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Category: Savior

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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Animal Sentinels

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Topic: Savior
Scripture: Hebrews 4:15
Source: “1986: Coal mine canaries made redundant” posted on BBC News, “On This Day, Dec 30, 1986″
Author: Bo Thompson/Illustration Exchange

Early coal mines did not feature ventilation systems. Since canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, the miners would bring along caged canaries into new coal seams. The birds’ rapid breathing rate, small size and high metabolism made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the birds kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. When the canaries stopped singing–or worse, died–the miners knew it was time for an immediate evacuation. The birds became tiny sentinels of safety.

Animal sentinels are commonly used to detect risks to humans by providing advance warnings of impending danger. By virtue of their heightened sensitivity to a variety of dangers, they can serve to make us aware of myriad perils.

Other animal sentinels include: honey bees, which are susceptible to air pollution; bats, which have been used to monitor pesticide contamination; and pigeons, which have been used to detect atmospheric lead.

Application:

We walk around as oblivious to sin as coal miners do of the presence of dangerous gasses. What we need is a sentinel–someone who can detect this danger for us before it’s too late.

Who is more sensitive to the presence and danger of sin than God?

That’s why Jesus–God incarnate–came into this world. He came to warn us all of our exposure to the deadly threat of sin. Not only this, but He willingly exposed Himself–to the point of death–that we might be warned and be saved from sin’s power and peril.

Jesus is our Divine Sentinel.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

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Sign Away Your Soul for WiFi

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Topic: Listening To God
Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9; Luke 22:20
Source: “Londoners accidentally pay for free Wi-Fi with a firstborn, because no one reads anymore” by Rachel Feltman, posted WASHINGTON POST, September 29, 2014
Author: Rachel Feltman / Illustration Exchange

The WASHINGTON POST reports on a recent study of how flippantly people regard the terms and conditions of even the most basic of contracts:

In an experiment sponsored by security firm F-Secure, an open Wi-Fi network was set up in a busy public area. When people connected, they were presented with lengthy terms and conditions.

But to see just how little attention we pay when checking that agreement box, F-Secure included a “Herod clause” — one that offered up free Wi-Fi in exchange for the company’s permanent ownership of the user’s firstborn child.

A company would probably have trouble getting you to hand over your pride and joy (even if you were technically contractually obligated), so don’t panic. But this hapless agreement to terms is pretty common: A 2011 survey found that 58 percent of adults would rather read an instruction manual … than go through online terms and conditions. Even the phone book was a more palatable read for 12 percent of those surveyed. …

This new study isn’t the first of its kind: On April Fool’s Day in 2010, a host of U.K. shoppers were tricked into signing away their immortal souls.

Application:

Did you know that the term The New Testament actually means The New Contract? That being said, how much attention have you given to the terms and conditions of God’s contract with you?

When it comes to a relationship with God, far too many of us would rather read the phone book than read the Bible, wherein we’d discover that no amount of religiosity, morality, or good deeds are sufficient to gain an eternal relationship with God.

No, we must come to God on His terms: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). These are the terms of His contract, the new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20).

Ignore these terms and conditions and you actually could end up signing away your immortal soul.

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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.

Application:

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 Final Escape

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Topic: Resurrection
Scripture: Romans 7:24-25
Source: “Final Escape,” Episode 8, Season 1, 1985 (Remake of the original from 21 February 1964)
Author: Illustration Exchange

The famed TV producer of the eerie and bizarre, Alfred Hitchcock, hosted his own hit TV show of a generation ago. One episode in 1987 (a remake of the original 1964 story)  told the tale of a murderous woman who, once condemned to prison, vowed she’d never be held captive and would surely find a way out.

She studied her surroundings and soon took note of a gravedigger, whose job it was to cart away deceased inmates for burial in the plots just beyond the prison confines. He was old and moved slowly, as his eyesight was badly impaired by cataracts. She approached him one day to bribe him into helping her escape.

Her plan was simple: When the death bell tolled, heralding the death of another inmate, she would make her way to the morgue and climb into the coffin with the deceased. He (the gravedigger) would then wheel the coffin to the plot, bury it in a shallow grave, then come back after dark to release her. All this in exchange for the money to have the cataract surgery to restore his sight. The old man agreed, and together they waited for their opportunity.

Time passed, when suddenly the woman heard the death toll. To her ears, it was the sound of freedom bells chiming.  The scheme went just as planned. She waited an appropriate amount of time, slinked her way to the basement, and slipped quietly into the morgue. She felt her way through the dark room to the coffin laid out on the cart. Opening the lid, she crawled inside and pulled the lid shut.

Soon she felt the cart moving. She could almost taste her freedom. Moments later she felt the thud as the coffin was lowered into the ground. She heard the dirt as it hit the lid. Then silence. She waited in anticipation. Minutes turned to hours with no relief. Panicked, she struck a match, surveying the situation. To her utter horror, she discovered that she was face to face with … the gravedigger!

Application:

Hitchcock’s murderous inmate had foolishly placed her life in the hands of an unreliable deliverer–one with no more power over the grave than she.

So, in whose trust have you placed your hope of deliverance? Buddha? Mohammed? Above all else, make sure that when you strike your match your deliverer isn’t in the grave with you!

“Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).

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Young Heroine Creates a Bridge to Safety

Printer FriendlyTopic: Sacrifice
Scripture: Luke 22:19
Source: “As Sewol crew is scorned, young worker hailed as heroine” by Madison Park and Stella Kim, published CNN, Wed April 23, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

In the aftermath of one of the most tragic ferry accidents in recent history, a story of heroism and selfless sacrifice is beginning to take shape. It’s the story of a young woman, Park Jee Young, just 22 years old.

Two years ago, after the death of her father, Park dropped out of college to help support her family. She took a job with a ferry company, and was just recently promoted to serve on the ill-fated Korean ferry, the Sewol, which sank off the coast of South Korea last week (April 16, 2014).

The ferry was carrying 476 people, most of them high school students from the Danwon High School in Ansan City. The students were on a class trip to a nearby resort island. After initial search and rescue attempts, more than 300 of the passengers are either dead or missing and presumed dead.

While nearly half of the ferry’s 22 crew members have been arrested in connection with negligence and dereliction of duty, Park gave her life to save as many passengers as possible. CNN reports:

By witness accounts [she] helped passengers escape and distributed life jackets — one after the other to students — as the stricken ferry began to sink. When she ran out of jackets, she ran to the next floor to grab more. When she was asked why she wasn’t wearing a life jacket, Park said that crew members would be last and that she had to help others first …

Even more amazingly, it was her quick thinking and assessment of the gravity of the situation which led so many to safety.

In an interview with CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, survivors described the scene and her actions. They recounted how the severe listing of the ship nearly immediately turned walls into floors. Passengers were panicked and disoriented. A large, open door now created a gaping hole in the new “floor,” and it was too wide for passengers to safely step or jump over it. One crew member was lying on the floor nearby, grasping a mic and instructing passengers to stay put, and telling them they would be fine if they just stayed where they were.

Park instinctively knew that staying put was not an option. Witnesses say she grabbed some keys from her fellow crewman and forced the door shut, then locked it to be sure it stayed that way. She then led nearly 50 desperate passengers across it, creating, as one grateful survivor described it, a “bridge to safety.” She was standing right by the exit, he said, yet she refused to save herself, insisting that the needs of the passengers came first.

Alongside the flowers at her memorial is a simple message, “We will always remember your sacrifice.”

Application:

Jesus is our “bridge to safety.” While the whole world was saying stay put and everything will be fine, He realized the gravity of the situation and took action. He knew that staying put in our separation from God was not an option, so He gave His life to close the gap between us and God. Like Park Jee Young, He put himself last in order to save as many as possible.

Just as Park Jee Young’s family “will always remember [her] sacrifice,” we are called to perpetually remember Jesus’ sacrifice each time we gather at the Lord’s Table to observe communion.

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

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