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Mark 3:31-35

Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
 
(1st) True kinship lies in a common experience, especially when it is an experience where two people have really come through things together. It has been said that two people really become friends when they are able to say to each other, "Do you remember?" and then to go on and talk about the things they have come through together. To be real friends, folks have got to weep together. That is profoundly true. The basis of true kinship lies a common experience, and Christians have the common experience of being forgiven sinners.
 
(2nd) True kinship lies in common interest. One of the greatest difficulties that colporteurs and distributors of the Scriptures have is not so much to sell Bibles and books as it is to keep people reading them. One such distributor in pre-Communist China was often disappointed because many of his new Bible readers lost their zeal in reading. He came up with a plan and began to form worshiping groups that became an organized Church. Only when these isolated units became part of a group that was bound together by a common interest did real kinship come into being. Christians have that common interest because they are all people who desire more about Jesus Christ.
 
(3rd) True kinship lies in a common goal. There is nothing like a common aim for binding people together. There is a great lesson here for churches. The church will never draw together as long as there are arguments about the ordination of ministers, the administration of the sacraments, and all the rest of it. The one thing on which they can all come together is that all of them are seeking to win people for Jesus Christ. If kinship comes from a common goal, then Christians above all men possess its secret, for all are seeking to know Jesus better and to bring others into His Kingdom. Wherever else we differ, on that we can agree.
 

My Life Application

Work on loving and reaching out to people who do not know Jesus until they want to know Him.
 

MY PRAYER AND PRAISE

 "Dear Father, thankYou for sending Jesus into our sin-filled world. I am thankful for those You sent to lead me to know about You and to accept Jesus as my savior. What a wonderful gift I received at that time and for the rest of my life. Amen!"
 
 
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U.S. citizens should expect coronavirus outbreaks in their communities, warns the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC vaccine expert Dr. Nancy Messonnier said Tuesday, “It’s not so much a question if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen.”

She urged Americans to expect their daily activities to be significantly affected by the virus but could not predict how severe the spread of the virus would be in the U.S.   

President Donald Trump has said the U.S. is in "good shape" regarding the virus.  

“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” Messonnier warned.

The warning comes on the heels of an urgent message from a top World Health Organization official who said Tuesday that countries throughout the world should think about preparing for a coronavirus outbreak and be ready with rapid response plans when the virus arrives.

“If you don’t think that way, you’re not going to be ready,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, chief of the joint WHO-Chinese mission to combat the deadly coronavirus. “The world is simply not ready, but it can be ready.”

Aylward praised China’s “extraordinary mobilization” to combat the outbreak as an example of how aggressive public health policy actions could limit the disease’s spread. “China knows how to keep people alive,” he declared.

He urged countries to prepare isolation areas and hospital beds, and ensure the availability of oxygen and respirators for patients suffering from severe cases of a coronavirus infection.

China and South Korea reported more cases of a new coronavirus Tuesday, as stock markets in Japan had a second consecutive rough session following a day of global losses and U.S. President Trump sought $2.5 billion from Congress to fight the outbreak.

Chinese health officials said there were 71 new deaths and 508 new cases there, bringing the overall toll in the country where the outbreak began two months ago to more than 2,663 dead and 77,500 people infected.

South Korea has been the hardest-hit outside of China, with its total cases rising to about 1,000 Tuesday with ten dead.

Authorities there have delayed the start of the school year, sterilized the halls of the National Assembly and urged people to stay home if they experience fever or respiratory symptoms.  Officials also postponed the start of the domestic football league, and on Tuesday the professional basketball league said games would go on without spectators.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In called the situation "very grave" as he made a visit Tuesday to Daegu, where most of the country's cases have been located.  Moon pledged the government would give its full support and said South Korea will "achieve a victory" in the fight against the virus.

Iran reported its own spike to 95 total cases with at least 15 deaths.

The United Arab Emirates announced through its state news agency a ban on all flights to and from Iran in response to the virus outbreak.

Monday brought reports of the first cases in several countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, each of which had links to Iran.

U.S. health officials announced Tuesday the launch of the first clinical trial testing of an experimental drug in hospitalized patients with the coronavirus.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health said the antiviral drug remdesivir is being tested at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the Midwestern city of Omaha. The first participant was a patient is a U.S. citizen who was quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments around the world to do "everything that is needed."

Trump said Tuesday that China is "working very hard" and that he thinks the United States is "in very good shape" at this point.

"We're fortunate so far, and we think it's going to remain that way," he said.

On Monday, his administration made its request to Congress, saying the money would go toward developing vaccines, and to buy supplies for treatment and protective equipment.

Democrats pushed back against the plan, saying the White House is not doing enough while trying to divert funding from other health priorities.

Markets in Japan closed down more than 3% on Tuesday, while markets in China rebounded from a sharp loss in early trading to closing just below Monday's level.  Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rallied late to a small gain Tuesday.

Key stock indexes in the United States fell about 3% Monday, and futures pointed to smaller losses when the markets open Tuesday.

Italy has also been hit hard with more than 200 cases and at least seven deaths.  The government has canceled Carnival events and postponed major football matches, while also closing public sites.

Israel disinvited 3,000 international runners who had signed up for Friday's marathon in Tel Aviv, saying the race could go ahead as planned, but without the competitors arriving from outside its borders.

 

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WASHINGTON - The World Health Organization said time is running out to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak as the number of cases outside of China grows.

“We are still in a phase where containment is possible,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Friday, but “our window of opportunity is narrowing.”

China reported Saturday more than 76,200 cases of the coronavirus and 2,245 people who have died. Outside China, more than 1,200 others have been infected with the virus and more than a dozen have died.

Tedros said that while the number of cases outside of China remained “relatively small,” he expressed concern about the rise in cases around the world with no clear link to China.

South Korea reported Saturday a six-fold jump in the number of cases in just four days. Officials said there are 87 new cases of the virus, bringing the country’s total to 433 who have been infected with the virus, most of them linked to a church and hospital in the city of Daegu. South Korea is now the hardest-hit country outside China. Reuters reports that Samsung Electronics has confirmed a case of coronavirus at its mobile device factory in Gumi, South Korea. The plant will remain closed until Monday morning.

Tedros said Friday, “I hope South Korea will do everything to contain this outbreak at this early stage.”

The WHO head also expressed concern over new cases of the virus in Iran, as well as an Iranian traveler who carried the virus to Lebanon, and another traveler who spread the virus from Iran to Canada.

Lebanon confirmed its first coronavirus case Friday — a 45-year-old woman who had arrived from Iran and was being quarantined in a hospital.

“We confirmed the first case today,” Lebanon Health Minister Hamad Hassan told a news conference, adding that two other suspected cases are being investigated. The woman arrived Thursday on a flight from the city of Qom, Iran.

Iran said Saturday it has suspended religious pilgrimages to Iraq during the coronavirus surge.

On Friday, Iranian health authorities reported two more deaths from the coronavirus.

The spokesman of Iran’s health ministry, Kianoush Jahanpour, said the newly detected cases are all linked with Qom, where the first two elderly patients died Wednesday. So far, 18 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including the four who died.

Another official with Iran’s health ministry, Minoo Mohraz, said the virus “possibly came from Chinese workers who work in Qom and traveled to China.” A Chinese company has been building a solar power plant in Qom.

Qom is a popular religious destination and a center of learning and religious studies for Shiite Muslims from inside Iran, as well as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Azerbaijan.

In neighboring Turkey, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said officials have started to screen travelers arriving from Iran at border gates and are refusing entry to anyone who has traveled to Qom in the past 14 days or who has signs of illness.

Previously, there have been a few virus cases in the Middle East. Nine cases have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, and one case in Egypt.

Two people have now died from the virus in Italy, where authorities said Saturday there are at least 30 cases in the country. Officials have ordered the closure of schools, restaurants, and businesses in several northern regions of the country.

In China, the country’s National Health Commission reported Saturday that as of Feb. 21, more than 618,000 Chinese have been “identified as having had close contact with infected patients.” That figure has more than tripled this month, from 189,583 on Feb. 2. The organization lists 113,564 individuals as “under medical observation.”

Also, Friday, two Australians and an Israeli evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus after returning to their home countries. Israel’s Health Ministry said this is the first case to be reported inside Israel.  

VOA's Natalie Liu contributed to this report.

 

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WASHINGTON - U.S. defense and intelligence officials are voicing renewed concerns about the spread of increasingly capable terror groups in Africa, warning some have become so powerful it is no longer possible to “degrade” them.

The warnings, part of a newly released report by the Defense Department’s inspector general, echo earlier warnings by the U.S. military’s Africa Command about growing threats to the U.S. homeland.

They also come as the Pentagon unveiled a proposed $740.5 billion budget for next year focused not on terrorism but on competition against China and Russia.

"The terrorist threat in Africa remains persistent, and in many places, is growing,” according to Defense Department lead inspector Gen. Glenn Fine, pointing to the latest intelligence assessments of the various African affiliates of al-Qaida and Islamic State, also known as IS or ISIS.

“The threat posed by al-Shabab and ISIS-Somalia in East Africa remains 'high,' despite continued U.S. airstrikes and training of Somali security forces,” Fine wrote in the report, based on information from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

In West Africa, the report concludes the terrorism landscape is just as concerning.

U.S. Africa Command “has shifted its strategy from ‘degrading’ these VEOs (violent extremist organizations) to ‘containing’ them,” the report states.

The report also quotes U.S. Africa Command as saying the various terror groups in West Africa “have the potential to spread through the region and impact Western interests.”

Tuesday’s report on U.S. counterterror operations in Africa is the first from the inspector general to be released to the public — previous versions were classified.

But public concern about the escalating dangers presented by terror groups in Africa dates back to at least November when the United States hosted a meeting of the global coalition to defeat IS.

"We agreed at the working level that West Africa and the Sahel would be a preferred, initial area of focus for the coalition outside of the ISIS core space and with good reason,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time on Twitter. "ISIS is outpacing the ability of regional governments and int'l partners to address the threat.”

Senior U.S. Africa Command officials began raising concerns at about the same time, describing both IS’s African affiliates and al-Shabab as threats “to U.S. interests in East Africa, as well as to the U.S. homeland.”

More recently, following the January 5 al-Shabab attack on the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya which killed three Americans, those concerns have risen to new heights.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. forces in Africa, told lawmakers outright that, “some of those groups threaten the American homeland today."

Just this week, the State Department and the FBI announced the launch of a new joint terrorism task force with Kenya, the first located outside of the U.S., to push back specifically against al-Shabab.

Yet despite fears about the expanding reach of Africa’s terror groups, Pentagon officials have been focused on plans to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Africa by perhaps 10% over the next several years — efforts U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has described as a “rebalancing” or a “right-sizing.”

Esper, speaking to reporters on route to Brussels Tuesday for meetings with NATO allies, said what happens next with counterterror operations in Africa would be a topic of conversation.

"Our European partners, there is room for them to step up in Africa and to do more,” he said, adding that he has yet to make any decision about U.S. posture on the continent.

Only European and Western security officials, while very much concerned about the growing capacity of terror groups in Africa, say they are not convinced of their ability to strike Western targets on Western soil.

"In the short term, the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa are unlikely to replace the Middle East and Afghanistan as regions from which the main threat to Europe emanates," one European Union security official told VOA.

Some U.S. officials are also less forceful than U.S. Africa Command in describing the threat.

According to the inspector general report, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessed that al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab poses only “a low threat to the U.S. homeland."

Still, the DIA and Africa Command see the bigger picture as worrisome, with terror groups establishing more active and intertwined networks, funneling each other cash and fighters while sharing expertise.

Sometimes, the networks are willing to cross ideological lines, with al-Qaida and IS operatives willing to cooperate and help each other — something that would have been unimaginable based on the animosity between the groups in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The groups are also getting stronger.

U.S. intelligence officials believe al-Shabab in Somalia is now raising $10 to $20 million a year through taxation while boasting anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 fighters.

Al-Shabab has also been pumping out more social media propaganda, though military officials question just how effective it has been.

IS-Somalia, while much smaller with just 100 to 300 fighters, has been resilient, and like al-Shabab, seemingly unhindered by U.S. airstrikes that kill just one or two fighters at a time.

The limited impact of direct U.S. military strikes is sparing bigger concerns about the Pentagon’s focus on shifting troops from Africa.

"Many partner forces in Africa will likely require assistance and advising for a long period of time before they can fully address VEO threats on their own,” the report states. “This need for ongoing operations, coupled with the often slow development of partner forces, could require an ongoing commitment of U.S. military resources.”

 

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MARK 3:1-6
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone." Read more
 

Meditation

This is a crucial incident in the life of Jesus. It was already clear that Jesus and the orthodox leaders of the Jews were quite at variance. For Jesus to be back into the synagogue at all was a brave thing to do.
It was the Sabbath day; all work was forbidden and to heal was to work. The Jewish law was definite and detailed about this. Medical attention could be given only if a life was in danger. That is to say, at most, an injury could be kept from getting worse; it must not be made better.
 
It is extraordinarily difficult for us to grasp this. The best way in which we can see the strict orthodox view of the Sabbath is to remember that a strict Jew would not even defend his own life on the Sabbath.
This passage is fundamental because it shows the clash of two ideas of religion. 
 
(1) to the Pharisee religion was a ritual; it meant obeying certain rules and regulations. Jesus broke these regulations, and they were genuinely convinced that He was a bad man. 
(2) To Jesus, religion was service. It was the love of God and the love of men. Ritual was irrelevant compared with love in action. To Jesus, the most important thing in the world was not the correct performance of a ritual, but the spontaneous answer to the cry of human need.
 

My Life Application

Check whose side are you on. Ask yourself, "Am I more like the Pharisee with ritual or like Jesus with service? Stay with Jesus and go about doing good!
 

My Prayer and Praise

"Dear Father God, help me to be ready to serve others at all times. Tragedy happens every day in our world. I need Your anointing to be upon me all the time. When someone needs me, I want to be ready to respond to whatever the need is. Amen!"
 
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MARK 2:23-28
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" Read more
 

Meditation

It was more than thirty years that Artaban wandered looking in vain for the King when he finally arrived in Jerusalem. There was a crucifixion that day. When Artaban heard of Jesus being crucified, it sounded wondrous like the King and Artaban hurried towards Calvary. Maybe his pearl, the loveliest in all the world, could buy the life of the King. Down the street came a girl fleeing from a band of soldiers. "My father is in debt," she cried, "and they are taking me to sell as a slave to pay the debt. Save me!" Artaban hesitated; then sadly he took out his pearl, gave it to the soldiers and bought the girl's freedom.
 
Suddenly, the skies were dark; there was an earthquake and a flying tile hit Artaban on the head. He sank half-conscious to the ground. The girl pillowed his head on her lap. Suddenly his lips began to move. "Not so, my Lord. For when saw I thee ahungered and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw I thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? When saw I thee sick in prison, and came unto thee? Thirty and three years I have looked for thee; but I have never seen thy face, nor ministered to thee, my King." And then like a whisper from very far away, there came a voice. "Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me." And Artaban smiled in death because he knew that the King had received his gifts. 
 

My Life Application

The final arbiter in the use of all things is LOVE and not law. Give your life a check-up to see how much love motivates all that you do.
 

My Prayer and Praise

"Dear Father, reading about the fourth Wiseman serves to remind me of true Christianity. I pray that I and other believers will be more like him who will see the need around us and will do something about it. Thank You for Your love. Amen!
 
 
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Dear IPMI Partner,

Thank you for partnering with  IPMI during 2019.  As we pause to reflect on the many accomplishments during the year, we thank God for you in recognition of the fact that without your help none of this would have been possible.  We are, therefore, quite pleased to share with you a brief overview of the year’s ministry activities.  

On May 18, IPMI hosted the Twelfth Annual Pastors’ and Leaders’ Prayer Symposium in New York City with Dr. Mac Pier, Founder, and CEO of Movement.org, an organization facilitating revival and the evangelization of nations around the world through the various gospel initiatives it conducts in significant cities around the world.  Over Seventy-five pastors and leaders from across the tristate attended the Symposium to strengthen their prayer lives and facilitate prayer in their congregations. We hosted the Twenty-third Annual Prayer Breakfast in New York City with Guest Speaker Rev. Dr. Joel Edwards from the United Kingdom on June 22.  The Breakfast was attended by approximately a hundred and fifty believers of various denominations from across the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  In addition to catalyzing spiritual revival among participating churches in the region, the Prayer Breakfast has facilitated significant times of prayer for the nations over the years.

 IPMI collaborated with members of the clergy and the Jamaica Overseas Missions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to host the Fifteenth Annual Jamaica Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting (JDOP) on August 7.  Since its inception, thousands of Jamaican Christians from scores of congregations have participated in this annual day of fasting and prayer for spiritual renewal and transformation in their homeland.  The initiative has also helped to raise much-needed funds to assist Jamaican charities that work with at-risk youth from the inner city communities on the island.

The twenty-third Annual 21 Days Prayer and Fasting climaxed with the hosting of another powerful Global Prayer Summit on October 12 that attracted a group of local and international prayer leaders to New York City.  The high point of the conference was a great time of prayer that took place for revival in the US and the various challenges facing nations around the world. During 2019, IPMI was also busy promoting united prayer for revival for world evangelization and the healing and transformation of nations through the hosting of three monthly global prayer calls. Christians leaders from twelve countries, including the US, facilitated these thirty-six global prayer calls.  IPMI also launched IPMI TV, which will enable IPMI in the coming years to extend its ministry on a much larger scale to individuals and churches locally and internationally. 

Once again, thank you for your wonderful support of IPMI, which has made an enormous difference in the lives of people and nations around the world.

Sincerely,

Newton Gabbidon

President &CEO

 

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China’s health care system is struggling to cope with the surging number of patients infected by the deadly coronavirus despite that Chinese President Xi Jingping has re-emerged in public to call for greater confidence in his government.   

The death toll Tuesday totaled 1,018 worldwide among the more than 43,000 confirmed infections; 974 deaths, or 96% of the total, occurred in Wuhan city, in China’s Hubei province — signs that hospitals in the epic center of the outbreak have been overwhelmed.

The latest report on the American Medical Association’s website found that out of the city’s 138 virus-infected patients 30% were medical professionals — an alarming rate that suggests the city’s medical system treating over 30,000 patients may be collapsing, said Vincent Su, a thoracic surgeon in Taipei.

Medical system collapsing

“It’s a vicious cycle that the more medical professionals infected, the less patients well-treated. With patients flooding in, the frontline [in Wuhan] appears to be broken. This is what we call a collapsing medical system,” Su said.

With an overwhelming workload in hospitals, the number of patients in Wuhan is likely under-reported, the surgeon estimated.

Mr. Sun’s father is probably one such case.

Sun, currently working in Henan province, told VOA that his father in Wuhan remains a suspected case although he has suffered from severe symptoms — infected lungs, lasting fever and chest pains.  

Insufficient medical care

Yet, the elder Sun is given little medical attention.

“He goes to the hospital every day to receive shots. But not a hospital bed is available for him although the doctor said his condition has worsened,” Sun said.

China has added thousands of beds in some 15 shelter-like hospitals in Wuhan.  

But many who checked in complained of a lack of medical care and isolation wards there to avoid cross infection. 

“Fangchang shelters are for those who haven’t been severely infected. But my father is a highly suspected case who needs to be hospitalized for immediate treatment. Frankly speaking, home quarantine is probably better than going to those shelters,” he added.  

The father of Ms. Lo, another Wuhan resident, is a confirmed patient and has no choice but to check into a Fangchang shelter soon.

“It’s arranged that he will first check into a Fangchang shelter. We were told earlier that he will be transferred to another hospital if his symptoms deteriorate. I’m not sure of the shelter’s condition since he hasn’t checked into,” Lo said.   

Decisive measures to come

Appearing in a public inspection tour in Beijing, President Xi pledged on Monday that “more decisive measures” will be taken to combat the epidemic amid criticism and suspicion that China has taken action too late and too little to stop its spread and under-reported its death toll.  

Spiked levels of sulfur dioxide emissions in Wuhan were recently used to suggest that tens of thousands of bodies might have been cremated.

“If a super spreader emerges to speed up contagion by ten-fold, China may be overtaken by the virus and further pushed into the hell of fire,” said Chen Bingzhong, a former health official.

Taiwan, on Sunday, confirmed its first asymptomatic patient with a high viral load, fueling worries that a super spreader may be on the horizon to worsen the outbreak.  

 

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MARK 2:23-28
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" Read more
 

Meditation

This passage confronts us with certain essential truths that we forget at our peril.
 
(1) Christianity does not consist of rules and regulations. To take the matter in question-Sunday observance is important but there is a great deal more to religion than Sunday observance. If a man might become a Christian simply by abstaining from work and pleasure on Sunday, and by attending church on that day, and saying his prayers and reading his Bible, being a Christian would be a very easy thing. Whenever people forget the love, forgiveness, the service and the mercy that are at the heart of Christianity and replace them by the performance of rules and regulations, Christianity is in decline.
 
(2) The first claim on any man is the claim of human need. Even the catechisms and the confessions admit that works of necessity and mercy are quite legal on the Sabbath. If ever the performance of a person's religion stops him from helping someone who is in need, his religion is not a religion at all. People matter far more than systems. Persons are far more important than rituals. The best way to worship God is to help people.
 
(3) The best way to use sacred things is to use them to help people. That, in fact, is the only way to give them to God. One of the loveliest of all stories is that of The Fourth Wise Man. His name was Artaban. He set out to follow the star taking with him as gifts for the King a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl beyond price. He was riding hard to meet his three friends, Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar, at the agreed place. The time was short; they would leave if he was late. Suddenly, he saw a dim figure on the ground before him. It was a traveler stricken with fever. If he stayed to help, he would miss his friends. He did stay; he helped and healed the man. But now he was alone. He needed camels and bearers to help him across the desert because he had missed his friends and their caravan. He had to sell his sapphire to get them and he was sad because the King would never have his gem.
He journeyed on and in due time came to Bethlehem, but again he was too late. Joseph, Mary, and the baby had left. Then there came the soldiers to carry out Herod's command that the children should be slain. Artaban was in a house where there was a little child. The tramp of the soldiers came to the door; the weeping of stricken mothers could be heard. Artaban stood in the doorway, tall and dark, with the ruby in his hand and bribed the captain not to enter. The child was saved; the mother was overjoyed, but the ruby was gone and Artaban was sad because the King would never have his ruby.
 

My Life Application

What have you learned from this story? I hope you have been reminded of what is really important to God and, if necessary, make changes in your life to please Him.
 

My Prayer and Praise

"Oh, God, it is so wonderful to learn what really pleases You. Help me now to keep my concentration on You. I want to please You with the rest of my life."
 
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Once again Jesus cut right across the scribal rules and regulations. When He and His disciples were going through the cornfields one Sabbath day, His disciples began to pluck the ears of corn and eat them. On any ordinary day, the disciples were doing what was freely permitted (Deut. 23:25). So long as the traveler did not put a sickle into the field, he was free to pluck the corn. But this was done on the Sabbath, and the Sabbath was hedged around with thousands of petty rules and regulations. All work was forbidden. Work had been classified under 39 different heads; four of these heads were reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal. By their action, the disciples had technically broken all these rules and were to be classified as lawbreakers.
 
The Pharisees immediately launched their accusation and pointed out that Jesus' disciples were breaking the law. They obviously expected Him to stop them on the spot. Jesus answered them with the story found in 1 Samuel 21:1-6. David was fleeing for his life; he came to the tabernacle in Nob; he demanded food and there was none except the shewbread. Exodus 25:23-30 tells of the shewbread. When it was changed, it became the property of the priests and no one else might eat it (Leviticus 24:9). Yet in his time of need, David took and ate that bread. Jesus showed that scripture itself supplies a precedent in which human need took precedence over human and even divine law.
 
"The Sabbath," Jesus said, "was made for the sake of man and not man for the sake of the Sabbath. Man is not to be enslaved by the Sabbath; the Sabbath exists to make his life better.
 
 
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