The Best Glue

There is something very special about families. God designed families. When He created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden, He wanted them to live forever in happiness together. It was a very sad day when Adam and Eve had to leave their beautiful home because they had disobeyed God. Ever since then, living together happily has been a little difficult to do.

Why do you think it is hard? Do you have a best friend? You know, someone that you always like to be around? Well, do you ever fight with that friend? Sooner or later, it is bound to happen. Why? Because even though you and your friend like many of the same things, you do have some differences. You disagree. You misunderstand. Sometimes you just outright fight.

That happens in families too. Thankfully, God designed families to last. Even when things go terribly wrong, families can stay together because God puts them together with something stronger than the best glue that people have ever invented! Love.

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Warm Up the Outside First

The little boy walked into the church, shivering from the cold. His lips were so chapped it hurt too much to smile. Not that he had any reason to. It was Christmas day, and he was going to starve. He slipped into the unlocked foyer and curled up beside a heater vent – at least it was warmer.

Across the street a boy ran to the preacher. “There’s a little boy in the church, Daddy! Doesn’t he know we don’t have church on Christmas day?”

The pastor considered. A little boy? Why would he be in the church today? “Son, why don’t you get your coat and boots? We’ll go see if we can find out why he’s here today.”

The cold little boy was afraid of them when they first approached but finally agreed to go across the street to a warm home, delicious meal, and some hand-me-down clothes. As he sat waiting for some authority to decide his fate though, he became curious. “Mister, why didn’t you let me stay in the church? One time I heard someone say that the church always had the answer to your problems. And it was warmer in there than it is outside.”

“Would you rather have stayed over there?”

“Oh, no! It’s a lot better here! But you didn’t have to come get me.”

“Well, whoever told you that church has all the answers was right, but I think we could put it a better way.” And the young father began to explain the story of Christmas and the love of God to his new friend. This story is entirely fictional, but I like to think that something like this might happen. Sometimes you have to warm up someone’s outsides before you can thaw out the heart.

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Don’t Bow!

Imagine with me what it would be like if you had been born in Egypt back when the Israelites were slaves there. Suppose your parents were slaves who every day had to make bricks for the Pharaoh’s pyramids. Suppose you never got to go to school and learn to read or write because for as long as you can remember, you have been collecting sticks under the watchful eye of one very stern looking master.

Then one day you hear your father telling your mother about a crazy man who used to be a prince of Egypt and had started causing trouble for all the slaves. He had gone to Pharaoh and said something that made him so mad, now all the slaves had to work twice as hard! The next days were filled with all kinds of strange happenings. The Egyptians complained of overwhelming frogs, flies, blood, disease, and all kinds of nasty things, but you saw nothing unusual in the slaves’ quarter.

Finally, it happened. Something you did not really think was possible. Pharaoh ordered all the slaves to get out of his country! Everybody grabbed what they could, and even took gifts from the Egyptians, and started walking out of the country. What a sight! There were slaves – but not slaves anymore – for miles around, just walking, walking toward freedom.

But something else terrible happened. Pharaoh changed his mind! The soldiers were coming for you again! Just when you were sure everybody was going to die, God jerked back the Red Sea and you and your family and all the other former slaves walked across to freedom. Finally safe from Pharaoh and his soldiers!

When God told Moses that the people of Israel should never make a “graven image,” He was talking about the statues and such that the Egyptians had worshiped. God wanted to make sure no one ever forgot that He had saved the slaves from Egypt. He had conquered Pharaoh and his army. Why would you ever want to bow down to anything else?

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So How Big is God?

A little over thirty-five years ago, NASA launched two spacecraft designed to travel to parts of our universe never before reached my any man-made craft. For thirty-five years Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have been powering through outer space, pushing toward the edge of what we know.

For thirty-five years, scientists have been listening to and looking at every scrap of information these two travellers have sent back. So much knowledge has been gained!

And so much perspective. Can you believe that humanity once believed planet Earth was the central point and largest mass of the universe? It seems like a ridiculous notion now.

But then, humanity has also often tended toward self-centeredness. Once, many years ago, a thirty-something-year-old Man who knew just how small Earth is compared to the rest of the Universe.

Yet He came. He came because God is bigger. Bigger than the universe. Bigger even than all the smallness in the universe.

That is how big God is.

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A Publishing Life

Imagine this: There is a knock on your front door. You carefully study the figure on your front porch then unlock the door. It is your neighbor’s teenage son. He has come with some mail that had been incorrectly delivered. He takes one look through into your home, sees the “Lord, make me a blessing today” wall hanging, smirks, and leaves. “Now did that look mean?” you wonder. “Does he not believe God exists?”

Maybe not. Or maybe what he finds amusing is you.

Have you been a blessing to him? Or have you been too busy putting out signs and campaigning about Christianity to answer God’s call to service.

Perhaps the real reason Christians often have trouble getting nonbelievers to trust what the Bible says is they do not see it working in our lives.

Have you been publishing the gospel with your life?

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Being The One Who Spoke With God

The Israelites had watched God decimate the empire that had so long held them captive. They had felt the spray of the waters as they were peeled back to let the people through. They had been filled by the manna and quail the Lord sent. But forty days without the man who spoke with God was too much for their faith, and they fell for a golden bovine. Why would we ever want to risk going too long without talking to Him?

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Do you believe …

Do you believe that any human being can be saved from the bondage of sin? Do you believe that Jesus’ blood covers a multitude of sins? Do you believe that even the vilest of offenders can be redeemed?

Are you sure? Sure enough to pray for those caught in the bondage of sin? Sure enough to try to lead someone to the cleansing blood? Sure enough to pray for the vile offenders?

Take some time with your answer. It has great implications.

Perhaps a historical look at the question will help.

In the first half of the last century there was a man who rose high in the political circles of a great country. He was proclaimed by Winston Churchill as a brilliant politician. He would restore the unity and pride of his nation. By the middle of the century, he was dead. Buried in the rubble of an empire he could not build.

His name was Adolph Hitler.

In the final half of that same century a brutal dictator made his way to a throne by very different methods. There was no bowing and scraping on his way to the top; it was a bloody path. For twenty-four years he ruled by destroying his real or alleged opposition. In 2006 he was sentenced to death by his own countrymen.

That was Saddam Hussein.

Imagine how history might have differed had their hearts been touched.

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June 8, 2012 · 9:02 am

Liberty and Freedom

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a bright young doctor was imprisoned for his Jewish ancestry. All liberty and dignity was stripped away. His family was destroyed. His education and experience suddenly meant nothing. Yet even in that horrific place, he discovered, “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.” How? “Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

He found freedom even without liberty.

What a great measure of gratitude we own to those who have gained both for us!

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What Was God Thinking?

Moses stuttered.

Joshua led the people in circles around a powerful city for days on end.

Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish.

Peter had a habit of saying and doing anything that came to mind.

Saul was so well trained in religion that he hated Christians.

What was God thinking?

God gave Aaron the words to speak for Moses.

God made the walls fall down.

God took Jonah – still in the fish – to his destination.

God perfected Peter’s mind.

God changed Saul so much He even changed his name.

Well, what do you know? God seems to know what He is doing after all.

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Castles in the Sky

In the mid-1400s, the thrilling Renaissance Period, an imposing summer residence was erected for the Archbishop of Salzburg. A beautiful and lasting castle.

Since then it has been captured, confiscated, sold, rented, and auctioned. That marvelous building was intended to bring honor to important men. Today it serves as a novel vacation spot for tourists.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).

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Our Place to Stand

Archimedes, a Greek mathematician of the second century before Christ, said, “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the world.”

When a king demanded a demonstration, Archimedes had a huge ship brought ashore; then, using a series of pulleys and a carefully placed fulcrum, with the one-handed turn of a lever, he moved the ship.

Jesus once gave His disciples a promise like that. He said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).

In other words, faith is our fulcrum. So where is our place to stand?  “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (v. 21).  We stand on prayer and move the world through faith.

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Did You Ask Any Good Questions Today?

Every afternoon when he got home from school, the little boy had to answer the same question from his mother. “Did you ask any good questions today?” That one question created a habitual curiosity in one small immigrant child who would grow up to be a well known physicist of the mid-1900s. In fact, in 1944, Isidor Isaac Rabi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work with the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.

Thanks to his mother, he asked some very good questions.

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