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A wealthy man before leaving on an extended vacation said to a contractor, "While I am away, I want you to build me a fine new home according to these plans. Be sure you work with extreme care, and use the best of everything. Tell me the cost as soon as you have it and I’ll send you a check." During the process of construction the contractor discovered many opportunities to substitute inferior materials; he put in his own pocket the money he saved. His employer would never know the difference, and he himself would profit. But he soon regretted his dishonesty, for the wealthy man upon his return inspected the finished home and said: "You have built it exactly as I wanted it, and I’m sure that you used the best of everything in its construction. Now, in appreciation for your long years of service to me, I am giving you this new home for your very own. Here’s the deed!" Church, we are building for eternity. Do we build with inferior materials or do we build with choice materials on the foundation of Christ? Don’t ever forget, the house we will have later on depends on the material we are using now.
I was riding one of our Shetland ponies, Trigger or Sugarfoot. They were prone to buck you off from time to time and one of those occasions occurred. Well, as I hit the ground I heard someone call my name, “Bruce.” I rolled over to see who it was and no one did I see. However, when I looked back the pony had just stepped where I rolled from. In God’s grace, He was teaching me to learn to listen to His voice and to trust Him to protect me. God was teaching me to depend upon Him for the help I would need in living life.
A enormously muscular guy with a bad stutter goes to a counter in a department store and asks, "W-w-w-where’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-p-partment?" The clerk behind the counter just looks at him and says nothing.
The man repeats himself: "W-w-w-where’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-p-partment?" Again, the clerk doesn’t answer him. The guy asks several more times: "W-w-w-where’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-p-partment?" And the clerk just seems to ignore him. Finally, the guy is angry and storms off.
The customer who was waiting in line behind the guy asks the clerk, "Why wouldn’t you answer that guy’s question?" The clerk answers, "D-d-d-do you th-th-th-think I w-w-w-want to get b-b-b-beat up?!"
(From a sermon by Gerald Flury, "Sputtering, Stuttering and Shuddering")
JESUS- NOT HATE BUT HOPE
It’s a little name.
A small word.
Say this little name in public, however, in a way other than an obscenity, and stand back and watch the fireworks.
This little name is like a tiny detonator that triggers a nuclear warhead.
You can say "God," and you won’t get a squeak.
You can say "Our Father/Mother in Heaven," and few will flinch.
You can say "Great Spirit," and people will nod in approval.
You can say "Allah" and you will be deemed tolerant.
But say "Jesus" and just wait for the sonic boom.
Articles will appear in the paper. Reprimands will be posted from the home office. Suits will be threatened by the civil liberties block.
So don’t say Jesus.
Jesus is divisive, and now is a time for unity.
Jesus is an extremist, and that must mean right wing.
Jesus is exclusive, so His name amounts to hate speech.
Keep His name to yourself. Cloister it in your church. Lock it in your prayer closet. Close it between the covers of your Bible. But for God’s sake, don’t voice it in the public square!
It’s immodest. It’s immoral. It’s unloving.
Only one problem.
Jesus is God.
Only one problem.
Jesus alone brings salvation.
Only one problem.
All other gods are nothing.
So speak Hi...
Joe La Rue
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EINSTEIN AND EMMY
When Einstein fled Nazi Germany, he came to America and bought an old two-story house within walking distance of Princeton University. There he entertained some of the most distinguished people of his day and discussed with them issues as far ranging as physics to human rights.
But Einstein had another frequent visitor. She was not, in the world’s eyes, an important person like his other guests. She was a ten-year-old girl named Emmy. Emmy heard that a very kind man who knew a lot about mathematics had moved into her neighborhood. Since she was having trouble with her fifth-grade arithmetic, she decided to visit the man down the block and see if he would help her with her problems. Einstein was very willing and explained everything to her so that she could understand it. He also told her she was welcome to come anytime she needed help.
A few weeks later, one of the neighbors told Emmy’s mother that Emmy was often seen entering the house of the world-famous physicist. Horrified, she told her daughter that Einstein was a very important man, whose time was very valuable, and he couldn’t be bothered with the problems of a little schoolgirl. And then she rushed over to Einstein’s house, and when Einstein answered the door, she started trying to blurt out an apology for her daughter’s intrusion – for being such a bother. But Einstein cut her off. He said, “She has not been bothering me! When a child finds such joy in learning, then it is my joy to help her learn! Please don’t stop Emmy from coming to me with her school problems. She is welcome in this house anytime.”
(Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2000, Devotional E-Mail, “It Is His Joy” (located at http://www.geocities.com/palmercog/joydevo.html) (last visited April 22, 2008)).
And that’s how it is with God! From it’s very opening pages, all the way to the end of the book, the Bible is a story about how God has pursued us with an unchanging and unquenchable and UNDESERVED love, because he wants us to come to his house! And we do that in this life through prayer! It’s an amazing privilege.
MATTHEW HENRY SAID, “When Christ died He left a will in which He gave His soul to His Father, His body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes to the soldiers, and His mother to John. But to His disciples, who had left all to follow Him, He left not silver or gold, but something far better—His PEACE!
Charlene Cothran is the publisher of Venus Magazine, which is a periodical for lesbians of African descent. She recently announced on the magazine’s web site that she has become a Christian and has rejected the lesbian lifestyle she had been living. Cothran said that as a magazine publisher she has had the opportunity to address thousands of people publicly, influencing homosexuals to come out of the closet. Now, she says, she must come out of the closet again. She said, “The spirit of God spoke directly into my soul and said you will choose this day who you will serve and if you make the wrong choice, I will allow you to drift so far away from me that you will never hear my voice again. I gave God my heart and soul in the parking lot of the mall, right there in my car. A river of tears flowed as Jesus washed me and forgave me and redeemed me for His work.” Cothran will continue her work in the homosexual community, but she has changed her mission. She said, “I intend be just as ‘out’ about my transformation as I was about my lesbian life. I have given every gift I have back to God, including VENUS Magazine. The target audience will remain the same but the mission has been renewed. Our new mission is to encourage, educate and assist those in the [homosexual] life who want change but can’t find a way out.”
James O. Davis
Years ago, William Edward Perry, a famous English explorer, mapped out most of the Souther Polar Cap. Many of his maps are still being used today by those who travel to that desolate, sub-zero continent. On one particular expedition, he and his crew having completed mapping an uncharted region, were preparing to hike to another unfamiliar location. On the eve of their departure, they studied the stars and determined their exact coordinates. As the sun rose, they began a hard, lengthy journey north to this unmapped region. They marched through the ice and snow all day long with the freezing air burning their lungs. As the sunset, they made camp, totally exhausted from their trip. After their evening meal, Mr. Perry studied the stars again to determine their exact coordinates. He was stunned to learn that even though he and his crew had journeyed north all day, that they were now further south than when they begun in the morni...
AUGUSTINE AND THE FOUR STATES OF MAN
In the 5th century AD, St. Augustine wrote about the "4 States of Man":
* The first state of man (the haec sunt prima) is "living according to the flesh -- with reason making no resistance." This can be seen in so many ancient cultures and religions (and unfortunately more than a few in our own time) with their human sacrifices, their idols, their pagan ceremonies, and even cannibalism. Human life -- without power -- was lightly regarded. Animals, especially domesticated animals, were often valued more highly than human life. Reason often vanishes when weighed against lust and self-gratification. Even today, this seems to be coming full circle.
* The second state of man is "recognition of sin through the Law . . . but sinning knowingly." It was so important for Satan to remove the Ten Commandments from our classrooms and courtrooms. It was critical for him to "separate church and state." So long as people knew the Law, it would not be so easy to ignore the Law. Without the reminders of the Law, we easily return to the first state of man. Does any of this sound familiar?
* The third state of man is "faith in the help of God -- but he perseveres in seeking to please God." Man has begun to be moved by the Spirit of God. We are already standing with one foot in the hell which we have created, but in the "third state", man knows it. So he still struggles against his own sinful nature because he has not yet been fully healed.
* The fourth state of man is "the full and perfect peace in God." This we find in harmony with Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the person of Jesus Christ, we see how far we have departed from God.
Augustine adds, "The will of man is always free, even and particularly when it can no longer will to do evil." But Adam and Eve were not gods, "and their 'free will' would not have sufficed, even in paradise, to merit immortality. Divine assistance was needed. Their immortality could only continue by their continued relationship with the Divine. So how much more do we need God's help since our fall?"
Augustine continues, "Even the good merits and qualities which people may display toward one another are gifts from God. Every good quality comes from His grace. God's mercy is the ground of salvation. Therefore, let no man boast. Out of faith spring hope and love. We hope only in God -- not in men and not in ourselves." ("The History of Doctrines", Reinhold Seeberg, p. 366)
Dorothy Sayers wrote, "If men will not understand the meaning of judgment, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace."
Dave Dravecky: After he underwent surgery to remove his arm up to his collarbone. His cancerous left arm had been amputated. As he looked in the mirror he said "Okay God. This is what I have got to live with. Put this behind me; lets go forward."
A couple of days later he was walking the hospital corridor pushing his IV, came to the visitors lounge where a whole family has gathered. The wife sitting there worried, her husband has cancer throughout his whole body and the prognosis is not good. Dave sat down near her, the son came to him and asked him "Where do you get your peace?" Dave told him that Jesus Christ was the source of his peace, the entire family listened as he shared his testimony and his faith. He heard the complaints of the family, my father was a good man and he is in there suffering with cancer, while bad people run around healthy. He told them, "It is hard to understand suffering in this life, but you can't blame God for it. Sooner or later this earth is going to burn up, the only thing that will matter is if we go to heaven or not. I believe in miracles, I believe that God can and does heal people, but more important than that, I believe in the eternal hope of heaven, when I die, that's where I'm going, because heaven is my home."
From Richard White's Sermon "Peace That Surpasses"