Preaching by Mike
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run
down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service
on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls,painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church.His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful,handmade,
ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front
wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus, 45 minutes later.
She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor,"she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten "The Tablecloth". The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth;but she made the pastor keep it for the church.The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again, in all the 35 years between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says God does work in mysterious ways.I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you. His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares we know He will see us through.
So when the road you're traveling seems difficult at best, just remember I'm here praying and God will do the rest.
When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.
Mankind is BORN bent away from God. We're born in the image of fallen Adam. There is a "piece" missing from God's original design. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Spirit. That is the missing piece.
When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we are credited with the absolute righteousness of Jesus Christ. We become born again, born of the Spirit.
OOPS! I won't be doing that again!
I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old, it was a Saturday, and my older brother and I were bored. We had a basketball, but the goal was wasted. We had a baseball bat, but the ball had disappeared into the neighbor's yard long ago. So, my brother came up with a brilliant idea!
Within the confines of the driveway, he was going to pitch the basketball and I was going to hit it with the bat. He pitched the basketball, but it was high and tight. Obviously out of the strike zone. It was just the two of us, so I would have been the one chasing it down the driveway. I elected to hit it. I had visions of watching that basketball sailing over the garage.
With a mighty swing from over my head, I had a good, square hit in the middle of the ball. Did it go over the garage? No. It dropped to the ground unconsequentially in front of me. The bat had a different, unexpected result. It bounced immediately back from where it came...right in the middle of my forehead. My fall in the middle if the driveway was of much more consequence. I think it knocked me out for a few moments. This was about 1960, there were no ER visits for such matters in those days.
I recovered from that incident, yet it was years before I received the profound truth that was to be learned in that incident. What did we do wrong? WE MIXED THE RULES!
Millions of Christians need to learn that valuable lesson I was taught in the middle of our driveway. Many Christians will bragadociously tell me that they obey the WHOLE Bible. First of all, they are lying to me. Jesus Christ is the only One Who ever obeyed the whole Old Testament. Secondly, it was written to Israel, and its primary application is to Israel and those living under their rule. Can we learn about God in the Old Testament? Indeed we can! Is the Christian obligated to obey the Mosaic Law? No we are not!
The Old Testament and the New Testament are two separate rules of life. One for the Jews, one for the Christian. If you mix the rules, picking out what you like in the Old Testament, you will figuratively get laid out in your own spiritual driveway.
The Law was written to be obeyed in the flesh. The New Testament is instructional, to be followed in the Spirit. That is why God has endowed us with the Holy Spirit, that we may serve Him by HIS power and not by the power of the flesh. The Apostle Paul is clear in Romans 8:8 that you CANNOT please God in the flesh.
So, why would you choose to mix the rules? He has lifted the burden from us, and it is HE Who is carrying it. We just surrender to His will and good pleasure.
To God be all Glory, Honor, and Praise...never our own.
Have a Blessed day!
What do brightly colored eggs and bunny rabbits have to do with Easter?
What do they have to do with the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Consider what you are celebrating this year. Is it the fertility god, or is it our Risen King?
In fact, I celebrate His birth and resurrection on the same day!
Have a Blessed day in the Lord!
~ Brother Mike