1. If I like it, it's mine. 2. If it's in my hand, it's mine. 3. If I can take it from you, it's mine. 4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. 5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. 6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. 7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine. 8. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
When the waitress in a New York City restaurant brought him the soup du jour, the Englishman was a bit dismayed.
"Good heavens," he said, "what is this?"
"Why, it's bean soup," she replied.
"I don't care what it's been," he replied. "What is it now?"
* Blessed Are Those Who Mourn...
After spending over a year in captivity at the hands of Philippine rebels, the two American missionaries, Martin and Gracia Burnham, were shot. Though Gracia was wounded and taken to safety by military officials, her husband died in the firefight. A nurse was also killed, along with several hostages who were beheaded and sold for ransom earlier this year. We extend our sympathy and condolences to the Burnham family. Their dedication and sacrifice was of eternal value, and we pray that still more hearts will be touched by their love of the Lord.
An American held hostage in the Philippines was killed on Friday during a gun battle between his captors and Filipino soldiers. His wife was wounded in the battle.
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Because we lived along the East Coast for so many years, we've had the opportunity to see many of America's old lighthouses. I love them. But not long ago we came up over the top of a hill on an interstate and I saw what I certainly never expected to see hundreds of miles from any ocean. It was a lighthouse. With a bright, functioning light on top. Obviously, it wasn't there to point any ships in the right direction. Actually, it was part of a church that stands right near the highway. See, this lighthouse is for people!
It seems to me that Jesus intended for every church to be a lighthouse, whether or not they have a lighted tower as part of their building. And He intended for every Christian to be a lighthouse, every ministry. Tragically, with so many lives around us headed for disaster, there is a terrible lighthouse shortage.
We know that Jesus said that those who belong to Him are "the light of the world." (Matthew 5:16) And Matthew 4:16, our word for today from the Word of God, tells us which direction our light should be pointing. Jesus says, "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." See, it's the people in spiritual darkness, the people who are spiritually dying who should be the focus of all this light God has given us.
The problem is that often we are content to have all the lights inside the church, shining on those who are already headed for heaven. Meanwhile, we let countless lost people just get another day closer to hell. We do what's easy - we just work with the sheep who are already in - when Jesus said He would leave ninety-nine of those just to go out and find one lost one. But notice - you have to go out to find them. You can't just stay in the Christian cocoon waiting for someone to stick their head in the door and say, "Excuse me, but is there any light in here?" The lighthouse needs to be out where they are!
We can go to all our Christian meetings, fellowship with all our Christian friends, enjoy all our Christian books and programs, and we feel like we must be winning. Not when two-thirds of Americans can't tell you half of the Ten Commandments or who did the Sermon on the Mount! Not when the number of people who say they believe in nothing has doubled in the last ten years - and the number of those who are self-declared witches has grown over 1,500% in the past decade. Even in one Bible Belt state, the statistics just came in - two-thirds of the people even there are essentially unchurched! You have working near you, living near you, going to school with you people who have no idea that what Jesus did on the cross was for them and that He's their only hope! If our Christian subculture makes us feel like we're winning, it's the illusion of winning.
How can we be content to spend all our time with the already-rescued when we are living surrounded by a sea of dying people? How can we say that we are following the One who came, as He said, to "seek and save what was lost" - and not be doing that with all our heart? If you're following Jesus, I'll tell you where He's going. He's always headed for a sea of lost people. That should be where we end up too. Oh, it's bright inside the lighthouse, but it's very dark outside the walls.
So many headed for eternal destruction - they desperately need a lighthouse that is out where they are, pointing them to life in Jesus Christ. Be their lighthouse! --------------------------------------------------------------------- Discuss today's "A Word With You," post your comments! http://forums.gospelcom.net/view/rhm/awwy
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