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Category: Love (Divine)

Does Religion Cause War?

Publication Information: Encyclopedia of Wars – 3 Volume of Set (Fact on File Library of World History) by Charles Phillips

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ILLUSTRATION

In the wake of the senseless massacre of human life in Paris, I have heard a familiar refrain. A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that religion is the problem. They tell us that if we just do away with religion, wars would cease. They tout the John Lennon philosophy, made popular in the song “Imagine.”

But what those who hold this opinion have failed to take into account is that the 20th century was the bloodiest century in the history of mankind, and that the atrocities of that century were committed by anti-religious movements, led by men like Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Lenin, Chiang Kai-shek, Hideki Tojo, and Pol Pot. These men were not religiously motivated, yet they ruthlessly slaughtered millions of people:
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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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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
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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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A 5 Year Old Learns What A Proposal Feels Like

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Topic: Jesus’ Love
Scripture: Song of Solomon 2:4, 10
Author: Mitchell Dillon

Lila'sProposal

When a 5 year old is dying of cancer, what can be done to make up for all that she will miss? This was the challenge facing Ryan and Heidi, whose daughter, Lila May Schow, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and is not expected to make it to this Thanksgiving.

Springing into action, her parents decided they would not allow the cancer to rob their daughter of the important celebrations of life. So they planned a fairy tale ball, which included every major celebration a girl has to look forward to — a prom, a birthday bash and a wedding!

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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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Overcoming Evil With Good in Charleston, SC

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Topic: Forgiveness
Scripture: Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13; Matthew 5:44-45; 1 Peter 3:9
Source: “Chris Singleton Opens Up About Losing Mother In Charleston Mass Shooting” by Maxwell Strachan, Posted HUFFINGTON POST, 06/19/2015
Author: Illustration Exchange

“Chris Singleton, whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, died during the shooting rampage in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday [6/17/15], delivered a powerful message to the world on Thursday evening: No matter how much hate there is in the world, it’s no match for love,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST.

Singleton is a 2nd year baseball player at Charleston Southern University, a faith-based school affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. His coach and teammates stood beside him as he addressed reporters just hours after learning of his mother’s murder. “Love is stronger than hate,” said Singleton. “So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

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When Life Calls For A Transfusion

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Author: InfoPlease.com / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: 1 John 4:16
Source: “Blood Types” published InfoPlease.com, retrieved 5/9/15

If you ever find yourself, either by virtue of illness or injury, in need of a blood transfusion, you’d better hope your local blood bank has a good supply of a compatible blood type.

According to INFO PLEASE:

Human blood is grouped into four types: A, B, AB, and O. Each letter refers to a kind of antigen, or protein, on the surface of red blood cells. For example, the surface of red blood cells in Type A blood has antigens known as A-antigens.

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Billions In Unused Gift Cards Stashed In Drawers

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Topic: Stewardship
Scripture: Philippians 4:19; Colossians 4:5
Source: “Unused gift cards total $44B since 2008: study” By Gregory Bresiger, posted NEW YORK POST, January 26, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

Have you ever been given a gift that you’ve simply failed to use? Millions have—every day!

“People are letting cash slip away that they could be using,” says John Kiernan, a senior analyst with CardHub:

Kiernan, citing CardHub numbers, estimates that some $44 billion in unredeemed gift-card value has been accumulating since 2008.

“I’m not surprised by that number at all,” adds Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards. “People get these cards and often put them away in a drawer and then forget about them. And that’s too bad.”

Application:

As God’s children, we have been given many invaluable gifts. God’s love has been deposited in our lives in a salvation that brings us forgiveness and healing. We have also been enriched with spiritual gifts that enable us to share God’s love in specific ways, so that others might also know the power of God’s love and healing.

Yet, every day, we fail to annex these gifts or make full use of their great value. We have the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven at our disposal, and the calling of God to use them to impact our world. But like so many consumers, we put the gifts and callings of God away in a drawer and forget about them.

Pull them out! Redeem them! Experience the riches of your new life in Christ!

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NLT).

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5, NLT).

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There’s Always Room At His Table

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Topic: Thanksgiving
Scripture: Luke 14:23
Source: By Dave Isay from “Ties That Bind.” Also published in Reader’s Digest Magazine November 2013
Author: Illustration Exchange

In 1985, Scott Macaulay was 24 years old. His parents had just gotten a divorce. The adjustment was hard enough in and of itself, but it became more pronounced as Thanksgiving rolled around. “What’s going to happen at Thanksgiving? … I just did not like the thought of being home alone—or anywhere alone—on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not about gifts or fireworks or hoopla. It’s a meal around a table where you give thanks for the blessings you have, and you really can’t do that by yourself and have much fun.”

So Scott found a creative way to fill his home and his life with gratitude. “I decided to put an ad in the local paper: If people thought they would find themselves alone, they could give me a call, and I would make a Thanksgiving dinner.”

That first year, only a few people showed up. But Macaulay was committed to the thanksgathering. “I’ve held the dinner every year since. Last Thanksgiving, 84 people showed up.” This year (2014) he celebrates his 29th Thanksgiving meal.

For Macaulay, says writer Dave Isay, “There’s always room at his table.”

Application:

The Lord longs to gather everyone to His table of thanksgiving, so He sends us out to invite the whole world to come, not for a day, but for an eternity. There is always room at HIS table!

“So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full’” (Luke 14:23, NLT).

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ISIS Destroying the Language of Jesus

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Topic: Incarnation
Scripture: Romans 12:21; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 100:5; Luke 6:27
Source: “ISIS: Destroying the Language of Jesus? ARAMAIC IS UNDER THREAT AS ISIS INVADES NORTHERN IRAQ” By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff, Posted Newser.com, Aug 15, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

NEWSER reports that, “Islamic militants may have an unexpected victim in northern Iraq: an ancient collection of dialects and languages that’s been around for over 3,000 years … called Aramaic.”

It was the language of ancient Babylon and the first Persian Empire. It is, today, the native language of some 200,000 modern Iraqi Christians who have been systematically slaughtered, tortured, and driven into exile. Interestingly, it was a predominant language of the common man throughout Judea and the surrounding area during the last century BC. In fact, it was the language of Jesus himself, spoken as he hung on the cross, crying out to God, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

“The threat to the Christian Neo-Aramaic-speaking population of northern Iraq is very great,” says [one] linguist. “Since each village has a different dialect, if the inhabitants of the villages are uprooted and thrown together in refugee camps or scattered in diaspora communities around the world, the dialects will inevitably die.”

Before ISIS invaded, reports NEWSER, “the best hope for Aramaic’s survival [according to FOREIGN POLICY] was in northern Iraq.” Now, it suggests, we may witness “the deliberate extinction of a language and culture, unfolding in real time.”

NEWSER reporter Neal Colgrass frets that ISIS may indeed be “destroying the language of Jesus.”

Application:

Actually, in the ancient Palestine of Jesus’ day, there were three languages that were routinely spoken. Hebrew (which became a dead language until revived in modern times), Koine Greek (which has been replaced by contemporary Greek), and Aramaic (which is now being threatened with extinction by ISIS).

But ISIS can never threaten the most important language employed by Christ–the language of God’s agape love.

In communicating His message to the world, Jesus went beyond mere words. By willingly going to the cross to pay for the sins of the world, Jesus became the incarnate expression of God’s love.

Even then, hatred, violence and persecution attempted to silence the message of God’s love by killing its messenger. But the brutality of those who crucified Christ only served to fulfill God’s plan. Evil couldn’t stomp out love. Hate only served to accelerate its spread. Instead of being “overcome by evil,” love overcame “evil with good” (Romans 12:21). God’s love, we are assured in Scripture, “endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).

Indeed, the language of Jesus–God’s agape love–cannot be destroyed.

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

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