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Category: Unconditional Love

Puppy Love

Topic: Commitment                                                                                             Printer Friendly
Source: “I get rid of dogs as soon as they stop being cute puppies” by Shona Sibary, DAILY MAIL, Published: 16:30 EST, 27 August 2015
Link to Source: Click here to view source
Author: Illustration Exchange

ILLUSTRATION

Shoan Sibary has confessed to the DAILY MAIL, “I get rid of dogs as soon as they stop being cute puppies.”

Indeed, she has given away four dogs in four years.

puppy

 

 

 

 

She writes:

I’m a serial dogamist. In the early stages of the relationship I’m head over heels. I attend all the puppy classes. I don’t even begrudge picking up dog poo.

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my new canine companion. But the moment things get complicated and they develop a problem, I don’t covet a dog-free existence like any other sane person might. Instead, I start wondering if there is another, more suitable dog out there.

Maybe one that is less bouncy, less barky, less inclined to moult everywhere. And so the new search begins and I cannot rest until I have found a replacement puppy to lie adoringly at my feet.

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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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Beautiful or Average, You Choose

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Topic: Self-Image
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:3-4
Source: “Watch what happens when women are forced to choose between walking through doors marked ‘average’ or ‘beautiful’… as it is revealed that 96 PER CENT of women rate themselves as average looking” By ANDREA MAGRATH FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA, PUBLISHED: 8 April 2015
Author: Barnett Gushin

Beautiful or average? As a woman, how would you categorize yourself?

The makers of Dove soap asked that question in a worldwide survey. To demonstrate the results, they set up signs at the entrances of buildings around the globe. At each location, one door was marked “Average” and the other was marked “Beautiful.” (Click the link to source above to view the video that has gone viral. )

Across the board, women overwhelmingly chose to walk through the door marked “Average.” In fact, a staggering 96% chose that door. A mere 4% chose to walk through the door marked “Beautiful.” Sure, some stopped and pondered the possibility of choosing “Beautiful,” but all too often they abandoned the choice. The reasons were varied. Many felt that it seemed like vanity to admit that they considered themselves beautiful, while others genuinely believed themselves unworthy of walking through the “Beautiful” door.

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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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10,000 People Disappointed In You

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Topic: God’s Love
Scripture: 1 John 4:16
Author: Mitchell Dillon

Whitney Houston, in an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2002, discussed the pain and frustration she experienced in her failed comeback attempt. At one point in the interview she turned to Ms. Sawyer and asked, “Have you ever heard the sound of 10,000 people disappointed in you?”

Application:

Hailed as perhaps the greatest vocalist of all time, Whitney Houston once stood atop the music industry as the unchallenged queen of pop. The greatness of her talent was met by an equally magnanimous outpouring of love from millions of fans the world over. But when her abuse of drugs and other related habits finally robbed her of that “golden voice,” the cheers turned to jeers.

She had risen to the pinnacle of admiration like few others, only to have it all melt away as soon as her flaws were revealed. The rejection left her confidence wavering from the resonating sound of her fans’ disapproval. Even so, in that same interview, Ms. Houston declared emphatically, “I know this—Jesus loves me!” It was a declaration she would assert repeatedly, even at the occasion of her final public appearance the night before she died.

Despite her flaws and self-doubt, there was one thing she did not question: the love of Jesus. What a critical realization, one which highlights the important distinction between the love of the world and the love of God. The former is fickle and fleeting; the latter is sure and eternal.

If an adored star like Whitney Houston could suffer the pain of this world’s fickle love, don’t think it won’t treat you the same–or worse!

The sad truth is we must conceal our flaws if we hope to hang on to the love of this world. But not so with the love of God! His love is felt most strongly when we lead off with them!

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

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Even Missing Words Matter

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Topic: Grace
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9
Source: Fowler Bible Collection
Author: Larry Kuhl

In 1631, Robert Barker and Martin Lucus, the royal printers of London, published what was supposed to be a reprint of the King James Bible but instead it became known as “The Wicked Bible,” due to a simple elimination of a three letter word. It seems that in publishing  Exodus 20:14 the printers left out the word “not” from  the seventh commandment, making the text read: “Thou shalt commit adultery”. Unfortunately this mistake was only discovered after the Bibles were released for sale!

This error cost these two respected publishers their license, a large fine, as well as their reputation.  An order immediately went out from the King to have all of these publications destroyed. Only twelve copies are known to have survived.

Application:

Like the “The Wicked Bible,” sometimes we say or do things we regret. Nevertheless, once our sins have been published, they can’t be retracted. Words and deeds matter. Even missing words and deeds can make a big difference.

Thank God for the grace and forgiveness that is ours in Jesus Christ, Who took our sins, small and great, on Himself as He hung on the cross, that we may become the “righteousness of God in Him.”

What a blessed life we have in Christ!  God doesn’t take our license away when we mess up! He generously gives us another opportunity to begin again, and again, and again. Grace always prevails with our God.

“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).

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Called To Leave Our Mark

Printer Friendly Topic: God’s Love
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: John 13:35
Source: “One Amazing Thing You Never Noticed In Countless Disney And Pixar Movies: What does ‘A113′ signify and why does it keep popping up everywhere?” by Robyn Wilder, BuzzFeed Staff, published on BuzzFeed.com, retrieved 5/4/14

“A113” … It’s everywhere!

  • It’s Andy’s mom’s license plate number in Toy Story;
  • It’s a door number in Monsters University;
  • It’s the courtroom number in Up;
  • It’s the camera model number in Finding Nemo;
  • It’s on a rat’s ear tag in Ratatouille;
  • And it’s the train number in Cars … to name just a few.

But what does it mean?

“A113” was a classroom number at the California Institute of the Arts. “If it appears in a movie,” reports BuzzFeed, “it means that a CalArts alumnus was involved with the animation.” And it’s not just in animated films. The trademark number even appears in live action films like Hunger Games and Mission Impossible.

Like a digital calling card or a cinematic fingerprint, it’s a message to the public … a CalArts alumnus was here!

Application:

What is your calling card, your fingerprint, your message to the public? How will you communicate to the world that you are an alumnus, a disciple of Christ?

Jesus has a trademark number for you to consider. It’s J1335.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

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Could God DVU People?

Printer Friendly Topic: Unconditional Love
Author: Cathy Drobnick / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: 1 John 4:10
Source: “THE QUESTION THAT MADE THEM LAUGH” by Cathy Drobnick, published by New Tribes Mission on usa.ntm.org, January 3, 2013

New Tribes Mission reports on the way one group of Bible translators came to communicate the fullness of God’s love to an African tribal community:

“The verbs for a particular African language consistently end with one of three vowels,” explains Dennis Farthing from the NTM Missionary Training Center. “Almost every verb ends in i, a, or u. But the word for ‘love’ was only found with i and a. Why no u?”

Dennis says the Bible translation team included the most influential leaders in the local community. In an effort to truly understand the concept of “love” in this African language, the missionary began to question them.

“Could you dvi your wife?”

“Yes,” they answered, “that would mean that the wife had been loved, but the love was gone.”

“Could you dva your wife?”

“Yes,” they responded, “that kind of love depends on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and took good care of her husband.”

“Could you dvu your wife?”

Everyone in the room laughed.

“Of course not!” they replied. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water and never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would have to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say dvu. It just doesn’t exist.”

The missionary sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God dvu people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of the elderly men of the tribe. Finally they responded, “Do you know what this would mean? This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, while all that time we rejected His great love. He would be compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

The missionary noted that changing one simple vowel changed the meaning from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you, based on who I am. I love you because of me and not because of you.”

Dennis concludes, “God encoded the story of His unconditional love right into this African language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable.”

Application:

Have you embraced the fact that God could dvu you? He loves you because of Who HE is and not because of who you are or what you have done! No longer do you need to seek approval and acceptance from others to be loved. You are known and loved by Him Who loves you just because of Who He is.

That should blow our minds and overwhelm our spirits. Knowing that we are loved like this gives us what we need to love others with the same unconditional love. Such a love sets us free. Free to love as He has loved us.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

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