Come Follow Me

 

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug.

He wasn't a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn't believe all that stuff about an incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did.

"I am truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, who was a faithful church-goer, "but I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. It doesn't make any sense to me."

On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. "I'd feel like a hypocrite," he explained. "I'd much rather stay at home. But I'll wait up for you."

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier.

"If we must have a Christmas," he reflected, "it's nice to have a white one."

He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snow balls at his living room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

I can't let those poor creatures lie there and freeze, he thought. But how can I help them?

Then he remembered the barn where the children's pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light. But the birds didn't come in.

Food will bring them in, he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction - except into the warm, lighted barn.

"They find me a strange and terrifying creature," he said to himself, "and I can't seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety."

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow.

"Now I understand," he whispered. "Now I see why you had to do it." 

(Christmas - Do You Hear What I Hear?, Paul H. Dunn, 1987, pp 90- 91)

 

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The Birdcage Story

A man was on the side of the road with a large birdcage. A boy noticed that the cage was full of birds of many kinds. "Where did you get those birds?" he asked.

"Oh, all over the place," the man replied. "I lure them with crumbs, pretend I'm their friend then when they are close, I net them and shove them into my cage."

"And what are you going to do with them now?"

The man grinned, "I'm going to prod them with sticks, and get them really mad so they fight and kill each other. Those that survive, I will kill. None will escape."

The boy looked steadily at the man. What made him do such things? He looked into the cruel, hard eyes. Then he looked at the birds, defenceless, without hope.

"Can I buy those birds?" the boy asked.

The man hid a smile, aware that he could be on to a good thing if he played his cards right. "Well," he said hesitantly, "The cage is pretty expensive, and I spent a lot of time collecting these birds, I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll let you have the lot, birds, cage and all for ten pounds and that jacket you're wearing."

The boy paused, ten pounds was all he had, and the jacket was new and very special, in fact it was his prized possession. Slowly, he took out the ten pounds and handed it over, then even more slowly he took off his jacket, gave it one last look then handed that over too.

And then (well, you've guessed it) he opened the door and let the birds go free.

The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of life's road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every race and nation. "Where did you get these people?" the man asked.

"Oh, from all over the world," Satan replied. "I lure them with drink, drugs, lust, lies, anger, hate, love of money and all manner of things. I pretend I'm their friend, out to give them a good time, then when I've hooked them, into the cage they go."

"And what are you going to do with them now?" asked the man.

Satan grinned. "I'm going to prod them, provoke them, get them to hate and destroy each other; I'll stir up racial hatred, defiance of law and order; I'll make people bored, lonely, dissatisfied, confused and restless. It's easy. People will always listen to what I offer them and (what's better) blame God for the outcome!"

"And then what?" the man asked.

"Those who do not destroy themselves, I will destroy. None will escape me."

The man stepped forward. "Can I buy these people from you?" he asked.

Satan snarled, "Yes, but it will cost you your life."

So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for your release, your freedom from Satan's trap, with His own life, on the cross at Calvary. The door is open, and anyone, whom Satan has deceived and caged, can be set free.

 

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Forgiveness

A letter written to a man on death row by the Father of the man whom the man on death row had killed:

You are probably surprised that I, of all people, am writing a letter to you, but I ask you to read it in its entirety and consider its request seriously. As the Father of the man whom you took part in murdering, I have something very important to say to you.

I forgive you. With all my heart, I forgive you. I realize it may be hard for you to believe, but I really do. At your trial, when you confessed to your part in the events that cost my Son his life and asked for my forgiveness, I immediately granted you that forgiving love from my heart. I can only hope you believe me and will accept my forgiveness.

But this is not all I have to say to you. I want to make you an offer -- I want you to become my adopted child. You see, my Son who died was my only child, and I now want to share my life with you and leave my riches to you. This may not make sense to you or anyone else, but I believe you are worth the offer. I have arranged matters so that if you will receive my offer of forgiveness, not only will you be pardoned for your crime, but you also will be set free from your imprisonment, and your sentence of death will be dismissed. At that point, you will become my adopted child and heir to all my riches.

I realize this is a risky offer for me to make to you -- you might be tempted to reject my offer completely -- but I make it to you without reservation.

Also, I realize it may seem foolish to make such an offer to one who cost my Son his life, but I now have a great love and an unchangeable forgiveness in my heart for you.

Finally, you may be concerned that once you accept my offer you may do something to cause you to be denied your rights as an heir to my wealth. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I can forgive you for your part in my Son's death, I can forgive you for anything. I know you never will be perfect, but you do not have to be perfect to receive my offer. Besides, I believe that once you have accepted my offer and begin to experience the riches that will come to you from me, that your primary (though not always) response will be gratitude and loyalty.

Some would call me foolish for my offer to you, but I wish for you to call me your Father.

Sincerely,
The Father of Jesus

 

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The File Room

By Joshua Harris.

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "People I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told", "Comfort I Have Given", "Jokes I Have Laughed At". Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Other I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents". I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards?

But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To", I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts", I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only and inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards.

But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.

Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self- pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With". The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written in His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written. 

 

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The Auction

The upstate NY man was rich in almost every way. His estate was worth millions. He owned houses, land, antiques and cattle. But though on the outside he had it all, he was very unhappy on the inside. His wife was growing old, and the couple was childless. He had always wanted a little boy to carry on the family legacy.

Miraculously, his wife became pregnant in her later years, and she gave birth to a little boy. The boy was severely handicapped, but the man loved him with his whole heart. When the boy was five, his mom died. The dad drew closer to his special son. At age 13, the boy’s birth defects cost him his life and the father died soon after from a broken heart.

The estate was auctioned before hundreds of bidders. The first item offered was a painting of the the boy. No one bid. They waited like vultures for the riches. Finally, the poor housemaid, who helped raise the boy, offered $5 for the picture and easily took the bid. To every-one's shock, the auctioneer ripped a hand written will from the back of the picture. This is what it said: "To the person who thinks enough of my son to buy this painting, to this person I give my entire estate."

The auction was over. The greedy crowd walked away in shock and dismay.

How many of us have sought after what we thought were true riches only to find out later that our Father was prepared to give us His entire estate if we had only sought after His Son alone?

 

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A Brothers Love

There was a family that was experiencing a small tragedy. One of their two sons had acquired an illness that required a marrow transplant. Of course, the medical personnel had all the family members tested to see who had the proper type of blood. It turned out the older brother of the sick boy was the perfect match. So the father sat the older brother down and told what they needed to do in simplest terms for the young boy. The father told him that his little brother was very very sick and that he needed to show his little brother how much he loved him by having surgery. The doctors need to take a little piece of him and put it in his little brother's body so that he doesn't die. The young boy thought about it for a couple seconds, and then he said he would do it.

So the older brother went through surgery. it was a success, and his little brother was recovering quickly. After the relief and joy passed over and the family was just sitting around relaxing, the father noticed his older son looking a little down and depressed. He took his son aside and asked him why he wasn't happy- his brother was getting better. His son said that he was very glad that his brother was getting better. So the father asked again, why are you so sad? The boy said, "When is it time for me to die?"

That's when the father realized what the boy actually had on his mind. His older son believed in his heart of hearts that he had to give up his own life so that his little brother who he loved could live.

 

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Paid In Full

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.

Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said "with all your money, you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, a sudden feeling of sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?"

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God's blessings because we can't see past our own desires?

 

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Song of the Bird

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eagle hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet in the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.

"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbour. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth -- we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.

-Anthony DeMello

 

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Dying Testimonials

 

Dying Testimonials are a collection of 236 life and death experiences of actual people's experiences when facing eternity.

Experiences of those that love God and have His promise of eternal life, and experiences of those who did not know God and who were indifferent to Him and to the consequences of ignoring or refusing His amazing offer of mercy and grace toward mankind.

When we read these true experiences of people as they entered eternity, we need to consider what eternity really means.

Eternity is forever, and ever, and ever, with no end.  50 billion or 50 trillion years from now, we will be alive in our spirit form at the final place of our eternal destiny, because the human spirit is eternal and cannot die.

Where will you choose to spend your eternity?  This is the single most important question you will ever face, and where you spend eternity will be decided by your choices, by your decisions, by your actions, and will depend entirely on whether you choose to accepts God's incredible offer of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness of sins. 

In the word of God it says this:

Hebrews 9:27.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

The time to decide is here, and now while we are alive, and while the Holy Spirit of the Living God is calling your name and calling you to repentance. 

If you feel this urging to repentance, it is the Spirit of God gently calling you to come to Him to repentance so that you can experience his incredible love and promise of eternal life.

If you are feeling the urging of the Spirit of God calling you to repentance; “Do Not” ignore His voice, but go to The Way Of The Cross page in this website to discover the way to Christ and eternal life.  

If you are feeling the Spirit of God urging and calling you to repentance, the time to come is now, because none of us know what the next minute or the next day of our lives will bring.  Measured against eternity, our lives are so very short, and each of us is only one heartbeat away from eternity at any time in our lives. 

We may be tempted to think; Well! I am young now, or, I have many years left to live; and I have no time for God at this point in my life. Therefore I will leave this decision for God for another more convenient day, and will come to God in my time, and on my terms;  Little knowing that today could be our last day on earth, or possibly the last time we hear the voice of God calling us if we insult Him and push him away.  

Luke 12:15-20 (New International Version)

15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

 16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

 18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '

 20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

So, if you are feeling the urging of the Spirit of God calling you to repentance; Please; I urge you; Do not delay; because if we reject Him and push Him away until a more convenient time, it is possible we may never hear His voice calling us again.   The truth is, that we cannot come to God when we feel like it, or at a time of our own convenience.  We can only come to God when He is calling us to repentance; So if you feel convicted of sin, if you feel that your immortal soul is in danger, if you know that you are not in a good place with God and feel you should do something about it; that is the Spirit of God calling you; urging you to come and wash in His cleansing stream, to wash you clean from the stain of sin that would keep separated from our loving Creator God.

After reading these stories and compelling glimpses into eternity through the eyes of people at the end of their earthly lives, I would urge you to go to The Way Of The Cross page; and settle your eternal destiny today, while you can, while God is calling you by name.  Your eternal destiny will depend on your decision in this matter; and possibly the eternal destinies of your family, your children, husband, wife, and your friends and neighbours.  This because when we discover true life in Christ; we can be a powerful positive influence to reach our families, friends, and a world of lost souls for Christ so that they also may discover the life, peace and joy we discover when we decide to walk in the footsteps of our loving God and Saviour.

For the believer and follower of Christ, here below is the promise of God as evidenced in these testimonies of the saved and unsaved.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (New King James Version)

9But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered to the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 

What an amazing promise.  It provides hope, peace and removes all fear of death for those that  love Christ. 

How hard is it to know this peace and promise of God for yourself?  It is simple, it is easy, and it is the most important thing you will ever do.

To find out how; Go to The Way Of The Cross page:

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