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In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, "We have been the receipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prospertiy; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
Sermon Central Staff
NO RUNS, NO HITS, NO ERRORS
In one little Midwestern town, Miss Jones had the distinction of being the oldest resident in town. So when she died, the editor of the local paper wanted to print a little article remembering this dear old lady, except he couldn't think of anything to say when he sat down to write the article. Miss Jones had never done anything terribly wrong. She had never spent a night in jail or had ever been drunk. On the other hand, she had never done anything significant.
With this still on his mind, the editor went down to the local café, and there, ran into the local funeral director. He too was having the same trouble. He wanted to put something on Miss Jones' tombstone besides "Miss Nancy Jones, born such-and-such a date and died such-and-such a date," but he couldn't think of anything to write either.
The editor decided to go back to his office and assign the job of writing up a small article for both the paper and the tombstone to the first reporter he saw. When he got to the office, he ran into the sports editor, who got the assignment. So somewhere in some little community in the Midwest there is a tombstone which reads:
Here lie the bones of Nancy Jones,
For her life held no terrors.
She lived an old maid. She died an old maid.
No hits, no runs, no errors. (C. C. Mitchell, Let's Live!)
I'm afraid to say, "That's the way many Christians live their lives." They've never done anything terribly wrong, but they never accomplish anything significant for the Lord.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take a Risk, 5/25/2012)
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
I never liked that song as a kid. You can’t fool Santa. He knows it all. Well, great! Then he knows I lied about scratching the car with my bike. He knows I hit my sister. He knows I was cussing up a storm with my friends down the street. He knows it all. That’s just great! What chance do I have for a decent Christmas present now? I might as well just keep on being bad.
You know. That’s how people often look at their lives as Christians. Jesus is coming back. You better watch out - you better be good, cause He knows it all. You better be ready, prepared, faithful, loving, because there’s no fooling Him. And when you look at it this way, any honest person would say, "That’s just great!" Then I have no chance, cause I know I’ve been bad." But that misses the point of the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that we cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor. Instead, He gives us the gift of eternal life when we believe in Jesus, and He recreates us in Christ so that we can do good things.
A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph:
“My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity.”
It was signed "Helen,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”
Helen was obviously no completely committed to that relationship.
Ruth was a young woman who understood total commitment. God also loves commitment. That’s why He included Ruth’s statement to her mother-in-law in your Bible:
"Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people...
Sermon Central Staff
THE RUG: MAKING AND KEEPING GOOD BOYS
A preacher tells how he was once entertained by a teacher and his wife who had two boys in their middle teens. He writes, "Immediately on entering, I felt the home atmosphere. They were evidently a fine Christian family. However, I noticed that the carpet in the living room was tattered, and that there were actually holes in it. Nevertheless, the family was without doubt self-respecting. Before I left, the mother told me a story that helped me to understand about the rug.
"She said that one day when she was ready to sweep and dust, half a dozen boys were in her home. 'Now,' she had said, 'you fellows will have to go out for a while for I have some things to do in the house this morning.'
"'But where shall we go?' they had asked.
"'How about your aunt's?' she then suggested to one.'
"'Do you think she would have us in her place? Not much!' the boy had replied.
"Then she said to another, 'Why don’t you go over to your house?' and he had answered quickly, 'Oh, Mother would never allow six of us in her fancy home!'
"A few more questions and she found that hers was the only place where the boys were allowed to come in at will and have fun. She confided that now they always gathered at her place, and that was why they would soon have to buy a new carpet.
"After hearing her story, her tattered rug was transformed in my estimation! It became to me the most beautiful one I had ever seen--for it was worn out in keeping and making good boys."
We all like to see a house that is neat and well cared for, but not at the expense of human values.
(From a sermon by Ajai Prakash, Modeling Moms, 5/5/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
During the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, "Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I would find men so cruel!"
(H. V. Lugt, Our Daily Bread. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Looking Good - Being An Attractive Christian, 8/2/2011)
Billy Graham tells the story about a little child the was playing with a very valuable vase. He put his hand into it and could not withdraw it. His father too, tried his best to get it out, to no avail. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Now my son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out straight as you see me doing, and then pull.” To their astonishment the little fellow said, “O no, dad, I couldn’t put my fingers out like that because if I did I would drop my dime.”
Smile, if you will but thousands of us are like that...
MUSLIMS WHO TURN TO CHRIST
In an article in Breakpoint entitled "Drawn to the Light--Why Muslims Convert to Christianity" , Dr. Dudley Woodberry, professor of Islamic Studies...aware that throughout the world Muslims have been turning to Christ, was curious about the reasons why--especially in countries where the cost of converting is so high. To find the answer, he created a detailed questionnaire. Over a 16-year period, some 750 Muslims from 30 countries filled it out--and the results are eye-opening. The number one reason Muslim converts ...