March 1-5, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11
Romans 5:12-19
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32


Life from Death
Ash Wednesday

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Frank Ramirez
Contents
"Life from Death" by Frank Ramirez
"This is Nuts" by C. David McKirachan

Life from Death
by Frank Ramirez
2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10

We are treated as... dying, and see -- we are alive...(2 Corinthians 6:8-9)

She was raised in a shack that was part of the slave quarters on a rural Virginia tobacco plantation. As a child her hands were stained from harvesting that tobacco. As an adult she moved to Maryland to improve life for her children. She died far too young, at the age of 31, at one of the few hospitals that would take African Americans as patients (as long as they entered by a separate door from whites and were content with being treated in separate rooms).

And as part of a story that is hard to believe, cells from her body are alive today, and have been used to help cure polio, cancer, and other diseases.

Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) is sometimes referred to as “The Immortal Henrietta Lacks,” and sometimes referred to simply as “He-La.” She was born Loretta Pleasant, and after her mother died four years later during childbirth, her father sent the chidlren to be raised by several different relatives. Loretta was raised by her grandfather, Tommy Lacks, and eventually married his son, her cousin. The couple had five children. Somewhere along the way, no one is sure how or why, she became known as Henrietta.... >>Click here for the full installment.



A Little Soul Searching
Lent 1

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Keith Wagner
Contents
"A Little Soul Searching" by Keith Wagner
"It’s All About Grace" by Keith Wagner
"The Gift" by Keith Hewitt

A Little Soul Searching
by Keith Wagner
Matthew 4:1-11

Several years ago there was a television program that was called "Super Nanny." The show was about a British woman who visited homes where the children were completely out of control. After a few weeks the families were miraculously transformed and the children were well behaved.

One of the major problems that parents had with their children was their inability to say, "no." They were in the habit of giving in and therefore the children had control over their parents. In every case there was also a lack of structure, continuity and scheduling. It wasn’t a matter of being strict disciplinarians, it was a matter of being consistent and especially saying "no" to inappropriate behavior. Therefore the children had to live with the consequences of their negative choices. But, to be able to say “no” the parents had to do a little soul searching.

Before Jesus could embark on his mission and ministry he was called to a time of soul searching. The time in the wilderness provided an arena that would prepare him to say "no" to some things and "yes" to others. Thankfully, Jesus never gave in to the devil’s temptations. He endured. He overcame temptation by remaining committed and worshipping God.

To be tempted is to be human. We have wants, desires and ambitions. There are expectations to aspire to and dreams to follow. And since we live in a society of abundance we are conditioned that we can have just about anything we want.

When we say “no” to temptation we are saying “yes” to self-control. We are practicing patience, endurance and steadfastness. Unfortunately it is difficult to stay on course because of all the distractions.

In the book, “More Stories for the Heart,” by Alice Gray, there is a story called “Back on Course” which illustrates saying “yes” to self-control. One day Bud and Sandy Snavely were sailing their sailboat, the Sensuous Sea, up the Columbia River. They got caught in a terrible storm known as a “widow maker.” Five to six foot waves were crashing against the hull. It was a long, bumpy ride. Suddenly, Bud heard the sound of something clanging against the side of the bow. Straining to see through the driving rain he noticed the anchor had come loose from the pulpit. With each thud, the danger of the anchor beating a hole in the side of the hull became greater and greater.

Bud did a frightening thing. He made his way to the bow without a lifejacket or lifeline. He left Sandy alone in the cockpit to steer the boat. Sandy was a good sailor and one of her strong-suits was keeping the boat on course. But while Bud was retrieving the anchor, hanging precariously over the side, Sandy became worried that he might fall overboard. Bud shouted at Sandy, “Stay on course, point the bow toward the marker.”... >>Click here for the full installment.


What is StoryShare?

StoryShare is a treasure house with hundreds of good stories to share, stories which relate authentic, life-changing experiences that demonstrate the Lord's power and presence. Many are intensely personal accounts that concern visions, healing, or answers to prayers, but all bear witness to the indescribable joy, comfort and peace that come from a personal encounter with the divine. Our "Good Stories" section includes short fiction, parables much like those Jesus told.

Can I share stories that I have?
Yes, you can. You have good stories to share too, probably more than you know: personal stories, and stories from others that you have used over the years. StoryShare is always looking for "vision stories," stories involving personal experiences of the presence of God. Have you or someone you know heard the voice of God or been healed as a direct answer to prayer? If you have a story that you can share, especially about extraordinary spiritual experiences of ordinary people, send it to StoryShare for review. Simply click here (share-a-story@csspub.com) and email your story to us.

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