Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


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All I Need to Know About Life, I Learned From Jesus

•   I know I’m special because Jesus loves me (John 3:16).
•   Jesus is happy when I obey my parents and play well with others (Ephesians 6:1).
•   When I am kind to others, I am following Jesus’ example (Matthew 7:12).
•   I must be an example to others as Jesus is my example (1 Corinthians 11:1).
•   My sins caused Jesus to die (Romans 5:6-8).
•   Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so I should be willing to sacrifice for others (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
•   Jesus spent his life teaching others the way of salvation. I must be willing to do the same (Mark 16:15-16).

Children begin learning at birth. They immediately begin accumulating information. This data comes from all five senses. As the child grows, the acquired facts are related to each other in a way that becomes meaningful. For example, a baby hears the sounds of words everyday. Soon, the words come to have meaning. The child will respond to his name being called. Eventually, the baby begins to say the words himself to get a response (asking for a drink). The words that are used around the child become part of his vocabulary.

Many parents do not feel the need to bring their children to Bible class. Some believe that newborns and very young children will get nothing out of the class. This, however, is not true. All children, even newborn babies, can greatly benefit from attending Bible class. Consider, for a moment, the lines above.

I know I’m special because Jesus loves me.
One song most every child can sing is “Jesus Loves Me.” In the beginning, young children may not understand the full meaning of the words. As they grow, the words will begin to have a strong meaning for them. Everyone needs to feel they are special, that they are loved. This is a good beginning. Knowing that Jesus loves me can be some very powerful words through the tough growing years to come. If the child is taught this concept early, it will remain with him even through the difficult times.

Jesus is happy when I obey my parents and play well with others.
Toddlers can learn the difference between happy and sad. They know when they do something that does not make Mommy or Daddy happy. Young children learn to play nicely with others. When children can relate these concepts to what they know, real people, it makes sense to apply this knowledge to Jesus. Let children know that they can please Jesus. Name things that make parents happy and tell them these things also make Jesus happy. Use these ideas to begin teaching obedience to God at an early age. Consider the examples set my Hannah (1 Samuel 1) and Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Tim 1:5).

When I am kind to others, I am following Jesus’ example. I must be an example to others as Jesus is my example.
As children grow, they can comprehend increasingly difficult topics. Show from the scriptures how Jesus treated others. Let students know that Jesus is our example and we should follow him. List ways that students can be kind to others. The age of the child will determine the type of things he can do.

My sins caused Jesus to die. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so I should be willing to sacrifice for others.
Discuss sin in terms the children can understand. (Sin is breaking the rules.) Talk about sacrifice in general and the sacrifice Jesus made. (Sacrifice is giving up something you want or need so someone else can have something they want or need. Jesus gave up heaven so man could have eternal life and forgiveness from sins.) Children need to know that there are things they must do to please God and some of these things may not be pleasant. They should also be taught responsibility and consequences for their actions.

Jesus spent his life teaching others the way of salvation. I must be willing to do the same.
As children grow, their understanding of their responsibility to God grows as well. Bible students should be taught God’s plan for their life. Help them to keep in mind that Jesus is the best example we have. He spent his whole life preparing the world for his kingdom. This should be important enough to us that we do the same.

The different statements discussed here are but a few of the basic concepts that can be easily taught to children. An infant cannot be expected to immediately understand the meat of God’s word. Children must start with the basics. If they are not taught at a young age about Christ, when they are older they will have no foundation to build on for the meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). Start teaching children from birth about the love Jesus has for them. As they grow, include simple ideas on how to please God. Gradually increase their knowledge of God’s will for man. When the children are older, begin teaching them about the awesome sacrifice Christ made and our necessary response to that sacrifice. Children are never too young to learn about Christ. In fact, the sooner they are taught, the better their foundation will be. God instructed the Israelites on how to teach their children in preparing for the coming of the savior (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Can it be any less important to instruct them about the savior now that he has died for us?

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Christ as Judge

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, will be judge of all. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). The only way this may be proven false is to show that the statement does not represent the will of God. Given the teaching of the Bible, this can not be done.

Proof for All

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:31). Note, there is evidence for all to know that Christ will be their judge. This is shown to be true in the following manner: Since the Bible is a historically reliable document, we may know and have confidence in what it teaches. The historical reliability of the Bible is here assumed, but it may be demonstrated. You may consult the field of Textual Criticism for this science is of great importance in demonstrating the historical reliability of our biblical text. If the Old Testament teaches that Christ was to be raised from the dead, and if the New Testament proves that Christ did rise from the dead, then what the Bible teaches about Judgment is true. The Old Testament teaches that Christ was to be raised from the dead (Psalm 2;16:8ff; 110; Isa. 53). The New Testament teaches that Christ did rise from the dead (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts 2;17:2-3). Therefore, what the Bible teaches about judgment is true; and, what the Bible teaches about judgment is that Christ will judge the world.

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day (2 Thess. 1:6-10).

In Second Thessalonians 1:6-10 as well as others (Heb. 9:27; Ecc. 12:14; Matt. 25:31-46), we are taught that the judgment over which Christ will preside will be universal. It will include believers and unbelievers. Since the judgment is universal, the law by which judgment will be decided must be universal. The universal law by which we will be judged is the New Testament that was sealed in the blood of the Christ, our Judge and Lord (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:15-17).

Deity Implied and Needed

The Bible presents God as the judge of all, for example: “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you” (2 Thess. 1:5-6; see also 2 Tim. 4:1 ). In other passages it teaches that Jesus will judge. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). The whole of anything is the sum of its parts. Since this is true, we do not have the complete picture of the judgment until we consider all that is presented in the Bible about judgment. When we have all the facts before us, we learn that Christ is to be the Judge. If God is going to judge the world, and if Christ is going to judge the world, then there must be a close relationship between Christ and God. Students of the Bible know that the term “God” is a broader term than Father.

Deity must judge because of the following: (1) The inner thoughts and attitudes of people play a part in their eternal destiny (Ecc.12:14; Matt. 5:21-37). Deity alone may properly evaluate attitudes and thoughts. (2) The totality of actions, their motivating elements as well as their (fruits) consequences must be considered when rendering proper judgment. Only deity knows everything, and only deity can make a proper decision on all actions and motives. (3) This world does not always render justice to its inhabitants. There is a world to come that must be considered when justice is administered.

In view of these as factors as well as others, only deity may properly judge and administer proper retribution. Jesus, “God with us,” is qualified in every way to be our judge. He has also been appointed by Divine decree to be our judge.

Conclusion

For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:11-16).

In view of Jesus being our Judge, the following points need serious and sober reflection: (1) When we stand before the Judge of the world, we will stand before the one who made us. (2) We will stand before Him who has served us as Mediator before the throne of God in this world. (3) We will stand before Him who died for us. (4) We will stand before the one who knows our inner most thoughts and feelings as well as our actions. (5) We must not forget these words: “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30-31).

Written by Jackie M. Stearsman


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How Did Jesus Look?

A gifted writer and sensitive soul has offered this description of Jesus as He came to John to be baptized in the River Jordan. “His appearance, wholly different from that of all who had thronged to His ministry, at once arrested the prophet’s eye. The holy devotion and heavenly repose which marked Him as He stood in prayer, spoke of a purity and greatness before which the soul of John did instant reverence. He might have stern words for the proud and self-righteous, but, in the presence of such a vision as that before him, he has only those of lowliest homage. The light, as of other worlds, shining from the depths of those calm eyes; the radiance of a soul free from all stain of sin, transfiguring the pale face — full, at once, of highest beauty, tenderest love, and deepest sadness, was hereafter, even when dimly seen by the light of midnight torches and lanterns, to make accusers shrink backwards and fall, overcome, to the ground [John 18:6], and Simon Peter pray — “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” [Cunningham Geikie, The Life And Words Of Christ, rev. ed. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1894), I:389. Geikie dedicated his work to his friend Frederic W. Farrar, who also addressed this matter: “There is not one syllable in the Gospels or in the Epistles respecting the appearance of His form or face. Nor is there the vestige of any reference to it in the literature of the first two centuries” (Frederic W. Farrar, The Life Of Christ As Represented In Art (New York: MacMillan and Company, 1895), p. 67.] It is commonplace to see pictures and paintings in many homes, and even in a few business establishments, which are said to be portraits of Jesus Christ. Many of these, notably The Last Supper by Michelangelo, are universally hailed — and rightly so — as great works of art. Indeed, Jesus Christ has been the focal point of great art and literature down through the ages. [Reference http://landru.i-link-2.net/shnyves/The_Face_Of_Christ.html for a portrait gallery of great artists and their representations of Jesus.]

We are confident, however, that most people realize that there are no genuine pictures of Jesus. Although the early Christians had their paintings and representations of the Lord, it is certain that there are no authentic paintings of our Savior in existence today. The popular paintings of today are but copies of portraits which were created hundreds of years after Jesus lived and died. It should be understood, therefore, that the pictures of Christ today are only a representation of the way that He looked in the mind of the artist. [Charles H. Clever does not agree with this assessment and has published a “picture of Jesus Christ” on the Internet. Read his material and determine for yourself how strong a case he is able to make. http://mainfram.ctaz.com/public/daniel12/likeness.htm.%5D

How did Jesus really look? To be honest, no man can give a satisfactory answer to this question. After all, the Bible, our only trustworthy record of Jesus, does not concern itself in detail with the Lord’s personal appearance. Our conclusion must be that God did not consider this information to be essential to our salvation.

Nevertheless, from what the Bible does say about the personal ministry of Jesus, we are convinced that the world, and particularly our young people, have received the wrong impression concerning the appearance of our Lord. How is He usually portrayed? A sad, doleful expression; fragile, almost feminine features; long, flowing hair and a beard. Moreover, others represent Him as a true-blue, radical revolutionary, in open revolt against “the establishment” of His day. Is this the real Jesus? We think not.

To begin with, Jesus certainly would not have had the appearance of a down and out “hippie.” Poor, yes; shabby, no. Alfred Edersheim, himself a Jew but a believer in Christ and a recognized authority on ancient Jewish customs, explains that Jewish teachers were careful in four particular areas of their public life — their manner of eating, financial matters, the way they handled anger, and by their dress. [Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, Vol. 1 (New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1898), pp. 620¬626. Edersheim contends that Jesus wore the ordinary dress of the teachers of Galilee, including a headgear resembling a turban that covered the neck and shoulders, an inner garment that descended to His feet fastened with a girdle about His waist, a square outer garment with fringes, and sandals. These articles of clothing, of course, were divided among the four Roman guards at the foot of the Cross (John 19:23).] Recognizing that these areas had a profound impact upon the public’s impression of them, they were careful to appear faultless in them all. Therefore Jesus, in His dealings with the multitudes, would have appeared as a man that could be trusted in spiritual matters. His enemies, who would not hesitate to either fabricate or twist any statement, could never accuse Him of being slovenly or unkempt. [Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia, 3:16.]

Then again, consider the length of Jesus’ hair. You may remember one old poster and bumper sticker that summed up the attitude of many: “If you worship long hair on Sunday, why do you hate it on Monday?” But, did Jesus really have the long hair falling across His shoulders and down His back? Apparently not, for these reasons. [1] According to the Scriptures, among the Jews none but the Nazarites wore long hair (Numbers 6). Their long hair was a mark of their separation before the Lord. Jesus was from the city of Nazareth, but He was not a Nazarite; therefore, He no doubt wore His hair as did the rest of the male Jews. [2] Although the ancients usually wore their hair long, by New Testament times long hair was degrading on a man. [E. L. Bynum, a Baptist preacher, has posted an article on “Did Jesus Wear Long Hair” at http://www.llano.net/baptist/jesuslonghair.htm.%5D [3] The earliest pictures of Jesus, many of them found in the catacombs underneath Rome, represent Him with short hair and beardless! In fact, He is portrayed this way until about the 6th century A.D. — 500 years following His death! It was much later, during the Middle Ages, that the medieval Christ appeared, complete with long hair and beard. [4] The Apostle Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 11:4 that it dishonors the man to wear long hair. It is inconceivable that Paul would have said this knowing full well that the Lord Himself wore His hair long.

The true Jesus is found in the Bible: a gentle, compassionate man, but at the same time courageous and strong; the Saviour of the world; the Prince of peace. This is the true Jesus, not someone’s manufactured version.

Written by Grady Miller


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Did Jesus Come Forth From the Father?

In Volume Three of his eleven volume series of historical works, the great American historian Will Durant says that some have attempted to prove that Jesus Christ was a myth. They denied that Jesus lived.

Among these was Bruno Baer, who in 1840 began his series of passionate controversial works in which he attempted to prove Jesus was a myth. Later in the 19th Century, some Dutchmen laboriously attempted to prove Jesus never lived. Among these were Peirson, Naber, and Matthas. Durant says that in England J. M. Robertson and W. B. Smith made attempts to prove Jesus never really lived.

It is obvious that Will Durant did not believe that the New Testament was written by men who were directed by God in what they wrote. However, following what he wrote about those who deny Jesus actually lived, Durant said that it would be easier to believe the miracles recorded in the New Testament than it is to believe that a few simple men in one generation invented so appealing a personality as Jesus and the lofty ethic attributed to him, and the inspiring vision of human brotherhood which Jesus is pictured as presenting.

Durant goes on to say that after two centuries of “Higher Criticism” the outlines of the life, character and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and that there is no feature in the history of Western man as fascinating as this story of Jesus Christ. (See: Volume III of Will Durant’s works entitled: Caesar and Christ, Simon and Shuster, NY, Page 557.)

An Impostor, And Designing Opportunist?

Other skeptics admit Jesus Christ really lived as the New Testament says he did in the land of Palestine. However they say he was an impostor and a designing opportunist, therefore not what he claimed to be.

This concept of Jesus is self-destructive, because some scholars have pointed out that there never has been a period that offered a more tempting opportunity to a designing opportunist than when Jesus lived in Palestine. C.S. Farber, presents some of the evidences of this in hisbook entitled: Difficulties of Infidelity. (See pages 96-201.)

When Jesus lived, the Jews in Palestine lived under the bondage of a Roman military occupational force. They were very restless and impatient because of their Roman oppressors. They were eager to cast off this unpalatable and vexatious suppression. They expected a mighty deliverer. Even the two disciples of Jesus who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus told him they had hoped it was he who would redeem Israel (Luke 24). Obviously they meant redemption from Roman bondage.

If Jesus was a designing impostor who was seeking an opportunity to be what the Jews werelooking for, why did he not play that role? The Jews expected, not a prince of peace, but a prince of war who would liberate them from Caesar. Had Jesus been a designing opportunist and an impostor, doubtless, he would have fit himself into the expectations of the Jews.

The Jews thought the Messiah would confer on them abundant prosperity and exalt their nation and raise it from the ashes and anguish of ages of deterioration and devastation. Why did Jesus not fulfill their expectations?

According to what the Jews expected the Messiah to be, when Jesus was saying “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heavens have nests, but the Son of man has not a place to rest his head,” he should have been conducting a financial campaign to raise funds for an army. If he had been like what the Jews expected, he would have led a rebellion against Rome under the banner of a heaven-sent deliverer! Instead he taught the Jews to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s!

If Jesus had been an impostor seeking to be what the Jews were expecting, he would have flattered the vain Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23). Had he been an impostor seeking to please the Jews, doubtless, he would have attempted to entice the Sadducees with offers of temporal abundance. Instead, even though he never said temporal blessings were wrong, he did often warn of the dangers thereof.

Was Jesus A Deceiver About Himself?

Jesus claimed to be God’s only begotten Son. He said repeatedly he came forth from the Father. (For examples see John 6:38; 16:28). If he was not what he claimed to be, he was not even a good man, for he told things about himself that were not so. If he told such knowing it was untrue, he was not only not a good man, he was a liar. How could a liar and deliberate deceiver have produced a flawless system of morals and standard for living? Reason compels us to say he could not have done so.

Was He Deceived?

Others say Jesus really thought he was what he said he was, but that he was deceived. Reason rejects this because if he was deceived about himself he must have been a deranged and naive simpleton. How could such a person have done the teaching he did?

His Miracles

Skeptics have tried in vain to do away with the miracles that the New Testament says Jesus performed. His miracles make it easy for one to believe he is indeed the Son of God. John’s record of his miracles was designed to convince of this (John 20:31-31).

The easiest things to believe about Jesus are the things the New Testament says about him. If one does not believe all these things he will have to believe things about him which are much harder to believe.

Conclusion

If you are a lost person, the most reasonable and most profitable thing you can do is to believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and that he died for your sins. Then, turn from your sins. The New Testament calls this repentance. Then for God to forgive your sins, confess that you believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and be baptized (immersed) upon the name or authority of Jesus Christ in order for God to forgive you of all your sins. In thus being buried in baptism you will be raised to walk in newness of life in Jesus Christ, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). You will be a Christian which means you will be in the body of Christ which is his church.

Read your New Testament and you will see that all of this is taught in it.

Written by Basil Overton


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Jesus, Master Illustrator

About 2,000 years ago, before the advent of electricity, overhead projectors and transparencies, Jesus Christ proved himself to be the master illustrator. Jesus did this through the effective use of picturesque speech. Frequently, our Lord employed parables. Christ’s discourses were often accentuated with parables as a vehicle through which to endear heavenly truths among his auditors. In his parables, Jesus referred to physical circumstances with which his audiences were abundantly familiar to teach them spiritual truths about which they knew little or nothing. One popular definition of the biblical parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” Jesus Christ was a master in the use of pictorial speech. Though Jesus was not the first to use parables, his parabolic instruction excelled that of all others so simply the mention of parables causes one to immediately think our Lord.

The popularity of our Lord’s parables has mesmerized all who read Matthew, Mark and Luke. This is evident from the 50 or more books that have been published concerning the parables of Jesus. Though the number of these parables may be disputed, most commentators number them from 30 to 35. Almost our Lord’s entire ministry resorted to some form of illustrative speech, of which the parable was one tool.

The purpose of parables is stated by Jesus himself in Matthew 13. In verse 10, his disciples asked him why he was speaking in parables: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” Our Lord’s reply was:

“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (Matthew 13:11-17).

In verse 11, Jesus cited two purposes of his parables: (1) to reveal divine truth, and (2) toconceal divine truth. Essentially, God determined to reveal his will for man’s redemption to those who long for it and desire to respond to it. God also determined to withhold his plan for man from those who sought only to distort and otherwise not comply with it. Jesus quoted from the prophecy in Isaiah 6:9-10 regarding the then future arrival of the Messiah and his message. The same prophecy is also quoted in Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10, John 12:39-40 and Acts 28:26-27. Whereas Jesus embalmed the divine message with parabolic narratives for lovers of truth, the same parables proved to be obstacles to comprehension to souls neither really nor sincerely interested in God’s Word. Another fascinating characteristic of parables is that often one accepts the validity of the parable before he realizes that it applies to him. Overall, though, parabolic preaching triumphed revealing divine truth in such a way that every accountable, truly pious soul could know God’s will for him.

The purposes of Jesus’ parables included the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies and the unfolding of information from God not previously available.

“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35). Our Lord applied Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old,” to himself in the verse cited above.

Our mission today is to understand what the original recipients of inspired writings were expected to understand. With a little effort to acquaint ourselves with the biblical environment, the parables and similar illustrations can greatly enhance our understanding of spiritual truths. The audiences to whom Jesus spoke comprised an agrarian society. Hence, our Lord’s parables speak of farmers, crops, sheep, shepherds, vineyards and fruit trees. Complimentary illustrations included references to fishing, religious life and first century commerce.

Unless we endeavor to ascertain meaning based on these principles, the Bible would mean nothing at all in particular and everything at the same time. The Bible, under those circumstances, would be wholly subjective and meaningless. It is a serious mistake and a violation of legitimate hermeneutics to ignore responsible exegesis. In this regard, the immediate context surrounding a passage, the larger context of a book and the general context of the Bible must be evaluated. Jesus sufficiently illustrated his teaching that no one need wonder about what Jesus was talking.

In keeping with the immediately preceding consideration, one has no excuse for attempting to teach some otherwise novel doctrine from the illustrated teaching of Jesus. Any details in a parable, for instance, that conflict with other, clearly understood passages or the nature of God pertain to background and color in the narratives.

Another way in which Jesus Christ masterfully illustrated the teachings which he presented was by the way in which he lived his life. Jesus exemplified what he taught. We might say in our own vernacular, “He practiced what he preached!” Our Lord was a precise teacher who taught with clarity, conviction, power and authority. His life was a demonstration of what and how he taught. He did not in word or conduct subscribe to the vain philosophy of “Do as I say, not as I do!” Jesus illustrated the way to heaven no less distinctly than trails blazed through the dense woods in young America by frontiersmen. All we have to do is follow Jesus and stay on the narrow path he marked for us.

Written by Louis Rushmore