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When England closed it’s Libyan Embassy Muammar Qaddafi became so angry that he ordered England to be removed from all maps in Libya. If you buy a map in that country today, that area will be represented by a new arm of the North Sea bordered by Scotland and Wales. Simply removing England from all maps in Libya does not mean it doesn’t exist. Just because we’ve never been to Hell or the world makes light of it, or says it's a fairy tale doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Hell is very real.
But just as Hell is a reality so is Heaven. It is a better place.
It is said of Miss Reside, the first woman missionary to Kiowa Indians of Oklahoma, that after she had been with the Indians long enough for them to know what it meant to be a Christian they gave her a new name. They called her “Aim-day-co.” Chief Bigtree, in explaining this name, said, “When we Kiowas see anyone on the wrong road we call out, ‘Aim-day-co’ (“turn this way”). Our sister came to us from a far land, and found us all on the wrong road and in great danger. She stood in a new road and called to us and said, ‘Turn this way,’ and showed us the Jesus road. God bless Aim-day-co.”
I read of a young man who worked for a bank and one day was called upon to deliver $25,000 in quarters in his bosses 49 Ford pickup to Bank of America in downtown San Bernardino. He said, “We hopped in the truck. I’m in my T-shirt and blue jeans. We drove up to the front of the Bank of America, parked the truck, and Larry said, "Hang on, I’ll go in and get the dolly, and we’ll haul this stuff in." I’m whistling, standing against this truck for twenty minutes. I don’t have a gun. I thought, If anybody notices what is in this common looking pickup truck, I’m a dead duck! …People did not see the treasure they were walking by! … they didn’t see it for the commonness of the delivery system.”
Our scripture says that he will strengthen you through His Spirit. This is how he delivers the goods to us.
But how many times we miss his strengthening because of how simple the delivery system is. Many times we feel we have to do do do. Christ says, “All those who are weary and heavy laden come and I will give you rest”
We will find rest, not in doing, but in relationship with Christ.
A LIFE OF RESOLUTIONS
Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. Throughout his lifetime he would add to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions.
He put at the top of his list: "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions…. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week."
Edwards didn’t casually make New’s Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a "self-check." He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.
Christ calls us to commit to actively work at becoming conformed to His image. This coming year resolve to be come a person committed to a ...
I think that you are all at least familiar with the TV show “Survivor,” whether you have watched it or not. It is what they call now a “reality” game show. 16 people are put into an environment like an island, and the goal is to be the winner of a $1 million prize. Fortunately for the participants, they are voted off by the other participants, not burned at the stake of sacrificed to a volcano. After they are voted off about the worst thing that happens is they might be humiliated on the internet. In fact, they are flown from the hostile environment in which they have been living, and taken to a posh resort. Many of them make TV appearances and some even are able to launch a new career afterward.
The modern day game show “Survivor” pales in comparison to the high stakes game of life that Martin Luther became involved in when he opposed the established authorities in the Church. For Martin Luther spiritual survival was of foremost importance, and he understood how important that was for every person. No matter what may happen in life, no matter how bad circumstances may get, spiritual survival comes first. Martin Luther had it straight. He knew that spiritual survival in a hostile spiritual environment dictates a firm confession of faith.
For us in our spiritual environment it has not really gotten any easier. The Bible tells us to expect trials and troubles as we struggle to survive the hostile wilderness of this world.
I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvelous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he examined it carefully, and then, to give it a test, he sent for a rifleman - but the inventor bolted out of the other door!
There was a spiritual reason for this. For three days, Jonathan Edwards had not eaten a morsel of food, nor closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again, he cried out “Oh, God, give me New England Give me New England” Because of his total devotion to Jesus Christ, Edwards was able to preside over the greatest revival in American History. Fasting for the purpose of seeking God will be rewarded.
BUT I JUST HAVE TO GIVE!
Eric Hulstrand writes in Leadership magazine: "While I was preaching one Sunday, an elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance.
As they strapped her to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door, Mary regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what could be her final words.
The Iron Maiden
In Strausbourg, France there is an Iron Maiden that was used for torture during medievel times. Molded into the likness of a beautiful maiden it bore death for those that came within it’s grasp. Outwardly it was appealing, but it was what is inside that is deadly. As a victim was placed on the plate in front of the maiden a series of wheels and cogs began to turn. Slowly the maiden would envelope the person in what could be considered an embrace. At the same time this was happening sharpened spikes began to protrude from inside the iron body and gradually extinguish the life from the person it held.
Sin is much the same way. It looks good on the outside, but the inside will kill you.
When Abraham Lincoln was a boy he husked corn for three days to pay for a second-hand copy of “The Life of Washington.” After he had read the book he said, “I don’t always intend to delve, grub, shuck corn, split rails, and the like.”
“What do you want to be now?” asked Mrs. Crawford.
“I’ll be president!” Lincoln replied.
“You’ll make a purty president with all your tricks and jokes now, wouldn’t you.” was her response.
Not about to be discouraged young Abe said, “I’ll study and get ready, and the chance will come.”
The chance came and Lincoln became one of the greatest Presidents in the history of our Nation.