and anyone else who comes to Him! We've seen a wonderful picture of what God is like. He is a God who regrets your rebellion, who runs when you return, and who restores you when you repent.

(From a sermon by Fred Markes, What is God Like?, 8/30/2011)

 
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THE VOICE OF THE SHEPHERD

There once was a shepherd that lived in the Scottish highlands. This shepherd had a daughter and he would take her with him when he went out on the moors to take care of the sheep. The thing that the little girl liked best was to hear the call of shepherd. His voice sounded so free and beautiful as carried across the valleys of the moors.
As the years passed the little girl became a beautiful young woman and went off to one of Scotland's great cities--Edinburgh or Glasgow. It was there that she was determined to build a life. On her arrival, she would write back home to her parents every week. But as life began to take her by the hand, her letters soon dropped off in their frequency and soon there were none.

Rumors begin to filter back home to that shepherd and his wife that their daughter had started hanging out with some unsavory characters and they were having a very negative influence on her life. One day one of the boys from back home ran into her in the city streets and she acted as if she did not even know him. When the old shepherd heard this, he gathered a few things together and dressed in his rough shepherd’s clothes went to the city to find his daughter.

For days on end he looked for her. He looked everywhere; the slums, the rows of houses, the markets, the taverns, and everywhere in between to no avail. So after all of this searching he became very discouraged with the thought that he had lost his daughter to the evil city.

As he started the long trek back home, just as he was on the outskirts of the city, he remembered that his daughter had always loved to hear the voice of the shepherd calling out to the sheep.

So he turned around and on this quest motivated by his sorrow and his love, he began to stalk the streets. His voice rang out the shepherds call. The citizens of the city all looked at him as if he had lost his wits. It wasn’t too long as he walked the streets of one of the degraded neighborhoods that inside of one of those houses, his daughter sitting among the vermin who had led her astray, heard his voice. With great astonishment on her face, she heard that call of the voice of the shepherd, the voice of her father calling out to her. She leaped up and rushed out to the street and ran into the arms of that old shepherd, her father. It was then that he took her back home to the highlands of Scotland and brought her back to God and to decency and modesty.

This is a moving example of what happens to those who can hear the voice of a shepherd.

(From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, The Voice of the Shepherd, 8/6/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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JESUS IN EVERY BOOK OF THE BIBLE

The Bible is about Jesus. He is pictured or prophesied about in each of the 66 books as well as in countless types in the lives of different characters in the Bible. Here is a breakdown of how He is pictured in each of the books...

O.T Book Main Revelation Key Prophecies* / Types of Jesus
Genesis The Seed of the Woman Messiah would be born of the seed of a woman (Gen 3:15, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob (Gen 12:3, 17:19, 28:14, Luke 3:23-34)
Messiah would be a king in the line of Judah (Gen 49:10, John 1:49)
Typified in the person of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18)
The life of Isaac - the sacrificed son (Gen 22)
The life of Joseph - the rejected brother (Gen 37)

Exodus The Passover Lamb Typified in the life of Moses - the deliverer
The Passover Lamb (Ex 12, John 1:29,36)
The Manna from Heaven (Ex 16, John 6)
The Rock struck at Horeb (Ex 17, 1 Cor 10:4)
The Tabernacle (Brazen Altar, Lampstand, Table of Showbread, Ark of the covenant etc) (Gen 25-30)
Leviticus The High Priest Typified in the sacrifices and offerings (Lev 1-7)
In the Jewish festivals (Passover, Atonement, Lev 16, 23)
In the scapegoat (Lev 16:7-9)
In the person and duties of the High Priest (Lev 16)
Numbers The Cloud and The Fire Messiah would be a King (Num 24:17)
Typified in the bronze serpent (Num 21:8-9)
The Water from the Rock (Num 20)

Deuteronomy The Prophet Like Moses Messiah will be a prophet (Deut 18:15-19, John 6:14)
Messiah would be worshipped by angels (Deut 32:43, Luke 2:13-14)
Typified in the cities of refuge (Deut 4:41)
Joshua The Captain of Our Salvation Typified in the person of Joshua (our leader into the promised land)
In the Promised Land
In the Commander of the Army (Josh 5:13-15)
Judges The Judge And Lawgiver Typified in the Judges (for He is true Judge of the living and the dead)
Ruth The Kinsman Redeemer Messiah would be a descendant of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:12-17)
Typified in the life of Boaz - The Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 2:1)
1 & 2 Samuel The Prophet of The Lord Messiah exalted by God with power (1 Sam 2:10, Matt 28:18)
Messiah would be a descendant of David (2 Sam 7:12-16, Matt 1:1)
Messiah would be the 'Rock' (2 Sam 23:2-3, 1 Cor 10:4)
Typified in the life of David - The King in Exile (1 Sam 22)
The life of Jonathon - the faithful friend (1 Sam 18:1-4)

1 & 2 Kings The Reigning King Typified in the life of Solomon (the Millennial Reign)
In the life and miracles of the prophet Elisha (multiplying bread 2 Kings 4:42, healing leper 2 Kings 5)
1 & 2 Chronicles Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah (1 Chron 5:2, Luke 3:23-32)
Typified in Solomon's temple
In the Wisdom of Solomon (2 Chron 9:22)
Ezra The Faithful Scribe Typified in person of Zerubbabel, the rebuilder of the temple (Ezra 4)
Nehemiah The Rebuilder of the Walls Typified in the person of Nehemiah, the rebuilder of the walls of salvation
Esther Mordecai Typified in the person of Mordecai
Job The Dayspring From on High Typified in the sufferings of Job and the blessings that would follow
Psalms The Lord Who Is Our Shepherd Messiah would be the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 12, Matt 17:5)
Messiah would be resurrected (Ps 16:8-10, Acts 13:30-37)
Messiah would be despised & crucified (Ps 22:6-8, 14, Luke 23:21-23, Matt 27:35)
Messiah would be hated without cause (Ps 69:4, Luke 23:13-22)
Messiah would be Lord, seated at the right hand of God (Ps 110:1,5, 1 Pet 3:21-22)
Messiah would be in the line of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4, Heb 6:17-20)
Messiah would be the 'stone' rejected by the Jews (Ps 118:22, Matt 21:42-43)
Key Messianic Psalms: Chapters 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 69, 89, 109, 110, 118
Proverbs & Ecclesiastes The Wisdom of God Messiah would be from everlasting (Prov 8:22-23, John 17:5)
Messiah would be the Son of God (Prov 30:4, Matt 3:16-17)
Typified in the Wisdom of God (Prov 8:22-31)
Song of Solomon The Lover & Bridegroom Typified in the Bridegroom's love for, and marriage to, the bride
Isaiah The Suffering Servant Messiah would be born of a virgin (Is 7:14, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be Immanuel "God with us" (Is 7:14, Matt 1:21-23)
Messiah would be God and Man (Is 9:6, John 10:30)
Messiah would have the 7-fold Spirit upon Him (Is 11:1-2, Matt 3:16-17)
Messiah would heal the blind, lame, deaf (Is 35:5-6, Mark 10:51-52)
Messiah would be proceeded by a forerunner (Is 40:3, Luke 1:17)
Messiah would be a light to the gentiles (Is 42:6, John 8:12)
Messiah would be despised by the Jewish nation (Is 49:7, John 10:20, Matt 27:23)
Messiah would be whipped and beaten (Is 50:6, Matt 26:67, 27:26)
Messiah would die as a guilt offering for sin (Is 53:10, John 18:11)
Messiah would be resurrected and live forever (Is 53:10, Mark 16:16)
Jeremiah & Lamentations The Weeping Prophet Messiah would be God (Jer 23:6, John 13:13)
Messiah would be a righteous Branch (Jer 23:5)
Messiah would be our righteousness (Jer 23:6, 1 Cor 1:30)
Ezekiel The Son of Man Messiah would be a descendant of David (Ez 34:23-24, Matt 1:1)
Daniel The Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven Messiah would be 'a son of man' given an everlasting kingdom (Dan 7:13-14, Luke 1:31-34)
Messiah would come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan 9:25, John 12:12-23)
Messiah would be killed (Dan 9:26, Matt 27:35)
Revealed as the 'stone' (and His kingdom) that smashes the kingdoms of the world (Dan 2:34,44)
Typified in the 4th man in the fiery furnace - one like 'the son of gods' (Dan 3:25)
Hosea The Bridegroom Typified in Hosea's faithfulness to his adulterous wife (Hos 3)
Joel The Baptizer With The Holy Spirit Messiah will offer salvation to all mankind (Joel 2:32, Rom 10:12-13)
Messiah would baptize people with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
Amos The Burden Bearer God would darken the day at noon during Messiah's death (Amos 8:9, Matt 27:45-46)
Obadiah The Mighty Savior
Jonah The Forgiving God Typified in Jonah being 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a fish (Jon 1:17, Matt 12:40)
Micah The Messenger With Beautiful Feet Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2, Matt 2:1-2)
Messiah would be from everlasting (Mic 5:2, Rev:1-8)
Nahum The Avenger of God's Elect
Habakkuk The Great Evangelist, Crying For Revival Messiah would come from Teman at His return, full of glory (Hab 3:3)
Typified in the life of Habakkuk (his intercession and prayer for his people)
Zephaniah The Restorer of the Remnant
Haggai The Cleansing Fountain Messiah would visit the 2nd temple (Hag 2:6-9, Luke 2:27-32)
Zechariah The Pierced Son Messiah would be Priest and King (Zech 6:12-13, Heb 8:1)
Messiah would be ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9, Matt 21:6-9)
Messiah would be God (Zech 11:12-13, John 12:45)
Messiah would be pierced (Zech 12:10, John 19:34-37)
Malachi
The Son of Righteousness Messiah would appear at the temple (Mal 3:1, Mark 11:15-16)
Messiah's forerunner would come in the spirit of Elijah (Mat 4:5, Matt 3:1-2)
N.T Book Main Revelation Titles / Names Revealed of Jesus
Matthew The Messiah The Son of David (Matt 1:1)
The King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2)
The Son of God (Matthew 2:15).
The Bridegroom (Mattew 9:15)
Mark The Miracle Worker The Holy One of God (Mark 1:24)
The Servant (Mark 10:45)
The King of Israel (Mark 15:32)
Luke The Son of Man The Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
The Consolation of Israel: (Luke 2:25).
John The Son of God The Only Begotten Son: (John 1:14,18)
The Lamb of God (John 1:29,36)
The Bread of life (John 6:35)
The Light of the World (John 8:1)
The I AM! (John 8:58)
The Door of the Sheep: (John 10:7,9)
The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
The Resurrection and life (John 11:25)
The Way, the Truth, the Life (John 14:6)
The True Vine (John 15:1)
Acts The Ascended Lord The Prince of Life (Acts 3:15)
The Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
The Just One (Acts 7:52).
The Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20)
Romans The Justifier The Rock of Offense (Romans 9:33)
The Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
The Lord of the dead and the living (Romans 14:9)
The Root of Jesse (Romans 15:12)
1 & 2 Corinthians The Last Adam The First-fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23)
The Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Galatians The One Who Sets Us Free The Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 1:3)
Ephesians The Christ of Riches The Head over All Things (Ephesians 1:22)
The Cornerstone: (Ephesians 2:20)
Philippians The God Who Meets Our Every Need The Name above all names (Philippians 2:9)
Colossians The Fullness of The Godhead The Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
The Head of the body (Colossians 1:18)
The Beginning (Colossians 1:18)
The Firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18)
The Hope of Glory (Col 1:27)
1 & 2 Thessalonians The Soon Coming King The Lord of Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
1 & 2 Timothy The Mediator Between God And Man The King of Ages (1 Timothy 1:17)
The Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
Titus The Blessed Hope The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)
The Great God and Saviour (Titus 2:13)
Philemon The Friend, Closer Than a Brother The Lord Jesus Christ (Philemon 3)
Hebrews The Blood That Washes Away My Sins The Heir of All Things (Hebrews 1:2)
The Faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17)
The Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
James The Great Physician The Lord of Glory (James 2:1)
The Judge at the door (James 5:9)
1 & 2 Peter The Chief Shepherd The Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
The Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
1 & 2 & 3 John Everlasting Love The Eternal Life (1 John 1:2)
The Righteous (1 John 2:1)
Jude The God our Saviour The Only Wise God our Saviour (Jude 25)
Revelation The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: (Revelation 1:17, 22:13)
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5)
The Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
The King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)
The Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)

* Prophecy Source: http://www.messiahrevealed.org/book-index.html Please check this link for additional prophecies

 
Contributed By:
Paul Fritz
 
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FAITHFUL FOR A PROMISE

A promise from God is a statement we can depend on with absolute confidence. Here are 12 promises for the Christian to claim.

God’s presence -- "I will never leave thee" (Heb. 13:5)

God’s protection -- "I am thy shield" (Gen. 15:1)

God’s power -- "I will strengthen thee" (Isa. 41:10)

God’s provision -- "I will help thee" (Isa. 41:10)

God’s leading -- "And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them" (John 10:4)

God’s purposes -- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jer. 20:11)

God’s rest -- "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)

God’s cleansing -- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)

God’s goodness -- "No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly" (Psalm 84:11) ...

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Contributed By:
Dan Cormie
 
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Quote from Anne Landers:
“ I’ve learned plenty, including most importantly what Leo Rostea had in mind when he said,
“Each of us is a little lonely, deep inside and longs to be understood.”
I have learned how it is with the stumbling tortured people in this world who have nobody to talk to. The fact that the column has been so successful underscores, for me at least, the central tragedy of our society. The disconnectedness, the insecurity, the fear - that bedevils, cripples, and paralyses so many of us.
I have learned that financial success, academic achievement, and social or political status open no doors to peace of mind or inner security.
We are all wanderers, like sheep, on this planet.”

 
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K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
 
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"MY SUPREME WEAPON IS DYING."

Joseph Ton was pastor of Second Baptist Church, Oradea, Romania, until he was exiled by the Romanian government in 1981. In Pastoral Renewal, he writes of his experience:

"Years ago I ran away from my country to study theology at Oxford. In 1972, when I was ready to go back to Romania, I discussed my plans with some fellow students. They pointed out that I might be arrested at the border. One student asked, 'Joseph, what chances do you have of successfully implementing your plans?'"

He asked God about it, and God brought to mind Matthew 10:16 -- "I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves" -- and seemed to say, "Tell me, what chance does a sheep surrounded by wolves have of surviving five minutes, let alone of converting the wolves? Joseph, that’s how I send you: totally defenseless and without a reasonable hope of success. If you are willing to go like that, go. If you are not willing to be in that position, don’t go."

Ton writes: "After our return, as I preached uninhibitedly, harassment and arrests came. One day during interrogation an officer threatened to kill me. Then I said, 'Sir, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. Sir, you know my sermons are all over the country on tapes now. If you kill me, I will be sprinkling them with my blood. Whoever listens to them after that will say, "I’d better listen. This man sealed it with his blood." They will speak ten times louder than before. So, go on and kill me. I win the supreme victory then.'"

The officer sent him home. "That gave me pause. For years I was a Christian who was cautious because I wanted to survive. I had accepted all the restrictions the authorities put on me because I wanted to live. Now I wanted to die, and they wouldn’t oblige. Now I could do whatever I wanted in Romania. For years I wanted to save my life, and I was losing it. Now that I wanted to lose it, I was winning it."

 
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