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August 29th, 2008

Story : The Room – Jesus and Our Sins

Jesus taking over my sins

The Room – Story about what Jesus does with our Sins

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for one wall covered with small index card files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “People I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have Betrayed.”

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my short life to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my own signature.

When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them! In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards.

But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than 3 inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

August 27th, 2008

Why Christ Suffered So Much For Us

jesus at calvary why why why

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending school in Utah. In this school Seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s Seminary class.

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class,
Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, “You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?”

Steve’s answer was, “Yeah, I do.”

Then Brother Christianson asked, “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Brother Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” Again asked Brother Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” Brother Christianson said. Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Brother Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother
Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want a donut?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk.

Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Bro. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut.

And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When Bro.Christianson asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Bro. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a
donut he doesn’t want?”

Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Bro. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on
the desk if you don’t want it.” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro.Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Jenny said, “No.”

Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve,would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she
doesn’t want?” Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.
Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut.

There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t
bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the
room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He
started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve
was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you
want.”

And Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, “NO!
Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Bro. Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in.”

Bro. Christianson said, “Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

“Yes.”

“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda,
the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she
doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to
the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, “Bro. Christianson , can I help him?”

Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that
was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.

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