Daily Devotional | Hiding In An Attic

For Aug 13, 2014

AN AMAZING FACT:  One of the most bizarre records for hiding out was made by a young Chinese foreign exchange student by the name of Cheng Guan Lim. He was studying engineering at the University of Michigan but was doing very badly in physics and math. If his studies did not improve, he would have to leave school, quit his job as janitor at Ann Arbor’s First Methodist Church, and take the humiliating news of his academic failure back to his father, who was a schoolteacher in Singapore.

One day in October 1955, Cheng disappeared. His friends, including the Rev. Eugene Ransom, pastor of the church, called the police, but they found no clues. Cheng’s Methodist friends had another mystery to ponder: strange bumping noises that came out of the deserted church at night. Early one morning, four years after Chang’s disappearance, a pair of private detectives called in by Rev. Ransom, heard a trap door to the church attic slam. Together with police, they climbed up and swept their flashlights about the attic. And there, crouched above them in the rafters, was Cheng.

For four years the attic of the church had been his home. The bumping noises had been Cheng skipping rope to keep in shape. During the day he slept on padding from a pew. At night he walked around the church and helped himself to food from the kitchen. Physically, Cheng seemed unaffected by his hermit’s existence. But as police hauled him off
to the county jail, his four-year preoccupation with loss of face suddenly vanished. “I have been a coward,” he said. “I’m glad I was found.”

Instead of leaving him in jail, local businessmen started a fund to help him finish his education. The university permitted him to resume studies, and he eventually graduated in 1961 and later went on to earn his master’s degree. Cheng eventually returned to Singapore.

Did you know that the Bible speaks of a time when Satan will be forced to live the life of a hermit? “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:1, 2). Like the five enemy kings in the time of Joshua who were found hidden in a cave, Satan will someday be brought out and destroyed forever

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 
– Joshua 10:17

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Daily Devotional |133 Days On A Raft

For Aug 12, 2014

Photo Courtesy of funmag.org

AN AMAZING FACT:  In November 1942, a 25-year-old Chinese seaman named Poon Lim was working as a steward on a British merchant ship called the S.S. Ben Lomond. After leaving Capetown, the vessel was torpedoed by a German U-boat near South Africa’s coast. As the ship sank, Poon Lim grabbed a life jacket and jumped overboard just as the ship’s boilers exploded. Poon Lim floated around naked in the Atlantic for two hours, then spotted an empty life raft and pulled himself aboard.

That was the beginning of one of the most amazing sagas of survival at sea ever recorded. He was thankful for the meager supplies in the life boat—a canvas sail, chocolate, a bag of sugar, some flares, a jug of water, a tin of hard biscuits, and a flashlight. Seven days into his ordeal, he frantically tried to get the attention of a ship, but it just passed by. Then he spotted seven U.S. Navy patrol planes. He sent up flares, but they did not see him. A German U-boat spotted him, but chose to leave him to fate instead of rescuing (or killing) him.

Poon Lim could have given up and died, but instead decided to use his skills and limited supplies to stay alive. He rationed himself a biscuit and few mouthfuls of water a day. He made a fish hook from the flashlight spring, used hemp from the rope line, and a piece of biscuit for bait. When he caught a fish, he cut it with a tin-can knife and dried it. He swam daily to keep his muscles fit and body clean, while watching for sharks and staying tethered to the boat. He caught rainwater in a piece of canvas. When a storm spoiled his fish and fouled his water, Lim, barely alive, caught a bird and drank its blood to survive. Another time he hooked a 30-pound shark and ate the liver.

On April 5, 1943, when he staggered ashore in Brazil, he’d lost 20 pounds. Poon Lim survived a record 133 days alone on the Atlantic. He said, “I hope no one will ever have to break that record.”

Jesus said, speaking of the last days, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). In our sin-plagued world, we face difficulties like waves of the sea. But if we cling to Jesus, He will keep us afloat through every trial and give us the strength to endure.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 
– Matthew 24:13

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AF Daily Devotional | Prayer On A Pin

Photo courtesy of http://www.lords-prayer-words.com

For Aug 02, 2014

AN AMAZING FACT:  Nearly everyone in the Western world has heard of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Even if they don’t remember all the words, most people would certainly recognize it. Here it is, from Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV): “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
In the late 1800s, a convicted forger named A. Schiller spent many years at the notorious Sing Sing prison in New York. One day the guards discovered he had died in his cell. Among his personal effects were seven straight pins, six silver and one gold. They were typical-size pins, yet something about them caught the attention of one of the guards, so he examined them more closely with a magnifying glass.

To everyone’s amazement, under 500X magnification, they saw that Schiller had etched on the head of all seven pins the entire Lord’s Prayer with 65 words and 254 letters. The surface measured only 47/1000 of an inch in diameter. That’s pretty small. Of the seven pins, the prayer etched on the gold pin was flawless and a true masterpiece. No one is sure why there were seven. Perhaps he carried a silver one for each weekday and the gold one for the Sabbath.

Schiller had spent many years of his life placing the prayer on each pin, using a powerful magnifying glass and tools so small you couldn’t see them with your naked eye. It is estimated that it took 1,863 separate strokes to etch out each prayer. Before his death, Schiller went blind, perhaps partly due to the incredible eyestrain of his astonishing artwork.
Though he’s long gone, the prayers on the pins remain.

Schiller etched a prayer on the head of a pin; the Bible tells us we should allow God to write His law in our own hearts. God promises to those who do so, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
– Jeremiah 31:33

 

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Daily Devotional | A Place of Refuge

For Jul 19, 2014
AN AMAZING FACT:  On the Big Island of Hawaii there are ancient ruins of a village with a large oblong temple enclosure inside a huge L-shaped wall. The wall was constructed from thousands of lava rocks around 1550. It measures roughly 1,000 feet long by 700 feet wide. It is about 20 feet thick at the base and up to 20 feet high. This temple village was called Pu’uhonua, or the place of refuge. The massive wall separated the Pu’uhonua from the home of the chief.

In centuries past, even until the early 19th century, Hawaiians were forced to keep strict laws or pay a terrible penalty. They could not walk in the footsteps of a chief, touch any of his belongings, or get too close to him. There was even a law forbidding their shadows from touching the royal grounds. When a native Hawaiian committed kapu and broke one of the sacred laws, he was sentenced to death unless he fled to the place of refuge where the kahuna pule or “big priest” lived. Once inside the walls, he or she was safe and protected from judgment. No one was allowed to harm the person who sought refuge there. Later, the “big priest” would perform a rite of purification for the guilty party. They could then be declared forgiven; they were once again innocent and were free to begin a new life.

Cities of refuge are mentioned in the Bible as well. God told Moses to “appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger” (Numbers 35:11, 12). People who had caused someone else’s death by accident could run to a city of refuge and be
protected while they awaited trial. No one was allowed to harm them as long as they stayed within the boundaries of the city of refuge.

Since we all incur guilt in our lives, we all need a place of refuge. That place is in the arms of Jesus. He says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). In Christ we receive refuge, forgiveness, and unending love.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 
– Hebrews 7:25

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Daily Devotional | Blood Transfusion Missing

AN AMAZING FACT:  During World War II, a young Marine lay badly wounded in a military hospital on a South Pacific island. Shrapnel had ripped through his chest, and unless he received a series of blood transfusions at once the boy was doomed to die. But the type of blood required turned out to be very rare. No donors were immediately available and hope for saving the Marine was fading quickly.

Then a medic discovered a supply of the rare blood in a recent shipment from the United States. The transfusion was given and the marine lived. When he recovered, the grateful young man asked about the donor. She turned out to be a Boston woman, and he wrote to thank her for the gift of her life-saving blood. Then he wrote to his father in Kentucky
and told him about his miraculous experience. His father recognized the donor’s name. She was his long-lost sister and the Marine’s own aunt! The wounded man had never known his aunt, but her donation of rare blood, which matched his, saved his life in the faraway Pacific.

Thousands of lives are saved every year because of blood donations. Every day someone needs blood that comes from donors. Only 3 out of 100 people in the United States have donated blood. The term “blood bank” was created to describe the collection and storage of blood donations to be used for transfusions. Careful guidelines and screening
of blood lowers the risk of infection or incompatibility of different blood types. Blood doesn’t simply go from a donor to a recipient without being carefully tracked, tested, processed, stored, and transported.

Did you know, friends, that there is a unique type of blood that is still saving thousands today? The Bible says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:8, 9). The greatest blood donation was made by Jesus Christ when He shed His blood on Calvary to redeem us from sin.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 
– 1 Peter 1:18

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 
– 1 Peter 1:19

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Daily Devotional | A Cup of Water

AN AMAZING FACT:  After the first day of fierce fighting in the Civil War battle of Fredericksburg, hundreds of Union soldiers lay crying on the battlefield, wounded and bleeding. All through the night, and most of the next day, artillery fire prevented their relief. Yet all that time their agonized cries went up, “Water! Water!” Finally, a noble Southern sergeant, Richard Kirkland, rose above his love of life and told his General Kershaw, “I can’t stand this any longer! Those poor souls out there have been praying and crying all night and all day, and it’s more than I can bear! I ask your permission to go and give them water.”

“But you know,” said the general, “that as soon as you show yourself to the enemy, you will be shot.”

“Yes, sir, I know it,” he answered, “but to carry a little comfort to those poor dying men, I’m willing to run the risk!”

The general hesitated, but his heart was also touched with sympathy over the suffering soldiers. “Kirkland, it’s sending you to your death, but I cannot oppose such a motive as yours. I hope God will protect you. Go.”

So the brave soldier, furnished with a supply of water, stepped over the stone rampart and began his work of Christlike mercy. Wondering eyes watched as he knelt by the nearest sufferer, tenderly raised his head, and held the refreshing cup to his parched lips. Every soldier in the Union line understood his tender mission, and not a single shot was fired. For over an hour, one after another of the crying, wounded, and dying was given refreshing drink, had his cramped or mangled limbs straightened, his head cushioned on his knapsack, and was covered with his coat or blanket as tenderly as though by his own mother.

It’s the same on life’s great battlefield, where souls are crying and dying from the fearful effects of sin. They are thirsty for the water of life, with no one to reach out to them the refreshing draft they so crave, except the One who stepped over the ramparts of heaven and came down to risk His all. Christ, on the cross of Calvary, rescued them from their
sins by giving to them “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 
– Mark 9:41

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Daily Devotional | More Than Fine Gold

For Jul 08, 2014

Photo courtesy of abcnew.go.com

AN AMAZING FACT:  The United States Bullion Depository, located on the Fort Knox Army post site, is said to be the most impregnable vault on Earth. The virtual fortress is built out of granite, concrete, and steel, sealed behind a 22-ton door, protected by a 109,000-acre U.S. military base, and watched over day and night by Army units with tanks, heavy artillery, and Apache helicopter gunships at their disposal. It is ringed by fences and multiple alarms, and few people have been inside the highly classified Fort Knox bunker. The depository is a top-secret facility. Visitors are not permitted, and exceptions are not made. It is easy to see why the depository’s nickname, Fort Knox, has become synonymous with total security and inspired expressions like “It’s locked up tighter than Fort Knox.”

The U.S. Mint says that the Fort Knox vault contains 147.2 million troy ounces of gold, stacked in bars measuring 7 inches long, 3 and 5/8 inches wide, and 1 and 3/4 inches thick. Each bar weighs approximately 400 ounces, or 27 and 1/2 pounds. In today’s market that’s about $238 billion. If all the pure gold were put in a single cube, it would measure
20.3 feet on a side. In total, the depository holds 2.5 percent of all the gold ever refined.

Since its construction in 1937, the treasures locked inside Fort Knox have included more than gold. During the uncertainties of World War II, other national treasures from Europe and the U.S. were also protected in the vault. These included the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the Magna Carta, and three volumes of the Gutenberg Bible. Yes, Bibles! Those priceless copies of the Scriptures may have been the most valuable bullion ever stored in Fort Knox.

How valuable are the Scriptures in your life? King David wrote that he loved God’s commandments more than fine gold, while King Solomon said, “How much better to get wisdom than gold!” (Proverbs 16:16). If David, called a man after God’s own heart, and Solomon, the wisest king in history, valued God’s Word so highly, shouldn’t we make it our top priority as well?

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. 
– Psalms 119:127

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Daily Devotional | As The Days Of Noah

For Jul 05, 2014
Photo courtesy of Politicalconnection.wordpress.com
AN AMAZING FACT:  The American Civil War was over, and the S.S. Sultana was heading home, overloaded with recently liberated prisoners of war anxious to see their families. Even though the Sultana had a legal capacity to carry only 376 passengers, there were more than 2,300 people crammed on the sagging decks. With six times more passengers than she had been designed to carry, there was barely room for standing. To make matters worse, the Sultana had been neglecting proper maintenance.

These ominous factors came together during the homeward journey. At 2:00 a.m., three of the ship’s four boilers exploded, destroying a good portion of the ship and sending hundreds of soldiers flying into the icy water. Some of the dazed men were able to cling to floating wreckage until other boats arrived to rescue them, but most were not so fortunate. Hot coals scattered by the blast caught the rest of the ship on fire, forcing many to choose between burning on the ship and drowning in the cold water.

When it was over, an estimated 1,600 of the 2,300 passengers perished, and many others were badly wounded. In fact, more people died in the Sultana disaster than the infamous Titanic. The Sultana might be listed as one of the greatest ocean disasters, except the Sultana never went to sea. It sank in the Mississippi River—only 150 yards from land. Moreover, news of this terrible steamboat tragedy was relegated to the newspapers’ back pages: it was April 27, 1865, and the War Between the States was just ending. The recent assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the killing of John Wilkes Booth, and the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers in America’s bloodiest war filled the papers. Surrounded by violence, the nation had become desensitized to death. The deaths of 1,600 Union soldiers on their
way home from Confederate prisons did not seem like front-page news.

Could we become numb to violence again? Jesus predicted that the end of time would be “as the days of Noah were” (Matthew 24:37). Though the earth will be filled with wickedness and violence, mankind will be preoccupied. But God’s people will not be numb to the wickedness: they will “sigh and cry over all the abominations” (Ezekiel 9:4). May God
grant us Christ’s tender heart so that the wickedness and violence of the world will never become our normal!

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 
– Genesis 6:11

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Daily Devotional | The Liberty Bell

For Jul 03, 2014

Photo courtesy of philadelphia.about.com

AN AMAZING FACT:  The Liberty Bell, sometimes called the Bell of the Revolution, or Old Independence, has been a symbol of American patriotism for over 200 years, but it had a rough beginning. Originally cast in London in 1752 and weighing more than 2,000 pounds, the Liberty Bell arrived in Philadelphia in August, but cracked during its first test ringing. It was melted down in Philadelphia and recast to make a second bell in June of 1753. It was judged to have a poor tone, which was thought to be from too much copper, so it was melted down again the same year and recast to make the third and final bell.
This is the celebrated Liberty Bell that exists today, made mostly of copper and tin with small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold, and silver. It hangs from what is believed to be its original yoke, made from 200 pounds of American elm, and when struck it sounds the note of E flat. It was rung on July 8, 1776, to announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming America’s freedom.

During the Revolutionary War, the bell was placed on a wagon, moved 60 miles west to Allentown, and hidden in the floorboards of the Zion Reformed Church to keep it from falling into British hands, where it would have no doubt been melted down to make cannons. After the war, it was rung every July 4 until sometime around 1835, when it cracked
again. No one knows exactly when the Liberty Bell cracked the second time. It is a mystery of history.

Today the 250-year-old icon is a popular attraction in Philadelphia and only rung on special occasions. Many people do not know the bell was first called the Liberty Bell not by patriots of the revolution but by the abolitionists fighting slavery. They chose this name because of the Bible inscription on the bell from Leviticus 25:10 that reads: “Proclaim
liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.” In retrospect, the cracked bell was a remarkably apt metaphor for a country that was literally split over slavery.

Jesus said whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. So how much does real liberty cost? True liberty involves giving our whole hearts to Christ so He can break our chains of sin. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 
– John 8:34

 

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Simple Food Swaps That Save 100 Calories (or More!) via www.doctoroz.com

Bagel

Swap for: English muffin

You don’t need to cut carbs altogether – just choose better bread! For breakfast, swap a bagel (which can contain as many as 400 calories) for a 150-calorie English muffin, and save yourself 250 calories.

Cheese Slices

Swap for: Sprinkled cheese topping

Say cheese! You can still enjoy this satisfying snack without overdoing it. One tablespoon of Parmesan cheese has only 22 calories, while an ounce has more than 120. Try sprinkling it as a topping rather than hiding whole slices in your meal.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Swap for: Chocolate fudge pop

Did you know that some chocolate fudge pops are only 100 calories each? Compare that to nearly 300 calories in one cup of chocolate ice cream – you can have two chocolate fudge pops and still save yourself 100 calories. Now that’s some tasty math!

Potato Chips

Swap for: Popped chips

Dieting doesn’t have to mean deprivation. If you’re craving potato chips (which will average about 300 calories for 2 ounces), swap them for popped chips; they’re 240 calories for the same 2-ounce size, saving you 60 or more calories.

Sausage Link

Swap for: Two slices of bacon

Everybody loves bacon – and with good reason! You can enjoy two slices of bacon for about 80 calories, which is almost 100 calories less than one pork sausage link that weighs in around a whopping 170 calories.

Spaghetti

Swap for: Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is low-calorie (31 calories per cup) and a great alternative to real pasta (221 calories per cup). Once it’s baked, the inside of the squash easily shreds into spaghetti-like strands. Toss it with your favorite pasta sauce and you can enjoy noodles while saving almost 200 calories!

For more information you can go to http://www.doctoroz.com

 

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