The Hand Print on the Sidewalk

Memorable handprint of a hand in an old concrete wall

Fascinated, I stood looking at the hand print on the sidewalk. It was a mark that would be there forever. I was just eight years old, but the first thought that came to my mind was: How can I get my hand print on there as well? I am not quite sure why I wanted that, but perhaps it is that deep ingrained desire that we all have, to leave a mark that remains forever.

I asked a young man standing nearby, “How was this mark made” He had no idea, but not wanting to look ignorant he answered, “Just put your hand in the same place every day and after a while you will make a mark.”

Being just a little guy and not knowing better, I tried his strategy. Every day I would put my hand on the same place, but the concrete just would not change. I was not making a mark, so I gave up trying.

Later, when I started working with cement and mixing concrete for my own projects, I learned that there is just a small window of opportunity to make a mark. When concrete is poured you only have twenty-four to forty-eight hours before it sets. During this time, you can make the mark. Once the cement is cured, it is too late.

So many people want to make a mark with their lives. They want to be remembered as someone special. People set up monuments to themselves or buy a star on the streets of Hollywood that bears their name. How can your life really make a significant eternal mark?

You have got to get into God’s window of opportunity! God only knows one day and that is TODAY! Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:15).

If you don’t get right with God today, the truth is you never will! The concrete of life will set, and you will never go back. If you don’t start a prayer life today, you will always say I will do that tomorrow. If you don’t have a daily time in the Word of God today, you never will. God only knows one day and that is TODAY!

What one thing will you change with God’s help TODAY?

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I Have Decided to Follow Jesus!

Sunbeams and cross

The chief called the family who had converted to follow Jesus. He demanded that they renounce their faith in public. Otherwise they would face execution.

About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England. Because of this, many missionaries came from England and Germany to North-East India to spread the Gospel. At the time, north-east India was not divided into states as it is today. The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes. The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive by nature.

The tribal people were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible. A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected. Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house. The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.

Into this hostile and aggressive community came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace and hope of Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One Welsh missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity. Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:

I have decided to follow Jesus (3x)
No turning back, no turning back

Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.” But the man sang these words in reply:

Though None Go with Me, Still I Will Follow (3x)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”

In the face of death, the man sang the final memorable lines:

The World Behind Me, The Cross Before Me (3x)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back

He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was so moved by the faith of the man that he began to seek God and gave his life to Christ.

Soon, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the villagers heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).

If you are suffering for being a believer in Christ, know this. Many have gone before you. Many have paid the ultimate price for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel not free… it is paid for by the precious blood of Jesus.

(From the book Why God Why by Dr. P.P. Job)

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Your Name is on the List

Newspaper

An old acquaintance stood at the front door full of excitement, a newspaper in hand. “Your name is on the list!!” he exclaimed. Why was he so excited?

A local newspaper had printed a list of names given to them by a prominent bank. This was a list of people who had an inheritance that had never been claimed.

That morning, as he was reading the paper he recognized the name of a very poor man in town that had been on welfare for many years. Now he stood at the door with the good news. The poor struggling man just could not believe what he was hearing. “That cannot be me. There just is no one that would ever leave me an inheritance. It must be someone else with a similar name.”

The old acquaintance looked at the newspaper again and again trying to convince the poor man to at least go to the bank and check. “You have nothing to lose!” The poor man refused, insisting, “There is no one that would ever leave me an inheritance.”

Soon word reached the mayor of the small town that was paying the welfare. He went to the poor man’s house himself. “Come with me,” he insisted as he took the poor man by the hand. When they arrived at the bank, sure enough there was a large inheritance for him. Twenty years ago, he had helped a wealthy man and had forgotten all about it. That rich man never forgot his kindness. He named him one of his heirs. With compounding interest, he got give million dollars. The man had been living in poverty for years even though he was a millionaire.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).

Too many believers never lay claim to the incredible promises of God. They live as spiritual paupers because they do not believe God’s word. God’s bank account remains untapped as they trust in the system of this world. Break out of the mold today. Lay claim to the maximum that God has for you today.

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Untouched by the Flames

3a6bf297-90a1-4f18-92e4-4fb17d7ef531“God saved my house from the flames last night!” An excited lady had come forward in church to give her testimony. Joyfully she testified that there had been a terrible neighborhood fire, but miraculously God had protected her house from the flames. Everyone was happy for her but didn’t get too excited. They just assumed that her house was the last one on the block. Perhaps the fire department got there just in time before the flames reached her house.

A few weeks later her pastor, R.W. Schambach, visited her to pray for her sick husband. When he got to her house, tears came to his eyes. He could not believe what he was seeing. Her house was in the middle of the block! All the houses on both sides were gone. He asked her what had actually happened. She said the fire began on one end of the block and came raging toward her house. Nobody could explain why, but when it came to her house it jumped around her house and kept burning the other houses leaving her house untouched by the flames. God had not allowed the flames to touch her house!

Her neighbors were upset at her and asked, “Why did your house not burn down?” She answered, “This house belongs to God.” God had noticed that in her house there was no cursing, no gambling, no immorality or selfish living. There were home groups that were meeting there for Bible study and prayer. What was more, that family was surely tithing. God took note and stood by His word: “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes” (Malachi 3:11). Jesus put His protecting arms around that house.

The Bible says, If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:9-11).

If you put God first in your life, He will always stand by His promises!

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How Do I Get a Breakthrough?

ticket“Sir, I know everything. I grew up in a Christian family. I know everything about Jesus Christ, but all I feel is emptiness, and as if all this is not real.”

A young journalist had come forward for salvation at a Billy Graham crusade in Germany. I was the counselor designated to pray with him. What was I supposed to say to him? His faith in Jesus Christ was not working! Suddenly, I was reminded of my personal breakthrough at age 15. I had been exactly where this journalist was today.

The problem that many young people from Christian families have is that they want to get the benefits of the Gospel, without being willing to pay the price for it. We want salvation as a “ticket to heaven,” not understanding that it means total surrender to God!

I looked the journalist straight in the eye and said, “If you surrender everything to God today, HE will answer and you will have the breakthrough!”

It was a difficult decision for him, because it meant giving up a non-Christian girl he was dating.

As we prayed together, the power of God fell. He stopped and looked at me. “It has happened! Now I know that I am saved and that God is real!” The joy that radiated from his face kept on shining during the rest of the evening. He later published an article of how he found Christ.

Have you unconditionally surrendered everything to Christ?

Salvation is free, but it costs full surrender to follow Christ!

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God … put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:17, 24)

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Never Give Up!

Z0NiR2tQ-adobeA preacher who was growing weary in the ministry had a dream. He saw himself pounding away at a huge chunk of granite with a pick axe. It was his job to break it into small pieces. But hard as he tried, he couldn’t chip off even a tiny piece. At last, tired and disappointed, he decided to give up.

Just then a stranger appeared and said, “Weren’t you given orders to do that work? Your duty is to give it your best, regardless of what happens.” The minister, with a renewed determination, grabbed the pick axe, lifted it high in the air, and gave the granite a crushing blow. It broke into a thousand pieces. He had almost quit one blow too soon. (Daily Bread, July 14, 1991.)

Many Christians give up just before they get their breakthrough. Jesus illustrated persistence with the story of an unjust judge. He refused to listen to the needs of a desperate widow. The widow, however, would not take no for an answer and kept on the judge’s heels. Finally, the judge said, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” (Luke 18:4-5).

Are you holding on to your dream?

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8).

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The Touch of the Master’s Hands

ZERmRmBYA renowned violinist announced before a concert that he would play one of the world’s most expensive violins. His first composition was played flawlessly, and the audience was thrilled at the performance.

After taking his bows, the musician suddenly smashed the instrument, completely demolishing it. The audience was horrified — that is, until the violinist explained that he had been playing a cheap violin.

Then, picking up the expensive instrument, the virtuoso began to draw the bow across the strings. The sound was beautiful, but most of the people couldn’t tell any difference between the music from the expensive violin and the cheap one. The quality of the instrument was secondary to the skill of the violinist. (Daily Bread, Oct. 1, 1991.)

It is similar with our service for the Lord. The Master can take ordinary instruments like you and me and produce unbelievable things from our lives. HE does not depend much on your talents and gifts. All HE is looking for is a surrendered heart!

What music is coming from your life?

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

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