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Your Actions Have Power

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Redemption— Creating the Need it Satisfies

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14

The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel. Is the gospel hidden to those who are servants already? No, Paul said, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel. It is God who creates this sense of need in a human being, but that person remains totally unaware of his need until God makes Himself evident. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7). But God cannot give until a man asks. It is not that He wants to withhold something from us, but that is the plan He has established for the way of redemption. Through our asking, God puts His process in motion, creating something in us that was nonexistent until we asked. The inner reality of redemption is that it creates all the time. And as redemption creates the life of God in us, it also creates the things which belong to that life. The only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need. This is the meaning of redemption— it creates and it satisfies.Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). When we preach our own experiences, people may be interested, but it awakens no real sense of need. But once Jesus Christ is “lifted up,” the Spirit of God creates an awareness of the need for Him. The creative power of the redemption of God works in the souls of men only through the preaching of the gospel. It is never the sharing of personal experiences that saves people, but the truth of redemption. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR ACTIONS

Author Unknown

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Thanks!”

There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. “I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS

Author Unknown

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 of their 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.”

WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?

Clarence Schultz

Let’s see…I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare complained that she didn’t want any prayer in our schools, and we said, OK.

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school-the Bible that says Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about, so we won’t spank them anymore.

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.

Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And we said, that’s a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to “do it” anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the “fun” they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that’s another great idea.

And then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said they’re entitled to their free speech.

And the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages homosexuality, rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Therefore, now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with… “we reap what we sow.”


 

(More Food For Thought follows these reflective questions.)

When I die where will I go?
What do I need to do to live forever?
Why do I believe what I do?
If what I believe isn’t true, would I want to know it?
Who has the answers?

From: gatewaytojesus.com

Nothing is too difficult with God

 

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“For Nothing is Impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 

OUR FESTIVAL MIRACLE

Unknown author

We were at Lake Ozark, Missouri, for our churches annual 8 day celebration. My husband Leo and I sang in the Choir. On Tuesday morning we sang backup music to open the worship service. We had just finished practicing for choir and I came down from the stage to my seat for church services. It wasn’t long before Mrs. Petcu (my daughter’s mother-in-law) was at the end of our isle motioning for me to come to her. She said, “I noticed you smiling and waving and thought maybe you haven’t heard.” I said, “Heard what?” She said, “Ronda (my daughter) and Matt (my grandson) were in a camper that blew-up and have been taken to the hospital.” My heart just almost stopped! She continued saying that they were in an explosion/implosion and they were burned. I started looking around for Stacy (my daughter) and she was looking for me. We found each other just about the same time the announcement for prayers for my daughter, her son and the Mitchell’s, some good friends of ours, came over the speaker. My heart fell to the floor and my knees went weak.

I asked my husband and my brother to watch Stacy’s son. Stacy and I went to the hospital. They weren’t there. They transferred them to another hospital up in Columbia. They were immediately placed in the Burn Unit. Now I was frantic and the only thing I could think was , “Oh God, please let them be OK!

I came out of that driveway and went the wrong way to Columbia, which turned out to be good because Stacy saw our friend, Donny, who pulled over, so did we, and we found out what happened.

Ronda and Matt were having breakfast with Donny and Donny’s parents and Grandma. As they were eating their eggs, Mrs. Jean Mitchell (Donny’s mom), smelled gas, and Mr. Don Mitchell (Donny’s dad), said he would check it out. He lit a match and the gas exploded. Donny was telling me that Ronda was O.K., but Matt was burned a couple of places on his face and that he was coming from the hospital and Ronda needed clothes for her and Matt, and Donny needed to go see how Mom and Grandma were. I said, “O.K., you go see about them. We’ll get clothes and go to Columbia.

I still didn’t know what to expect on how bad Matt had been burned, so I was in a hurry. I’m glad Stacy was driving.

We got to the hotel and got a little resistance until I told them the circumstances, and the lady at the desk said oh she hoped everything would be all right. She heard about the explosion/implosion over the CB radio.

It took forever to get to Columbia! We went into the ER and they said they weren’t there yet. The ambulance they would have traveled in was outside, so after waiting way too long in the ER I was going to find admitting or someone else who could tell me something when the ER person said, “Oh, they took them straight up to the burn unit.” It scared me some more! I think I held my breath going up the elevator!

The doors opened and with instant relief but still much concerned, I saw Matt standing down the hall with this way too big blue hospital shirt on. He was burned on the left side of his face, his hair was matted where it was burned, his eyelids were red and puffy, and he was just standing there drinking some water. Then I turned and saw Ronda sitting on a chair with hardly anything wrong, just some minor cuts and matted hair. Then she told me they still had Don, Sr. in the room. I got permission to see him. His hands were bandaged and IV’s were going. He had some second degree burns but that didn’t stop him from giving me a big smile! Then the nurse came in and said after he got a shot he could leave too.

I thanked God and I thanked God and I thanked God!

Later my husband and I went over to the trailer camper and when we saw it we couldn’t believe it! It was TOTALED! The camper had glass blown everywhere, the walls were bowed out. Cabinets were off the wall. It was a mess!

Mrs. Mitchell told us that she smelled gas, she was standing at the sink and her husband was below the sink looking at the tank. Matt was sitting behind them and to one side. When Don Sr. went to check the pilot…BOOM…. Matt said he saw a blue ball come right at him as cabinets blew off the wall and fell into the chair where he was sitting. (He ducked his head which kept a cabinet from hitting him.) The fire wrapped around Jeans ankles as Ronda grabbed Matt and raced out the door. Donny pulled grandma out while he was trying put out the fire in her hair at the same time. Don, Sr. took the full blast on his face and hands, and then had to get into his pocket for keys to get to the big tanks to shut them off, breaking blisters that had already formed. I didn’t know until later that Donny’s ear was burned in the fire also.

People who were camping to one side of them emptied 4 fire extinguishers and put out the fire, keeping it from the big tanks. People on the other side were catching victims as they jumped out of the demolished camper. The fire department said they expected to find everyone dead, that with an explosion/implosion like that usually no one survived. The EMT’s said that they must have been protected by angels.

God had His angels there protecting them!

An angel stood between Don,Sr. and the blast!

An angel held the cabinet just long enough to protect Matt as Ronda pulled him from that chair!

An angel directed the blast towards the back window, blowing it out of the camper, and keeping everyone from being severely burned!

An angel kept the fire away from the big tanks until Don could turn them off!

Yes, the angels were very busy that day, and so were the thousands of members who were praying for all the injured people heading to the hospital.Before they were transported from the accident scene they were all anointed by our minister. Mr. Petcu had anointed Don, Sr. and Matt and Ronda at Lake Ozark Hospital and on the ride to Columbia, Mo. Don, Sr. said he couldn’t feel the pain. God was already intervening and healing!

For the remaining 6 days of that Festival I thanked God every day! When we sang praises to Him I sang with all my heart! There were six people in that camper trailer, and I don’t know how many angels, but to this very day I thank God, and I thank God, and I thank God.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR ACTIONS

Author Unknown

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Thanks!”

There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. “I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

From: gatewaytojesus.com

Mysterious Ways

 

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Mysterious Ways: Shell in the Sand

On duty in World War II, his jeep was stranded at exactly the right moment.

By Norman Bernauer, Kansas City, Missouri

The engine revved, but our jeep’s wheels spun futilely in the sand. Stuck! It was another hot night in the fall of 1945, on the Pacific island of Saipan, and my corporal had taken me out on patrol duty. Sometimes service members would sneak a vehicle off base to cruise around the island, then ditch the vehicle when they were though. It was our job to bring those vehicles back. We’d noticed a set of tire tracks trailing off towards the beach and pulled off the main road to investigate. Now, the jeep refused to budge from its place, lodged in the sand.

While the corporal radioed base for help, I climbed out of the jeep to see if I could get us moving again. I thought of my mother back in Pittsburgh. “I’ll be praying for your safety till the day you come home,” she’d told me on the day I left for duty. I was only 18-years-old at the time, and she worried about me terribly.

Actually, Mom’s prayers must have been working. I hadn’t been in grave danger since my arrival on Saipan. Initially I’d been scheduled to go to Okinawa, the heart of combat. But the army had another plan for me. “You’ll stay here in Saipan,” they informed me, “and serve in the military police.” I greeted this with relief, knowing that my chances of seeing home again were now considerably higher.

I took a closer look at our jeep. The frame had caught on a mound of sand, so that the tires were slightly elevated and unable to gain traction. Nothing to do but wait, I thought. I could hear the waves of the Pacific in the distance as I scanned the sandy path in the jeep’s headlights. That’s when a dull, metal object illuminated in the headlights caught my eye. Hardly two feet in front of our vehicle, something small and pointy, sticking up from the sand. A 14” navel shell, unexploded and ready to go off at the slightest touch!

My corporal radioed base again for additional support to help retrieve the bomb. I couldn’t help but think again about my mother’s prayers. Why had our jeep gotten stuck at exactly that moment, when the other vehicle whose tracks we’d followed had apparently rolled on down the beach?

From: Guideposts

Mysterious Ways: A Day to Remember

Mom never forgot a special occasion. Never.

By April Sommervold, Akron, Iowa

“Hello?” I shouted, stepping through the front door of my parents’ house, shaking the snow off my boots. It felt like someone was there, even though I knew there wasn’t. With my dad in Texas for the winter, I came to check up on the house every so often—collect the mail, adjust the thermostat, make sure the winter storms hadn’t caused any damage. This was just a quick stop before I went home to celebrate my 29th wedding anniversary with my husband, Alan.

I didn’t feel much like celebrating. Mom had passed away just after our anniversary one year ago.  I kept thinking back to the last phone call I got from her. “Happy Anniversary!” she said. “Mom loves you both so much!”

I wasn’t surprised she remembered. It was like she had some kind of internal “mom calendar” to recall every special occasion of family and friends, even at the age of 72. When she died, I tried to remind myself that God had blessed her with a long, happy life, but that didn’t make it any easier to go on without her.

I walked into the kitchen, mindlessly opening and closing the freezer door, half-expecting to see Mom standing at the counter, cutting up a tray of her famous chocolate-chip cookie bars. But no. Mom was gone.

The house was so cold. I turned up the heat and then sat at the roll-top desk in the living room. Lined up across the top were family photos—graduations, weddings, holidays. “I never dreamed this big,” Mom always said at our celebrations. “That life could be this wonderful.”

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and stood up. That’s when I noticed something right by my foot. A small white card lying face down on the bright blue carpet.

That’s weird, I thought. I’d been here just last week and hadn’t seen any clutter on the desk. Where had it fallen from? I bent over, picked it up, and flipped it over.

Three words were printed on the card in bright pink script: “Mom loves you.”

I couldn’t wait to show Alan. Just like I’d never forget Mom, we hadn’t been forgotten either.

From: Guideposts