By the time Alexander the Great had celebrated his 23rd birthday, he had conquered over half of the civilized world. One victim of his magnificent military abilities was Darius—a mighty Persian king whom the disrespectful Alexander had just wiped out.
Poor Darius, infuriated at the thought of being humiliated by such a rookie, high-tailed it to Egypt. Once he was safe, he pulled out a piece of paper and pen and zipped off a fiery letter to Alexander, admonishing him, and blatantly refusing to call him King. He also threw in a few plea bargains urging Alexander to back off a little on the conquest kick and give him some breathing room.
Alexander was not pleased with this little note, and sent in reply a stinging rebuke to his defeated foe. He ended the letter with these words, "In the meantime whenever you shall have occasion to write Alexander, remember you write to him not only as a king, but as your king."
How like Darius we are—fancying that we indeed are the kings of our worlds, and snapping at a spiritual conqueror for a little more respect and a few privileges. But Christ, as Alexander, has conquered and is the lawful ruler of the kingdom of our souls. We may not know it now, but someday we all will address him "not only as a king, but as our king."—Fifty Famous Letters of History p.7.
"During the war a soldier picked up on the battlefields of France a battered frame which had once contained the picture of Jesus. The picture was gone but the frame still bore the words Ecce Homo. The soldier sent it home as a souvenir, and someone at home put a mirror in it, and hung it on the wall. One day a man went into that house and understood the startling words Behold the man, and saw himself. We see ourselves only when we see ourselves in Jesus. Blots we barely knew were there come to view in his white light." —William E. Sangster
Every time I have a heart attack, I get a lump in my throat and I get scared, and all of a sudden I hear this voice inside of me saying, "You'll be all right man, calm down. I'll live with you. I'll die with you, and I'll take care of you no matter what." The lump in my throat, it just goes away.—Tim Dodson
The preacher was visiting the Sunday School kindergarten class and asked
the boys and girls if they'd like to hear a story.
They all said yes, and one little boy suggested, "Tell us a story about Andy." "Well," the preacher said, "we don't use stories about Andy. We use stories
"No," the youngster persisted, "I want to hear about Andy."
"I don't understand," said the preacher. "Where did you get the name Andy?"
"You know," the kid said, "from the song: 'Andy walks with me, Andy talks
with me, Andy tells me I am his own...."'—Bristol (Va/Tn) Herald Courier/Virginia
Tennessean, 7-5-87, p. lla, "Matters of Opinion," column by Jim Baxley.
A brilliant Chinese student asked Dr. W.R. White for a New Testament. He took it home and read it. Then he gave this testimony:
"I took the New Testament home with me. I sat down on the floor and read it through before I did anything else. I have read the great writings of Confucius. I wanted to satisfy my hungry heart there. I knocked at the door but no answer came, for Confucius was dead. I read the message of Buddhism seeking that for which my soul so profoundly longed. I knocked at the door of Buddha but no answer came, for Buddha was dead. I read the Koran. My soul longed to find peace there. I knocked at the door but no answer came, for Muhammad was dead. I read the writings of the greatest patriots and religious leaders of the past. I knocked but no answer came. While reading this New Testament, I found that it claimed its author to be alive. I knocked at the door. I found the living Christ. He came into my soul. Here my hungry heart found peace, a peace for which it has longed.—Source Unknown
During World War II, service stars hung in the windows of millions of American homes to show that a son from that home was in the service. One night a little boy and his father were out walking and the lad noticed that only one star was visible in the sky. "Daddy, look," he said. "God must have a son in the service."
John Alexander says, "Jesus specializes in reversing standard wisdom. His teachings would have us view our social system as a Behemoth which must be challenged."
Our lives should be so different that we find ourselves in conflict with the system and its laws all the time. Behemoth is so vile that we should naturally be telling him No with regularity.
Christians who haven't spent the night in jail are not in the tradition of Jesus and his disciples. —International Christian Digest, John F. Alexander: "The Backward Logic of Jesus," November 1987, pp. 39-41.
In C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, we are introduced to Asian, the powerful Lion that is to Narnia what Christ is to our world. Lewis once wrote that when he wrote the books his goal was to dream a fairy-tale world and ask the question, "What would happen if God incarnated himself into it?" The result is Asian in Narnia.
The beauty of the books is their ability to sketch familiar truths in unfamiliar colors, stretching one's faith and understanding of the gospel. Such an instance comes in the second book, Prince Caspian, where Lucy, a young girl, is meeting Asian after being away for a while. Throughout the book we watch Lucy's faith grow, and this process is climaxed in the following dialogue:
"Welcome child'"(Asian) said.
"Asian," said Lucy, "You're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one." answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."
J. Richard Peck was writing about the beginning of a new journal, International Christian Digest (Feb.'87) .The editorial board was from such a wide background that when they met in Geneva to consider the first issue and began to discuss matters of faith and inclusion in the journal, Peck observed, a little to his wonderment, that these "were no timid souls."
The initial discussion went on for some time until Peck writes, "And then it began. A group of persons from a variety of nations and traditions with widely different Christologies affirmed that following and doing were the real essentials of the faith....
And so we, as a group, began to trust one another. We were not able to chart fully the course for this magazine, but we did learn to trust one another because we trusted a common Lord."
International Christian Digest, Feb. 1987, Editorial, p.5.
Bible commentator H#ssy Ironside tells us that a popular story among the Jews of Jesus' day had to do with the building of Solomon's great temple. The story says that when the temple of Solomon was being built, every one of the stones sent up from the rock quarry below were pretty much identical in size and shape. One day a stone came up the hill that was quite a bit different from all the rest.
The workmen looked at it and said," This is a mistake—we can't use this stone" and sent it tumbling down to the bottom of the Valley of Kidron. below the temple area. Seven years went on as the men struggled to implement the grand plans of the fabulous temple. Near the end of the seventh year, the builders were finally ready for the chief corner stone, so they sent down an order for it. Afer a while a message came back up to the hill, "You guys already have it! We sent it to you a long time ago." But the workers couldn't find the corner stone anywhere.
Then an old workman came forward and said, "I remember now. There was a stone different from the rest and we thought there was no place for it, so we sent it rolling back down into the valley."
Then the builders went down to the valley of Kedron and finally found the stone covered with moss and dirt — the very stone that was rejectd by the builders. Now they began the difficult job of hoisting it back to the top of the cliff, then back to the platform and into place. They rejoiced as they realized that it was a perfect fit. The stone the builders rejected had become the head corner stone.
When Peter preached to the Jews about Christ and told them that in rejecting him their people had rejected the corner stone, the audience knew exactly what he was talking about: that the Lord and Saviour, the long-awaited Messiah, had come and been rejected—but God had raised him from the valley of death, and placed him as the corner stone of the new temple God is building, his church.
Indeed many today still reject him, sending the one who was meant to control their lives away into a distant valley where they may never travel, for it is too rocky and too far. —Henry Ironside, Acts, pp. 105-106.