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The Spirit of Power that we receive is not like the human power that we recognize as strong. It’s a power unlike anything we can do on our own.
A young man growing up in the wrong part of Houston became a bully. He would get in fights in school, in the neighborhood, and began mugging people to get spending money. He even beat up people just for the sake of doing it.
He learned to box, and became pretty good at it. He began to make a lot of money and could have almost anything he wanted. One day, during his training session for an upcoming bout, he heard his mom talking to his sister on the telephone about his favorite nephew. The young boy had had a seizure and now lay in a coma in the hospital. Doctors said he would probably die, but that if he came out of the coma he wouldn’t be able to move his limbs, or speak, or do any of the human functions we consider part of living.
He ran into the room where his mom was on the phone and shouted, “Momma, call the hospital and tell those doctors to give him the best of everything. Tell them I’ll take care of all the bills, to fly in the best doctors from wherever they have to. Tell them who I am, and that I’ll take care of everything — whatever it costs.”
His mom spoke to the doctors, and then told him, “Son, you’re just going to have to pray.”
He realized then how grave the situation was. When someone tells you the only thing you can do is pray, things are looking pretty bad.
Then it hit him. All of his money, his fame, his influence, his friends — none of that could solve this problem. It was out of his hands, out of the doctor’s hands, out of everyone’s hands. For the first time, he was totally powerless.
And for the first time, George Foreman dropped to his knees and prayed.
He wasn’t sure God existed, but he knew that when all else failed, people prayed. He asked God, if he really existed, to help his nephew. Then he got back in bed. A few seconds later, he got back on his knees and offered to give up all his wealth if God would heal his nephew. Then he got back in bed again. A few seconds later he got back on his knees a third time and got angry at God for letting this happen to his nephew, a child who hadn’t experienced life yet. George told God to take his life instead. Let the boy live and take George’s life instead.
The next morning George’s sister called from the hospital. His nephew had woken up and could move his eyes, but the doctors said he wouldn’t ever walk again.
She called later that day, and the boy had begun moving his toes. The next day the boy was talking, and a week later he was on his way home, “walking, talking, and back to normal.” The doctors had no logical explanation. But George Foreman knew God had just given him a miracle.
Three months later in March 1977, George Foreman died in his locker room after fighting Jimmy Young. He collapsed in a heap, and entered what he describes as “a deep, dark void, like a bottomless pit.”
In his book, God in My Corner — A Spiritual Memoir, George wrote “I knew I was dead, and that this wasn’t heaven. I was terrified, knowing I had no way out. Sorrow beyond description engulfed my soul, more than anyone could ever imagine. If you multiplied every disturbing and frightening thought that you’ve ever had during your entire life, that wouldn’t come close to the panic I felt. …
“ I screamed with every ounce of strength in me, ‘I don’t care if this is death. I still believe in God.’
“Instantly, what seemed to be like a giant hand reached down and snatched me out of the terrifying place. Immediately, I was back inside my body in the dressing room.”
George accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and devoted himself to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. He realized his human power, his money, his prestige, were worthless in the next life, and meant to be used as tools to lead others to Jesus during this one.
He went on to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World twice. He was ordained as an evangelist in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and became pastor of a small church. He also became involved in prison and hospital ministries.
You probably know him best for the George Foreman Grills that continue to sell around the world. And he recently baptized his own 23-year-old daughter who finally decided to dedicated her own life to Jesus.
That’s God’s idea of power.
Sermon Central Staff
OUR NEED FOR PAIN
There is no tougher dilemma in the Christian life than the problem of pain. It could be the pain of broken relationship, the pain of rejection, or the pain of insults. Or it could just be plain old physical pain. Nothing tests the faith like pain.
It was physical pain that became a life's work for a man named Dr. Paul Brand. Perhaps nobody studied pain like Dr. Brand.
I became acquainted with his work through the writing of one of my favorite authors, Phil Yancey. He and Dr. Brand wrote several books together including, In His Image, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, and The Gift of Pain.
Dr. Brand died in 2003 at the age of 89. I want to read a little bit from an article in Christianity Today about him:
"Born to missionary parents in the mountains of southwestern India in 1914, Brand attended London University, where he met his wife, Margaret Berry. The two surgeons returned to Vellore, India, to teach at the Christian Medical College and Hospital. While working as the school's first Professor of orthopaedics and hand research, Brand pioneered surgical work with those suffering from Hansen's disease, a bacterial infection more commonly known as leprosy. He was the first surgeon to use reconstructive surgery to correct deformities caused by the disease in the hands and feet, and developed many other forms of prevention and healing from the disease.
"Before Brand, it was widely believed that those suffering from Hansen's disease lost their fingers and feet because of rotting flesh. Instead, Brand discovered, such deformities were due to the loss of ability to feel pain. With treatment and care, he showed, victims of the disease could go indefinitely without such deformities.
It was on this issue that Brand's work with Hansen's disease met with his theological reflections on what he viewed as 'the most problematic aspect of creation: the existence of pain.' Pain, Brand believed, was not antithetical to life, but a requisite for it. God designed the human body so that it is able to survive because of pain,' he later wrote."
Dr. Brand's research helped him form a theology of pain. He compared the body's need for pain, to alert it to danger, to the soul and the spirit's need for pain to alert it to danger and help it to survive.
You see, as Christians, we believe, that our trials, our pain, our deepest hurts, have a purpose beyond our comprehension. This dovetails nicely with what we find in the opening pages of the book of James.
(From a sermon by Daniel Darling, The Purpose of Your Pain, 2/2/2011)
You’re probably familiar with the book "Moby Dick". Even if you’ve never read it, you know the story: Captain Ahab goes in search of a great while whale, and is finally killed when the whale attacks and destroys his ship. But you probably didn’t know that this scene in Herman Melville’s novel was inspired by an actual event in the year 1820 - the sinking of the whaling vessel "Essex" in the South Pacific. Just like the ship in "Moby Dick", the Essex was rammed by a whale. As it sank, the captain and crew abandoned ship and climbed into the three whaleboats. These were twenty-five foot seqgoing rowboats that were normally used to chase and kill whales. But now they would be used to carry the survivors of the Essex more than three thousand miles, over a period of 93 days, to the coast of South America.
It is difficult to comprehend the torments and extreme agonies these men must have suffered, constantly exposed to the brutal rays of the sun, having very little to eat or drink and both starving and dying of thirst. In fact, many of the men did not survive the trip. But those who did described the voyage as three months of constant torture. As the first mate, Owen Chase, recorded in his journal, "The privation of water is justly ranked among the most dreadful of the miseries of our life. . . The violence of raving thirst has no parallel in the catalogue of human calamities." On the twenty-third day after the sinking of their ship, he wrote, "[Our] thirst had become now incessantly more intolerable than our hunger, and the quantity then allowed [half a pint per day] was barely sufficient to keep the mouth in a state of moisture, for about one third of the time. . . In vain was every expedient tried to relieve the raging fever of the throat. . . Our suffering during these . . . days almost exceeded human belief." ["In the Heart of the Sea," p. 116]
As Nathaniel Philbrick writes in his book about the disaster,
"The Essex survivors had entered . . . the ’cotton-mouth’ phase of thirst. Saliva becomes thick and foul-tasting; the tongue clings irritatingly to the teeth and the roof of the mouth. Even though speech is difficult, sufferers are often moved to complain ceaselessly about their thirst until their voices become so cracked and hoarse that they can speak no more. A lump seems to form in the throat, causing the sufferer to swallow repeatedly in a vain attempt to dislodge it. Severe pain is felt in the head and neck. The face feels full due to the shrinking of the skin. Hearing is affected, and many people begin to hallucinate. Still to come . . . were the agonies of a mouth that has ceased to generate saliva. The tongue hardens into . . . ’a senseless weight, swinging on the still-soft root and striking foreignly against the teeth.’ Speech becomes impossible, although sufferers are known to moan and bellow. Next is the "blood sweats" phase, involving ’a progressive mummification of the initially living body.’ The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaws. The eyelids crack and the eyeballs being to weep tears of blood. The throat is so swollen that breathing becomes difficult, creating [the] terrifying sensation of drowning." [ibid, pp. 126-127]
As terrible as their suffering was, there’s something even worse. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man is in torment in hell, while Lazarus is with Abraham. And the rich man begs, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’" The description of the agony of thirst suffered by the crew of the Essex gives us just a glimpse of the torments of hell. But even this is only an approximation. The reality is even more intolerable, for Jesus says, " Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.." (Matthew 10:28) In other words, the worst bodily suffering possible on this earth is still less terrifying than suffering under the wrath of God for ever and ever, throughout eternity.
THE MEANING OF THIRST
Do you know the importance of water to our physical bodies? When our bodies fail to retain the right amount of water, dehydration sets in. It is the water in our body that determines the vitality, strength, and energy associated with daily living. Think about these facts associated with our body and water:
Ø The human body is ⅔ water.
Ø The body absorbs cold water faster than hot water.
Ø By the time you are 70-years-old, you will have
required 1½ million gallons of water.
Ø Studies show that increasing water consumption can
decrease fat deposits. Water is a natural appetite
Ø If you loose 2% of your body’s water supply, your
energy will decrease by 20%. A 10% decrease in water,
you will be unable to walk, and a 20% decrease – you’re dead.
Well, I think you get the point. And what is true of the physical is also true of the spiritual. Because God has made you with a spirit, soul, and body ...
Philip Makari has a little to say about giving which is good, “Here I speak of a special type of giving, the giving of our total selves first to God. It is the giving of body, soul and spirit for God’s use that we may achieve, for ourselves and for others, the higher ends of God.
This is not, as you can see, charity giving. This is dedication giving. It is the giving of who and what we are. It is the type of giving expressed in a an engraved picture on one of the ancient cathedrals in Europe where an apostle stands between an altar and a plough, the symbols of dieing and serving, with the inscription, ‘READY FOR EITHER.”
This rule of sacrificially giving of ourselves that we might prepare the way of the Lord is like the case in all the experiences of life.
It is a common- sense rule that applies to all the situations of life:
Without serving that which we need to achieve, we simply can’t achieve it.
Life is a series of giving’s that we might gain.
Only where there is input can we expect an output.
Only when we deposit, can we expect return.
Don’t participate, don’t expect. No pain, no gain.
Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”
Here I speak of a special type of giving, the giving of our total selves first to God. It is the giving of body, soul and spirit for God’s use that we may achieve, for ourselves and for others, the higher ends of God. This is not, as you can see, charity giving. This is dedication giving. It is the giving of who and what we are. It is the type of giving expressed in a an engraved picture on one of the ancient cathedrals in Europe where an apostle stands between an altar and a plough, the symbols of dieing and serving, with the inscription, ‘READY FOR EITHER.” This rule of sacrificially giving of ourselves that we might prepare the way of the Lord, is like the case in all the experiences of life. It is a common- sense rule that applies to all the situations of life: Without serving that which we need to achieve, we simply can’t achieve it. Life is a series of givings that we might gain. Only where there is input can we expect an output. Only when we deposit, can we expect return. Don’t participate, don’t expect. No pain, no gain. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.
The Heart of Mary: Submission to the Lord
"I am the Lord's servant... May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38)
The first desire in the child of God who wants to enjoy the favor of God in his life is to die to self and surrender to the will of God in his life. The key word here "servant" or "bondslave" (doule) meaning Mary belonged totally to the Lord and gave Him full permission to work His will in and through her life. This heart attitude enabled Mary to worship the Lord in soul and spirit. Mary said, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46-47) Her submissiveness enabled her to get direction and gain understanding from the Lord.
Christians can choose to have understanding of God's will for them as Mary did. Romans 12:1-2 says, "offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will."
The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus was in the form of God, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:7)
Christians who get the most out of what the first Christmas opened up for the children of God grasp the truth of servant- hood. Servant-hood frequently appears in the Gospels, especially in the parables. (Matthew 18:23-35; 21:33-44) For Jesus, the concept of servant-hood is the way of expressing a right relationship with God. Jesus says no one can serve two masters, (Matthew 6:24) nor is anyone above the plan Christ has for those who follow Him. (Matthew 10:24) A faithful servant of Christ does as the will of Christ directs him. (Matthew 24:45-46)
Christians who have the faith of Mary have changed their allegiance. Rather than serving the flesh and the world, as before, they are becoming bond-slaves to God and Christ. There is no greater gift of love that Christians can express to the Lord than to become a bond-slave to the Lord and His will.
Live in Submission to Christ!
Gene A. Getz, in his book, The Measure of a Church, asks the question, "What is the measure of maturity in the church?" And he lists what others believe are the measure of maturity:
1. An active church (involving people in meetings and programs)
2. A giving church (supporting the church and efforts financially)
3. A growing church (new people coming and staying)
4. A soul-winning church (leading unbelievers to faith and baptism)
5. A smooth-running church (efficient and orderly)
6. A missionary-minded church (supports missionaries around the world)
7. A Spirit-filled church (enthusiastic, emotional)
8. A big church (large attendance, with many programs)
God used Paul to give us a different measure for maturity of the church. Paul says that the church is mature when it functions like one body, where Jesus Christ is the Head.
When Esther was a newborn, we could see her eyes wanting to reach for a toy, but her hands and arms were not yet able to cooperate. As she became more mature, her body parts began to do what her "head" wanted her to d...
Jesus is Like Oxygen
I want to tell you about Andy Harris. Andy was one of a several people leading an expedition up Mt. Everest. When he reached the peak, he stayed there just admiring the amazing beauty.
But he stayed there too long and on his descent, he became in dire need of oxygen. Andy radioed the base camp and told them about his predicament. He mentioned that he had come across a bunch of oxygen canisters left by other climbers but they were all empty. But the climbers who already passed the canisters on their own way down knew they were not empty, but full. But Andy maintained that they were empty. The climbers pleaded with Andy on the radio to use those canisters, but it was to no avail. Andy Harris was starved for oxygen but he continued to argue that the canisters were empty. The lack of oxygen had so disoriented his mind that though he was surrounded by the very oxygen he needed, he continued to complain that he didn't have any. The very thing his body needed so badly was the very thing he held in his hand.
And I want to say to you this morning that what oxygen is to the body, Jesus is to the heart and soul. Many in the church have Bibles in their hands and in their homes, and Jesus on their lips, but are suffocating and starving and don't even know it. What oxygen is to the body, the Bread of Life is to the soul.
Source: from a sermon by Mike Cleveland, "Believing means Feeding on Jesus" 8/3/2008
CARTA DE SATÁNAS
Te vi ayer cuando comenzabas tus tareas diarias. Te levantaste sin ni siquiera orar a tu "Dios". En todo el día no hiciste nada de oración; de hecho, ni recordaste bendecir tus alimentos. Eres muy desagradecido con tu Dios, y eso me gusta de ti. También me agradaba la enorme flojera que demuestras siempre en lo que se refiere a tu crecimiento cristiano. Rara vez lees la Biblia y cuando lo haces estás cansado. Oras muy poco y muchas veces recitas palabras que no meditas.
Por cualquier pretexto llegas tarde o faltas a tus reuniones de formación. ¿qué decir de tus quejas?, al cooperar en la evangelización o diezmo. Todo eso es útil para mí. No puedo describirte como me alegra que en todo éste tiempo en que estás siguiendo a tu Dios, no hayas cambiado tu manera de comportarte.
Tantos años, y sigues como al principio, crees que no tienes nada que cambiar. Me encantas. Recuerda que tú y yo hemos pasado muchos años juntos, y aún te detesto. Es más, te odio porque odio a tu Padre. Solamente te estoy usando para molestarlo. Él me echa del Cielo y yo voy a utilizarte mientras pueda para vengarme de Él. Mira ignorante, tu eres tan idiota que me has cedido tu existencia y yo voy a hacer que vivas un verdadero infierno en vida.
Aún estaremos juntos doblemente, y esto realmente va a dolerle a tu Dios. Con tu cooperación voy a mostrar quien realmente es el que gobierna tu vida. Con todos los momentos rendidos que nos hemos pasado. Hemos disfrutado juntos muchas películas XXX, y ¿qué decir de las veces que hemos ido a los "espectáculos artísticos en vivo?" Aquel día de tu debilidad con aquella persona simpática, ¡que bien nos la pasamos!. Pero más me agrada que no te arrepientes, sino que reconoces que eres joven y tienes derecho a gozar la vida, piensas que solo eres cuerpo y no tienes un alma que guardar para la eternidad. No hay duda: eres de los míos.
Disfruto mucho los chistes colorados que dices, y que escuchas. Te ríes por lo gracioso de ellos, yo me río de ver a un hijo de Dios participando en eso. El hecho es que ambos la pasamos bien. La música, vulgar y de doble sentido que escuchas me encanta. ¿Cómo sabes cuales son los grupos que me gusta escuchar? También disfruto mucho cuando difamas y te revelas contra tu Dios. Me siento feliz cuando te veo bailando y haciendo ese tipo de movimientos que tanto fascinan, ¡cómo lo disfruto! Ciertamente cuando vas y te diviertes sanamente, me desilusionas, pero no hay problema, siempre habrá otra oportunidad.
Hay veces que me haces servicios increíbles cuando das malos ejemplos a los niños o cuando les permites que se desvíen de su inocencia, por medio de la televisión o cosas por el estilo. Son tan perceptivos que fácilmente imitan lo que ven. Te lo agradezco mucho. Lo que más me agrada es que rara vez tengo que tentarte, casi siempre caes por tu cuenta.
Buscas los momentos propicios, te expones a situaciones peligrosas; buscas mis ambientes. Si tuvieras algo de sesos cambiarías de ambiente y compañías; recurrirías a la Iglesia y entregarías realmente tu vida al que dices llamar "tu Dios", y aún vivir más el resto de tus años
bajo la guía del Espíritu Santo. No acostumbro enviar este tipo de mensajes, pero eres tan conformista espiritualmente que no creo que vayas a cambiar.
No mal entiendas, aún te odio y no me interesas en lo más mínimo. Si te busco es porque me agrada tu manera de comportarte y hace quedar en ridículo a Jesucristo.
Tu enemigo que te odia. Satanás, o como me quieras llamar.
LETTER FROM SATAN
I saw you yesterday when starting your daily tasks. You got up without even praying to your "God." All day you did not prayer, in fact, nor remember to bless your food. You are very ungrateful to your God, and I like you. I also liked the enormous laziness you always you show with respect to your Christian growth. You rarely read the Bible and when you do, you're tired.
For any pretext you are late or miss your training sessions. What about your complaints? To cooperate in evangelism and tithe. All that is useful for me. I can not describe how I am glad that all this time you are following your God, have not changed your way of behaving.
Many years and still as before, you think you have nothing to change. I love it. Remember that you and I have spent many years together, and you still hate it. Moreover, I hate you because I hate your father. I'm only used to bother him. He throws me out of Heaven and I'm going to use you as can to get back at him look ignorant, you are so stupid that you have given me your life and I'll make you live a living hell.
Still we'll be together twice, and this really going to hurt your God. With your cooperation I will show who really is the ruler of your life. With every moment that we have been rendered. We enjoyed together many XXX films, and what about the times we have gone to "live art shows?" That day of your weakness with that nice, that well we spent!. But I like that you do not repent, but recognize that you are young and have the right to enjoy life, think that only you body and you have a soul saved for eternity. Without a doubt, you are mine.
I enjoy the dirty jokes you say, and you listen. You laugh at them funny, I laugh to see a child of God participating in it. The fact is that both had a good time. The music, vulgar and double meaning that listeners love it. How do you know which are the bands I like to listen? I also enjoy when you reveal yourself against slander and your God. I feel happy when I see you dancing and doing that kind of movement that both fascinated, how I enjoy it! Certainly when you're healthy and have fun, I'm disappointed, but no problem, there is always another chance.
Sometimes you make me incredible service when you give bad examples to children or when they allow the diversion of his innocence, through television or the like. They are so perceptive that easily imitate what they see. Thank you very much. What I like is that rarely do I have to tempt almost always fall on your own.
Looking for the time was right, you are exposed to dangerous situations're my environments. If you had some brains change about the environment and companies, resort to the Church and hand over your life to really call you say "your God" and still live the rest of your years under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I do not usually send such messages, but you are so conformist spirit that do not think you're going to change.
Do not misunderstand, I hate you and do not even interest me in the slightest. If you seek is because I like the way you behave and make a fool of Jesus Christ.
Your enemy who hates you. Satan, or whatever you call me.