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Category: Regret

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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A Stomach Full of Socks

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Topic: Fools
Scripture: Proverbs 26:11
Source: “43 1/2 socks removed from dog’s stomach” by Jessica Durando for USA TODAY NETWORK, published September 4, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

We’ve all experienced the frustration of missing socks. Foolishly, perhaps, we usually attribute their disappearance to the clothes dryer having “eaten” them. But maybe we should be pointing our fingers elsewhere, like toward our four-footed, furry friends. USA Today reports:

Chomping down on 43 1/2 socks was enough to make one 3-year-old Great Dane pretty sick. After vomiting and retching during the day, abdominal radiographs revealed “a severely distended stomach and a large quantity of foreign material,” according to Veterinary Practice News.

During surgery performed by a … veterinarian in Portland, Ore., the socks were removed. The dog was sent home one day after surgery.

When Dr. Ashley Magee at [the] Animal Hospital opened the dogs stomach, she told KGW-TV, they “kept removing sock after sock of all different shapes and sizes.”

The Dane, who had a history of sock snitching, has been in for follow-up check-ups and is so far doing fine. Needless to say, the Dane’s “people” are keeping a watchful eye to see that he doesn’t return to his former ways.

Application:

43 1/2 socks! Makes you wonder what happened to the other 1/2 of that 44th one. Maybe he just couldn’t choke it down.

It just goes to show, we all have our limits. If that’s true of socks, you better believe it’s true of sins. We may seem to tolerate them well enough for a while, but watch out for that 44th one. Eventually our transgressions catch up to us, and when they do, there we are retching and vomiting all over everything.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

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The Power of Doing Something

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Topic: Evil
Scripture: Romans 12:21
Source: Illustration Exchange
Author: Albert Einstein / Mitchell Dillon

“The wold is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

[Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity. He is regarded as the father of modern physics.]

Application:

Albert Einstein’s words were spoken at a time when evil seemed to have an upper hand in the world. Communism and Fascism marched across much of Europe, while the rest of the world was left to choose how to respond.

The same struggle continues today. By God’s design, there continues to be enough evil in the world to test those who have it in their power to do good. And by God’s design, there continues to be enough good in the world to overcome those who have it in their hearts to do evil.

So, the question is this: Will those who love good do what is in their power to do to overcome evil? God does not place the fate of the world in the hands of evil men, but in the hands of those who can and must do something to stop them.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).

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It Isn’t Easy Being Green

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Topic: Anger
Scripture: 1 John 1:7
Source: “Hulk prankster stained green after using paint used on ballistic missiles” by Staff Reporter, UK Sun, 5/30/12
Author: Illustration Exchange

The UK Sun reports:

“A Brazilian man, Enrique dos Santos, 35, a swimming pool attendant, was trying to look like [the] superhero character The Hulk, but used a paint reserved for ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines.  Incredibly … it started as a prank but now he’s staying green.

“The comic book fan tried to scrub off the glossy green in the shower, but the substance stained his skin.”

Embarrassingly, the superhero wannabe didn’t have the “power” to get the stuff off.

Application:

It isn’t easy being green (oops, that’s Kermit the Frog’s line!).  Anger, lust, envy, greed, you name it—they all leave their stain. It isn’t easy when we come face to face with our own human frailties and limitations. We might want to be a superhero, but in the end, our own sin nature can get in the way of our being all that we hope and dream. Take The Hulk, for example …

“The Hulk,” says one film critic, “is the perfect metaphor for our fear of anger; its destructive consequences, its consuming fire. There’s not a soul on this earth who hasn’t wanted to ‘Hulk smash’ something in their lives. And when the heat of rage cools, all that we are left with is shame and regret. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s humble alter ego, is as appalled by his anger as we are.”

“What can wash away my stain? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

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