At my Mom's funeral in Dec. 1990, two sisters came up to me and said, "Do you know what made your Mom so special? When we were teens, she was our Bible teacher on Sunday mornings and on Sunday evenings, she was our Christian Training teacher. We didn't have real nice clothes, but she always made us feel special!"
That was my Mom!
Our special Lord has done so much and given so much, that I hope that YOU feel special.
If so, help others to 'feel special'.
Here in Oklahoma, we just observed the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Until 9/11, that was the worst terrorist act on U. S. soil. I've seen a number of the observances and what stands out, is all of the names of the 168 killed (including 15 babies in the Day Care Nursery) are read aloud. This emphasizes the fact that each one was...and still is....special. In addition, 841 people were injured and still carry the scars in body and mind from this senseless tragedy. There were 5 victims (or family members) who were members of First Baptist Church, Nicoma Park, Okla. where I pastored for 5 years. The families of these 'special' people have shown tremendous resilience to such a horrific tragedy.
The theme for the day this year was "Oklahoma City has risen out of the ashes of tragedy to advance to triumph".
Former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Dick Cheney, present Governor Brad Henry and former Gov. Frank Keating and former and present Mayors, spoke.
"Memories are gifts that friends leave behind - make them good."
"The bombing changed how we look at each other and life's happenings."
"The lone tree that survived the bombing still stands and is a testament to Oklahoma surviving the Dust Bowl and other difficult times." It is called "The Survivor Tree"....it speaks of LIFE in the midst of death. The tree still draws strength from it's roots and from Heaven.....and so should we!
We must seek the positive to negative things that happen, for they can destroy the hearts of people. However, we ARE strengthened by each other, especially by positive spirit, sense of humor, and 'never give up' attitude. One lady who is still recovering from terrible injuries which have required 20+ surgeries, looked at her scars and physical problems and said, "Well, there goes my chance to be Mrs. America!"
There is strength in togetherness, especially when the stronger ones help the weaker....and strangers help strangers. Rescue helpers came from New York City and other places to help and compassion ruled the day!
One lady whose 6 yr. old daughter (as well as her in-laws) were killed, said, "I HAVE to forgive or I will become the 169th victim".
What a testimony to us, to forgive! Don't be scarred inside and don't be imprisoned by bad memories.
The miracle is to still have faith in God.
When all else fails, don't forget God!
Better yet, BEFORE all else fails, know and trust God!
The tragedy teaches us that life is a gift....don't waste it, for it could be taken from you in a second.
President Clinton said, "Oklahoma triumphs because it is not paralyzed by pain...nor hard hearts."
1) YOU ARE SPECIAL BY CREATION:
"I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you and appointed you, a prophet to the Nations." Jeremiah 1:5
When a singer was leaving to sing in England, his mother said, "Son, remember 'who' you are and 'whose' you are."
That was something that we told our children each time when they left to go on a date or to run around with their friends, "Remember 'whose' you are!"
2) YOU ARE SPECIAL BECAUSE OF THE CROSS:
Christ died for you. If you were the only one who needed to be died for, Christ would have done it for YOU! So you are not your own....your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit....and you've been bought with a price! Therefore, glorify God in your body and Spirit which are God's. I Corinthians 6:19-20
3) YOU ARE SPECIAL BY CONVERSION:
Jesus knew that Nicodemus had religion, but needed conversion (the new birth). In our 50 years of ministry, we have seen many individuals come to know Christ and begin to feel "I am special". One of these was Yoo Jin Soo (last names are put in front) We had been missionaries in Korea for about 10 months and were studying the language for 7 hours each day. I also served as pastor of the English language part of the Choong Mu Ro Baptist Church in Seoul where many American soldiers attended, as well as some Koreans who wanted to learn English.
In June of 1961, we decided to hold revival services with myself preaching in English and Philip Kim interpreting in Korean.
The second night, I received the following letter from Yoo Jin Soo, written in simple English (I could tell that he had used a Korean-English dictionary).
Here is his letter, just as he wrote it 44 yrs. ago:
"To hononur pastor Sir.
I am very sorry to writ this letter. Last week, your sermon is very benefaction to me Sir. I am grown up from orphanage when I was lettle boy. My family all slaughter by Communist. So I was war orphan. I am drafted to R.O.K. Army 1958 and discharged from army last 21 March.
So I don't have very much education and incompetence. If it is not misdemeanor to god, I want killed by myself. Because I think that life is no good. I am looking for job every place and looking for place to live all ways and all my best. But it is not so easy for me. Sir, I have simpl question to you? If you can would you please help me. I don't know what shall I do from now without your help. Please help me on any tipe of job.
Would you please forgive me this poor letter. I wish god bless to you and I will prayer with this.
From unfortunate human,"
Jin Soo Yoo
The next night, I preached as if to one person....and Jin Soo accepted Christ as his Savior. He lived in our home and during that time, he finished high school (even though he was in his 20's) He later married, had 2 sons and attended our Baptist Seminary in Taejon, Korea. Oh, the difference that Christ makes! Jin Soo thought that his life was no good, but God in Christ, knew differently!
Worth is often determined by the price paid for something. Jesus paid "in full" for your salvation.
4) YOU ARE SPECIAL BY THE CARE THAT GOD GIVES
"Cast all of your cares on God, for He cares for you" II Peter 5:7
When something is valuable to us, we take good care of it.
You are valuable to God, so let Him help you take care of you!
5) YOU ARE SPECIAL BY GOD'S CALLING AND GOD'S CONTROL:
I put God's call and God's control together because God's Call must be followed by God's Control, all the way and in all situations. Jeremiah 29:10-14
We read of famous saints and wonder 'why' we can not be like them.
We can....if we remember:
His presence has not ceased,
His program has not changed,
His promises have not lessened and
His power has not diminished.
But please remember that God has intimates, not favorites.
God has originals, not duplicates.
God loves EVERYONE, not just some.
6) YOU ARE TO BE SPECIAL BY YOUR COMMITMENT: MATTHEW 11: 28-30
Verse 28: Be identified with Christ - don't let anyone/anything steal your identity.
Verse 29: Be informed by Christ. Sometimes, we are informed about everything, but Christ and the Bible.
Verse 30: Be involved for Christ. Take His yoke upon you - get in the harness with Christ and become a team with Him leading.
The Moravians in the early US History had a symbol which pictured an oxen, a plow and an altar, followed by "Ready For Either". So must we be ready for either.
We are truly SPECIAL because we have been SO blessed, but we are BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!
That will make you FEEL special.
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What a wonderful Spirit filled article Travis! Everyone needs to know that they are special, but unfortunately so many do not. I pray that God will bless this message to our hearts, and we all begin to treat each other in a such a way as to make each other feel very special. Blessings, Sharon