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Category: Devotion

Good To The Last Drop

Topic: Devotion                                                                                                    Printer Friendly
Source: “A Woman Chugged a Bottle of Liquor Because She Couldn’t Take It on the Plane” by Helen Regan, TIME, August 14, 2015
Link to Source: Click here to view source
Author: Illustration Exchange

ILLUSTRATION

A Chinese woman, surnamed Zhao, while making a connection at the Beijing airport, was told by security that she could not take an expensive bottle of cognac in her carry-on. Since it was too late to access her checked-in luggage, it appeared she had no choice but to leave it behind.

But Zhao was determined not to let a $200 dollar bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence go to waste, so she drank the entire bottle! Now she faced a new problem. Too drunk to stand, cognacsecurity–out of concern for her own safety–could not allow her to board. Instead, unable to continue her journey, she was escorted in a wheelchair to a room where she slept until a family member was able to come and pick her up.

APPLICATION

Some things become so important to us that we have trouble letting them go. Instead, to our own detriment, we cling to them. Of course, we’re not just referring to expensive cognac.

There is a moment in time when virtually everything we hold dear must be relinquished if we are to continue moving forward on our journey. Otherwise, we undermine our own spiritual health and contentment.

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The Hesitant Bride

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Topic: Commitment
Scripture: Revelation 19:7
Author: Thomas Bevers

I had an uncomfortable experience at a wedding recently. Everything was going along as planned until it came time for the minister to ask that all-important question of the bride, “Do you take so-and-so to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Just then, for some unknown reason, there was an incredibly long and unbelievably awkward silence.

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The Observer Effect

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Topic: Motivation
Scripture: Matthew 6:17-18; Psalm 139:11-12
Source: Weizmann Institute Of Science (1998, February 27) “Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality,” ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 5, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm
Author: Mitchell Dillon

Albert Einstein once mused, “I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.”  Welcome to the strange world of quantum physics, where the very act of observing affects the observed reality. This was confirmed in a ground breaking experiment conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1998, and reported in an issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874) as follows:

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of “watching,” the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place … In other words, when under observation, electrons are being “forced” to behave like particles (matter) and not like waves (energy). Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings.

So, when someone is looking, electrons behave like particles. When no one is looking, they behave like a wave. As another writer put it, “Consciousness collapses the wave function into actual particles that exist in space and time.” We already knew that the universe was made of energy that only appears to us as matter. What is astounding is to learn of the role the conscious mind plays in that transformation.

This principle holds great promise in the field of computer encryption. One day we will be able to ensure the secrecy of information transfers by employing quantum physics in the way it is encoded. “This,” according to Weizmann Institute Professor Heiblum, “would let the recipient know [if] the message has been intercepted.” They would know because the mere act of observation would alter the information while it was in transit.

For an easy to understand five minute animated tutorial that explains how the famous “Double Slit” experiment worked, go to “Your Thoughts Effect Your Reality” on YouTube.

Application:

Physicists tell us that we can’t observe something in our world without changing it in the process–that observation actually alters reality.

There is an Observer Effect in the spiritual world, as well. That was Jesus’ message when He warned us against performing our good deeds in public view. Of course, it’s always good to do the right thing. However, we can only be sure that our motives are pure when God is the only one Who sees our good deed. By the mere act of being observed, what is done is altered.

“But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in [secret]. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:17-18, NLT).

Additional Application:

The implication of the Observer Effect is quite profound. It tells us that behind the universe is a Supreme Consciousness, a force Who actually monitors all conscious behavior, and that this force reacts by altering reality for the benefit of the observer. Not only that, this Supreme Consciousness is intelligent, having the capacity to detect an observer, as well as the use of monitoring devices. What we have been gifted with here is a glimpse into the perpetual presence and intimate care of our Creator.

“I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you” (Psalm 139:11-12, NLT).

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Taste Them Again For The First Time

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Topic: First Love
Scripture: Revelation 2:4-5; Psalm 34:8
Source: Various
Author: Illustration Exchange

There have been some pretty memorable commercial catch phrases for cereals over the years. Among them is the 1990s ad campaign for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes: “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – Taste them again for the first time.”

It’s genius, really–a call to go back to relive the pleasure, the delight, the satisfaction of a product which may have lost its luster in your mind, and its place in your pantry.

Application:

When it comes to your spiritual life, have you lost the pleasure, the delight, the satisfaction you once found in the Savior? Has walking with Him lost its luster? Has He lost His place in your heart?

Jesus calls you to return to your first love–to “taste” Him again, as though for the first time.

“Taste and see [as if for the first time!] that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8).

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5, NASB).

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No Donuts At The Donut Shop

Printer Friendly Topic: Compromise
Author: Patrick Ronan / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: 1 John 2:15
Source: “Doughnut-less Honey Dew to open in new Quincy YMCA” by Patrick Ronan, published in THE PATRIOT LEDGER, February 26, 2014

THE PATRIOT LEDGER REPORTS:

Tuesday, the city’s licensing board approved a plan to open a Honey Dew Donuts at the café counter inside the new $30 million YMCA … It will be the only Honey Dew store in Quincy. …

Because of the Y’s focus on physical fitness, the vendor won’t sell doughnuts, said Sara Trubiano, spokeswoman for the South Shore YMCA said. …

The new Honey Dew will sell coffee, low-fat muffins, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit cups and smoothies, Trubiano said. All menu items first must be approved by Y leadership.

Application:

How ironic! A donut shop which agrees to sell no donuts. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But isn’t that exactly what we do when we compromise our beliefs in order to please the world? A donut shop should sell donuts, and a believer should seek to please God!

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15).

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Are You A Swimming Tongue?

Printer Friendly Topic: Experiencing God
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Psalm 34:8
Source: “Understanding Catfish Senses,” September 28, 2010, GameAndFishMag.com

“A catfish just 6 inches long has more than a quarter-million taste buds on its body. … The mouth and gill rakers are packed with taste buds, and the sensory organs cover the outside of the catfish as well – the whiskers, fins, back, belly, sides and even the tail. If you were a catfish, you could taste a slice of pizza just by sitting on it.‘Catfish’ says Dr. John Caprio of Louisiana State University, ‘are swimming tongues.’” – Game and Fish Magazine

Application:

As a catfish forages through the muck at the bottom of a pond, his mouth, his gills, his whiskers, his fins, his back, his belly, his sides, and even his tail are designed to sense the presence of the sustenance he seeks, just by brushing up against it.

The same is true of the believer. As we forage through life seeking greater communion with God, we are equipped with a comprehensive set of physical and spiritual sensory organs capable of sensing God’s presence—in the beauty of the night sky, in the sound of the rushing wind or pounding surf, in the soft touch of a child’s hand, in the promises of Scripture, or in the prayers of faithful friends. God can be found everywhere in His creation.

Like the catfish, be on alert for the true sustenance of life. Always be prepared to sense His presence, no matter how you might brush up against Him.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

 

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No Expiration Date On Gratitude

Printer FriendlyTopic: Gratitude
Author: Barnett Gushin
Scripture: Luke 7:47; Ephesians 5:20
Source: Illustration Exchange

While eating and working at a local fast food restaurant, I excused myself to use the restroom. Upon entering the stall, I found a Xerox copy of a hand written note neatly displayed, resting in the leaves of a fake plant. Some of the words were traced with black marker for emphasis. It read exactly as printed below:

I, Susan, Drug Testimony

I was rich, beautiful, sun tanned and a jet-setter for 10 years. But I was A DRUG ADDICT (10 YEARS!) 14-24. My drug of choice was pharamecutical [sic] cocaine. I snorted 1-3 grams/day, took mescaline, peyote, Phenobarbital, seconals [sic], tuinals [sic], dalmane, sopeer 714s (methaqualone), methamphedamine [sic], 50 hits of L.S.D, plus I drank a six pack (or 2) of Heinekins daily. I was a garbage pail drug addict. Give me 50 pills I swallowed them without asking. I was high for 10 years of my life. I never came down, NOT ONCE!!!

I decided to have a baby. (Someone to love me) but I couldn’t quit. I went to N.A. (narcotics ananyous  [sic] AA (Alcoholics Anamyous [sic], psychiatrists. (That was smart, he put me on valium, and I became addicted to that).

I had a drug baby born critically ill with Diabetes, Malabsorption syndrome +2 congenital heart defects. I was SO SAD, I WANTED HER TO LIVE MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

I LOOKED UP ONE DAY AND SAID “IF THERE BE A God, remove this from me. HE DID!!! I Never Took A Drug Again (30+ years). He healed my body. He healed my baby.

Application:

Written inside a small heart at the bottom of the page were the words “Just Jesus.”

I borrowed the note, bringing it back to my table, just long enough to type it up on my laptop. Then I returned it to its place of display in the restroom. As I left the restaurant, I noticed she had placed one on the windshield of every car in the parking lot as well.

Two things impressed me about this public testimony:

First, she didn’t ruin the testimony by defacing the bathroom by writing on the wall or stall door.

Second, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, it’s been 30 years (30 years!) and she is still taking opportunity to broadcast far and wide her gratitude for Jesus and all He’s done for her. Time had not cooled her zeal, her love, her gratitude. I wondered how many other restrooms and windshields had been used as a platform to share her message of redemption over the years.

Thirty years later, Susan wants everyone to know there is hope, and that that hope is in Jesus. I guess there is no expiration date on hope and no expiration date on gratitude.

“I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47, NLT).

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

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French Tourist Helps Homeless Richard Gere

Printer FriendlyTopic: Compassion
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Matthew 25:39-40; Proverbs 19:17
Source: “French Tourist Who Gave Food to ‘Hobo’ Richard Gere: ‘I Don’t Believe This'” by ABC News, as featured on Good Morning America, published on ABC News Blogs, retrieved 4/29/14

A French tourist visiting New York City made headlines this week as she offered food to one whom she assumed to be a homeless man. “I gave my doggy bag to a homeless [man], and the homeless is Richard Gere,” Karin Gombeau told ABC News.

“He was going through a [garbage] bin, I had food with me,” she said. “I thought, ‘He should have my pizza instead of going through that bin.’ ”

Gombeau looked right into the eyes of the “homeless” man and did not recognize him to be a famous Hollywood A-lister. He was dressed in tattered clothes and appeared quite dirty and disheveled.

No, Gere is not down on his luck and living on the streets of NYC. “It turns out,” reports ABC Entertainment News, “Gombeau had stumbled onto the set of Gere’s new movie, ‘Time Out of Mind,’ in which Gere, 64, plays a homeless man.”

“He was dressed in a way, with a cap, not shaved,” she said of the actor’s unbecoming appearance. “He looked like a man going through a rough time.”

Gere never broke character. He took the leftovers from her, thanked her, and said, “God bless you.”

Gombeau had no idea whom she had “helped” until seeing her picture the next morning on the news. Yup, the whole thing was caught on camera! (Click the link to source above for a picture.)

Gombeau was delighted to learn the truth behind her act of charity. “For a first time in New York, I could not have wished for better.”

Application:

Who hasn’t come across someone who is down on their luck? In those moments, no one expects that the person in need might turn out to be an important celebrity, or that an act done in secret will be splashed across the news. Think again.

“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:39-40).

“… good deeds done in secret will someday come to light” (1 Timothy 5:2).

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17).

Every kindness, every act of compassion done in God’s name is received as if it is done for Him. So don’t be taken by surprise the next time you stumble onto God’s set with the opportunity to serve the King of kings!

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