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Encouraging Integrity
by Jennifer Howland
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"...the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)

7:01 p.m.: Preston looked at the badly bruised and bleeding man laying face first in the muddy grass on the side of the road. Then he looked at his watch. "Oh, my", he exclaimed. "I'm late for my 7:00 p.m. meeting with the other elders of the church." He looked the other way and drove away from the dying man. "I've no time for this", he thought, "he probably deserved it anyway. Those sinners", he grunted, "I just can't believe what they get themselves into." A few minutes later, a drunk driver sped around the corner at such speed that when the drunk driver's car hit his car, his car was forced so intensely into the telephone pole that he died instantly.

8:15 p.m.: Tracy glanced across the street from her second floor apartment window. "What's that, " she thought. She grabbed her new red, shinny dress coat. She had received it two days earlier as a gift of appreciation from the woman she was discipling. It looked so nice on her. She left her apartment and went outside to see the unusual sight more closely. As she got closer, she noticed that it was a half naked bleeding man lying on the muddy ground. "Oh no," she sighed. "If I go over there to help him I may get my brand new coat bloody and those stains never come out. I think I'll just go back to my apartment and pretend I never saw it. Another passerby will see him and take care of him. She quickly walked back to her warm and safe apartment. When she got inside Peter, her baby, was crying and had to take care of him. She forgot all about the hurt man. He ended up crying all night and developed a fever so high that she had to rush him to the hospital. There she learned that her child had early signs of brain damage and that there was nothing that could be done to reverse the problem.

9:46 p.m.: Alex was driving to see his fiancée for the first time in months since he had left to see his mother who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given six months to live. He was fatigued to the point where he could barely keep his eyes opened. Plus, the wipers back-and-forth motion was not helping matters. He was also very excited to see Jane. He missed her. He was remembering how they had fought before he left and was very remorseful for the things he had said. He wanted to make things better between them. He knew she would forgive him since God had already forgiven him.
As he drove down Main Street, his eyes nearly jumped out of his head when he saw the half naked bleeding and bruised man lying on the muddy ground on the side of the road. Without thinking he stopped the car in the middle of the road and ran over to the hurt man. The man was not moving so he checked for his pulse. There was one, but it was faint. He thought out loud, "This man needs to go to the hospital!" He gently pulled the man over his shoulder and carefully opened the back door to his car and gently placed the man on the seat. He quickly closed the door and jumped into the driver's seat and drove directly to the hospital. He thought to himself, "Jane will understand."
The next day he woke up in the hospital waiting room and after regaining focus, rushed over o the counter to see if the man was O.K. The nurse checked her clipboard and told Alex that the man recovered fine and had already left. Alex was relieved. He then called Jane. She was not upset at all. She was actually excited. "Your father just called! He said that they ran another set of tests on your mother and there was no cancer!"

Application: Unless we want our pastor, small group leader, discipler, etc. to end up like the first two, we need to encourage them. Send them a note to tell them how much they mean to you; show them appreciation. Or you could give them a gift certificate to a special restaurant or to a local Christian bookstore. Remind them about how God blesses those who are following them. Send them flowers with a note encouraging them with a verse like 1 Samuel 16:7.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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