Sunday, September 24, 2017

SACRIFICIAL LOVE



Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl & she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle.

The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At 16 she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. 5 years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known today for his life of faith & sacrifice.

Hudson & Maria’s work was often criticized - even by other Christians. At one point Maria wrote:  “As to the harsh judging of the world, or the more painful misunderstandings of Christian brethren, I generally feel that the best plan is to go on with our work & leave God to vindicate our cause.”

Of their 9 children, only 4 survived to adulthood. Maria herself died of cholera when she was just 43. But she believed the cause was worthy of the sacrifice. On her grave these words were inscribed: “For her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.” (Phi 1:21).

In a day when many are self-absorbed & care more about what they can get rather than what they can give, we need a renewal of sacrificial love.

It was God’s love for us that sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins & it is that kind of giving love that our world needs so greatly today.

When we love God as we should, our interests fade as we magnify Him.

- ‘The Jubilee Story of the China Inland Mission’, Marshall Broomhall (ministry127.com)

Friday, September 22, 2017

CURE TO DEATH



Napoleon Bonaparte said, “I die before my time; and my body will be given back to earth, to become the food of worms. Such is the fate which so soon awaits the great Napoleon.”

What a contrast to the words of Job: “I know that my Redeemer liveth - and though after my skin worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God!” (Job 19. 25, 26)

- (moreillustrations.com)

“Live in Christ, live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.” - John Knox.

“If you had the cure to cancer wouldn't you share it? ... You have the cure to death ... get out there and share it.” -  Kirk Cameron.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FOOLISH TALK



You can always tell when a man's a fool by his chatter and his way. You can always know when a man is wise by the things he does not say.

- Sunshine Magazine (moreillustrations.com)

Js 2:16 (ICB): ‘And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing.’

"Talk that does not end in any kind of action is better suppressed altogether." - Thomas Carlyle.

“More depends on my walk than talk.” -  D.L. Moody.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

GRACE IS A GIFT



Imagine you are half a million dollars in debt. Someone comes to you & writes out a check for $500,000, saying:

“This is all for you, to cancel your debt. You don’t have to do anything but reach out & take it, and it’s yours.”

So you take the money & pay your debt. You are now debt-free & totally in the clear.

What do you have to boast about? Can you go around bragging that you had the skill & the brains to reach out & take that check? Does that make any sense?

Of course not. You received grace - nothing more, nothing less. The fact that you are now debt-free is a hundred percent due to your benefactor, zero percent due to you.

Who, then, deserves the praise & glory for your salvation? Clearly, not you! You have received riches from the resources of God. His grace made it all possible.

“I do not want to be proud of anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the cross, the ways of this world are dead to me, and I am dead to them.” – Paul (Gal 6:14 NLV).

- (ministry127.com)

“The doctrines of grace humble man without degrading him and exalt him without inflating him.” -  Charles Hodge.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LOVE THROUGH THE DARK



A father & little daughter buried the mother of the home. They were broken-hearted when they returned to the old home after the funeral & things were so different.

The little daughter was placed in her bed for the night as usual. The father retired, but could not sleep.
After a while the little daughter said, "Papa, it is so dark." And then, after a while the little child said, "Papa, you love through the dark, don't you?"

Away in the dark hours of the night the father looked up into the face of Jesus & said, "Jesus, thou dost love though it is dark."

Jesus loves His children & no night is so dark that He does not see us.

- Sunday School Times. (moreillustrations.com)

Ps 112:4 (NIRV): “Even in the darkness light shines on honest people. It shines on those who are kind and tender and godly.”

“Having the answers is not essential to living. What is essential is the sense of God's presence during dark seasons of questioning.” -  Ravi Zacharias.

Monday, September 18, 2017

WHY GOD WATCHES US



The biographer of Bishop Watts, Ditchfield, relates that when a child he was one day in the house of a very old woman, who asked him to read a framed text, "Thou God seest me."

Then she said: "When you are older, people will tell you that God is always watching you to see when you do wrong, in order to punish you. I do not want you to think of it in that way, but I want you to take the text home & to remember all your life that God loves you so much He cannot take his eyes off you."

- Sunday School Times.  (moreillustrations.com)

Ps 121:3 (TLB): “He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For he is always watching, never sleeping.”

Ps 121:5 (NLT): “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.”

“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.” -  A.W. Tozer.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

HOW GOD LOVES AND GIVES



Peter Mackenzie, a Methodist preacher of a generation ago, living in England, preached an early sermon from John 3:16.

Gipsy Smith tells us that the preacher said, after announcing the text: "There are two striking things in my text: When God loves He loves a world. When He gives, He gives His Son."

Such is the boundless love of the eternal Father of mankind.

- Sunday School Times. (moreillustrations.com)

Ep 2:4 (GNT): “But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great.”

“By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God's love toward us.” -  John Chrysostom.

“If we comprehend what Christ has done for us, then surely out of gratitude we will strive to live 'worthy' of such great love. We will strive for holiness not to make God love us but because He already does.” -  Philip Yancey.

Friday, September 15, 2017

THE OPEN DOOR



A lady had been away from home in the afternoon & upon her return, discovered that she had lost the key to the door.

She thought to herself, how unfortunate! And time is pressing.

She went to three neighbors & borrowed as many keys, in the hope that one would fit. But not one of them would do.

Finally someone asked if she had tried the latch. She replied in a spiritless voice, "No, but I will." She did & found that the door had been unlocked all the time & walked in.

What a good illustration this is of the anxious soul, in his desire to approach God. He stands outside, with his mind full of doubts & fears as to his welcome.

He believes there are many things in the way before he may see the Savior, when the door is not only unlocked but stands wide open, with a cordial invitation to enter.

- Messages of Love. (moreillustrations.com)

Lord Jesus said: “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 GW):

“A man can slip into hell with his hand on the door-knob of heaven.” -  Billy Sunday.

TRIALS HAVE A PURPOSE



Gold is one of the most valuable materials on earth. It has been used for centuries as money, but it also has many uses in industry & even space flight. One of the traits that makes gold so useful is that it can be shaped & formed so easily.

But gold ore dug out of the ground contains many other elements that must be removed prior to the gold being useful. The refining process for gold involves intense heat. Gold melts at a temperature of almost 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. That incredibly high temperature is required for gold to be ready to be used.

The Christian life involves much the same process. Sometimes we are surprised when ‘bad things happen to good people.’

But the Scripture tells us that fiery trials are part of God’s refining process for our lives. Rather than complaining when trials come, we should rejoice as we think of the end result they will produce.

- (ministry127.com)

Js 1:2-4 (GNT): “My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

“Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things learned only in a fiery furnace.”- Oswald Chambers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

COLLECTIVELY WE MAKE THE BODY OF CHRIST



A traveler, as he passed through a forest saw a part of a huge oak, which appeared misshapen & almost seemed to spoil the scenery.

"If," said he, "I was the owner of this forest, I would cut down that tree."

But when he had ascended the hill & taken a full view of the forest, this same tree appeared the most beautiful part of the landscape.

"How erroneously," said he, "I judged when I saw only a part!"

The full view, the harmony & proportion of things, are all necessary to clear up our judgment.

- Olin (moreillustrations.com)

1 Cor 12:12-13 & 27 (ERV): “A person has only one body, but it has many parts... Christ is like that too.  Some of us are Jews and some of us are not... But we were all baptized to become one body…  All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body.”

“God cares nothing about our manmade divisions and groups and is not interested in our self-righteous, hair-splitting, and religious, man-made formulas and organizations. He wants you to recognize the UNITY of the body of Christ.” -  M.R. DeHaan.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY



President Calvin Coolidge was famously known as a man of few words. His nickname was “Silent Cal.”

His wife, Grace Coolidge, told the story of a young woman who sat next to her husband at a dinner party. She told Coolidge she had a bet with a friend that she could get at least three words of conversation from him.

Without looking at her he quietly retorted, “You lose.”

Coolidge understood very well the value of using only carefully considered words - and those being few in number.

In a time when people reveal their most personal information in the most public ways without thought or hesitation, it is important for us to recapture this piece of wisdom.

Truly wise believers do not feel the need to tell everything they know to everyone they meet - much less to total strangers. Instead they choose their words with care, recognizing the responsibility that comes with our speech.

Lord Jesus said: “I tell you that everyone will have to answer for all the careless things they have said. This will happen on the Day of Judgment.”  (Mat 12:36 ERV)

- ‘The Presidents of the United States of America’, Frank Freidel & Hugh S. Sidey (ministry127.com)

“Learn to hold thy tongue; five words cost Zacharias forty weeks of silence.” -  Thomas Fuller.

Monday, September 11, 2017

TRUE HAPPINESS NOT IN MONEY



This is illustrated in the history of two kings, Croesus, King of Lydia, born in 590 B.C., had immense wealth & lived luxuriously. He filled his house with all manner of costly treasures. He thought he was the happiest of mortals.

Solon, one of the seven wise men of Greece, paid him a visit & was received into a magnificent chamber. Solon showed no surprise or admiration. The king, angry at his indifference, asked Solon, “Why do you not think me the most truly happy?”

Solon replied: “No man can be esteemed truly happy but he whose happiness God continues to the end of his life.”

Cyrus, noted for his liberality, was a king loved by his people. He was rich but gave much away. “My treasures,” he said, “are the hearts & affections of my people.”

1 Tim 6:17-19 (NIV): “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

- (moreillustrations.com)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

PRAYING FOR OTHERS



A guest at a country house coming down to breakfast one morning was met by the child of the house, who running up to him & putting his hand in his, looked up into his face with a smile, saying:

"I'm your friend now; I put you in my prayer last night!"

Something of this spirit is in Col. 1:3 (ERV) that says: “In our prayers we always thank God for you...”

- (moreillustrations.com)

“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” -  Charles Spurgeon.

“Every time I pray for all of you, I do it with joy.” – Paul (Phil 1:4 GW).

“It is not only our duty to pray for others, but also to desire the prayers of others for ourselves.” -  William Gurnall.

BE PREPARED



The optimistic pessimist explained why he always dined in restaurants where music was provided:

"Because it works two ways: sometimes the music helps to make me forget the food, and sometimes the food helps to make me forget the music."

"Hope for the best, plan for the worst." - Lee Child.

Pro 22:3 (GNT): "Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret later."

Thursday, September 7, 2017

THE BOOK OF REEVALUATION



In one Peanuts comic strip Sally was struggling with her memory verse for Sunday. She was absorbed in her thoughts trying to figure it out when she remembered, “Maybe it was something from the book of Reevaluation.”

She never did find the memory verse, but we should always read the Bible with the intent of reevaluating our attitudes & actions to make sure they are in line with the truth of God’s Word.

- (ministry127.com)

Pro 16:2 (GNT): “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.”

“Many people live righteously for selfish or misguided reasons. If you are striving to please God, examine your motives today.” -  Paul Chappell.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MISSIONS


A lad who heard his father pray for missions, and especially for the needs of missionaries, that they might be supplied, and that their institutions might be amply sustained, said to him:

"Father, I wish I had your money."

"Why, my son, what would you do with it?" asked the father.

"I would answer your prayers," was the reply.

- (moreillustrations.com)

2 Cor 9:6 (GNT): “Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop.”

“It's what you sow that multiplies, not what you keep in the barn.” -  Adrian Rogers.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

ALIENS CARRYING THE GOSPEL



It was a Jew who brought the Gospel to Rome; a Roman who took it to France; a Frenchman who took it to Scandinavia; a Scandinavian who took it to Scotland; a Scotsman who evangelized Ireland, and an Irishman in turn made the missionary conquest of Scotland.

No people ever received the Gospel except at the hands of an alien.

- The Other Sheep. (moreillustrations.com)

“To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord He now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe.” - John Stott.

Then Jesus said to them, “Go into every part of the world. Tell the good news to everyone.” (Mk 16:15 WE)

“Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the persistent responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.” - Elton Trueblood.

Monday, September 4, 2017

MODERN IDOLATRY



A millionaire, who had been born a poor boy, and whose money was now his idol, after showing his palatial mansion & beautiful grounds to a Quaker, said:

"And the almighty dollar has done it all! What cannot money do?"

"Ah, friend," replied the Quaker, "you remind me of the Israelites who worshiped the golden calf, saying it brought them out of the land of Egypt. In reality, it hindered rather than helped them in their journey to the Promised Land, and maybe your dollars will do the same for you."

- Evangelical Visitor. (moreillustrations.com)

“As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.” -  A.B. Simpson.

Deu 5:9 (CEV): “Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the Lord your God, and I demand all your love...“

Ps 135:18 (ERV): “Those who make idols and trust in them will become just like the idols they have made.”

“When your thoughts and opinions become intellectual gods in rebellion against the Word of God, you are in idolatry.” -  John Hagee.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A FACT ABOUT NORWAY



It is said that Norway, with a total population of three millions, which is not nearly as large as the city of Chicago alone, has 550 foreign missionaries.

Since the World War, Norway has been free from much of the turmoil which has so disrupted the other nations of the earth. Of course some will tell us that this is because Norway is so situated geographically as not to be in the line of conflict.

With all due regard to this reason, we are of the opinion that God has blessed Norway spiritually & governmentally to a great extent because of the interest which the people of the nation have in the Gospel.

Certainly 550 missionaries from a small country which has never been known especially for its wealth is a record worthy of commendation

- Brethren Evangelist. (moreillustrations.com)

Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples... And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:18-20 GNT)

Moses replied, “If you do not go with us, don't make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you are pleased with your people and with me if you do not go with us? Your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth.” (Exo 33:15-16 GNT).

Friday, September 1, 2017

AMBASSADOR’S APPRECIATION



Senator Dolliver's father lived with him in Washington, D. C. As the father was returning from a meeting, he met the Italian Ambassador descending the steps & preached Christ to him.

When the father died, the Ambassador sent flowers & asked the privilege of sitting with the family, saying:

"He was the only person who thought enough of me to speak to me about my soul."

- Sunday School Times. (moreillustrations.com)

Heb 13:7 (GNT): “Remember your former leaders, who spoke God's message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith.”

“I preached as never sure to preach again; as a dying man to dying men.” -  Richard Baxter.

Isa 55:11 (GNT): “So also will be the word that I speak— it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.”
               

NEW LIFESTYLE



An Englishman who boasted that he did not believe in God once visited the Fiji Islands. As he saw the natives going to church with Bibles in their hands, he exclaimed:

"The Bible is no good. Your religion about Christ is false."

To this a simple native teacher answered:

"It is a good thing for you that we left our heathenism and cannibalism and took to our Bibles and Christianity, else you would be clubbed, cooked in a native oven, and eaten."

- (moreillustrations.com)

2Co 5:17 (EE): "When anyone is united with Christ, they become a new person. God makes them new. Old things have gone. See, they have become new!"

"The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation." -  Adrian Rogers.