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An elderly lady was asleep in her bed one night, when she was awakened by a strange noise from the living room. Cautiously, she walked in and discovered a burglar in the process of stealing the stereo. Overcome with fear, she whispered a desparate prayer, "Help me Jesus!" The burglar heard her and started towards her. Without a thought she put up her hand and shouted a favorite scripture reference: ACTS, 2:38! The burglar immediately froze. The lady dialed 911, and within minutes, police were on the scene, and took the burglar to the police station. As the police were questioning him, one of the detectives said, "I’m curious, you could have ran and got away, why did you stay frozen in that one spot?" The burglar answered, "Man, if you knew that old lady was packing an axe and two .38 revolvers, you would not have moved either!"
John Williams III
Jesus lifted up the spirit of a discouraged preacher who retired early because of what happened to him. "In the Pentecostal Evangel church leader George U. Wood writes:
"Have you ever heard a healing take place? I have. I listened to an audiotape of Duane Miller teaching his Sunday school class from the text of Psalm 103 at the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on January 17, 1993. Duane prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper....
"Teaching his class that day with a special microphone resting on his lips,
he reaffirmed his belief in divine healing and that miracles had not ended
with the Book of Acts. Listening to the tape, at times you can barely
understand his weakly spoken wheezy words of faith. The miracle happened at verse 4 when he said, "I have had and you have had in times
past pit experiences."
"On the word pit his life changed—the word was as clear as a bell, in contrast to the imperfect enunciation of the preceding "word past. He paused, startled; began again and stopped. He said a few more words—all in a normal clear tone—and stopped again. The class erupted with shouts of joy, astonishment and sounds of weeping. God completely healed him as he was declaring the truth in this psalm. (You can read the full account in Miller’s book Out of the Silence, Nelson Publishers.)". (Craig Brian Larson. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998, p. 116). If there is anything that this story tells us it is this, never underestimate what God can do! It was the healing touch of Jesus that gave Rev. Duane Miller the full range of his voice again!
A story is told of a teacher who asked a class of students, ‘What would you wish for if you had one wish?”
One enthusiastic student shouted out, “Mama, I would wish for a big house for my family and myself.”
Another student proudly stood up and said, “I would wish for lots of land, to plant an orchard and export fruits.”
A third student, unable to contain himself declared, ‘Sir, give me the latest automobile.”
Then a young chap stood up, as if possess with all the wisdom of Solomon and said, “Sir, I would ask for a million, million dollars or more. You see, with that I could buy the house the orchard and the latest automobile!”
The teacher then called upon a shy student, sitting quietly in the back, trying to avoid attention and asked, “And what would you wish for?”
The shy student stood up timidly and whispered, “Sir, I would ask for an eternity of time, for with that I could make the money, to buy the house, the land, and the automobile and live long enough to enjoy them!” Young Chad had a bad case of sickle cell. He knew he had limited time. He knew the true value of time.
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...
Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famous Polish composer-pianist, was once scheduled to perform at a great American concert hall for a high-society extravaganza. In the audience was a mother with her fidgety nine-year-old son. Weary of waiting, the boy slipped away from her side, strangely drawn to the Steinway on the stage. Without much notice from the audience, he sat down at the stool and began playing "chopsticks." The roar of the crowd turned to shouts as hundreds yelled, "Get that boy away from there!"
When Paderewski heard the uproar backstage, he grabbed his coat and rushed over behind the boy. Reaching around him from behind, the master began to improvise a countermelody to "Chopsticks." As the two of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s ear, "Keep going. Don’t quit, son, don’t stop, don’t stop."
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan., 1992, p.8
The world famous Polish piano maestro, Ignace Paderewski, had been invited to appear at one of the great music centers of New York. It was a very formal evening with everyone wearing tuxedos and evening gowns. In the audience was a lady who brought her little boy along for the concert. She thought that if he could hear Paderewski play the piano, the experience might spur him on to practice piano a little more each day after school.
As they were waiting for the performance to begin, the mother turned to talk to some friends, and the little boy managed to wiggle out of his seat and headed down the aisle. He quietly made his way up the steps and across the stage to the piano stool. He climbed up on the bench and began to play "chopsticks."
The well-starched audience was horrified. As they heard the simple tune, the crowd responded first with stone-cold silence, then murmuring, and finally a few shouts.
"Whose kid is that?" "What’s the meaning of this?" "I didn’t buy a ticket to hear this noise!" "Doesn’t that child have parents?"
The tinkling notes and the commotion reached the ears of Paderewski backstage. When he figured out what was happening, he made his way onto the stage. Paying no mind to the crowd, he moved behind the boy, reached around him and placed his own two hands onto the keys together with the child’s.
While the boy continued to play, the master built a rich, accompanying melody to embellish the simple tune. All the while, he stooped down to whisper, "Don’t stop now son. Keep it up. That’s it. Keep playing. You can do it."
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan., 1992, p. 8.
C.S. Lewis- Pain insists upon being attended to, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Margaret was in her forties and suffered from bouts of depression and despair resulting mainly from an extremely poor self-image. She just couldn’t see herself as a person of worth. Over the years of her adult life, this image steadily grew worse. Finally reaching out in desperation, she sought the help of a counselor. It was here that she revealed what had happened long ago.
When she was a child, she was pretty average. She received decent grades in school. She was fairly happy. She was liked by her fellow students. That was until one soul-scarring day almost forty years ago. From the first day of class, Margaret and Ms. Garner, her bitter and harsh teacher, didn’t get along. They butted heads constantly. The conflict in this one-room schoolhouse escalated over the years until one fateful day when Margaret was nine-years-old.
That day Margaret frantically raced into class after recess, late again. Ms. Garner was furious. “Margaret!” she shouted, “we’ve been waiting for you! Get up here to the front of the class, right now!”
Margaret slowly walked to teacher’s desk and was told to face the class and then the nightmare began.
Ms. Garner ranted, “Boys and girls, Margaret has been a bad girl. I’ve tried to help her to be responsible but she doesn’t want to learn. We have to teach her a lesson. We will force her to see how selfish she is. I want each one of you to come to the board and write something bad about Margaret. May this will motivate her to be a better person!”
Margaret stood frozen as the students, one by one, began a silent procession to the blackboard. One by one they wrote life-smothering words, slowly extinguishing the light in Margaret’s soul. “Margaret is stupid! Margaret is selfish! Margaret is fat! Margaret is a dummy!” On and on they went, until twenty-five scribblings of Margaret’s “badness” screamed from the board.
It was the longest day of her life. The venomous sentences taunted Margaret as each caustic word was written on her soul. When she got home, she crawled into bed, claiming sickness, and tried to cry the pain away, but the pain never left, and forty years later, she was slumped in a chair in the psychologists’s office cringing in the shadow of those twenty-five sentences. Slowly, Margaret became exactly what the students had written.
Margaret’s teacher knew exactly what she was doing. She knew the power of name-calling. She knew that the children’s taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a lie!! What people think of us does make a difference in how we see ourselves. Joseph also learned this lesson.
Remember Margaret? After decades of depression and anxiety, she finally got help. It took two years but she was finally at her last session. It had been extremely difficult but she finally was able to extricate herself from her past and smile at her counselor (how long had it been since she smile) and said that she was ready to move on.
“Well, Margaret,” the counselor said softly, “It’s graduation day. How are you?”
After a long silence, Margaret spoke, “I . . . I’m okay.”
The counselor hesitated. “Margaret, this will be difficult but I want you to do one more thing to make sure that you are ready to move on. I want you to go back to your schoolroom and the events of that day. Take your time. Described the details to me as each of the children approach the board. Remember what they wrote and how you felt—all twenty-five students.”
In a way this was easy because Margaret had remembered every detail for every day of the last forty years. Yet, to go through the nightmare one more time took all the strength she had. One by one, she described each of the students vividly, as though she was standing right there again, stopping periodically to regain her composure, forcing he...
A personal testimony.
Inspired by His calling, Joel Vicente. -------
I was secure at home when I heard the voice from the Captain exclaim,
"Come follow me. Go where I send you. No need to fear. I will be with you."
I asked, "But Captain, may I remain here on the shore where it is safe and help other sailors discover their way?" The voice echoed,
"Come after me. You’ll reach distant lands. No need to fear. You’ll be in my hands."
My plans did not include a journey to a strange land, so I again questioned the Captain. "How can I travel so far away if I am not skilled? What will I discover there?" The Captain advised me,
"This is my plan. Adding wisdom to your measure. Abide with me. You’ll find a hidden treasure."
I announced my venture as I said farewell to my yesterdays. These yesterdays included my family, friends, and dreams. The memories from home were cherished. Nevertheless, I would never return to repeat them. My departure became certain as I abandoned everything I knew to be familiar. So we sailed southward; I was unaware of my destination. Suddenly, I heard a roaring from the wind. I felt the crashing of waves and heard a whisper from the Captain say,
"Trust in Me. Do not fear. I’m with you. I’ll be near.”
The winds viscously forced me off the ship. The waves violently embraced me. I struggled in the grip of darkness. Below me was an endless void of despair. I yelled, "Captain, help me before I drown!" I heard no response. I reached for the ship and an outstretched arm took hold of mine and lifted me to safety. I appealed to the Captain, "You said do not fear. You said you would be with me. Why did I fall?" The Captain replied,
"Submit to My purpose. Surrender to My plan. Endure what surrounds you. With My strength you can."
The ship sailed on until it came to a sudden stop. I noticed that the anchor was launched. Ahead of the ship was an immense storm. I asked the Captain, "Why don’t we turn away from the storm?" The Captain replied,
“Keep watch for the calm. Storms are mysteries. Listen close to their secrets. In them are victories.”
At that moment, the storm leaped on me knocking me to the lower deck. The winds swept me back and forth like a pendulum. I had nothing to hold on to. I again shouted for the Captain. “Save me, before I go under!” As I glanced into the Captain’s quarters, there He slept as if the storm was my imagination. Ultimately, the storm would cease. I asked the Captain how He could sleep in the middle of the storm? Again I was replied to with silence. The Captain appeared to look right through my examination. Then the Captain handed me a compass. I read the engraved message, "Follow my direction, and do not fear for I am with you. When you don’t see Me, trust Me, when you don’t hear Me, remember my promises." I looked intently at the compass and the Captain appeaed to be gone. I felt alone on the ship. Just then, I saw someone else drowning in the same waves, so I reached out my hand and lifted him to safety. The lost gentleman thanked me and asked where my courage came from. I was beginning to discover the mysteries that the Captain was displaying. While we spoke, I noticed that another ship was headed toward the same storm that I just survived. So I jumped from my ship and anxiously swam to the other vessel. I yelled as if my volume would exceed that of the coming storm. I warned them of their direction into danger and they turned to safer shores. I then discerned the secrets that the storm was revealing. I found the victory in saving others. This was my hidden treasure!
In a Charles Schulz Peanuts comic strip Charlie Brown was playing catch with Lucy to prepare their old hapless losing team for the new baseball season. Charlie Brown proceeded to throw a high ball across the field to her. Lucy was ready for the ball to fly into her mitt. She lifted her head up to the sky, her hands were ready to field the ball, but not only did she not catch the ball, it hit her on the head instead. The she suffered the indignity of Charlie Brown yelling at her: "Lucy, you¡¦re the worst player in the history of the game!"
Of course, Lucy would not accept that from Charlie Brown, or anyone else for that matter. She shouted defiantly to Charlie Brown across the filed: "You can’t prove that! You should never say things that you can’t prove!"
That did not stop Charlie Brown from barking at her. Charlie Brown corrected himself and hollered back: "In all probability, you are the worst player in the history of the game!" Finally, Lucy whispered quietly and meekly, but triumphantly: "I can accept that."