Today's Word for Pastors...

Acts 10:43
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

Today's Preaching Insight...

Have You Been To A Real Family Reunion Lately?

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.

Question: Do you have any memories of family reunions? I have some going way back to my earliest childhood memories.

One is a dim recollection of a big, old, white farmhouse with huge elm trees towering overhead. Off to the right is an apple orchard. Out back, a hundred yards or so from the house, is a barn. To the left is a fenced field in which some milking cows are grazing. A big circular dirt drive goes up to the house. Off to the right, by the orchard on the other side of the driveway, are parked at least several dozen late 1930s and early 1940s cars. There on the front lawn, gently sloping down to the county road, are picnic tables and blankets spread out on the ground. Close to the house, there are several big, long tables borrowed from a church. Some are loaded with steaming hot casseroles and meat dishes. Another has salads of all sorts. A couple more couldn't hold one more pie, cake, bowl of chopped fruit or a big half of watermelon, if you tried to crowd a place for it. Then there's that table with the beverages — big pitchers of lemonade, iced tea and those pots with coffee.

Picture people, perhaps 150, whose roots were attached to the name Huffman or perhaps Lambert. I can't remember whether it was my grandmother's or my grandfather's side. I do remember it was fun. There was food. There were people of all ages, from the tiniest of squealing babies, to us little kids, to the teenagers (so sophisticated), to the young couples, to the middle-agers, to the grandparents, to the great-grandparents, and even an occasional great-great-grandmother, smelling of lavender. Then my recollections blur. Nothing is left but the warm fuzzies of a youngster's happy memories of a grand family reunion loaded with cousins, second-cousins and second-cousins-once-removed, uncles and aunts, great-uncles and great-aunts, and fun and food and more fun and more food!

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Today's Extra...

Illustration: Adversity

More than 2,000 years ago, a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected tutor. After several years, the teacher's efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. "I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress." Timanthes took his teacher's advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.  

Adversity in life is God's way of refining and beautifying our lives in His image. He is the Master Artist who constantly shapes the way He wants us to be. If you haven't been walking with God, He still loves you and wants you back. It is never too late for God to refinish the colors of your heart. If you are walking with God, take comfort because He promises to love you unconditionally. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 11/19/03)

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