ConfessionEarly in 1993 British police accused two ten-year-old boys of the brutal murder of two-year-old James Bulger. The two boys pleaded innocence.The young defendants responded to police questioning with noticeable inconsistency. The climax came when the parents of one of the boys assured him that they would always love him. Confronted with irrefutable evidence linking him with the crime and the assurance of his parents' love, the boy confessed in a soft voice, "I killed James."The miracle of God's love is that he knows how evil we are, yet he loves us. We can confess our worst sins to him, confident that his love will not diminish.—Greg Asimakoupoulos Concord, California
Remaining in Christ
On a recent ski trip, I saw to my surprise a blind person skiing. The blind skier, wearing a bright pink vest, stayed directly behind an instructor, listening for directions on how and when to turn.
Over the next several days I saw many blind skiers, invariably following the person who gave them the information they needed to make it safely, down the mountain.
Remaining, or abiding, in Jesus means following him in the same way.
—Steve Winger Lubbock, Texas
Judy Anderson, whose husband is the West Africa Director of the World Relief Corporation, grew up as the daughter of missionaries in Zaire. As a little girl, she went to a day-long rally celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of Christian missionaries coming to that part of Zaire. After a full day of long speeches and music, an old man came before the crowd and insisted that he be allowed to speak. He said he soon would die, and that he alone had some important information. If he did not speak, that information would go with him to his grave.
He explained that when Christian missionaries came a hundred years before, his people thought the missionaries were strange and their message unusual. The tribal leaders decided to test the missionaries by slowly poisoning them to death. Over a period of months and years, missionary children died one by one. Then the old man said, "It was as we watched how they died that we decided we wanted to live as Christians."
That story had gone untold for one hundred years. Those who died painful, strange deaths never knew why they were dying or what the impact of their lives and deaths would be. They stayed because they trusted Jesus Christ.
—Leith Anderson Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Holy Spirit In the book Healing the Masculine Soul, Gordon Dalbey says that when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper, he uses a Greek word, paraclete, that was an ancient warrior's term.
"Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs," says Dalbey, "so when the enemy attacked, they could draw together back-to-back, covering each other's blind side. One's battle partner was the paraclete."
Our Lord does not send us to fight the good fight alone. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who covers our blind side and fights for our well being.
—Tom Tripp Colusa, California
In September 1993, with the Major League Baseball season nearing its end, the first-place Philadelphia Phillies visited the second-place Montreal Expos.
In the first game of the series, the home team Expos came to bat one inning trailing 7-4.
Their first two batters reached base. The manager sent a pinch hitter to the plate, rookie Curtis Pride, who had never gotten a hit in the major leagues. Pride took his warm up swings, walked to the plate, and on the first pitch laced a double, scoring two runners.
The stadium thundered as 45,757 fans screamed their approval. The Expos third base coach called time, walked toward Pride, and told him to take off his batting helmet.
What's wrong with my helmet? wondered the rookie. Then, realizing what his coach meant, Pride tipped his cap to the appreciative fans.
After the game, someone asked Pride if he
could hear the cheering. This person wasn't giving the rookie a hard time. Curtis Pride is 95 percent deaf.
"Here," Pride said, pointing to his heart. "I could hear it here."
Sometimes we hear things most strongly in our heart. Curtis Pride heard the fans' approval in his heart. It's in our hearts that God wants us to know his approval of our faith in Jesus Christ. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Rom. 8:16).
—Harry J. Heintz Troy, New York
StrengthOn my way to a conference in Colorado, I was driving uphill along a major interstate when I overtook a freight train going the same direction at a slower speed. The train was being pushed uphill by two locomotives that sounded as if they were straining at full power. I'm a flatlander from the Midwest. Is this how trains move in mountainous terrain? I wondered.A few minutes later, I gradually came alongside the front of the nearly mile-long string of cars. There I found five more locomotives pulling the
While serving with Operation Mobilization in India in 1967, tuberculosis forced me into a sanitarium for several months. I did not yet speak the language, but I tried to give Christian literature written in their language to the patients, doctors, and nurses. Everyone politely refused.
I sensed many weren't happy about a rich American (to them all Americans are rich) being in a free, government-run sanitarium. (They didn't know I was just as broke as they were!)
The first few nights I woke around 2:00 a.m. coughing. One morning during my coughing spell, I noticed one of the older and sicker patients across the aisle trying to get out of bed. He would sit up on the edge of the bed and try to stand, but in weakness would fall back into bed. I didn't understand what he was trying to do. He finally fell back into bed exhausted. I heard him crying softly.
The next morning I realized what the man had been trying to do. He had been trying to get up and walk to the bathroom! The stench in our ward was awful.
Other patients yelled insults at the man. Angry nurses moved him roughly from side to side as they cleaned up the mess. One nurse even slapped him. The old man curled into a ball and wept.
The next night I again woke up coughing. I noticed the man across the aisle sit up and again try to stand. Like the night before, he fell back whimpering. I don't like bad smells, and I didn't want to become involved, but I got out of bed and went over to him. When I touched his shoulder, his eyes opened wide with fear. I smiled, put my arms under him, and picked him up.
He was very light due to old age and advanced tb. I carried him to the washroom, which was just a filthy, small room with a hole in the floor. I stood behind him with my arms under his armpits as he took care of himself. After he finished, I picked him up, and carried him back to his bed. As I laid him down, he kissed me on the cheek, smiled, and said something I couldn't understand.
The next morning another patient woke me and handed me a steaming cup of tea. He motioned with his hands that he wanted a tract.
As the sun rose, other patients approached and indicated they also wanted the booklets I had tried to distribute before. Throughout the day nurses, interns, and doctors asked for literature.
Weeks later ah evangelist who spoke the language visited me, and as he talked to others he discovered that several had put their trust in Christ as Savior as a result of reading the literature.
What did it take to reach these people with the gospel? It wasn't health, the ability to speak their language, or a persuasive talk. I simply took a trip to the bathroom.
—Doug Nichols Bothell, Washington
train. Seven engines in all! Where I come from, I rarely see more than three.
That train was a lesson for me. I had been under serious strain for some time. I was feeling tired and was wondering whether I could persevere under the pressure.
How like God, I thought. When I am pushing a load uphill with all the strength I have and feel like my energy level is depleted, he wants me to know that he is in the lead pulling with power far greater than mine.
—Richard Mylander St. Cloud, Minnesota
In the town of Stepanavan, Armenia, I met a woman whom everyone called "Palasan's wife." She had her own name, of course, but townspeople called her by her husband's name to show her great honor.
When the devastating 1988 earthquake struck Armenia, it was nearly noon, and Palasan was at work. He rushed to the elementary school where his son was a student. The facade was already crumbling, but he entered the building and began pushing children outside to safety. After Palasan had managed to help twenty-eight children out, an aftershock hit that completely collapsed the school building and killed him.
So the people of Stepanavan honor his memory and his young widow by calling her Palasan's wife.
Sometimes a person's greatest honor is not who they are but to whom they are related. The highest honor of any believer is to be called a disciple of Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for all people.
— L. Nishan Bakalian Beirut, Lebanon
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