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THE RUSTED OUT CAR
A few weeks ago, I was driving home on the interstate and saw a pickup truck pulling a trailer with the rusted out shell of an old car on it. All I know was that the car on that trailer was an antique. And it was covered in rust from bumper to bumper. I could tell from the smile on the truck drivers face and the way the car was strapped down that someone had purchased that rusted out shell in order to restore it. I’d love to see it when it is remade.
But then I had two thoughts pop into my mind at the same time. At one time that car was new and was probably someone else’s baby. At one time someone else probably LOVED that car. And then I thought, even after that car is fully restored, someday it will be covered in rust again.
Moths eating, rust destroying, thieves stealing.
A RELIGION WORTH HAVING
Dr. F. E. Marsh used to tell that on one occasion he was preaching on the importance of confession of sin and, wherever possible, of restitution for wrong done to others. Afterward a young man came up to him and said: "Pastor, you have put me in a sad fix. I have wronged another and am ashamed to confess it or try to put it right. I am a boatbuilder, and the man I work for is an unbeliever. I have talked to him often about his need of Christ and have urged him to come and hear you preach, but he scoffs and ridicules it all.
"In my work, copper nails are used because they do not rust in the water, but they are quite expensive, so I had been carrying home quantities of them to use on a boat I am building in my back yard." The pastor's sermon had brought him face to face the fact that he was just a common thief. "But," he said, "I cannot go to my boss and tell him what I have done, or offer to pay for those I have used. If I do he will think I am just a hypocrite, and yet those copper nails are digging into my conscience, and I know I shall never have peace until I put this matter right."
One night he came again to Dr. Marsh and exclaimed,"Pastor, I've settled for the copper nails, and my conscience is relieved at last."
"What happened when you confessed?" asked the pastor.
"Oh, he looked queerly at me, and then said, 'George, I always did think you were just a hypocrite, but now I begin to feel there's something in this Christianity after all. Any religion that makes a dishonest workman confess that he has been stealing copper nails, and offer to settle for them, must be worth having."
--Emergency Post Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations.
Sermon Central Staff
THE STOLEN BABY JESUS SYNDROME
A few years back, Wellington, FL had their baby Jesus stolen two years running. This was a wealthy community and their Jesus was worth around $1800. The third time around they put a GPS inside and traced the thief to her home.
But the baby Jesus doesn’t have to be expensive. In 2008, in Eureka Springs AK, the thieves not only stole a plastic baby Jesus; they also took the concrete block and chain meant to keep that from happening
It’s called the “Stolen Baby Jesus Syndrome.” Some take the babies as a joke. Others do so because they want to protest Christmas. When found, the babies are often defaced with profanity or Satanic symbols (AP Dec. 10, 2008)
But the thief doesn’t always have bad intentions. About 6 years ago, Chicago Police say an art student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was arrested for stealing a figure of the baby Jesus from the Nativity Scene at the Daley Plaza. Two witnesses saw him pull the three-foot figure from the manger and just walk away with it. When questioned about the theft, the man said he took the figure because he saw it and wanted it.
(http://www.14wfie.com, Baby Jesus Stolen - Again, 12/6/04. From a sermon by Jeff Strite, A Reason to Party, 12/26/2010)
HOW I WANT TO GO
An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his Doctor and his Lawyer, both church members, to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling.
For a time, no one said anything. Both the doctor and lawyer were touched and flattered that the old preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moment. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed, covetousness and their avaricious...
We can get ourselves in Trouble Fast
A burglar broke into a house one day. As he was stealing the valuables he heard a voice out of the darkness that said, "Jesus is watching you". He almost choked. He stoped and looked around and then he shook of his fear and went on stealing some more. Suddenly just as before the voice cam and said Jesus is watching you. He was trembling so bad he could hardly contain any composure. He finally approached the corner and there was a bird cage with the cover over it. The words came from the CAge, Jesus is watching you. The thief pulled off the cover and saw the parrot. He said with an angry voice, what is your name? The parrot replied, MOses. The thief replied, what kind of wierd person would name a parrot Moses? The parrot replied the same kind of wierd person that would name a Rocwieller "Jesus".
We can get ourselves in serious trouble by not paying attention.
Abraham Lincoln, America’s most beloved president, was anything but beloved while he was in office. The South hated him. The anti-war activists hated him. Democrats hated him, calling him a widow-maker. The media ridiculed his eyes, looks, and body, calling him a freak of nature. Harpers magazine so much as to call him a host of names in print: filthy story teller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, ignoramus Abe, old scoundrel, perjurer, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, land-pirate.
But Abraham Lincoln would not stoop down to the level of his critics. He won over a lot of his enemies and critics by holding fast to this famous principle encapsulated in his second inaugural address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right.?
Jesus was crucified, not in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves. - George F. MacLeod
The cross cannot be defeated, for it is defeat. - Gilbert K. Chesterton
There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross. - Vance Havner
Christ’s cross is such a burden as sails are to a ship or wings to a bird. - Samuel Rutherford
He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay. - Anonymous
The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. A.W. Tozer
All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell is terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning. - Oswald Chambers
The cross: God’s way of uniting suffering with love. - Georgia Harkness
The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.
A. W. Tozer in “The Old Cross and the New.”
THE CHANGE YOU OWE TO JESUS
John Wesley was a popular evangelist in early America and often rode from one church to another to preach. On one such journey, stopped by a highwayman who shouted, "Halt, your money or your life."
Wesley got down from his horse, emptied his pockets to reveal only a handful of coins. He even invited the robber to search his saddlebags - which only carried his books. In disgust, the thief was turning away when John Wesley cried "Stop, I have something more to give you."
Puzzled, the robber turned back. Wesley then leaned towards him and said "My friend, you may live to regret this sort of life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this: ’The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin.’"
The robber hurried silently away, but Wesley got back on his horse & rode on his way praying in his heart that the word might be fixed in the robber’s conscience.
Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service, a stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with John Wesley. Wesley recognized him as the robbe...
The Book of Judges ends with these words, "In those days there was no king," no law. And because there was no law, "every man did what was right in his own sight." Can you imagine what a world like that would be?
Just look at Los Angeles in 1992, or Miami in the 1980’s, or Watts in the 1960’s. Or how about Montreal, Canada, on Oct. 6, 1969?
On that day the Montreal police force went on strike. For 24 hours, Montreal, one of the larger cities of the world, was without law enforcement. That day was such a chaotic day that Canadians dubbed it "Black Tuesday."
In a 24-hour period, one policeman & one burglar were murdered. Forty-nine people were injured or wounded. There were hold-ups & robberies. In total, over 1,000 store windows were broken as people looted stores, stealing stereos, televisions, radios, & wearing apparel.
One man, dressed in a fine business suit was seen running down the street with a fur coat over each arm. While respectable citizens broke windows & stole merchandise from store fronts, thieves backed up to the back doors with trucks & hauled merchandise away by the truck loads.
Black Tuesday in Montreal, Canada, was a day of anarchy, of freedom from all restraints, because there was no authority, no enforcement of the law.
People who are truly thankful don’t complain, they find a reason to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”