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MAN OVERBOARD

One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search. Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn't do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.

We can easily condemn the selfish indifference of those fishermen, but by indicting them, we may condemn ourselves. Are we too busy with our jobs and other activities to take the time to rescue those who are perishing without Christ?

(Kenneth Cole, The Crucial Message. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Why Are You Standing Around? 8/16/2012)

 
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Doug Lyon
 
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Don’t divorce your unsaved husband or wife. Why? Paul gives this reason: The believer may have a positive, spiritual influence on their unbelieving mate. The unbeliever may get saved due to the believing spouse’s example and lifestyle. 1 Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” I think this is what Peter had in mind as well when he wrote these instructions in 1 Peter 3: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

I think a perfect illustration of this is in the life of my in-laws—Harold and Dorothy Wills. When they got married, mom was a believer and dad was an unbeliever. And dad was content to stay married to mom so they never even considered divorce. Now, Dorothy was careful not to nag Harold with the gospel. She simply prayed for him, answered his questions about the Lord when he asked, and endeavored to live the Christian life in front of him. Finally, in 1987, after 48 years of marriage, at the age of 75, Harold Wills accepted the Lord as his Savior. And I’m convinced that my father-in-law is in heaven today because of the patient, faithful witness of his wife, Dorothy.

So let me encourage you. If you are married to an unbeliever and he or she is content to remain married to you, then don’t divorce. Share the gospel with your unsaved spouses. But don’t nag them with it. Rather, pray for them. And live an exemplary Christian life in front of them. Who knows? Maybe your example will eventually lead them to Christ.

 
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John Stott – “Peter would prepare the church, not simply to endure persecution, but to find in persecution an opportunity for witness.”

 
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YOU HAVE TO STOOP

The announcement went first to the shepherds. They didn't ask God if he was sure he knew what he was doing. Had the angel gone to the theologians, they would have first consulted their commentaries. Had he gone to the elite, they would have looked around to see if anyone was watching. Had he gone to the successful, they would have first looked at their calendars.
So he went to the shepherds. Men who didn't have a reputation to protect or an ax to grind or a ladder to climb. Men who didn't know enough to tell God that angels don't sing to sheep and that messiahs aren't found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.
A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus. Behind a high alter in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit by silver lamps.
You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church. You can also enter the quiet cave where a star embedded in the floor
recognizes the birth of the King. There is one stipulation, however. You have to stoop. The door is so low you can't go in standing up.
The same is true of the Christ. You can see the wo...

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There is a big difference between batting practice and playing ball. It is common for pro-ball players to describe the overwhelming power of the of the sound of thousands cheering them on. In a sense our life is the game and the cloud of witnesses, heroes, our audience cheering us on in a similar fashion.

(From Christopher Nerreau’s Sermon "Don't Lose Heart")

 
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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.

 
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THANKFUL PEOPLE ARE HAPPY PEOPLE

I read a news story once of a woman who was getting ready to jump off a 44 story building in New York City.

Witnesses said that she did not look like the type of person who would do such a thing. She was very distinguished and well dressed.

All the attempts made by the police to get the woman off the ledge had failed.

One of the officers asked if he could call his pastor in to see if he could help. When the pastor arrived, he asked permission to go to the ledge and talk to the woman.

As the pastor neared the edge the woman screamed, "Don't come any closer or I'll jump!"

The pastor took a step back and then said, "I am sorry that you believe no one loves you."

This got the woman's attention and it got the attention of the police. That was something that you don't usually say to a person who is threatening suicide.

The woman took a step towards the pastor and said, "My grandchildren love me and so does my children. My whole family loves me! I have 8 wonderful grandchildren and they love me."

The pastor took a step towards the woman and said, "Well then, you must be very poor, maybe that is why you want to take your own life."

The woman who was a little overweight said, "Do I look like I go without any meals? We live in a very nice apartment. I'm not poor."

The pastor took another step closer to her and was now 3 feet from her when he asked, "Then why do you want to kill yourself? I don't understand."

The woman thought for a moment and then said, "You know, I don't really remember."

The story ends with the pastor and the woman walking towards the elevator as she shows him pictures of her grandchildren. Eventually this woman becomes a volunteer on the city's suicide hotline, helping others choose life.

What did the pastor do to help this woman?

He helped her get her eyes off herself and onto the many ways that God had blessed her.

She learned a valuable lesson that day. She learned that thankful people are happy people.

If you don't learn anything else today, I hope you learn this valuable lesson. Thankful people are happy people.

(From a sermon by Greg Carr, Thankful People are _______ People, 12/23/2010)

 
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Steve Malone
 
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STUBBORN JOY--Communion Meditation

"No man had more reason to be miserable than this one – yet no man was more joyful.

His first home was a palace. Servants were at his fingertips. The snap of his fingers changed the course of history. His name was known and loved. He had everything – wealth, power, respect. And then he had nothing.

Students of the event still ponder it. Historians stumble as they attempt to explain it. How could a king lose everything in one instant? One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.
His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet – and usually the hard earth. He never owned even the most basic mode of transportation and was dependent upon handouts for his income. He was sometimes so hungry he would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it was like to be rained on, to be cold. He knew what it meant to have no home.

His palace grounds had been spotless; now he was exposed to filth. He had never known disease, but was now surrounded by illness.

In his kingdom he had been revered; now he was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch him. Some called him a lunatic. His family tried to confine him to their house.

Those who didn’t ridicule him tried to use him. They wanted favors. They wanted tricks. He was a novelty. They wanted to be seen with him – that is, until being with him was out of fashion. THEN they wanted to kill him.

He was accused of a crime he never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. No lawyer was assigned to his defense. A Judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.

They killed him.

He left as he came – penniless. He was buried in a borrowed grave, his funeral financed by compassionate friends. Though he once had everything...

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WHO SAVED ME?

During a terrible storm at sea that threatened every moment to carry the ship to the bottom, one of the ship’s crew was doing something on the deck when a great sea struck the ship and went fairly over the deck, striking this man with great force, disabling him and carrying him into the mad waters.

Although he was a good swimmer, he was so disabled that he could only keep above water. They saw him lifting up his imploring hands through the white foam, signifying his desire for help. But the Captain said, "Don’t lower a boat, for no small boat can live in this sea, in this terrific storm. We cannot save the man. The most we can do is to save the ship."

The vessel was bearing farther and farther from the helpless man. Once more they saw his imploring hands come up among the white caps further off, which moved all hearts that witnessed it. Still the Captain said a small boat must not be lowered, as it could not live a moment among these wild billows.

But one man who was an expert swimmer, was so moved by the imploring signals of the drowning man, that he threw off his loose garments, saying: "I will save that man, or die with him."

So plunging into the surging deep, he struggled so bravely with the mad waters, that he reached the poor man just as his strength had gone; he had given up and was filling with water, and sinking down unconscious. He grasped him, and strange to tell, he brought him so near the ship that a small boat was lowered, and both men were taken up and laid down upon the deck. The one that had been swept overboard, entirely unconscious and his deliverer nearly so. Appliances were used and both were brought to consciousness.

As soon as the rescued man opened his eyes and found he was not in the ocean, his first words were: "Who saved me?"

He was pointed to his deliverer still lying on the deck in his wet clothes. He crept to his deliverer, and putting his arms around his feet, and in the most tender and heart moving tone of voice cried out: "I’m your servant, I’m your servant." He felt that he could never do enough for him.

Let me ask all who read this incident, would you not put your arms about the bleeding feet of your great Deliverer and say from a full heart: "Jesus, I’m your servant, I’m your servant. Ask anything of me, Jesus, and I will do it the best I can."

(From a sermon by Jimmy Haile, My Father’s Business, 9/29/2011)

 
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Solomon discovered the emptiness of stuff.

Illus. A young banker was driving his BMW, in the mountains, during a snowstorm. As he rounded a turn the vehicle slid out of control and toward a cliff. At the last moment he unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped from the car.
Though he escaped with his life, his left arm was caught near the hinge of the door and torn it off at the shoulder.

A trucker passing nearby witnessed the accident, stopped his rig, and ran back to see if he could be of help. There standing, in a state of shock, was the banker at the edge of the cliff moaning, "Oh no, my BMW, my BMW". The trucker pointed to the banker’s shoulder and said "man you’ve got bigger problems than a car".

With that the banker looked at his shoulder, finally realizing he’d lost his arm, and began crying ":Oh No, my new Rolex, my new Rolex".

The pull of the world can easily steal our affections away, and cause us to live for the wrong things. See, stuff is not bad, and it is not evil to own stuff, to have money, possessions, nice cars, Rolex’s.

The important thing is our attitude toward the stuff in our life.
For example: Money is not evil, the love of it is.

Many godly men were rich :
Solomon – with his wealth he built the Temple.
Jehoshaphat – with his wealth he built a great Military power
Job - Stayed faithful to God even when he lost all his wealth. Then God gave him even greater wealth as a reward..
Hezekiah – Used his wealth to reform Israel.

Solomon was the richest man who ever lived.
He owned : Houses, vineyards, gardens, parks, fruit trees, slaves, flocks, singers, so much silver that it was as common as dirt, gold shields, a solid ivory throne, a solid gold throne, fleets of ships, robes of the finest materials, weapons, Storage buildings full of exotic spices, herds of mules, peacocks, 1,400 chariots, 12,000 horses, and land that extended farther than the eye could see.

Ecclesiastes 2:10: “He was denied nothing his eye desired.”
From a Sermon By Art Good

 
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