Gateway To Jesus Ministries Presents
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Let's not allow the enemy to distract us...
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep Christian believers from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep a Christian from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that experience in Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract every Christian from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"
"How shall we do this?" shouted his angels.
"Keep Christians busy in the nonessentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds" he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince Christian wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work six or seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work."
"Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice. Entice them to play on their phones, listen to the radio or digital media whenever they drive, to keep the TV, CD's and their PC's going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."
Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogues, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free products, services and false hopes."
"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have Christians return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. And when they meet for inspirational, spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion."
"Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause."
It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.
Has the devil been successful at his schemes? You be the judge.
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare inspirational works of art. They had Everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together,sharing stories about the great works of art.
When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for inspirational art."
The young man held out his package.
"I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the portrait.
"Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great inspirational paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son.
The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this portrait of the son. Who will bid for this painting?" There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one." But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?" Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!" But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the painting of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!" A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the collection!"
The auctioneer laid down his gavel.
"I'm sorry, the auction is over. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the inspirational paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"
God gave his son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take the son?"
Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?
When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror.
The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.
Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little anxious to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.
"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."
"Hello, Jack." No smile.
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
"Yeah, I guess."
Bob seemed uncertain. Good. "I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"
"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."
Ouch! This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.
"What'd you clock me at?"
"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?"
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
"Please, Jack, in the car."
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.
"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. . . Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left. Bob"
Jack...twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.
Life is precious. Handle with care.
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative Christian church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The church service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly Christian man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.
How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane.
All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read."
by Annette Nay
Many Christian parents are hard put to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazine stories are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home, for their youth to see, or hear. One parent came up with an original idea that was hard to refute.
He listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG-13 movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex. They never really showed it. The language was pretty good. They only used the Lord's name in vain three times in the whole movie. The video effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed. Yes, there was the scene where a building and a bunch of people got blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn't very bad.
Even with all these explanations for the rating, the father wouldn't give in. He didn't even give them a satisfying explanation for saying, "No." He just said, "No."
It was a little bit later that evening, that this same father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had prepared. He explained that he had taken the families favorite recipe and added something new. They asked what it was. He calmly replied that he had added dog poop. He stated that it was only a little bit. All the ingredients were gourmet quality. He had taken great care to bake it at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.
Even with all the explanations of the perfect attributes of the brownies, the teens would not take one.
The father acted surprised. There was only one little element that would have caused them to act so stubbornly. He assured them that they would hardly notice it if at all. They all held firm and would not try the brownies.
He then explained that the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Satan tries to enter our minds and our homes by deceiving us into believing that just a little bit of evil won't matter. With the brownies, just a little bit makes all the difference between a great brownie and a totally unacceptable product. He explained that even though the movie people would have us believe the movies which are coming out are acceptable for adults and youth's to see they are not. Test your movie and see. Would you be comfortable taking Christ with you to see the movie?
Now when this father's youth want to do something or see something they should not, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies and they never ask about that item again.
By Dr. Bob Moorehead
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, but more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, pray too seldom, and watch too much TV.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom and lie too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life, we've added years to life, not life to years.
We've been to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space, we've done larger things, but not better things, we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've split the atom, but not our prejudice, We write more, but learn less, plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not wait, we have higher incomes, but lower morals, more food, but less appeasement, more acquaintances, but fewer friends, more effort, but less success.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, tall men, and short character, steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare, more leisure and less fun, more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce, of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands,overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window, and nothing in the stockroom.
Today, many want to gain the world at the "mere" expense of their souls.
Evil is contemplated and performed with both hands, yet we cannot lift a finger for our fellow man.
May God have mercy on our souls. Pray without ceasing. Let each of us examine our own ways.
"Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered.I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence. "Oh God," I cried, "let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!" With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me.
Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: The figure of a man standing before a cross. "My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?" "Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that... I can't go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry it anymore." "But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?" "My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would like to try a different one?" "I can do that?" He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of these."
All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled with a name. "There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken. "Let me try that one." How difficult could her burden be? I thought. The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulders. I sank my knees beneath its weight. "Take it off!" I said. ""What makes it so heavy?" "Look inside." I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak. "Joan, you'll never be good enough for my son," it began. "He never should have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren..." I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer. "I see why her burden is so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling and helping others. I didn't realize...."
"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly.
I tested several. Paula's felt heavy: She was raising four small boys without a father. Debra's did too: A childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I Came to Ruth's burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home.
"They're all too heavy, Lord" I said. ""Give back my own." As I lifted the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others. "Lets look inside" He said. I turned away, holding it close. "That's not a good idea," I said. "Why?" "There's a lot of junk in there." "Let Me see." The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden. He pulled out a brick. "Tell me about this one."
"Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to the doctor. They've never been to a dentist. And I'm tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs." "My child, I will supply all of your needs... and your children's. I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight."
Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked. "Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. "But, Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him...." "My child," He said, "If you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience."
Then He took some pebbles from my burden.
"Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and can't stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!" "My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight." My burden now seemed lighter than before. "I guess I can handle it now" I said.
"There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick." "Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it." "My child, give it to Me." Again His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound. "But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so.....Lord! What happened to Your hands? They're so scarred!" No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars-as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh. "Lord," I whispered. "What happened to You?" His loving eyes reached into my soul. "My child, you know. Hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it." "How?" "With My blood." "But why, Lord?" "Because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me."
I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the cross and hurled my brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple. "Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now." "Yes, Lord, I will call on You."
I reached to pick up my burden.
"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's..... As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and told each other stories of what they wanted to become when they grew up.
The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"
The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"
The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."
Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold inspirational treasure!" The first tree said.
The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered. With a swoop of his ax, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.
The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake.
The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."
Many, many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." her husband whispered.
The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.
The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.
It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.
By Paul Harvey
If I were the Devil.....
I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world.
I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings.
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around.
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue.
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership.
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies.
I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient.
I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more that human beings.
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a law suit.
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them.
I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda.
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.
I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation.
I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art.
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled.
I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct.
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive.
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional.
I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are."
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Here is a sample you can scroll down to see.
A college student was in a philosophy class which had a discussion about God's existence. The professor presented the following logic:
"Has anyone in this class heard God?"
"Has anyone in this class touched God?"
Again, nobody spoke.
"Has anyone in this class seen God?"
When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, "Then there is no God."
One Chistian student thought for a second, and then asked for permission to reply. Curious to hear this bold student's response, the professor granted it, and the student stood up and asked the following questions of his classmates:
"Has anyone in this class heard our professor's brain?"
"Has anyone in this class touched our professor's brain?"
"Has anyone in this class seen our professor's brain?"
When nobody in the class dared to speak, the student concluded, "Then, according to our professor's logic, it must be true that our professor has no brain!"
The student sat back down. He received an A+ in the class.
(Here is some funny but serious food for thought)
One Sunday morning during service, a 2,000-member congregation was surprised to see two men enter, both covered from head to toe in black and carrying sub-machine guns. One of the men proclaimed, "Anyone willing to take a bullet for Christ remain where you are." Immediately, the choir fled, the deacons fled, and most of the congregation fled. Out of the 2,000 there only remained around 20.
The man who had spoken took off his hood, looked at the preacher and said, Okay Pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites. Now you may begin your service. Have a nice day!
And the two men turned and walked out.
A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.
One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by. The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body in the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and asked God to come into his life. As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.
I asked God to take away my pain. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No. Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn’t granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No. I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me. God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
More food for thought
They lie on the table, side by side The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn, but cherished with pride (Not the Bible, but the TV Guide)
One is used daily to help folks decide. (Not the Bible: it's the TV Guide.)
As the pages are turned, what shall they see Oh, what does it matter?...turn on the TV.
Then confusion reigns, they can't all agree on what they shall watch on the old TV.
So they open the book in which they confide (No, not the Bible.....it's the TV Guide.)
The Word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse e'er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be... not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.
So then back to the table, side by side, lay the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
No time for prayer....no time for the Word. The plan of salvation is seldom heard.
But forgiveness of sin so full and free is found in the Bible.....NOT on TV!
If I Had My Life To Live Over.......
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy,I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more "I love you's".. more "I'm sorry's"
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it... live it...and never give it back.
by: Josh and Karen Zarandona
Brenda was a young Christian woman that wanted to learn to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death she went with a group and they faced this tremendous cliff of rock. Practically perpendicular. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear and she took a hold of the rope and she started up the face of that rock.
Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, whoever was holding the rope up at the top of the cliff made a mistake and snapped the rope against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.
You know how tiny contact lenses are and how almost impossible to find. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with who know how many hundreds of feet behind and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping that she would be able to find that contact lens. Here she was, very far from home. Her sight was now blurry. She was very upset by the fact that she wouldn't be anywhere near a place where she could get a new contact lens. She knew it was the end of her climbing story, so she prayed that the Lord would help her to find it.
Well, her last hope was that perhaps when she got to the top of the cliff, one of the girls that was up there on the top might be able to find her contact lens in the corner of her eye. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye. There was no contact lens to be found. She sat down with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to come up the face of the cliff.
She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every single stone and leaf that's on those mountains and You know exactly where my contact lens is."
Finally, the time came when it was time to go down. They walked down the trail to the bottom. Just as they got there, there was a new party of rock climbers coming along. As one of them started up the face of the cliff, she shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"
Well, that would be startling enough, wouldn't it? She had found the contact lens! But you know why she saw it? An ant was carrying that contact lens so that it was moving slowly across the face of the rock.
What does that tell you about the God of the universe? Is He in charge of the tiniest things? Do ants matter to Him? Of course they do. He made them. He designed them.
Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him this incredible story, he drew a picture of that ant lugging that contact lens (as you see in the comics with a balloon with words in it over his head) with the words: "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."
If God is in charge of the ants, don't you think He cares about you and me? I guess Solomon was right. One could learn a valuable lesson from that ant -- trust in God. We could probably all say a little more often, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. Still, if you want me to, I'll carry it for You."
A minister passing through his Christian church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle.
The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while.
His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.
The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap,
Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?"
The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.
"I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY."
The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.
Time to go, Jim smiled, said "Thanks." He hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY."
Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come.
As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.
At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill.
The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious. His encouragement changed people.
The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.
The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern:
No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.
Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; "the nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here all the while everyday at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY,
AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY."
After living what I felt was a "decent" life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house.
The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.
As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor." He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.
I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me,I felt I knew Him.
The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.
As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, "Let us begin."
The prosecutor rose and said,
"My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell."
He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and In the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible Perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.
As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not Offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?
Satan finished with a fury and said, "This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise."
When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, "Hi, Dad," and then He turned to address the court.
"Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished."
Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine."
My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy."
As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, "There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all."
The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips..
"This man is free." The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed."
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I will win the next one." I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?"
Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, ....... Paid In Full.
A Christian man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day.
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't moved."
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough."
That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
The Lord responded compassionately with encouragement, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock."
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.
When everything seems to go wrong . just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down ... just P.U.S.H.!
When people don't react the way you think they should ... just P.U.S.H!
When your money is "gone" and the bills are due....just P.U.S.H!
When people just don't understand you, just P.U.S.H.
It was the end of a great day! My wife and I were on our way home. It was about midnight. We were both relaxed and enjoying the ride on a clear autumn night. I was driving our 1999 Mazda 626 down the highway and was preparing to exit onto a major 4 lane road.
Sarah and I are Christian and frequently pray as we travel, especially at night. We were both in a reflective mood and decided to pray about half way home. I had already finished praying to God. Sarah was still talking to Him as we started up the long exit ramp. She was asking Him for His protection on all her family who were also traveling home that evening. Little did she know we were about to become the recipients of that very protection.
We both were watching the traffic light as we got about half way up the ramp. It was solid green. There were no vehicles in front of us so we simply rolled into the intersection at about 30 MPH, to make the sweeping left turn onto the other road.
As we entered the intersection we saw a flash of light to our left and instantly heard a loud crash and felt a jarring impact. Our bodies were thrown to the right, then whipped back immediately to an upright position. I felt a sharp blow to my lower side and back as our car stopped dead in the intersection. It felt like somebody had hit me full force with a baseball bat. I just sat there, dazed and moaning. I could not believe what had just happened.
I heard my wife asking me if I was OK. I told her my back hurt but otherwise I seemed to be alright. I asked if she was injured, expecting an answer involving neck pain. Praise God she was completely unhurt! I then realized that I did not have any neck trauma either. In spite of being violently slammed sideways we had no obvious injuries to our necks.
The paramedics checked me over in the car then helped me out the passenger side because the drivers side was crushed shut. They checked me out in the ambulance and said I was OK except for some possible bruised ribs where the side impact door beam hit me in the back. I didn't even have to go to the hospital.
Our car had to be towed away, (it had almost $10,000 damage), but we walked away! Amazingly, the 3 teenagers in the Blazer that hit us were also completely unharmed. The speed limit was 45 MPH on that road and the driver said she had a green light, so she would not have been slowing down before she hit us broadside in the intersection. There is no reasonable explanation for the lack of serious injuries for all of us, unless we believe in miracles! We do!
There are a lot of things that don't make any sense about this whole thing. Looking back on the accident, and observing the damage to the vehicles, there are many things that I simply don't understand. This all should have been much worse!
What I do know is this. Jesus saves.....in more ways than one! Jesus heard my wife's prayer for protection. He put an angel between the two vehicles to absorb the majority of the energy that would have sent some of us to the hospital with major injuries. His intervention saved lives that night. I walked away from an accident that other people, at other times, never did. Why? I can't answer that question.
I don't know the mind of God and why He chooses to save one and not another at any given time. What I do know is that God is good all the time....and all the time God is good! His goodness and love never changes. He allows nothing bad to happen that is not ultimately for some good. He has a purpose for each and every one of us, and maybe we don't always understand it, but there is a reason for all things, good and bad, in our lives.
I don't know why He chose to spare me and my wife this time, but we are very thankful that He did. He also extended His mercy to the 3 teens that we didn't even know and spared them too. I don't claim to know all the answers. All I can testify to is the fact that at the time of impact my wife was talking to God and asking for His protection, and we all walked away from this wreck with no serious injuries. The facts speak for themselves! What more can I say?
Name withheld by request
Last December 20th I had a experience that changed my life and nearly ended it. I had personal questions that were answered also that I had in my mind for a while. I had been feeling a little under the weather on the 16th of December and decided not to work that following Monday or Tuesday. I thought since I had a lot of sick days built up I may as well take advantage of them since I didnt really feel well. I had very little appetite and was just not energetic at all. That Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I stood up and with the remote in my hand I turned the television off and at that point the world stopped and life ended. The next thing I knew I was in Barnes hospital in an ICU unit. I thought I was in a dream because everything looked wrong to me. I could not see very well or very clearly. I could see maybe ten feet and it was very very murky and cloudy looking. Giving it a dreamlike appearance. I saw people that I worked with and thought "hmmm I Ive never dreamed of them before! After about a few times of going in and out of consciousness, I came to my senses and realized that I was not dreaming! I really was here in the hospital! "How did I get here?" I thought. I wondered did I have wreck or what. I noticed that the television had the date as the 23rd of December on it. I was completely baffled about the whole thing. I noticed I was hooked to all kinds of electronic things. There was a red light on my finger and a wire that went into my chest to my heart. My legs were attached to a massage machine and my arm to a blood pressure machine that took readings every 15 minutes it seemed. "What happened to me?" My legs hurt really bad and I was weak.
When I realized that I was REALLY in a hospital I thought "How did I get here? Did I have a wreck? I was lost. About 15 minutes after I had regained consciousness, a doctor came in and explained to me how I had been in a coma and how a lucky young man I was to be here. His words were very serious words, but the only thing I thought was what I was going to do when I get out. Later on during my hospital stay I learned from friends what had happened the four days that I was missing in my mind. I thought about God. God, in my view, did not let me die. He did an amazing thing in my book by saving my life. Here is what I am thankful for. Life? Of course! But I am glad that God saw me when I was dying in my bed and before anyone had prayed a prayer about me, He acted! God, I now know, really loves me a lot! I did'nt know that I was about to die that Tuesday night, but He did! He did NOT allow it. For whatever reason. Maybe He was just being Himself...nice! I loved Him and admired Him long before any of this thing happened to me. What a Great Person He is! He defies logic to me. A Person Who can not only be smart and ever in control of things but He can be, and is, NICE!! He has been my Friend Who I have talked to for years and this is not the only time He has saved my life but that is for another time. I may not know who the beast is or false prophet or whatever. But I will go to my grave knowing that the God that I know really is a friend and that I am crazy about Him. By the way...He does love you deeply too. He will do for you what He has done for anyone. He really is No respecter of persons or any of the stuff we hold is high esteem. Thank Him that He is not. God...You are amazing!
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary.
Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.
Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had "mountain-moving faith". They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.
At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock the pastor said the final "Amen". "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled," he assured everyone. "God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too."
The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called "come in", a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.
"Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We're building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can't do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly."
The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with "mountain-moving faith" on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week! Isn't it funny how how God can work sometimes?
I'm not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I'm just not worthy. Why would God want me?
Well, did you know that
David's armor didn't fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea's wife was a prostitute.
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God's will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul - well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn't require a job interview for salvation. He's our Heavenly Father. He doesn't look at financial gain or loss. He's not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves
SATAN SAYS, "YOU'RE NOT WORTHY."
JESUS SAYS, "SO WHAT? I AM."
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.
He doesn't calculate how you failed in '99. It's not even on the record.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn't call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He'll use us in spite of who we are, where we've been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said. "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.
The Lord led the holy man to two doors.
He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.
But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight and thought of their eternal misery and suffering.
The Lord said, "You have seen Hell.
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, "I don't understand."
"It is simple," said the Lord. "It requires but one skill. You see they have learned the secret to happiness..... feed one another."
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