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Category: Eternal Life

Surprised Woman Finds Giant Gem in Crater of Diamonds

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Topic: Salvation
Scripture: Matthew 13:44; 1 John 5:11
Source: “Woman Finds 8.52 Carat Diamond at AR’s Crater of Diamonds State Park” by staff writers, NWA (Northwest Arkansas), posted, 6/26/15
Author: Illustration Exchange

MURFREESBORO, AR – An 8.52-carat white diamond was found Wednesday (June 24) by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, according to park officials. Clear white and icicle shaped, this gem is the fifth largest diamond found by a park visitor since the state park was established at Arkansas’s diamond site in 1972. Twenty minutes into her search, she found the diamond in a couple scoops she had dug from a small mound of dirt. … She named her gem the Esperanza Diamond, both her niece’s name and the Spanish word for “hope.” At this time, Oskarson plans to keep the gem.

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “Ms. Oskarson and her boyfriend Travis Dillon saw the Crater of Diamonds State Park on an Arkansas highway map while in the nearby town of Hot Springs and decided to visit the park. And what a lucky first visit it was for her!”

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An Angel Among Us

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Topic: Hope
Scripture: Mark 16:15; Isaiah 61:1; 1 Timothy 2:5
Author: Illustration Exchange

Despite owning a home perched atop a high cliff with a scenic ocean view in Sydney, Australia, Don and Moya Ritchie live on a plot of real estate that can best be described as something out of a bad dream. The rocky cliff is known as The Gap–the most notorious suicide destination in the country.

While most people would surely move away, the Ritchies have stayed for almost 50 years, saving an estimated 160 people from taking the leap.

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Wall Street Ethics

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Topic: Salvation
Scripture: Romans 3:10
Author: Illustration Exchange

Byron Sherwin, in his book WHY BE GOOD, sarcastically recalls, “Once I was browsing in a bookstore when I saw a huge volume with an intriguing title: WALL STREET ETHICS. I opened it eagerly only to find that each of its hundreds of pages was blank.”

When we read this at IE, we were skeptical. So we did a little research and it turned out the book is real. It’s entitled THE COMPLETE BOOK OF WALL STREET ETHICS by Jay L. Walker and was published by William Morrow & Co., April 1987.

Writes one reviewer, “If you are not familiar with this book, it is a joke, and a pretty good one. The pages are all blank. … Today, [after so many new Wall Street scandals], it probably needs to be updated with a new edition with more blank pages.”


How would a book that recorded all of the things that you have done to earn your place in heaven read? The only possible answer is that its pages would all be blank. Not only that, but no matter how hard you tried, all of the updated editions would only add more blank pages. That’s because nothing that we do with the motive of self-justification will ever be acceptable to God. Rather, earning the prize of heaven requires a righteousness that is perfect, not only in every action, but in every motive behind every action. It requires the righteousness of Christ.

“As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous–not even one” (Romans 3:10, NLT).

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An Imperishable Crown

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Topic: Reward
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24-25; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4, 5:4
Source: “World Cup trophy worth over US$10 million” posted, 18 June 2010
Author: Jay Manimtim

If you followed the FIFA World Cup this year (2014), you probably saw the champions, Germany, win after their final match against Argentina. It was a glorious moment as they held and relished the prize for their hard work and dedication: the World Cup trophy. This trophy, made with 18 carat gold (75% pure) is valued today at upwards of $10 million.

Isn’t that amazing?

As precious and valuable as this prize is, however, the German team was not able to keep it. Although they were the champions, they went home to their country without the World Cup trophy. Why? Because FIFA’s regulations state that the trophy must remain in FIFA’s possession, with the World Cup winners awarded only a gold-plated replica.

The reason for this seemingly absurd rule is simple: the original World Cup trophy was stolen twice, once in 1966 and again in 1983, and was never recovered. The new trophy we see today is always heavily guarded and mostly locked away for safekeeping.


In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 we read, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

In this passage, we are reminded that as Christians, we no longer strive for what is susceptible to corruption or robbery. Unlike the World Cup trophy, the Christian’s imperishable crown is safe, secure, and eternal. This imperishable crown is also referred to as the crown of life (James 1:12), an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1 Peter 1:4), and a crown of glory that does not fade away (1 Peter 5:4).

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The Anti-Loneliness Cafe

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Topic: Loneliness
Scripture: Revelation 3:20
Source: “Japan’s ‘anti-loneliness’ cafe goes viral” by Frances Cha, published CNN,Thu May 15, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

Hate to dine alone? Many people do. No worries. If you don’t have a date for dinner, you can now dine with a Moomin.

Wait, a what?!

Moomins, are a family of white, anime, hippo-like characters created by Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. They’ve been around for decades, and have increased in popularity around the world, especially in anime-obsessed Japan, where Moomin House Cafes are catering to the solitary diner.

In a nod to the growing isolation of Japan’s workaholic labor force, giant, plush-toy Moomins are brought to the tables of solo diners in an effort to spare them the “awkward perils” of dining alone.

The original Moomin cafe opened in 2001, but pictures of diners “enjoying” the company of Moomins have recently gone viral, creating a huge surge in the cafe’s popularity. There are now three locations, with more on the horizon, if their “anti-loneliness” concept proves to be more than a passing fad.

Click here to see a diner with her Moomin companion.


Yes, Moomins are cute, but it seems a stretch to suggest they can quell the “awkward perils” of loneliness.

The truth is, even real people aren’t able to satisfy our need to be perfectly loved and fully accepted. For that we must seek the companionship of the only person who is actually capable of meeting these deeper, spiritual needs. To every lonely heart, Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

A Moomin might fill an empty seat, but only Jesus can fill an empty heart. Open your heart to Him and you will never have to fear the “awkward perils” of loneliness again!

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The End Is Just The Beginning

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Topic: Perspective
Source: The Last Battle, pp. 183-184
Author: C.S. Lewis / Illustration Exchange

To put this life in perspective we must set it beside the life to come.  Lewis does that for us in the final paragraph of the Chronicles of Narnia. In the final scene, Aslan assures Peter, Edmund, and Lucy with these words:

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream has ended; this is morning.”

Lewis then brings the story to a final conclusion:

“And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


The current life is not the best life we will ever live. As Lewis suggests, “every chapter” will be “better than the one before.” This is not the longest life we will ever live. As Lewis also suggested, this life is merely the “title page” to eternity.

Nevertheless, this may will be the most important life we will ever live. For it is during this brief, adventure filled journey that so many decisions of eternal consequence are made. It is now, during this life, that we are presented with the choice to become followers of Christ.  It is now, in this life, that free grace begins to be experienced.

The entrance way by which we enter the Kingdom of God is found on this side of eternity.

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way” (Matthew 7:13, NLT).

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