Dr. Lee, a Southern Baptist preacher was on a trip to the holy land. As the tour proceeded near the place where Christ died, he caught a glimpse of the Hill of the Skull—Calvary. He was so overtaken with emotion that he ran ahead to the base of the hill. Finally the guide caught up with the preacher, his head bowed and his lungs panting, and said, "Sir, you haven't been here before have you?" "Yes I have, Dr. Lee responded, "I was here 2000 years ago."
Let's say your dad is in the military stationed overseas during the war. He's been there since right before you were born. Your mom loves him and you have always heard great things about him. He loves you a lot, so he writes you notes telling you how to be a good son. He gives you lists of things to do that would please him if he were there: Take out the trash, help your mom with the chores, do well in school, be the man of the house.
You love your dad, and do these for him, gladly. He responds in letters, telling you he loves you.
But something is missing. It's nice to read the letters, but what you really want is Dad! Not a piece of paper. You want to sit on his lap, to take walks through the woods, to toss the ball in the back yard on the first day of Spring.
Then one day, after you've checked the last item off the list your dad has sent and started to head for bed, you hear the door knob turning; and in through the door walks a handsome, dignified soldier. The moment you look into his eyes you recognized immediately that he is your father. He walks straight towards you and sweeps you into his arms. Overwhelmed with emotion, all you can say is, "Daddy! Daddy!"
The next morning you run down the stairs because you want to get started on your list early, because that would really please dad! But the list is gone off of the refrigerator door. On it, is a note which says, "Daddy's home. You won't need the list anymore."
Friends, daddy's home. —Doug Banister.
The British Parliament abolished slavery in the West Indies on August 1, 1836, but the decree was not to be valid until next year. On July 1, 1837, one year later, twenty thousand slaves united in Jamaica. At 11:00 at night dressed in white robes, they all knelt down, faces turned upward to await the hour. As the clock
struck twelve the twenty thousand slaves rose together and shouted joyously: "We are free! We are free!"
Once upon a time the devil said to me, "Martin Luther you are a great sinner, and you will be damned!" "Stop! Stop!" said I; "one thing at a time; I am a great sinner, it is true though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess it. What next? Therefore you will be damned. That is not good reasoning. It is true I am a great sinner, but it is written, 'Jesus Christ came to save sinner;' therefore I shall be saved! Now you go your way." So I cut the devil off with his own sword, and he went away mourning because he could not case me down by calling me a sinner. --Martin Luther
John Calvin was a firm believer in the all-powerful grace of God. It was no dead doctrine to him. He saw it as an intensely powerful motivation to serve his redeemer. Calvin's family crest was his expression of his inner gratitude at receiving undeserved mercy. It pictures a heart upon an open, outstretched hand with the motto, "My heart I give to thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly."
Thanks to God's grace, we are redeemed from our slave-driving task master and purchased anew as his sons. A song sung by black soldiers in the Civil war, men who had just won their freedom from slavery, express what all believers may sing within their hearts: "No more auction block for me, no more, no more, no more auction block for me, many thousand gone. No more driver's lash for me. No more, no more. No more driver's lash with me. Many thousand gone."
In a garden of Milan, Italy, in the fourth century, a brilliant young scholar, weary of an empty life, wept a prayer to God: "O Lord, how long? How long? Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow? Why not now? Why not this hour make an end of my weakness? The scholar St Augustine wrote that he heard a voice speaking in Latin, "Take up and read." Reaching for one of Paul's letters, St. Augustine obeyed, and a spiritual renewal took place.