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Friday, August 31, 2012

Who Owns Who?

            Several years ago, I read that one of Babe Ruth's bats sold for $63,000. Now, you can buy a good bat for quite a bit less, so what makes this one different? The owner.
            If you are a Christian, you are owned by Jesus Christ. That's why you have  special value as a human being. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
            This is also a reason fellowship with other Christians is so important. They, too, are owned by Jesus.
            In a letter emphasizing the community of Christ, Paul writes, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”(I Cor. 6:19-20.) NIV

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Lucky Day

            The following story I found in a bulletin article written by Don R. Williams over twenty years ago. It was so encouraging that I decided to include both the story and Don’s application. Enjoy:
                                                            MY LUCKY DAY
". . . this is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. "  (Psalms 118:24)
            Garland Chapman, principal of Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas, relates an experience during his days as a grade school principal.  A little second grade boy started out the morning by falling from the school bus and hitting his head on the concrete--required three stitches to close the gash! 
            Recess proved a little unfortunate as he and another boy ran together -result:  two of his teeth were loosened and a lip busted. 
            During the afternoon he fell and broke an arm.  Mr. Chapman decided to take the boy home immediately before anything else could happen. 
            They were riding together when the principal noticed the little guy clutching something in his hand.  "What do you have?” the principal asked. 
            "A quarter," answered the boy. 
            "Where did you get it?"  Mr. Chapman asked. 
            "I found it on the playground today," explained the little man.  Then he smiled and with an excited voice exclaimed, "You know, Mr. Chapman, I have never found a quarter before.  This is my lucky day!"
            So much is dependent not on how the day looks at us--but on how we look at the day.  Some people miss seeing the roses behind a broken fence.  Every day has its problems, but faith can turn them into blessings.  Each beautiful butterfly looks rather uneventful at its beginning-but what a change the day makes.
--Don R. Williams

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Not to Steal

            I don't think this was such a good idea.
            Police say that Terry Davis entered a University of Louisville on-campus library last month. While inside, he chose to steal a textbook. But this was not just any textbook that he was stealing. The title was–RESOLVING ETHICAL ISSUES.
            This reminds me of something that Paul said in Romans chapter seven, while reflecting upon the predicament of humanity, “15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
            Reflecting upon his state, Paul lamented, “24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
            He then answered his own question, “25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
            Ethics, as wonderful as they are, are not the key; they serve as symptoms of the key—Jesus living in the human heart... and the behavior that He inspires and empowers.

Story Source: WORLD magazine

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Complaining Shopper

            A few years ago, a cartoon ran in the magazine NATIONS BUSINESS. The scene was a department store.
            The clerk at the complaint department received a woman shopper who told her, “I wish to file a complaint.”
            The clerk replied, “Madam, it may interest you to know that 19 of our clerks have turned in complaints about you!”
            No one likes to hear complainers. This is especially true in churches. That’s why Paul wrote to a church in turmoil, 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe… (Phil. 2:14-15 NIV.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Too Succeed… You’ve Got to Fail

            I have in my files a bulletin article written several years ago by a fellow named Coy Roper. It is so good—I thought I would pass it along in its entirety. Be encouraged!

            Baseball fans are all talking about the new base-stealing record set by Ricky Henderson of the Oakland A's. The last time I heard, he had stolen 122 bases, breaking Lou Brock's one-season record of 118, with more than a month still left in the season!
            But before he set that new record, he set another; he broke Ty Cobb's old record of being thrown out 38 times in one season, when he was thrown out for the 39th time in 1982 in a game with the Tigers!
            And that reminded me that Babe Ruth not only held the career record for home runs for many years; he also held (and still holds) the career record for strikeouts!
            And the moral of the story? To succeed much, you've got to try much--and expect to fail often. The preachers who make the most mistakes are the preachers who preach most often. The personal workers who have the greatest number of failures are also the personal workers who win the most souls. Don't quit just because you get "thrown out"; it's those who try often and fail sometimes that end up succeeding.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ask And It Shall be Given

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9.) NIV 1984

            One evangelical pastor had a three-year-old daughter who certainly believed that verse. Here is how her mother recounted the story:

            My husband is a minister who conducts an expanded altar call at the end of his sermon. He asks those who wish to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, as well as those with prayers or other requests, to come forward.
            To the surprise and delight of the congregation our three-year-old daughter, without a word to me, got up and made her way forward. She waited patiently while the others ahead of her made a request.
            When her turn came, my husband leaned down to ask for her request. She whispered, "Can we go to the restaurant after church?"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Farmer Who Bested Daniel Webster

            Legend has it that the great 19th century U.S. senator and debater, Daniel Webster, was once topped in an exchange with a farmer from his state of Massachusetts.
            It seems that Webster had been hunting and had walked several miles from his Inn. Rather than make the long trip back, he came upon a farmhouse after dark. Webster began forcefully knocking on the door.
            After some time, an upstairs window opened and the farmer, roused from his sleep, stuck his head out. Calling down to Webster he said, “What do you want?”
            Webster called back up to him, “I want to spend the night here.”
            “All right,” the farmer called back down, “Stay there.” Then the farmer shut the window… and went back to bed.
            Jesus wants people of his Kingdom to open the door to those who need his hospitality.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Only Have Eyes for You

            Years ago, I heard a preacher tell about the ancient emperor, Cyrus, who systematically plowed through city states, territories, and countries—capturing the land and creating an empire.
            Legend has it that after Cyrus had conquered yet another Kingdom, soldiers brought him a defeated Ruler. With the Ruler was his frightened family.         
            Cyrus was known to test those whom he conquered. Hence, he asked the Prince, “What would you give me for your life?”
            “I would give you up to half of my kingdom,” the Ruler replied,
            Cyrus asked, “What would you give me for the lives of your children?”
            “I would offer you my entire kingdom and everything I have,” answered the Ruler.
            Cyrus saw a beautiful woman standing beside the Ruler, and he perceived it was his wife, so he asked, “What would you give me for the life of your wife?”
            The Ruler responded, “Then, Sir, I would offer you my very life itself.”
            This answer made an impression upon Cyrus. He decided to spare the family, including the Ruler, and he gave them their own plot of land to live on.
            Later, reflecting on the events, the Ruler spoke of Cyrus and said to his wife, “That Cyrus was a handsome man.”
            The wife quickly countered, “I would not know. For I could not take my eyes off of you.”
            There is something special about a bride who loves and admires her groom so much, she cannot take her eyes off of him. There is also something special about a groom who loves his bride so much that he would willingly give his life for her.
            In Jesus, we as the bride of Christ have a groom, who has willingly given up his life for us. Let us therefore fix our eyes upon Him.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Buried Alive in the Ocean

            The year is 1900. A Norwegian sailor named Gulbrandson was on a ship sailing the Atlantic Ocean. He became very sick and, ultimately, non-responsive to any care. Those on board concluded that he was dead, and they conducted a funeral for him. Afterwards, they placed his body inside a canvas bag, placed weights in the bag to hold it down, and sewed the bag shut. They then, with great solemnity, dropped the bag into the ocean.
            When he hit the cold water, Gulbrandson woke up. He began frantically praying and asking God to save him. Desperately trying to find a way out of the body bag, he came upon a knife that had accidentally been sewn inside. Grabbing the knife, he slashed the opening and swam out to the ocean’s surface. Amazed, the mourners on the ship rapidly rescued him.
            Gulbrandson overcame his physical ailments, and he also addressed his spiritual  ones. Given a new life, he decided to offer it to God. When Gulbrandson was buried under the water, it caused a complete change in his life.
            This is a great word picture for what God does in baptism: Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
            A person is buried underwater, and God raises him up to a new life, which he continues to offer gladly for the rest of his days on this earth.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The KKK Wizard and the Jewish Couple

            Hate is a terrible thing. The way to attack it is with love.
            In Lincoln, Nebraska, a Jewish couple was on the receiving end of a campaign of harassment from the local Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. They discovered that he was crippled and had great difficulty leaving his house to buy food.
            They startled him by showing up one day with a fine meal. They continued to return, and the Wizard with gratitude, accepted their friendship. Their love became an antidote to his poisonous hate.
            Didn’t Jesus say something about loving our enemies?