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"One word stands out from all others as the key to knowing God, to having His peace and assurance in your life--it is obedience." (Eric Liddell)
Elisabeth Elliot tells the story of when she and her brother Tom were small children. Their mother would let Tom play with paper bags that she had saved as long as he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor.
Tom was in another room at the piano with his father singing hymns. When their mother called him to the kitchen to tidy up, he protested, "But Mum, I want to sing Jesus loves me this I know."
His father, seated next to him, backed up the boys' mother by saying: "It's no good singing God's praise if you're disobedient. To obey is better than sacrifice."
(From a sermon by Gordon Curley, In his father's footsteps, 11/18/2010)
There was a king who had all his world could afford. The thing he loved most, however, was to laugh.
Once while being entertained a jester came along wishing to join in the festival of activities and also wishing to perform for him. His opportunity came and he put the best comical show together he had ever done and the king never laughed so hard.
Once the activity was all over the king wanted to hire this jester to be his personal jester. Once hired the king in humor handed him a small stick and said, "You are the most foolish man alive. When you find someone more foolish than you, then you give them this stick," and the king laughed hartily.
After many years had passed by the king lay sick on his death bed ready to go at any moment. He called for his jester, for he wanted to laugh one more time before he died. When the jester was through he asked to speak to the king personally.
Once alone with the king the jester asked, "king where are you going?" The king responded, "on a far journey." The jester asked again, "and how do you plan to get there?" Again the king responded, "I don’t know." Then the jester pulled the stick from his back pocket and handed it to the king. The king was stunned and asked why he had given him the stick. The jester replied, "King today I have found a more foolish man than I. For you see, I only trifled with the things of life, but you have trifled with things of eternity!"
A twelve year old boy became a christian during a revival. The next week at school his friends questioned him about the experience. "Did you see a vision?" asked one friend. "Did you hear God speak?" asked another. The youngster answered no to all these questions. "Well, how did you know you were saved?" they asked. The boy searched for an answer and finally he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish, you cant see the fish, or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on you line. I just felt God tugging on my heart."
Charles E. Fuller once announced that he would be speaking the following Sunday on “Heaven.” During that week, a beautiful letter was received from an old man who was very ill. The following is part of his letter:
“Next Sunday you are to talk about Heaven. I am interested in that land, because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for over fifty-five years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without money and without price. But the donor purchased it for me at tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot. For more than half a century I have been sending materials out of which the greatest architect and builder of the universe has been building a home for me which will never need to be remodeled or repaired because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old.
Termites can never undermine its foundations for they rest on the rock of ages. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. No locks or bolts will ever be placed upon its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands. It is now almost completed and ready for me to enter in and abide in peace eternally, without fear of ev...
John Williams III
“Many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China although he could not play a note. Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. He received a modest salary and enjoyed a comfortable living Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The flutist got nervous. There wasn’t enough time to learn the instrument. He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. On the day of his performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language: “He refused to face the music”. (As cited by Max Lucado’s Just Like Jesus. Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998, pp. 110-11, from the following source: Paul Lee Tan. The Encyclopedia Of 7700 Illustrations. Rockville, Md.: Assurance Publishers, 1979, pp. 562-63).
HE KEPT CALLING
In 1975, my aunt Marsha McCarthy divorced Ralph McCarthy. Marsha left Southern California and followed her parents to Joplin, Missouri.
She was employed as the Secretary at College Heights Christian Church and raised three children on her own. The stress was overwhelming at times. Marsha was in and out of the hospital regularly for stress related problems. But Ralph kept calling. Marsha wasn’t interested.
Well, he continued to call…for twenty-nine years. In the summer of 1999, Ralph flew out to see Marsha…face to face to close the deal. Would you believe, that when Ralph proposed to Marsha, she said yes.
October 9, 1999 Ralph and Marsha Lynn McCarthy were remarried. Ralph just kept calling.
Ralph just retired from his law practice in Carmel, CA. He built a retirement home in Palm Springs with a guest house and pool. The guest house is larger that Marsha’s home on North Jackson in Joplin. Ralph just kept calling.
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Can you hear him calling?
Source: Scott Mathews, Adventure Christian Church, Rocklin, CA.
SUSAN BOYLE: BEAUTY ON THE INSIDE
When Susan Boyle stepped out on the stage of "Britain’s Got Talent," people laughed at her...like the scoffers in this Psalm. They made fun of her because her outward appearance wasn’t the glitz and glamour they’d come to expect. Members of the audience could be seen rolling their eyes.
But when she began to sing, her voice was like that of the angels. People’s initial attitudes about her were changed. She had an amazing voice that was perfection to their ears. The rolling eyes changed to looks of shock at the incredible talent this woman had to offer.
The resounding applause proved she had what it took to be a star.
But her talent was on the inside.
God looks at what we’re all about; by what’s on the inside.
God doesn’t care if we have lustrous hair that shines or dingy grey, or no hair at all. God loves us just the way we are.
God doesn’t care if our eye lashes are long and full of volume.
God loves us just the way we are.
God doesn’t care if we own a limousine and driver to go with it or if we walk to church or take the bus.
God loves us just the way we are with the resources we have on the inside. And our biggest resource is our heart. It’s a heart that has a right relationship with God. It’s a heart that desires to live by God’s standards, not human beings. That is where true happiness is found.
It’s no secret formula that comes in a bottle or that you have to purchase in an exclusive limited time TV offer. No! The price has already been paid for you to be in a right relationship with God. Jesus Christ paid the price...with His life...for you! Amen!
NO JACKET REQUIRED
I shook my head in disbelief. This couldn’t be the right place. After all, I couldn’t possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation several times, by several different people, and had finally decided to see what this place was all about. But, this just couldn’t be the right place. Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that I clutched in my hand. I scanned past the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required." and found the location. Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the window again and saw a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy. All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.
Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was dirty, in fact, filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I couldn’t shake the grime that hung to my body. As I turned around to leave, the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at me..."Come as you are. No jacket required." I decided to give it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile. "Jimmy D. Brown," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains. He didn’t seem to notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very good, sir. A table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be seated?" I couldn’t believe what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of course!"
He lead me to a table and, sure enough, there was a place card with my name written on it in a deep, dark red. As I browsed over a menu, I saw many delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace," "joy," "blessings," "confidence," "assurance,"hope," "love," "faith," and "mercy." I realized that this was no
ordinary restaurant! I flipped the menu back to the front in order to see where I was ... "God’s Grace," was the name of this place!
The man returned and said, "I recommend the ’Special of the Day’. With it, you are entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu." You’ve got to be kidding! I thought to myself. You mean, I can have ALL of this! "What is the ’Special of the Day’ I asked with excitement ringing in my voice. "Salvation," was his reply.
"I’ll take it," I practically cried out. A sick, painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between my sobs I said "Mister, look at me. I’m dirty and nasty. I’m unclean and unworthy of such things. I’d love to have all of this, but, but, I just can’t afford it. Undaunted, the man smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken care of by that Gentleman over there," he said point to the front of the room. "His Name is Jesus." Turning, I saw a man whose very presence seemed to light the room. He was almost too much to look at. I found myself walking towards Him and in a shaking voice I whispered, "Sir, I’ll wash the dishes or sweep the floors or take out the trash. I’ll do anything I can do to repay you for all of this." He opened His arms and said with a smile, "Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto me. Ask me to clean you up and I will. Ask me to take away the stains and it is done. Ask me to allow you to feast at my table and you will eat.
Remember, the table is reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I offer you." Astonished, I fell at his feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life. Please change me and sit me at your table and give me this new life." Immediately, I heard the words, "It is finished." I looked down and white robes adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and wonderful had happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted and I found myself seated at His table. "The ’Special of the Day’ has been served," the Lord said to me. "Salvation is yours." We sat and talked for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him. He told ...
Here is a copy of my birth certificate. [Show document.] My birth certificate indicates that I was born in Rochester, NY in 1955. It objectively testifies to me that that I am a citizen of the United States. I don’t need to ask myself, “Do I feel like a U.S. citizen?” My birth certificate tells me I am, regardless of how I feel. Feelings play no role in assurance of our earthly citizenship. And feelings also play no role in assurance of our heavenly citizenship. So don’t look inward and depend on your feelings to determine your spiritual status.
An elderly man said to H.A. Ironside, "I will not go on unless I know I’m saved, or else know it’s hopeless to seek to be sure of it. I want a definite witness, something I can’t be mistaken about!" Ironside replied, "Suppose you had a vision of an angel who told you your sins were forgiven. Would that be enough to rest on?" "Yes, I think it would. An angel should be right." Ironside continued, "But suppose on your deathbed Satan came and said, ’I was that angel, transformed to deceive you.’ What would you say?" The man was speechless. Ironside then told him that God has given us something more dependable than the voice of an angel. He has given His Son, who died for our sins, and He has testified in His own Word that if we trust Him all our sins are gone. Ironside read I John 5:13, "You may know that you have eternal life." Then he said, "Is that not enough to rest on? It is a letter from heaven expressly to you." God’s Spirit used that to bring assurance to the man’s heart.
H. A. Ironside.