Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Man of Peace and Purity

Larimore lived in such an atmosphere of purity and goodness that he had no fear whatsoever of death . From a western city in the midst of a revival, with the burden of labor and cares heavy on his heart, he wrote to F. D. Srygley: "Some sweet day I'll breathe my last. When you tell the world I am gone, please tell them I was ready, wiling and anxious to go; that I dreaded not death"

Source:
The Man From Mars Hill The Life and Times of T. B. Larimore, by J. M. Powell, p. 97.



The Desire For Distinction

By Kippy Meyers

    There is a television show playing this week called American Idol. Thousands of people are trying to be the best singer in a competition to win prizes. However, it is amazing how terribly some of them sing. Maybe they do not realize how awful they should.Others clearly have no hope of winning the competition; they are only doing something outrageous in order to get on television for a few seconds. Of course, there are quite a few of these "reality shows" on television these days on which people are willing to be made fools of in order to be seen on television (and possibly to become famous for a few moments).
    Some people will do anything for a little notoriety.This reminded me of an even more outlandish case from history. The temple of Artemis (also known as Diana) in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (see Acts 19:27). From what the history books say about it, the temple must have been fantastic. It was destroyed more than once, first by Herostatus in 356 B.C. History says that e burned it to the ground in order to make a name for himself, that is, to make sure that his name would go down in history.Sadly, we could list many such instances throughout history. The search for fame has left many destroyed lives and dead bodies in its wake
    What soem people are willing to do for fame is mind boggling. No wonder the apostle warned each of us, "not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think" (Romans 12:3) and another warned "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but isof the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:16-17).
    Let us make sure that our motives are pure and that we are not hurting others or the church simply to get some recognition for ourselves.

Source:
Illustrations That Illustrate, The World Evangelist, Feb. 2002, p. 17.



Fear of the Dentist

     A little boy was afraid of the dentist ...
     So his father decided to set the example and have his teeth examined. The dentist looked inside the father's mouth and said, "Oh, there's a tooth in there that has to be pulled."
     The father asked, "How much will it cost?" The dentist answered, "We charge $35 a tooth." Then the father asked, "How long will it take to pull the tooth?" The dentist answered, "About a minute." The father protested, "I get paid by the hour, and when I think of paying $35 for a minutes work, that is a terribly high hourly wage." "Well," said the dentist, "I can pull the tooth more slowly if you like ..."

Thoughts: In NT times the Jews believed that a prayers' effectiveness was in direct proportion to its length. Ancient Rabbis maintained that the longer the prayer, the more likely it would be heard and heeded by God. A Christian's relationship with God is not based upon verbosity, but the repetition of sincere requests (cf. Luke 18:1-7; 2 Cor. 12:7-8; Matt. 26:39-44) in prayer.

Source:
KneEmail, edited by Mike Benson, date unknown.



Goodbye

     Jason Tuskes was a seventeen-year-old high school honor student who was close to his mother, his wheelchair-bound father, and his younger brother ...
     He was an expert swimmer who loved to scuba dive. Jason left home on a Tuesday morning to explore a spring and underwater cave near his home in west central Florida. His plan was to be home in time to celebrate his mother's birthday by going out to dinner with his family that night. Jason became lost in the cave. Then, in his panic, he apparently got wedged into a narrow passageway. When he realized he was trapped, he shed his yellow metal air tank and unsheathed his diver's knife. With the tank as a tablet and the knife as a pen, he wrote one last message to this family: "I love you Mom, Dad, and Christian." Then he ran out of air and drowned.
     Thought: A dying message is something that simply cannot be ignored. What consumed the Lord's thinking during His final hours? If we listen closely to His prayer shortly before He entered Gethsemane, we get a glimpse into His heat (John 17:20-21).

Source:
KneEmail, edited by Mike Benson, date unknown.



Medical Test Results

    Maybe you heard about the man who went to his doctor for a checkup. He came back the next day to get the results from the tests.
    "Doc, how do I look?"
    The doctor said, "I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?"
    The man said, "Let me hear the good news first."
    The doctor said, "Well, the good news is, you have twenty-four hours to live."
    "Oh no! That's the good news?" the man gasped. "I've got twenty-four hours to live? Then, what' the bad news?"
    The doctor replied, "The bad news is I was supposed to tell you yesterday."

Source:
Unknown



More Than Medals

By  David A. Sargent

    The 2014 Winter Olympics recently ended with the host country, Russia, winning the medal count.  Russia won 13 golds and 33 total medals, becoming the first Winter Olympic host nation to lead gold- and total-medal counts since Norway in 1952.  The country has celebrated the victories of their medalists and recently congratulated them with more than just the honor of earning the medals.
    On Thursday, February 27, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev handed out keys to a fleet of white Mercedes-Benz cars to 44 of the Russian medalists next to Red Square in Moscow.  Three different classes of cars were offered for the three medal colors.  Each of the cars was adorned with the Russian Olympic Team logo.
    What about the medal-winning athletes like figure skating champions Yuliya Lipnitskaya (age 15) and Adelina Sotnikova (age 17), who are under the minimum driving age of 18 (in Russia)?  According to the Associated Press, those without licenses also received a paid-for driver.
    These Olympic athletes received more than nice new cars.  The cars came on top of cash prizes. Gold medalists received $120,000, silver medalists $76,000 and bronze medalists $52,000, according to R-Sport. *
    Yet all of the medals and the additional prizes cannot compare with the “reward” that is promised for faithful followers of Christ…
    Against the backdrop of Olympic-like games in Greece, the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Corinth: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:25).  James also wrote about the crown that awaits the faithful child of God: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).  The “crown” is the reward of eternal life for those who follow Jesus!
    The differences between the “crown of life” and Olympic medals (and all of the accolades and prizes that accompany the medals) are many.  The main difference is: we cannot EARN the crown of life.  The crown of life is received, not achieved.  In fact, the basis of receiving the crown of life is not our flawless performance.  That’s wonderful news because “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Each of us has fallen many more times than any figure skater – Olympic or otherwise!  Just because our “performance” may be better than others doesn’t earn the crown for us either.
    The basis of receiving the crown of life is not our performance but what Someone else did for us.  Despite our “falls” (our sins), God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Through His death on the cross on our behalf, Jesus paid the price for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7).  Then three days later, He rose from the grave achieving victory over sin, Satan, and death!
    To share in the victory of Christ and receive the crown of life, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, as we continue to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and follow Him faithfully (not flawlessly), He will continue to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and, one day, give to us the crown of life (READ 2 Timothy 4:6-8).
    The crown of life is worth far more than any “medals” this world has to offer.  Jesus died so that you might receive this crown.
    Our response should be to seek to please the One who DIED for us so that we might LIVE eternally!
    Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?

Source:
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Information gleaned from “Russian Olympic Medalists Receive Luxury Cars” by Nick Zaccardi of NBCsports.com



Oddities

Over the course of the next year, you will have about 1,460 dreams. And if you're an average American, during that year, you will consume about 12 pounds of cereal and drink 600 sodas. You'll also laugh more than 4,700 times.

Source:
Tidbits, Guardian Publishing, Jackson, MO, April 24, 2003, p. 1.



Out Of Step

By Alan Smith

    As he was drilling a batch of recruits, the sergeant saw that one of them was marching out of step. Walking up next to the man as they marched, he said sarcastically: "Do you know they are all out of step except you?"
    "What?" asked the recruit innocently.
    "I said -- they are all out of step except you!" thundered the sergeant.
    The recruit replied, "Well, sarge, you're in charge -- you tell them!"
    I understand how that recruit felt because there are times that we as Christians look around at the world and we are out of step with everyone else.  As we walk with Christ and live by the Spirit, that causes us to say and do things that are very different from what the world does.  Everyone else seems to be agreed on how to walk, but we are out of step.
    We may be tempted to think (like the sergeant above) that we are the ones who need to change to get in step with everyone else.  But (like the recruit above) we aren't the ones who need to change.  And we need to continue to walk in step with the Spirit regardless of how those around us walk.
    "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light." (Eph. 5:8)
    "Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you." (I Peter 4:4, NLT)
    "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." (I John 2:6)
    If you feel like you're out of step with the world, don't let it bother you.  Just make sure you're in step with God.
    Have a great day!

Source:
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com



Outlive Yourself

By Steve Higginbotham

     My wife and I just returned from a visit to Mt. Airy, NC, the home of Andy Griffith. Since we’re fans of the Andy Griffith show, we thought it would be fun to go to Mt. Airy, Andy’s real-life home town, and the model town for the fictional town of Mayberry. We went through the Andy Griffith Museum, took a few pictures, and headed home. Within hours, we learned that Andy Griffith had passed away. 
Since hearing the news of his passing, I listened to an interview he gave a couple years ago. The interviewer asked him if he could remember all the episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. Surprisingly to me, he said, “no.” Oh, he remembered many of them, had some favorites, but just didn’t remember all of them. I found that amazing because there are thousands of people across the country who remember every episode, can tell you what’s going to happen next, and even quote lines. But Andy, himself, couldn’t. 
     That caused me to reflect on how our influence can long outlive our lives. Some of the episodes that Andy Griffith actually participated in were not remembered by him, but thousands of people who simply “looked on” remember every detail. What that tells me is that I had better be cautious about my words, attitudes, and actions. What I might say or do today, and forget about tomorrow, may never be forgotten by an “onlooker,” even long after I am dead and gone. 
     The passing of Andy Griffith reminded of a truth spoken by the apostle Paul, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Romans 14:7). Make sure that the influence you have on others is the kind that you want to outlive you. 

Source:
- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.karnschurch.org



Problems With Riches

By Kippy Meyers

     Herbert Chun of New South Wales in Australia learned a hard lesson about some of the many hardships that can be associated with riches. He won $70,000 in the lottery. Upon learning of his winnings, he was so excited that he fell dead of a heart attack. The same thing happened to William Lane after he won $250,000 in the lottery. The same thing happened to Harold Richards. I suspect that there are other examples of this. I don't suppose that anyone would say, "Winning the lottery was the best thing that ever happened to them."
     There are other, even more significant problems associated with having a lot of this world's goods (1 Timothy 3:10). One problem is that those who are "minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 3:9).
     If Herbert, William, and Harold could rewrite history, do you think that they would buy the lottery ticket that brought their doom?
    In times when cast becomes sparse, let us make sure that our attitudes regarding riches are noble (Luke 12:15). The best and most important things in life cannot be bought with cash.

Source:
Illustrations That Illustrate, The World Evangelist, Feb. 2002, p. 17.



Scent Dog

Michel Raviol sells fragrances for dogs. "Pooch du Noel" is a dog perfume prices at $250 for 3.4 ounces. Mr. Raviol commented, "People think we're whacked. But they buy it."

Source:
Firm Foundation, April 2003, p. 29.