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Category: Justification

The Test of Rejection

Publication Information: “Who said romance is dead? Woman politely declines a second date – only for miserly beau to demand a bank transfer for the £4.50 he spent buying her a drink,” by Sara Malm for MailOnline, Published: 07:09 EST, 26 September 2015

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Author: Illustration Exchange

ILLUSTRATION

The following is a text conversation between a man and woman in the aftermath of a 45-minute date over a single drink somewhere in London earlier this year. Despite the woman’s rejection of the man’s request for a second meeting, the man is not willing to give up and offers to cook her dinner. She replies as follows:

‘Very kind of you but as I said, I don’t think we are right for each other, so would not want to waste your time.’

However, he persists:

‘I think we have some potential, and we should explore it. Let’s meet up one more time, have dinner at mine and if it doesn’t work we can leave it. You don’t seem to be someone who gives up too easily. So when can you make it? I’ll cook something delicious and treat you well for dessert…’

Standing firm, she texts back:

‘Thanks but I don’t share your view, sorry! Am sure you will find someone else to cook for!’

As it finally begins to sink in that she is not interested, the man shows his true colors.

‘You’re unfair and I’m now sorry that I paid for your drink tonight. Can I ask you to pay me back for it? It would just be fair.

The woman agrees to reimburse the spurned Romeo, and asks for bank details and the cost of the drink. Not convinced that she’ll follow through, the world’s cheapest date actually checks up on her to make sure she has paid him back.

 

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Standing In For Tom Cruise

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Topic: Salvation
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 2:17
Source: “Standing In” by Bryson Smith, as published on Perspective.org.au, Perspective Vol8 No4, 2001, from an article published in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Sunday Life Section, Sept 17, 2000
Author: Bryson Smith 

“I [once] read an interesting article … all about movie stand-ins,” says Bryson Smith. “They’re the people who replace movie stars in scenes that are dangerous or just uncomfortable. Like Glenn Duhigg, an ex-lawyer who worked as the stand-in for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2.”

As Duhigg himself recalls:

It sounds very glamorous saying you’re the stand-in for Tom Cruise but I don’t think many people realize the long hours and constant demands that deflate your ego very quickly. The days are long. Whatever scene Tom was in, I would be the one standing there, being him sometimes for ages as the crew set up the shot – getting the lighting just right and the props just so. I’d be standing there for hours out in the weather, getting drenched in the rain or sun stroke out in the heat. And then Tom would just walk on the set from his air-conditioned caravan or out of his beautiful sports car once the scene was ready.” As one of the other stand-ins said, “I realized very quickly the difference between being a star and being a stand-in.”

[Bryson Smith is a member of the ministry team at Dubbo Presbyterian Church, an evangelical church in rural Australia.]

Application:

“But you see,” says Smith, “on the cross, Jesus Christ was our stand-in. He endured the discomfort, the pain, the punishment from God, all in our place. He accepted God’s anger on himself instead of us. He was our stand-in.

“Amazing that he would do that, because really he’s the important one. You wouldn’t expect Tom Cruise to stand-in for that bloke Glenn Duhigg. No, no. Tom’s the important one! And yet, even though Jesus is the important one, a divine king come to earth, yet he stood in for us.”

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

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Police Dole Out Gifts Not Tickets

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Topic: Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Source: “These Drivers Thought They Were Getting Tickets. Instead, Police Gave Them Christmas Gifts” by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, posted HUFFINGTON POST, 12/12/14
Author: Kate Abbey-Lambertz / Illustration Exchange

“Getting pulled over by a police officer can make a good day bad and a bad day worse. Unless, of course, he helps you with your Christmas shopping instead of writing you a ticket,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST:

In a video released Tuesday, the police department in Lowell, Michigan, did just that.* Over two days in November, Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor infractions, like illegally tinted windows, that the department might normally let slide, according to Today.

After he pulled them over, VanSolkema made small talk and sneakily asked drivers what they or their kids wanted for Christmas. Meanwhile, a group of helpers were standing by at a nearby store. As soon as they heard a driver’s Christmas wish, they’d race to find, buy, wrap and deliver it to VanSolkema.

Instead of tickets, the officer handed over gifts, like a new TV and an electric scooter. Drivers had reactions that turned from irritation into confusion before melting into joy, and, in some cases, hugs.

*Click link to source above to view the video.

Application:

Isn’t it sad that those who have been tasked with the job of “keeping the peace” usually evoke such a sense of fear and dread within us? There’s no doubt that those Lowell, Michigan, citizens were convinced that the officer approaching their car was there to drop the hammer and nail them on one infraction or another.

Some of that stems from our own sense of guilt and shame. We’re just sure that we must have done something wrong! And some of it stems from an expectation that those who are charged with keeping the law take some sort of perverted delight in catching us when we break it.

But on this day, all expectations were shattered. It’s important to note that the officer pulled over the drivers for legitimate reasons (illegal tinting or a burned out turn signal). Yet he chose to look right past the driver’s guilt to the driver’s need for those yet unfulfilled gifts on their Christmas lists.

This is exactly the way our gracious God chooses to deal with us each and every day!

While many of us see Him as the great “law keeper” in the sky, just waiting to nail us on one thing or another, the reality is exactly the opposite. He’s the great keeper of the peace Who has Himself already satisfied all the requirements of the Law, so that He can look right past our guilt to our need. And the best part is HE is our gift!

It shatters our expectations. It’s confusing. But let the reality sink in, then just melt into the joy!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

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Wall Street Ethics

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Topic: Salvation
Scripture: Romans 3:10
Source: WHY BE GOOD?: SEEKING OUR BEST SELVES IN A CHALLENGING WORLD by Byron L. Sherwin, p.30
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.”

Application:

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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Standing In For Tom Cruise

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Author: Bryson Smith
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 2:17
Source: “Standing In” by Bryson Smith, as published on Perspective.org.au, Perspective Vol8 No4, 2001, from an article published in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Sunday Life Section, Sept 17, 2000

“I [once] read an interesting article … all about movie stand-ins,” says Bryson Smith. “They’re the people who replace movie stars in scenes that are dangerous or just uncomfortable. Like Glenn Duhigg, an ex-lawyer who worked as the stand-in for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2.”

As Duhigg himself recalls:

It sounds very glamorous saying you’re the stand-in for Tom Cruise but I don’t think many people realize the long hours and constant demands that deflate your ego very quickly. The days are long. Whatever scene Tom was in, I would be the one standing there, being him sometimes for ages as the crew set up the shot – getting the lighting just right and the props just so. I’d be standing there for hours out in the weather, getting drenched in the rain or sun stroke out in the heat. And then Tom would just walk on the set from his air-conditioned caravan or out of his beautiful sports car once the scene was ready.” As one of the other stand-ins said, “I realized very quickly the difference between being a star and being a stand-in.”

[Bryson Smith is a member of the ministry team at Dubbo Presbyterian Church, an evangelical church in rural Australia.]

Application:

“But you see,” says Smith, “on the cross, Jesus Christ was our stand-in. He endured the discomfort, the pain, the punishment from God, all in our place. He accepted God’s anger on himself instead of us. He was our stand-in.

“Amazing that he would do that, because really he’s the important one. You wouldn’t expect Tom Cruise to stand-in for that bloke Glenn Duhigg. No, no. Tom’s the important one! And yet, even though Jesus is the important one, a divine king come to earth, yet he stood in for us.”

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

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