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JOY IN THIS WORLD
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."
Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."
Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."
Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993. http://www.eSermons.com
C. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, spoke at a memorial service for the slain youth of Columbine High School and prayed at the first inauguration services for George W. Bush. Each time he was criticized for talking about and using the name of Jesus Christ. He wrote a book about this called, “The Name.” He says, “Why is it than when people curse using Jesus’ name, hardly anyone complains, but if you speak about Him with respect, some people cry “foul.” What is it about this Name that brings such comfort and healing to millions yet provokes in others such venomous hatred and offense.”
I have discovered that if the Bible is taught the way it should be that it will be like a powerful magnet drawing youth unto the Lord Jesus Christ. What a supremely superb Textbook we have
OTHER FAITHS ON HEAVEN
Heaven has many cartographers, and through the centuries many different heavens have been charted. To the variety of celestial landscapes in the West, Islam and Buddhism have raised their own particular paradises: the Koran details a heaven filled with beautiful, large eyed "companions" and youths of perpetual freshness; the sutras speak of a multiplicity of "Buddha fields," pleasant way stations on the journey to Nirvana. Adding to the plenitude, the New Age is now unrolling its own versions of eternity. The best selling author, internationally renowned medium and healer Rosemary Altea, for example, speaks of her vision: "Heaven is not a place; it’s a state of awareness. Heaven is where your heart is, where your soul needs to be."
Muslims have a specific plan of paradise in mind, based on the stories of the Prophet’s miraculous night journey to heaven. rising into the skies on the Buraq, a fantastic creature often described as part woman, part horse, part peacock. Muhammad meets Adam, who resides in the lowest heaven, and Jesus who is only in the 4th level. Abraham welcomes him in the 7th heaven before the Prophet is ushered into paradise for his encounter with God. It was in heaven, according to one tale, that Muhammad, on Moses’ advice, bargained down God’s original demand of 50 prayers a day to 5, the number of times a day each devout Muslim must face Mecca.
Buddhism has as many paradises as there are Buddhas. Each enlightened being has his or her own heaven, a concept probably borrowed from Hinduism, in which gods and goddesses inhabit a series of heavens. The primal heaven, however, was probably the one called Sukhavati, which may itself have borrowed some elements from the florid paradises of Zoroastrian Persia (whence the word pairi-daeza, or enclosure, the origin of our word paradise). As Sakyamuni, the Buddha of our cosmos, teaches, if the denizens of Sukhavati "desire cloaks of different colors and many 100,000 colors, then with these very best cloa...
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
I remember a Youth Minister saying years ago "My problem is not motivating people; My problem is people DE-motivating me!" From years in ministry I have learned the hard way that People will disappoint you. People will oppose you. People will see themselves in competition with you. Sometimes in your own family. (even in your church family!) And I must admit that it can be a real downer to see your fiercest opposition coming from other Christians.
But Paul was able to see beyond the petty attitudes of these competitive Christians. He said, "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." Philippians 1:18
BILLY GRAHAM'S ARENA DREAMS
Billy Graham, in his book "Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well" (pp. 2-3, Thomas Nelson) writes:
I have remained a baseball fan, not necessarily of one team over another but of the game itself--the teamwork, the strategy, and the challenge of defeating the opponent. But baseball was not God’s plan for me. Nevertheless, He taught me how to integrate these important components into service for Him. The Lord has blessed me with a loyal team of men and women whose hearts are united with mine--set on leading others to an eternal home with Christ. Our team strategy has been to fulfill the Lord’s command to go into the whole world and preach Christ for the purpose of defeating the opponent--Satan.
When I started preaching, it was never my intention to preach inside a baseball stadium or any other stadium for that matter. I was accustomed to preaching in churches when I was pastoring and in auditoriums when I was traveling with Youth for Christ (YFC). At the close of the war in 1945, several of us on the YFC team had the privilege of preaching at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The details are sketchy now, but I recall the first time I stood in an outdoor arena to preach the Gospel. I had been invited to hold an evangelistic citywide meeting in Shreveport, Louisiana. When the local auditorium could not hold the crowds, the organizers had no choice but to move the event outside. Uncertain as to how people would feel about attending an evangelistic rally in a large arena, I was rather nervous. Then I thought about my boyhood dreams. Instead of bat in hand at home plate, I had what I now know is a much greater privilege: to stand behind a pulpit, with Bible in hand, immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit. I was not performing before fan-filled bleachers but pronouncing the Word of God to sin-filled hearts searching for truth.
Life, indeed, is full of surprises.
Ever-flowing Stream Of Grace
Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Surely I Am With You Always: When despondency comes upon the Body of Christ and when we have the tendency to bring God down to our level, we need to let the Holy Spirit bring the truths found in today's text to life within our minds and hearts. When things happen that cause you to question your ministry's worth, to become weary and want to give up, God has a promise that will meet you at whatever condition you find yourself in. When Christians grasp the truths Isaiah wrote they overcome all circumstances that can cause them to doubt the Lord's love for them. They find themselves walking in the power of Almighty God, thus hearing, understanding and achieving God's perfect will for them.
The results in trusting in God are far beyond outward observance and far beyond the onlooker's perspective. These results grow out of our relationship with God the Father, Christ our Lord and our ability to walk in step...
Dr. C. David White
I am a soldier in the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct, Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.
I have been taught by the Holy Spirit--
trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.
I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will either retire in this army at the rapture or die in this army;
but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out.
I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.
If my God needs me, I am there.
If He needs me in the Sunday school to teach the children,
work with the youth, help adults or just sit and learn I’ll be there.
He can use me because I am there!
I am a soldier.
I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up,
picked up, or pepped up.
I am a soldier.
No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.
I am a soldier.
I am not a wimp.
I am in place saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom!
No one has to send me flowers gifts, food, cards, candy or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.
I am committed.
I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.
If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead.
I will win.
My God has, and will continue, to supply all of my needs.
I am more than a conqueror.
I will always triumph.
I can do all things through Christ.
Devils cannot de...