Various Short Stories and Articles to Stimulate Thought



Table of Contents






Clear Day



Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures and returns.

For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently. You and Jesus are walking as true friends! This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints, the ones etched the sand next to Jesus', are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, safety you and Jesus are becoming one.

This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints; they have become one.

This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Deep gashes in the sand. A veritable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked.

Now you pray: "Lord, I understand the first scene with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But you walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with you." That is correct." "... and when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps; followed you very closely."

"Very good. You have understood everything so far."

"... when the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like you in every way."

"Precisely."

"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first."

There is a pause as the Lord answers with a smile in his voice. "You didn't know? That was when we danced."

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

It's not WHAT you have in your life, but WHO you have in your life that counts!

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Marriage Requires Teamwork!


A couple was having some trouble, so they did the right thing and went to a marriage counselor. After a few visits, and a lot of questioning and listening, the counselor said that he had discovered the main problem.

He stood up, went over to the woman, asked her to stand, and gave her a hug. He looked at the man and said, "this is what your wife needs, at least once a day!"

The man frowned, thought for a moment, then said, "Ok, what time do you want me to bring her back tomorrow?"

Author unknown


Table of Contents





When I grow Up


The teacher asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up. A chorus of responses came from all over the room. "A football player," "A doctor," "An astronaut," "The president," "A fireman," "A teacher," "A race car driver." Everyone that is, except Tommy. The teacher noticed he was sitting there quiet and still. So she said to him, "Tommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

"Possible" Tommy replied. "Possible?" asked the teacher. "Yes," Tommy said. "My mom is always telling me I'm impossible. So when I get to be big, I want to be possible."

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Brother's Song

See: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/brotherssong.htm


Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes ...every three ...every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee. The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. "I want to sing to her," he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen made up her mind, though. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not! If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. But the head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed." The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!"

Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray ---" Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. "Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away-" As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart!!!" "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, dreamed I held you in my arms..." Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. "Keep on singing, Michael." Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away..."

The next day...the very next day...the little girl was well enough to go home! Woman's Day Magazine called it "The Miracle of a Brother's Song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!

Author unknown


NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE.  LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.


Table of Contents





We Have Everything We Need


One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that restricting the cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly.

I asked for Strength. And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for Wisdom. And God gave me Problems to solve.

I asked for Prosperity. And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work

I asked for Courage. And God gave me Danger to overcome.

I asked for Love. And God gave me Troubled people to help.

I asked for Favors. And God gave me Opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted. I received everything I needed.

Author unknown


Table of Contents




Matthew Chapter Five


3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Who Will Take The Son?



A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said,"Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art. The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture? "There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one." But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?" Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!" But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who will bid $20?" Someone shouted, "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$Ten is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!" A man sitting on the second row shouted. "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over." "What about the paintings?" "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets every thing!"

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The son, the son, who'll take the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,
WHO SO EVER BELIEVETH, SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE...THAT'S LOVE


Author unknown


Table of Contents





Why JESUS is Better Than Santa Claus


Santa lives at the North Pole

JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year

JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies

JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited

JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa

JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is"Hi little boy (or girl,) what's your name?"

JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly

JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO

JESUS offers both help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys

JESUS makes a new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa is a "jolly old elf"

JESUS is the King of Kings

Santa may make you chuckle but

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree

JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.


It's obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to put Christ back in CHRISTmas, Jesus is still the reason for the season. Yes, Jesus is better, much better than Santa Claus.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Beautiful Story - The Dime


Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend."

Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the house hold in their mother's absence. All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother. Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing.

Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to. Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment. As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when the salesperson told him that he couldn't buy anything with only a dime. He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him,"You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you."

As Bobby waited he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers. The sound of the door closing as the last customer left, jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box. "That will be ten cents young man," the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime. Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime! Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?" This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son."

As he returned inside, the shop keeper's wife walked out. "Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?" Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime. "When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too, was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars. "When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses." The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all. May this story instill the spirit of CHRISTmas in you.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Feast Of Tabernacles


The two great feasts of the Jews were the Feast of Passover ...and the Feast of Tabernacles (dwelling in booths).... These two great feasts... were the great occasions on which the people from all over the Kingdom were expected to visit Jerusalem, the capital city, to spend a week in fellowship together, in thanksgiving to the Lord and the making of vows to him. Each of these feasts had its peculiar religious sacrifice, pointing to our Lord and his sacrifice and the Gospel Church, his body.... The Fall festival was held in connection with the Day of Atonement and its sacrifices for sins, which typified the better sacrifices of this Gospel age and the ultimate atonement for the sins of the whole world, and the consequent ultimate removal of the curse which still rests upon the world of mankind.

This festival was instituted at the time Israel passed from the wilderness into the Land of Promise. It commemorated the wilderness life and the entrance into Canaan, where they were privileged to enjoy their inheritance and have more substantial dwelling places. It was really the festival of the New Year, and a kind of thanksgiving occasion for the ingathering or harvest of the year.--Exod. 23:16; Lev. 23:33-44.

The usage of the people on this occasion is thus described by Edersheim and others:-- "Each morning a joyous procession, with music, went down to the Pool of Siloam and drew water in a golden pitcher, from which it was poured out upon the altar amid hallelujahs. "...pious men danced before the people with lighted flambeaux in their hands, singing hymns and songs of praise, whilst the Levites, who were stationed on the fifteen steps which led into the woman's court of the Temple and which corresponded to the fifteen psalms of degrees, i.e. steps (Psalms 122-134), accompanied the songs with instrumental music.... "It is supposed that on the last evening of the festival, when the splendid light of this grand illumination was to cease, Christ called attention to himself, "I am the Light of the world' (John 8:12), which is to shine forever and illuminate not only the Temple and the Holy City, but all the world," for he is the Sun of Righteousness.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Bible in a synopsis of 50 words:


God made

Adam bit

Noah arked

Abraham split

Joseph ruled

Jacob fooled

Bush talked

Moses balked

Pharaoh plagued

People walked

Sea divided

Tablets guided

Promise landed

Saul freaked

David peeked

Prophets warned

Jesus born

God walked

Love talked

Anger crucified

Hope died

Love rose

Spirit flamed

Word spread

God remained.

Author unknown

Table of Contents





I am a Soldier in God's Army

Here I stand! Will you stand with me?


I am a soldier in the Army of my God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.

The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.

Faith, prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare.


I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this Army, and I am enlisted for Eternity.

I will either retire in this Army at the Rapture or die in this Army;

But I will not get out, Sell out, Be talked out, Or pushed out.


I am faithful, reliable, capable and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

If He needs me in the Sunday School, To teach the children, work with the youth, Help adults, Or just sit and learn.

He can use me because I am there! I am a soldier.


I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. I am a soldier.

No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, Or lure me. I am a soldier.

I am not a wimp. I am in place, Saluting my King,

Obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom!


No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy or give me handouts.

I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.

I am committed.


I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.

I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.

I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.


When Jesus called me into His Army, I had nothing.

If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead.

I will win.


My God has and will continue to supply all of my needs.

I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph.

I can do all things through Christ.


Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me.

Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me.

Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me.

Governments cannot silence me and Hell cannot handle me. I am a soldier.


Even death cannot destroy me.

For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield,

He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him.

I am a soldier in the Army, and I'm marching claiming victory.


I will not give up. I will not turn around.

I am a soldier, Marching heaven bound.

Here I stand!

Will you stand with me?

Author unknown


Table of Contents





God's Chair


A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said. "No, who are you?" "I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied."When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up." "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the pastor shut the door. "I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest: Sit down on a chair; place an empty chair in front of you and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, "I'll be with you always." Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now." So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours everyday. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.

"Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, in fact, beyond strange—really weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."

by - Max Lucado





Prayer



Prayer is one of the best spiritual gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another. May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the sun. It is there for each and every one of you. Witness the awesome power of PRAYER.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





I Know That My Redeemer Lives

By: Samuel Medley


I know that my Redeemer lives;

What comfort this sweet sentence gives!

He lives, He lives, who once was dead;

He lives, my ever living Head.


He lives triumphant from the grave,

He lives eternally to save,

He lives all glorious in the sky,

He lives exalted there on High.


He lives to bless me with His love,

He lives to plead for me above,

He lives my hungry soul to feed,

He lives to help in time of need.


He lives to grand me rich supply,

He lives to guide me with His eye,

He lives to comfort me when faint,

He lives to hear my soul's complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,

He lives to wipe away my tears,

He lives to calm my troubled heart,

He lives all blessings to impart.


He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,

He lives and loves me to the end.

He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing;

He lives, my Prophet, Priest and King.


He lives and grants me daily breath;

He lives, and I shall conquer death;

He lives my mansion to prepare;

He lives to bring me safely there.


He lives, all glory to His name!

He lives, my Jesus, still the same.

Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,

"I know that my Redeemer lives!"


Table of Contents





Give us this day our daily bread


1. In righteousness begin the year.

2. Be strong; believe; cast out thy fear.

3. Trust thou in God, He will thee save.

4. Fight the good fight of faith, be brave.

5. With energy pursue life's race.

6. Soon thou may'st see the Saviour's face.

7. The Morning dawns! Thy blessed Lord is here.

8. As Steward, now, unto the King give an account.

9. Error and sin, twin monsters, cast ye down.

10. To overcomers there's a crown.

11. By grace we conquer in the strife.

12. The gift of God--eternal life.

13. Turn not the wand'rer from thy door--

14. Blessed are they who feed the poor.

15. This be thy prayer, "Thy kingdom come."

16. O Father, lead thy people home!

17. Forgive as we forgive, O Lord.

18. My trust will I put in thy word.

19. No longer in sin's by-ways roam.

20. The Spirit and the Bride say come.

21. The harvest passes, summer ends.

22. Some spurn the mercy heaven sends.

23. Drink deep the heavenly waters bright.

24. Flee from the darkness, walk in light.

25. Lo! "Rock of Ages cleft for thee."

26. Into the sacred shelter flee!

27. Swift passeth moments, hours and days.

28. Forget not to give God due praise.

29. Above all things, keep thyself pure.

30. God's promises are ever sure.

31. They're saved who to the end endure.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





What Was In Jeremy's Egg?



Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.

One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation. As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!"

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here."

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy."

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-Why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?" "Yes, Miss Miller!" the children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here" A small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes that is new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "MyDaddy helped me!" he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy -- your egg is empty!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!"

Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!"

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

by - Ida Mae Kempel


HAPPY EASTER!!!!!


Table of Contents





Hugging



Hugging is almost perfect! There are no movable parts, no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements. There is low energy consumption, and very high energy yield. Hugging is theft-proof, inflation-proof, not-fattening, non-polluting, non-taxable, and, of course, fully returnable.





Laughing



  1. Laughter relaxes our whole body in minutes with physical stress and muscle tension relieved for over 45 minutes after we laugh.
  2. Laughter boosts our ability to fight infection and disease. When we laugh, our stress hormones are dramatically reduced, causing us to have less of the damaging effects of those hormones on our bodies. Laughter provides a vacation from stress.
  3. Laughter protects our hearts by increasing blood flow and blood vessel function. Laughter helps our hearts to operate more productively and prevent heart disease. How simple is that?
  4. Laughter connects us, and builds bonds between individuals. We can even build stronger social relationships through laughter.




Romans 8:2,11



For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit which dwells in you.






Psalm 17:6-9, 13, 15



I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me. -------- Deliver my life from this sickness with Your sword -------- As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall awake in Your likeness.



Table of Contents





Unfolding of a Rose



A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day and feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was inquiring of the older preacher. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the WILL OF GOD for his life and for his ministry. Because of his high respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact...It wasn't long before he realized how impossible it was to do so. Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud while keeping it intact, the older preacher began to recite the following poem...


 UNFOLDING THE ROSEBUD


It is only a tiny rosebud, a flower of God's design;

But I cannot unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers Is not known to such as I.

GOD opens this flower so sweetly, when in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God's design,

Then how can I think I have wisdom to unfold this life of mine?

So I'll trust in Him for His leading each moment of every day.

I will look to him for His guidance each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me, only my Heavenly Father knows.

I'll trust Him to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





My Wood



This is the beginning of "My Wood," an essay by E.M. Forster about his reaction to owning a small estate he bought with the royalties from his novel "A Passage to India."

A few years ago I wrote a book which dealt in part with the difficulties of the English in India. Feeling that they would have had no difficulties in India themselves, the Americans read the book freely. The more they read it the better it made them feel, and a cheque to the author was the result. I bought a wood with the cheque. It is not a large wood - it contains scarcely any trees, and it is intersected, blast it, by a public footpath. Still, it is the first property I have owned, so it is right that other people should participate in my shame, and should ask themselves, in accents that will vary in horror, this very important question: What is the effect of property upon the character? Don't let's touch economics; the effect of private ownership upon the community as a whole is another question - a more important question perhaps, but another one. Let's keep to psychology. If you own things, what's their effect on you? What's the effect on me of my wood?

In the first place, it makes me feel heavy. Property does have this effect. Property produces men of weight, and it was a man of weight who failed to get into the Kingdom of Heaven1. He was not wicked, that unfortunate millionaire in the parable, he was only stout; he stuck out in front, not to mention behind, and as he wedged himself this way and that in the crystalline entrance and bruised his well-fed flanks, he saw beneath him a comparatively slim camel passing through the eye of a needle and being woven into the robe of God. The Gospels all through couple stoutness and slowness. They point out what is perfectly obvious, yet seldom realized: that if you have a lot of things you cannot move about a lot, that furniture requires dusting, dusters require servants, servants require insurance stamps, and the whole tangle of them makes you think twice before you accept an invitation to dinner or go for a bathe in the Jordan2. Sometimes the Gospels proceed further and say with Tolstoy that property is sinful; they approach the difficult ground of asceticism here, where I cannot follow them. But as to the immediate effects of property on people, they just show straightforward logic. It produces men of weight. Men of weight cannot, by definition, move like lightning from the East unto the West, and the ascent of a fourteen-stone3 bishop into a pulpit is thus the exact antithesis of the coming of the Son of Man. My wood makes me feel heavy.

1. Matthew 19:24 "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

2. The Jordan is the river in which John the Baptist christened repentant sinners.

3. A stone is a British unit of weight; 14 stone equals 196 pounds.


Table of Contents





One Day at A Time

By Annie Johnson Flint



One day at a time, with its failures and fears,

With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,

With its portion of pain and its burden of care;

One day at a time we must meet and must bear.


One day at a time to be patient and strong;

To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;

Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;

It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.


One day at a time — but the day is so long,

And the heart is not brave, and the soul is not strong,

O Thou pitiful Christ, be Thou near all the way;

Give courage and patience and strength for the day.


Swift cometh His answer, so clear and so sweet;

"Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;

I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve;

I will not forsake thee; I never will leave."


Not yesterday's load we are called on to bear,

Nor the morrow's uncertain and shadowy care;

Why should we look forward or back with dismay?

Our needs, as our mercies, are but for the day.


One day at a time, and the day is His day;

He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.

His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;

As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.


Table of Contents





Christianity Refuted?



"Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

"You're a Christian, aren't you?"

"Yes...."

"So you believe in God?"

"Absolutely."

"Is God good?"

"Sure! God's good."

"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"

"Yes."

"Are you good or evil?"

"The Bible says I'm evil."

The professor grins knowingly. "Ahh! THE BIBLE!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help them? Would you try?"

"Yes sir, I would."

"So you're good...!"

"I wouldn't say that."

"Why not say that? You would help a sick and maimed person if you could...in fact most of us would if we could... God doesn't."

No answer.

"He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"

No answer.

The elderly man is sympathetic. "No, you can't, can you?" He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. In philosophy, you have to go easy with the new ones.

"Let's start again, young fella."

"Is God good?"

"Er... Yes."

"Is Satan good?"

"No."

"Where does Satan come from?" The student falters.

"From... God..."

"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he?" The elderly man runs his bony fingers through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking, student audience. "I think we're going to have a lot of fun this semester, ladies and gentlemen." He turns back to the Christian. "Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"

"Yes, sir."

"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? Did God make everything?"

"Yes."

"Who created evil?

No answer.

"Is there sickness in this world? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness?

All the terrible things - do they exist in this world?"

The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."

"Who created them?"

No answer.

The professor suddenly shouts at his student. "WHO CREATED THEM? TELL ME, PLEASE!" The professor closes in for the kill and climbs into the Christian's face. In a still small voice: "God created all evil, didn't He, son?"

No answer; the student tries to hold the steady, experienced gaze and fails.

Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace the front of the classroom like an aging panther. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues, "how is it that this God is good if He created all evil throughout all time?" The professor swishes his arms around to encompass the wickedness of the world. "All the hatred, the brutality, all the pain, all the torture, all the death and ugliness and all the suffering created by this good God is all over the world, isn't it, young man?"

No answer.

"Don't you see it all over the place? Huh?" Pause. "Don't you?" The professor leans into the student's face again and whispers, "Is God good?"

No answer.

"Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor. I do."

The old man shakes his head sadly. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you? Tell me. Have you ever seen Jesus?"

"No, sir. I've never seen Him."

"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"

"No, sir. I have not."

"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus...in fact, do you have any sensory perception of your God whatsoever?"

No answer.

"Answer me, please."

"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."

"You're AFRAID ... you haven't?"

"No, sir."

"Yet you still believe in him?"

"...Yes..."

"That takes FAITH!" The professor smiles sagely at the underling. According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son? Where is your God now?"

The student doesn't answer.

"Sit down, please."

The Christian sits...defeated.


Another Christian raises his hand. "Professor, may I respond to your questions?"

The professor turns and smiles. "Ah, another Christian in the vanguard! Come, come, speak some proper wisdom to the gathering."

The Christian looks around the room. "Some interesting points you are making, professor. Now I've got a question for you. Is there such thing as heat?"

"Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat."

"Is there such a thing as cold?"

"Yes, there's cold too."

"No, sir, there isn't."

The professor's grin freezes. The room suddenly becomes quieter.

The second Christian continues. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold.' We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458 degrees. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."

"Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?"

"That's a dumb question. What is night if it isn't darkness? What are you getting at...?"

"So you say there is such a thing as darkness?"

"Yes..."

"You're wrong again. Darkness is not something, it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word.

In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you...give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?"

Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young effrontery before him.

This will indeed be a good semester. "Can you tell me, what your point is?"

"Yes, my point is that your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error."

The professor now bristling, "Flawed...? How dare you...!"

"Professor, may I explain what I mean?"

The class is all ears.

"Explain ... oh, explain..." The professor makes an admirable effort to regain control. He waves his hand for the student to continue.

"You are working on the premise of duality," the Christian explains.

"That for example there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it."

The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the desk of a student who has been reading it. "Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?"

"Of course there is, now look..."

"Wrong again. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The Christian pauses. "Isn't evil the absence of good?"

The professor's face has turned an alarming color. He is so angry he is temporarily speechless.

The Christian continues. "If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work, God is accomplishing? The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good over evil."

The professor bridles. "As a philosophical scientist, I don't view this matter as having anything to do with any choice; as a realist, I absolutely do not recognize the concept of God or any other theological factor as being part of the world equation because God is not observable."

"I would have thought that the absence of God's moral code in this world is probably one of the most ongoing observable phenomena," the Christian replies. "Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week!

Tell me, professor, Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"

"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course I do."

"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes?"

The professor makes a sucking sound with his teeth and gives his student a silent, stony stare.

"Professor. Since no-one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an ongoing endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion? Are you now not a scientist, but a priest?"

"I'll overlook your impudence in the light of our philosophical discussion. Now, have you quite finished?" the professor hisses.

"So you don't accept God's moral code to do what is righteous?"

"I believe in what is - that's science!"

"Ahh! SCIENCE!" the student's face splits into a grin. "Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. The premise that everything can be examined by science is a premise which is flawed..."

"SCIENCE IS FLAWED?" the professor splutters.

The class is in uproar.

The Christian remains quiet until the commotion has subsided.

"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, may I give you an example of what I mean?"

The professor wisely keeps silent.

The Christian looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who as ever seen the professor's thoughts?"

The class breaks out in laughter.

The Christian points towards his elderly, crumbling tutor. "Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's thoughts ... felt the professor's thoughts, touched or smelled the professor's thoughts? No one appears to have done so." The Christian shakes his head sadly. "It appears no-one here has had any sensory perception of the professor's thoughts whatsoever.

Well, according to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science cannot prove the professor has thoughts."

In silence the professor stared at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answered. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."

"So you do accept that there is faith. In fact, faith exists with life," the student continued.

"Is there such a thing as evil?" Uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God."

God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Isaiah 53:3-10



He is despised and rejected by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted. Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence. Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. Isaiah 53:3-10





John 14:26-29



But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, I am going away and coming back to you. If you loved Me you would rejoice because I said I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes that when it does come to pass, you may believe. John 14:26-29


Table of Contents





Psalm 107:8-22



Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and iron because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze, and cut the bars of iron in two. Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. Psalm 107:8-22


Table of Contents





Psalm 55:16-19a



As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me. God will hear!





Revelation 12:10-12



Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heaven, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.





Psalm 103:1-5, 11-14



Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles's. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.


Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15


Table of Contents





The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth



At Christmas time men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a miracle -- not exactly.

It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old. Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down church. They felt that with paint, hammer, and faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

But late in December a severe storm whipped through the river valley, and the worst blow fell on the little church -- a huge chunk of rain-soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn't hide the ragged hole.

The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, "Thy will be done!" But his wife wept, "Christmas is only two days away!"

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended the auction held for the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out of its folds a handsome gold and ivory lace tablecloth. It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. but it, too, dated from a long vanished era. Who, today, had any use for such a thing? There were a few halfhearted bids. Then the pastor was seized with what he thought was a great idea.

He bid it in for $6.50.

He carried the cloth back to the church and tacked it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel. It was a great triumph. Happily he went back to preparing his Christmas sermon.

Just before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. "The bus won't be here for 40 minutes!" he called, and invited her into the church to get warm.

She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the wealthy families in town but she had been turned down. A war refugee, her English was imperfect.

The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a while she dropped her head and prayed. She looked up as the pastor began to adjust the great gold and ivory cloth across the hole. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps of the chancel. She looked at the tablecloth. The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but she didn't seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and rubbed it between her fingers.

"It is mine!" she said. "It is my banquet cloth!" She lifted up a corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. "My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels! There could not be another like it."

For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly together. She explained that she was Viennese; that she and her husband had opposed the Nazis and decided to leave the country. They were advised to go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

"I have always felt that it was my fault -- to leave without him," she said. "Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment!" The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the cloth with her. She refused. Then she went away.

As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.

After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told him that the church looked beautiful. One gentle-faced middle-aged man -- he was the local clock-and-watch repairman -- looked rather puzzled.

"It is strange," he said in his soft accent. "Many years ago my wife - God rest her -- and I owned such a cloth. In our home in Vienna, my wife put it on the table" -- and here he smiled -- "only when the bishop came to dinner."

The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about the woman who had been in church earlier that day. The startled jeweler clutched the pastor's arm. "Can it be? Does she live?"

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed her. Then, in the pastor's car they started for the city. And as Christmas Day was born, this man and his wife, who had been separated through so many saddened Yule tides, were reunited.

To all who hear this story, the joyful purpose of the storm that had knocked a hole in the wall of the church was now quite clear. Of course, people said it was a miracle, but I think you will agree it was the season for it!

by - Howard C. Schade


True love seems to find a way.


Table of Contents





My Commitment as a Christian

Luke 14:25-33



I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die is cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.


My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, dwarfed goals.


I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on God's presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.


My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.


I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me "my banner is clear"!

by - Bob Moorhead


Table of Contents





Wedgewood Baptist Church Tragedy

This was received from one of the College Students.



Dear friends,


We continue to express to you the glory of God spreading through our community and around the world because of this tragedy...this report will give you a clearer picture. And REMEMBER, "not the half has been told"! Read on... What God is doing at our church!


By now almost everyone has heard of the tragedy that took place on Sept.15, 1999 when a gunman entered Wedgewood Baptist Church and killed 7 people and injured 7 others before taking his own life. That morning had been the day of "See You at the Pole," when students gather around their flagpole in the morning to pray for their school and nation. What the media hasn't reported, however, is how God has been so evident, both during and after the shooting. He has done amazing works!


Before The Shooting:

Our pastor, Brother Al, had prayed that God would do whatever it took to expand the ministry of Wedgewood Baptist Church. Our church is one that is used as a model of how NOT to pick a location, because no one in the world knew where it is.


Evidence of God's Control During The Shooting:

  • To enter the church, the gunman walked past our children's playground, which should have been full of kids, but for some reason every single children's and preschool class was running late. No one had made it to the playground yet.
  • He fired over 100 bullets into a crowd of over 400, but only 14 people were hit.
  • He did not shoot the over 60 bullets he still had with him.
  • The bottom fell off of the pipe bomb he threw, and the bomb landed without ever exploding.
  • One of the youth that was wounded (she was shielding a disabled friend with her body) has scoliosis. The curve in her spine directed the bullet away from major organs, saving her from serious injury.
  • Because the first 911 call came in on a police radio, emergency vehicles were dispatched immediately, without spending precious time to verify that the call was real.
  • One of the people in the church at the time was a paramedic, and he was able to stop bleeding and stabilize injured people before the emergency crews arrived.
  • Leaders were able to get the children out of the building without the kids having to see any victims or any of the mess.
  • Each children's worker stayed with his/her class even though they all had children elsewhere in the building, and some had teens in the sanctuary. Not one worker left his or her post.
  • None of the adults who died have children.
  • All 7 victims were not just Christians, but bold Christians who were passionate about their faith. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)

    Or, what God has done since the shooting:
  • Many denominations have pulled together to offer help and support.

    One example is the United Methodist Church who sent 15 people the following Sunday to cover our childcare. They didn't want any church members to have to miss the service because they were taking care of the children.

  • A church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, drove over 5 hours just so they could march around our church and pray during our Sunday morning services.
  • The Fort Worth Police Dept. planted flowers in the flower beds before we reentered the sanctuary to worship.
  • We have received over 10,000 e-mails, 5000 cards, and $60,000 from all over the world.
  • Al Meredith, our pastor has had the microphone in his face continually and has over and over given an outstanding answer to the reason for our hope. He presented the gospel beautifully on Larry King Live when prompted by a question asked by Vice President Al Gore.
  • Because of the live news coverage and interviews, over 200 million people have heard the gospel because of this tragedy.
  • Fifteen thousand turned out for a community wide service at TCU football stadium. Brother Al gave a very serious challenging message calling for a day of fasting and heart searching (Monday the 20th).
  • The service was broadcast live in its entirety on WBAP 820 which is a News station that covers most of north Texas. This same news station has replayed our pastor's first press conference due to people calling in and requesting to hear his comforting words again.

  • CNN also broadcast the memorial service live. Amazingly, because one of the victim's families lives and works in Saudi Arabia, that country allowed the service to be broadcast there as well. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal to say the name of Jesus on the street.
  • Because of that same CNN broadcast, 35 people in Japan gave their lives to Christ.
  • When President Clinton finally got through to him, Brother Al ended their conversation by praying, after gaining permission, for the Clinton family.
  • At several schools, students met around their flagpoles the next day. At one school 25 students accepted Christ, and 110 at another.
  • A teacher led 22 students to Christ in her classroom.
  • Christian teachers all over North Texas have been able to share with their classes because the students are asking questions about their teachers' faith.
  • In Burleson, prayers and Scripture are being said over the intercom.
  • On the east coast, where "See You at the Pole" was delayed because of the hurricane, record numbers of kids showed up to pray.
  • Governor Bush and the Fort Worth mayor quietly came to our pastor's home while the staff were meeting and praying and joined in the prayer meeting. This was not political! Only those who are close to staff members heard about this; the media never knew.
  • Governor Bush has visited with our pastor several times, and Brother Al has had an impact on him. Just think of the influence our Pastor could have if Governor Bush is the next president!
  • A caller to an area Christian radio station said that he didn't know what those people had but he wanted it. The DJ proceeded to lead him to Christ. Many notes left in front of the church contain the same sentiment. Those who don't know Jesus want what we have!
  • The church has received so many e-mails asking us how we are able to have hope and continue on. There are teams of church member volunteers responding to these e-mails.
  • My friend Jodi has been praying for her husband for years. She and their 4-yr-old daughter were at the church that night. 3 days ago Scott gave his life to Christ.
  • We have had over 70,000 hits on our web page which displays the plan of salvation in multiple languages.
  • Many members at Wedgewood Baptist are healing broken relationships within the body and experiencing spiritual renewal. These are just a few of the miracles that are happening. God's grace is almost overwhelming. Every time the gunman fired a bullet, he intended to take a life.
  • Yet God turned that around and saved several lives for each bullet fired. The faith of those who died has been multiplied many times over. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.." Romans 1:8

Are you not amazed? May I point out a few things we should glean from this?

  1. While reading, I was fascinated and amazed that we have found out about some of these stories...salvation decisions made in Japan...a DJ leading someone to Christ...etc. This is not coincidence. Note that God is PRESERVING the testimonies, not by accident, but by Divine intention.
  2. The plan of God is magnified and so evident through these stories: Do you see how it is His heart's desire to extend the boundaries of His kingdom? That "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance"? (2 Peter 3:9) His plan is to save...His purpose for saving-to receive glory.
  3. Realize that while He is accomplishing His plan to save and His purpose to be glorified, we as Christians are being comforted and strengthened. How great the realm of His ability to work! What perfect timing He has on every front.
  4. Have you noticed that YOU are excited to hear the great things the Lord is doing? That your heart has been stirred and that you are desirous of spreading His glory? Rejoice, for that is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life. "For it is GOD who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure" (Phil. 1:6). His good pleasure is to spread His glory.
  5. Last, when was the last time you asked the Lord what His plan and purpose was for your life? Do you want to know? If so, look! He is showing us RIGHT NOW what it is. We are to mirror His purpose and plan, and join Him. Spread His glory, by your own life of worship, which once submitted as a "living sacrifice"-will draw people to Him.

In Christ,

Christa [Christa is a member of Wedgewood Baptist Church]


Table of Contents





Invisible Work



One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?" She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world did I do today?" "Yes" was his incredulous reply.

She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."

Author unknown





According to James 2:1-7



It was a cold winters day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed, as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer, I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old and too small for his feet. They had holes all over them and his toes stuck out.

I assumed this man was homeless and asleep. So I walked on by through the doors of the church. During the few minutes we stood around fellowshipping, someone brought up the subject of the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the preacher to take his place and to give the Word. Then the door opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit. He took off his hat and coat. My heart sank. There stood our preacher. He was the homeless man. No one said a word. The preacher took his bible and laid it on the stand and began, "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song, "If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain."

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Value Of Friends



People in business today speak of the importance of networking. Making contacts is a way to find others who share your passion and can become allies in your quest for whatever you are setting your sights on. Networking can imply a one-way relationship, find someone who can "help me get what I want" and if that is all you see in networking, you are missing the mark. True networking is about building relationships. Healthy relationships are two-way interactions that benefit both parties, viz. "FRIENDSHIP".


There's much to be gained from a friend who shares your vision, dream, or passion. There's counsel, and accountability, that little extra nudge to keep you on track. 

Proverbs 27:6 (NIV) Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiple kisses.
Proverbs 27:9 (NIV) Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.


Here are some tips on Networking.

Ask others about their skills and hobbies. Listen carefully to extend to them a connection for their networking benefit.

Talk about your passions with the people you know — they'll tell others about you, your capabilities and interests, and this will increase your opportunities. Relationships are about mutual benefit. Make sure you give others the opportunity to share their passions, and give them the support they need. Tapping into opportunities requires the full use of your network — success in life and work will always be enhanced by the relationships you establish and maintain.  Learn how to give, request and accept feedback. Requesting and incorporating feedback into your action plan is essential for success. This communication skill will not only enhance your possibilities but will contribute to more satisfying relationships overall. 

Proverbs 18:24a (NKJV) A man who has friends must himself be friendly.


Tips for building new relationships:

Get involved in activities that involve your passion. You'll get to meet others who are doing the very same thing. Talk with others who share your passion -- this is one of the best ways to build relationships. People with similar passions often become allies and support each other. This can open up a new realm of opportunities. Relationships with those who share your passion can provide valuable information on the most effective way to act.Your relationships will bolster your motivation. You'll be in contact with others who are motivated -- energy is contagious.


None of us have all the pieces to the puzzle in our box. Even the Lone Ranger depended on Tonto by his side.

Point: If you want to have a great week - reach out and be a friend. If you want to go farther, do more, and be better, associate with people who share the passion. You'll be surprised at how correct the Bible is in the statement: TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV) Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Smile



I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called "Smile." The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought, this would be a piece of cake, literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special play time with our son We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch...an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he as "smiling".

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally deficient and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you." I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me, Honey. To give me hope." We held hands for a moment and at that time we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not church goers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in "my project" and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?" I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. She began to read and that is when I knew that we, as human beings and being part of God, share this need to heal people and be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS — NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE!

Author unknown





Watch your tongue!



The tongue weighs practically nothing, but so few people can hold it. James 3:1-12


Great minds discuss ideas;

Average minds discuss events;

Small minds discuss people.


He who loses money, loses much;

He who loses a friend, loses more;

He who loses faith, loses all.


Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Three Trees



Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter" ... and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree a woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree so I'll take this one", and he cut it down."

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Gifts


Eight Gifts that Do Not Cost A Cent

1) THE GIFT OF LISTENING...

But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

2) THE GIFT OF AFFECTION...

Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3) THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER...

Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

4) THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE...

It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet.

5) THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT...

A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job" or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

6) THE GIFT OF A FAVOR...

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7) THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE...

There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8) THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION...

The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

Author unknown






It Will be Perfect . . . Later



Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE." When the houselights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left and and began filling in the bass part.

Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a potentially frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was absolutely mesmerized.

Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized. That's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful.

Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces. Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. And He'll always be there to love and guide you on to great things.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Smoke Signals



The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied. It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart.

Remember next time your little hut is burning to the ground - - it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Author unknown





Prayer Before Kansas Senate



When pastor Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual politically correct generalities. But what they heard instead was a stirring prayer, passionately calling our country to repentance and righteousness. The response was immediate and a number of legislators walked out during the prayer. In six weeks, the Central Christian Church (USA) had logged more than 5,000 phone calls, with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. Commentator Paul Harvey aired the prayer on the radio and received a larger response to this program than any other program he has ever aired. The Central Christian Church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea. Pastor Joe's prayer is reprinted here as an encouragement and challenge for each of us to stand for the truth of the gospel whenever the Lord gives us the opportunity.

THE PRAYER

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know your word says, 'Woe on those who call evil good,' but that's exactly what wed have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multi-culturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, O God, and know our hearts today, cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you to govern this great state. Grant them the wisdom to rule, and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the Name of your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."


What awesome insight! With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called a Christian nation that fears the Lord! Let us all help to get the Lord back into our lives and most importantly into the lives of our children and grandchildren. Amen.


Table of Contents





Self Pity - What a Pity!



One day when walking down the street, on business bent, while thinking hard about the "hundred cares" which seemed like thunderclouds about to break In torrents, self-pity said to me: "You poor, poor thing, you have too much to do. Your life is far to hard. This heavy load will crush you soon." A swift response of sympathy welled up within. The burning sun seemed more intense. The dust and noise of puffing motors flying past with rasping blast of blowing horn incensed still more the whining nerves, the fabled last back-breaking straw to weary, troubled, fretting mind." Ah yes, it will break and crush my life: I cannot bear this constant strain of endless, aggravating cares; they are too great for such as I. "So thus my heart consoled itself, "enjoying misery," when lo! A "still small voice" distinctly said, "It was sent to lift you - not to crush."

I saw at once my great mistake. My place was not beneath the load but on the top! God meant it not that I should carry it. He sent it here to carry me. Full well He knew my incapacity before the plan was made. He saw a child of His in need of grace and power to serve; a puny twig requiring sun and rain to grow; an undeveloped chrysalis; a weak soul lacking faith in God. He could not help but see all this and more. And then, with tender thought He placed it where it had to grow — or die. To lie and cringe beneath one's load means death, but life and power await all those who dare to rise above. Our burdens are our wings; on them we soar to higher realms of grace; without them we must ever roam on plains of undeveloped faith, (For faith grows but by exercise in circumstance impossible). O paradox of Heaven. The load we think will crush us was sent to lift us up to God! Then, soul of mine, climb up! Nothing can e'er be crushed save what is underneath the weight. How may we climb! By what ascent will we crest the critical cares of life! Within His word is found the key which opens His secret stairs; alone with Christ, secluded there, we mount our loads, and rest in Him.

by - Mary Butterfield


Table of Contents





Lovely Friends



If I could catch a rainbow...

I would do it just for you and share with you its beauty on the days you're feeling blue.

If I could build a mountain you could call your very own, a place to find serenity, a place to be alone.

If I could take your troubles...

I would toss them into the sea, but all these things I'm finding are impossible for me. I cannot build a mountain or catch a rainbow fair. But let me be what I know best, a friend that is always there.

Author unknown





I Corinthians 12:1-13



1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.


Table of Contents





Big Trouble



A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved. The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons' behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman. The husband said, "We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!"

The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8-year-old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?" The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone,"Where is God?" Again the boy made no attempt to answer, so the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face, "WHERE IS GOD?" At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home slamming himself in his closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and said, "What happened?" The younger brother replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it!"

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Poem



I knelt to pray but not for long,

I had too much to do.

I had to hurry and get to work

For bills would soon be due.

So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,

And jumped up off my knees.

My Christian duty was now done

My soul could rest at ease.

All day long I had no time

To spread a word of cheer.

No time to speak of Christ to friends,

They'd laugh at me I'd fear.

No time, no time, too much to do,

That was my constant cry,

No time to give to souls in need

But at last the time, the time to die.

I went before the Lord, I came,

I stood with downcast eyes.

For in his hands God held a book;

It was the book of life.

God looked into his book and said, "Your name I cannot find.

I once was going to write it down... But, never found the time."

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Remembrancer



"The world's great men have always sought very different means of perpetuating their memories. In whatever way they would remind their followers of their merits and their greatness, it surely has not been by a reminder and commemoration of their death... But our Lord chose as His remembrancer that which represented what was, in His and in God's estimation, His mightiest work—His Sin-Offering on our behalf; and that which His real followers, and they alone, would appreciate more than any other feature of His mission... And it was for these that the remembrancer was arranged and instituted."

Many blessings as you Remember Him and His dying love for all people.


We serve a risen Savior, He's in the world to-day;

We know that He is living, whatever men may say;

We see His hand of mercy, we hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time we need Him, He's always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart.

by - Alfred H. Ackley





I Corinthians 15:55-57


55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Table of Contents





Easter Recipe



Here is yet another way to help keep Christ in the center of the celebration! This one is especially good for a family with mixed ages. (Original recipe from Sally Burgard's sister Gay. Pass it along!)

Easter Story Cookies

( to be made the evening before Easter )

Preheat oven to 300* and assemble these supplies:

1c. whole pecans,  1tsp vinegar,  3 egg whites,

pinch of salt,  1c. sugar,  zipper baggie

wooden spoon,  tape,  Bible


FIRST: Place the pecans in the zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces and set aside for later.

Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3

SECOND: Let each child smell the vinegar. Place 1tsp. vinegar into a mixing bowl.

Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30

THIRD: Eggs represent life. (You couldexplain that sin separates us from God as you separate the yolk from the white.) Add egg whites to vinegar.

Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11

FOURTH: Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. (Careful, not too much!)

Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus and thebitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

FIFTH: So far the ingredients have notbeen very appealing, add 1c. of sugar.

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us and wants us to know and to belong to Him. His death makes this possible for us. He gives this to us as a gift. Read Ps 34:8 and John 3:16

SIXTH: Ask them what they think will happen when all these things are mixed together. Then beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed by the egg whites when they are touched by the spoon.

Explain that what Jesus did was bigger than what it seemed to be at first. Explain that the color white represents the purity we have in God's eyes when we accept Jesus' gift. When we accept it our sins are forgiven and we are made pure like Jesus. Read Isa 1:18 and John 3:1-3

SEVENTH: Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto a waxed paper covered cookie sheet.

Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60

EIGHTH: Put cookie sheet in the oven. Close the oven door. Turn the oven OFF. — Yes, OFF! Make sure that your oven is at the required 300* by this time. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door shut.

Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. (If old enough to understand talk about why it was sealed.) Read Matthew 27: 65-66

NINTH: Clean up and get ready for bed.

Explain that they might feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven over night. Jesus' followers were also sad when the tomb was sealed and He was dead. Read John 16:20 and 22

TENTH: On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Talk about the cracked surface. Take a bite, are you surprised about the 'tombs' being hollow inside?

Explain that on the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to see the tomb open and empty! Jesus isn't dead any more, He is alive! Read Matthew 28:1-9

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Blessing of "No"



I asked God to take away my pride. God said "No". It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said "No". Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary. I asked God to grant me patience. God said "No". Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned. I asked God to give me happiness. God said "No". I give you blessings, happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain. God said "No". Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said "No". You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. God said "No". I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me. God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea!

Author unknown





What If?



What if, GOD couldn't take the time to bless us today because we couldn't take the time to thank HIM yesterday?

What if, GOD decided to stop leading ustomorrow because we didn't follow HIM today?

What if, we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when GOD sent the rain?

What if, GOD didn't walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if, GOD took away His message because we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if, GOD didn't send His only begotten Son because He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin?

What if, the door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our heart?

What if, GOD stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

What if, GOD would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him yesterday?

What if, GOD answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if, GOD met our needs the way we give Him our lives???

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God... Romans 8:28

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Thought for the Day



Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there...to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are or who you want to become. And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower or heart.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. Safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The successes and downfalls that you experience create who you are, and the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, the lessons they teach us are probably the most poignant and important ones of all. If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them because they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart to. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and open your heart and eyes to little things.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen.

Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. Create your own life and then go out and live it.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Something to Remember



Some time ago, a friend of mine punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside of it?" The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy it's not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy." The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness.

My friend told me that he kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there. In a very real sense, each of us has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Author unknown





I Corinthians 16:23-24


23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Table of Contents





The Paradox of Our Age



The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower view points. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've split the atom, but not our prejudice. We have higher incomes, but lower morals. We've become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose to ignore it.

by - Dr. Bob Moorehead

Remember that our God holds time in His hands and He is sovereign!


Table of Contents





A Special Invitation



Subject: Your invited to a Birthday Party. You Are Cordially Invited To A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION !

Guest of Honor: Jesus Christ

Date: Every day. Traditionally December 25, but He's always around, so the date is flexible...

Time: Whenever you're ready, (please don't be too late, though; or you'll miss out on all the fun)..

Place: In your heart ... He'll meet you there (you'll hear Him knock)...

Attire: Come as you are ...grubbies are okay. He'll be washing our clothes anyway. He said something about new white robes and crowns for everyone who stays till the last...

Tickets: Admission is free. He's already paid for everyone...(He says we would not have been able to afford it ...it's cost Him everything He had!)

Refreshments: New wine, bread and a far-out drink He calls "living water, followed by a supper that promises to be out of this world!!

Gift Suggestions: Your heart. He's one of those people who already has everything else. (He's very generous in return though, wait until you see what He has for you)...

Entertainment: Joy, Peace, Truth, Light, Life, Love, Real Happiness, Communion with God, Forgiveness, Miracles, Healing, Power, Eternity in Paradise, and much more! (All rated "G" so bring your family and friends)...

R.S.V.P.: Very Important! He must know ahead so He can reserve a spot for you at the table. Also, he's keeping a list of His friends for future reference. He calls it the "Lamb's Book of Life").

Party Given For His Own: (That's us) Hope To See You There! "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous conductsof the saints.) ... 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' "Revelation 19:7-9 NIV

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHOM I WILL SEE AT THE PARTY, SHARE THIS WITH SOMEONE!

Author unknown





A Different Garden



You don't need a Green Thumb for this Garden.

Plant three rows of peas: Peace of mind,Peace of heart, Peace of soul.

Plant four rows of squash: Squash gossip, Squash indifference, Squash grumbling, Squash selfishness.

Plant four rows of lettuce: Lettuce be faithful, Lettuce be kind, Lettuce be obedient, Lettuce really love one another.

No garden without turnips: Turnip for meetings, Turnip for service, Turnip to help one another.

Water freely with patience and Cultivate with love. There is much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow.

To conclude our garden we must have thyme: Thyme for God, Thyme for study, Thyme for prayer.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Old Fisherman



Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face- lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning." He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face...I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments..."

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning." I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going. At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him.

When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind. " I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us. In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!" Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illness' would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint. Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!" My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden." She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body." All this happened long ago and now, in God's garden, how tall and lovely this soul stands. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."(1 Samuel 16:7b)

by - Mary Bartels Bray


Table of Contents





A Man Named Carl



Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?" The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a malevolent little smile.

As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.

Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it.

"Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday." His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?" "I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall, Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack. "Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time." The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

"What's this?" Carl asked. "It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet." "I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?" The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it but every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate." He stopped for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back."

He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with that, he walked off down the street. Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: "Person needed to care for Carl's garden." The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him."

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday." "Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?"

"Carl," he replied.

That's the whole gospel message simply stated.

Author unknown





Items to collect for a special gift!



Toothpick, Rubber band, Band aid, Pencil, Eraser, Chewing gum, Mint, Candy Kisses, Tea Bag.  Here's why:

Toothpick - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others...Matt 7:1

Rubber band - to remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out...Romans 8:28

Band Aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's... Col. 3:12-14

Pencil - To remind you to list your blessings everyday. Eph 1:3Eraser - to remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay... Gen. 50:15-21

Chewing gum - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything ... Phil 4:13

Mint - to remind you that you are worth a mint to your heavenly Father. John 3:16-17

Candy Kisses - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday.1 John 4:7

Herb Tea Bag - to remind you to relax daily and go over that list of God's blessings...1 Thess 5:18

This is my gift to you. May God richly bless you. To the world, you may just be somebody... but to somebody, you may be the world.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Am I Funny, Too?



Funny how a $100 bill "looks" so big when you take it to church, but so small when you take it to the mall. Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball. Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church seems, but how short they are when watching a movie. Funny how we can't think of anything to say when we pray, but don't have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend. Funny how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time. AMEN !!

Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best selling novel. Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but scramble to get a back seat at church services. Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at the last moment. Funny how hard it is for people to learn a simple gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip. Funny how we believe what the newspaper says, but question what the Bible says. Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven, provided they do not have to believe, or to think, or to say, or do anything. Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail, and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. FUNNY, ISN'T IT?

Are you laughing? Are you thinking? Actually, it isn't funny at all! Spread the Word and give thanks to the Lord for He is good!

Author unknown





Attitude



John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or... you can choose to be in a bad mood I choose to be in a good mood.' Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'

'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked He continued, 'the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man' I knew I needed to take action.'

'What did you do?' I asked.

'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied!' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity.' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything. 'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Friend...



(A)ccepts you as you are

(B)elieves in "you"

(C)alls you just to say "HI"

(D)oesn't give up on you

(E)nvisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)

(F)orgives your mistakes

(G)ives unconditionally

(H)elps you

(I)nvites you over

(J)ust "be" with you

(K)eeps you close at heart

(L)oves you for who you are

(M)akes a difference in your life

(N)ever Judges

(O)ffers support

(P)icks you up

(Q)uiets your fears

(R)aises your spirits

(S)ays nice things about you

(T)ells you the truth when you need to hear it

(U)nderstands you

(V)alues you

(W)alks beside you

(X)-plains things you don't understand

(Y)ells when you won't listen and

(Z)aps you back to reality

Author unknown





You and God



People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish, and having ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may try to destroy overnight. Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be Happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it's between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

by - Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhi (Mother Teresa)


Table of Contents





The Right One



My grandma and grandpa celebrated their fifty-fifth anniversary surrounded by their children, grandchildren and a lifetime collection of friends. I thought that Grandma had forgotten anything she may have known about being single. I was wrong. As she was getting ready for the party, arranging her long white hair in a French twist, my grandma commented, "I'm always surprised when I look in the mirror and see all these wrinkles." Holding her hand over her heart, she added, "In here, I'm still a young woman." She applied bright red lipstick. I sat on the bed watching her primp.

"So, what is the secret of a long, happy marriage?" She sprayed floral cologne on her wrists. "Don't settle." I must have looked puzzled. "Don't settle. That is all you need to know." She tucked a stray wisp of hair in place. I twisted my own hair around my fingers hoping to coax it into a curl. Turning the page of Grandma's photo album, I saw an out-of-focus photo of nondescript steps. "Where's this?" "That is where your grandpa proposed to me; we had known each other six weeks. When he first saw me, he told his cousin that he had seen the girl he was going to marry. That was before we had even spoken one word to each other." "Six weeks?" My images of Edwardian modesty shattered. My grandma was born in 1890. Opposite the picture of the steps was a sepia studio portrait of a ringleted young woman with limpid eyes. That was Grandma, in the high-collared lace blouse, her mouth primly shut, her huge eyes staring off into the unknown future.

"I thought people used to have long courtships." "I had a long courtship, it just wasn't with your grandfather." She giggled. Grandma's eyes had not changed since that young girl held her rigid pose for the photographer. My grandma was one of thirteen children. Her parents had a large house that Grandma described as a mansion. They were an unusual family for the turn of the century. One of Grandma's sisters was a bookkeeper. Her sister Ceil was an attorney; a plaque on a building in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, marks the site of her office. Grandma always wanted to be a wife and mother. She was twenty-five when she married my grandfather. "Grandma, I always thought things were different back then. I thought maybe Grandpa came over and sat around the den or parlor or whatever for years before he proposed."

Grandma smiled and moved closer, just like one of my friends settling in for a good gossip. "I kept company with another man for six years. He kept pushing me to marry him. I kept saying, 'I don't want to leave my mother,' or 'I'm not ready.' I said this, I said that. The truth was, there was no spark. He was nice but...he just wasn't the one." I leaned forward. The years had fallen off Grandma's voice. Her speech sounded young, expectant. "Everyone kept saying, 'Annie, so when are we dancing at your wedding?' People talked — people have always liked to talk. There was talk I'd end up an old maid. We took that kind of thing seriously. I didn't say anything. I kept going out with him, but something stopped me from getting engaged. He wasn't the one. My mother was worried about me. I wasn't worried. I knew that there was someone, somewhere. I wasn't ready to settle." She squeezed my hand.

"So, then I met your grandfather. He saw me out walking with my friends and found — who knows how — that he knew my cousin. In a few days, he managed to come calling with my cousin. I never saw the other man again. "Six weeks later your grandpa proposed." She started laughing until tears gathered in her eyes. "He said he needed a wife to manage his money. He didn't have two dimes to rub together." "Did you know that before you married him?" I asked, thinking of the tales I had heard about her well-off parents. "Of course I knew that. I also knew he was the one I had waited for," she said.

She looked at our faces in the ornately framed mirror. In my face she saw the young woman she had been; in her face I saw my future. I kissed Grandma's cheek, knowing I would never settle. I would wait for the right one, and now I was certain I would know him when I saw him.

by - Diane Goldberg


Table of Contents





Keep Your Fork



There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order", she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. "There's one more thing," she said excitedly. "What's that?" came the pastor's reply. "This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked. "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor. The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork'. It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?'. Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork....the best is yet to come". The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and then fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Author unknown





A Little Girls Prayer



"One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator. (We had no electricity to run an incubator.) We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. "All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. "Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle.

Thebaby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of thetwo-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon." While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of a corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen?" I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas — that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the... could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out — yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!" Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted. Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?" That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child—five months before—in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon." "Before they call, I will answer!" Isa 65:24"

Live as if Christ died yesterday, arose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow.

by - Missionary Doctor Helen Roseveare, in Zaire from England


Table of Contents





Impossible Faith



Somewhere, Martin Luther points out that saving faith is not an easy matter. (We carefully say "saving faith", because there is faith, and there is faith.} An atheist has faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. But Peter, on that first Easter Saturday, could not have forced himself to believe: "The Son will rise tomorrow." Saving faith is not an easy matter. We ought not imagine that saving faith is something an unbeliever could produce within himself. In fact, faith is the ultimate good work!

When a crowd asked Him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered,

"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29

Now, that either means A) "Believing in Jesus is something you do, and the best of all good works," or B) "Your belief in Jesus is God́s work within you."

Jesus loves to give wonderful, pregnant answers, pithy teachings that keep one thinking for quite a while!

Anyway, if A) is true, then folks are saved by making themselves believe in Jesus, the ultimate good work. And there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God, Luke 15:10. Quite an accomplishment for someone dead in trespasses and sins!

If B) is true, then our salvation is God́s work , from start to finish. As per St. Paul: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) Paul says "this" is not from yourselves. This "grace"? This "salvation"? This "faith"? What does Paul mean to include in "this"?

Paul chose the neuter form of the word "this". But, "grace" and "faith" are both feminine nouns. Paul chose the masculine form of the participle "save". Paul's choice of the neuter for "this" means it does not refer exclusively to either "grace" or "faith" or "saved". But, in good Greek usage, the neuter form of "this" is commonly used to refer to whole concepts. This salvation-by-grace-through-faith is not from yourself. It is from God. From start to finish, from the birth of our impossible faith to our birthday into eternity, God did it all. God birthed our faith, the ultimate good work, within us.

Author unknown





Right Now



I am very proud of you.

I am thinking of you.

I missed you

I want to talk to you.

I want to be with you.

I want you to know you aren't trouble to me.


I am thankful for the support you have provided.

I want to hold your hand.

I hope your illness turns out all right.

I want you to be happy.

I want you to find me.

I am celebrating your success.

I want to give you a gift.

I think that you ARE a gift.

I hope you're not too cold, or too hot

I want to hug you.

I admire your strength.

I am thinking of you and smiling.

I want to be your shoulder to cry on.

I want to go out with you and have a lot of fun.

I think the world of you.

I want to protect you.

I would do almost anything for you.

I want to be forgiven.

I am grateful for your forgiveness.

I want to laugh with you.

I remember you and wish that you were here.

I am praising God for you.

I need to know that your love is unconditional.

I want to tell you how much they care.

I want to share your dreams with you.

I want to hold you in my arms.

I want YOU to hold me in your arms.

I treasure your spirit.


I would like to SLOW time because of you.

I praise God for your friendship and love.

I can't wait to see you.

I love you for who you are.

I love the way you make them feel.

I want to be with you.

I want you to know that I am here for you.

I am glad that you're my friend.

I want to be your friend.

I stayed up at night thinking about you.

I am wishing that you noticed me.

I want to be near you.

I missed your advice/guidance.

I have faith in you.

I trust you.

I need you to send a letter for me.

I need your support.

I need you to have faith in me.

I will cry when I give your eulogy.

I need you to be my friend.

I heard a song that reminds me of you.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Hope



"Hope ... means ... a continual looking forward to the eternal world. ... It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. ... It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you will get neither."

by - C.S. Lewis





A Reason for People



People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason, you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. When people come into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season!

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person or people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Where is God's Perfection?



In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fund raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by any who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?" The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query." I believe," the father said, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shaya: One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew, were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they would let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want himon their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging. Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning." Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly.

Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know-how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run home." Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team. "That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."

Funny how this is so true and shame on us! Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world is going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Or is it scary? Funny how someone can say "I believe in God" but still follow Satan (who by the way, also "believes" in God). Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace. Funny isn't it?

Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week. Are you laughing? ... Are you thinking?

Chicken soup for the father's soul: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubery


Table of Contents





The New School Prayer



Now I sit me down in school

where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all.

In silence alone we must meditate,

God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

And pierce our noses, tongues and checks.

They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.

It's inappropriate to teach right from wrong,

We're taught that such 'judgements' do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school's a mess

So, Lord this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot;

My soul please take!

Amen

by - a teen in Bagdad, AZ


Table of Contents





God Created Mothers



By the time the Lord made mothers, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An Angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?" The Lord answered and said, "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that can hold three children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart, and have six pairs of hands." The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No Way!" said the Angel. The Lord replied, "Oh, it's not the hands, it's the three pair of eyes that they have!" "And that's just on the standard model?" the Angel asked. The Lord nodded in agreement, "Yes, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of her head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves the child without even saying a single word."

The Angel tried to stop the Lord. "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish." "But I can't," the Lord protested," I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand in the shower." The Angel moved closer and touched the woman, "But you have made her so soft, Lord." "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish." "Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel. The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason, and negotiate." The Angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one." "That's not a leak," the Lord objected. "That's a tear!" "What's the tear for?" the Angel asked. The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her disappointment, her pain, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride." The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything, for WOMEN are truly amazing!"

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Living John 3:16



In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many papers. He walked up to a policeman and said, "Mister, you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it's awful cold in there tonight. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay."The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, "You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in.

"So he did, he walked up the steps to the door, and knocked on the door and a lady answered. He looked up and said, "John 3:16." The lady said "Come on in, Son." She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace and she went off. He sat there for awhile, and thought to himself "John 3:16.... I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm. "Later she came back and asked him, "Are you hungry?" He said, "Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days and I guess I could stand a little bit of food." The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat any more. Then he thought to himself "John 3:16... Boy, I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full.

"She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, "John 3:16... I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out. "The lady came in and got him, and took him to a room and tucked him into a big old feather bed and pulled the covers up around his neck and kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights.

As he laid in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night he thought to himself, "John 3:16... I don't understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested." The next morning she came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and she took a big old Bible and sat down in front of him and she looked up at and she asked, "Do you understand John 3:16?" He said, "No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it." She opened the Bible to John 3:16, and she began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there in front of that big old fireplace he gave his heart and life to Jesus.

He sat there and thought, "John 3:16. I don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe." You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either, how God would be willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand it either, but it sure does make life worth living.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





John 3:16 KJV 16



John 3:16 KJV 16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.





Worship



Worship is presenting the "worth" of the object of our veneration! It is holding up for others to view the qualities and characteristics which move us to remarkable admiration and inspire in us emulation. We are abundantly pleased with the focal point of our worship and cannot keep silent in word or music, cannot keep still in action or labor, and cannot let go of someone so precious to us. This is so true that we make sacrifices to declare the glory, honor, majesty and power of our God.

Worship brings together our emotions and intellect with our spirit and strength. Sometimes we may be overwhelmed with joy or tears, with appreciation and gratitude, with devotion or obeisance, or with desire to serve. Our whole being is united in worship, emulation and praise transforming us into the image of our affection.

When we are genuine in our worship of our creator we place His word and example as the foundation of our moment by moment choices and actions. We, therefore, have inherently connected obedience to His will as part of true worship and admiration of the Most High God. With this we also acknowledge our weakness and disobedience for worship requires honesty. He is perfect! Just and right are all His ways! But, we have sinned, have not kept His word, nor have refrained from thoughts and actions that contradict His will for us.

Though we have not kept our self holy, harmless, undefiled or separate from sin we are invited, even encouraged, to come to honor, praise and bless His holy name. And when we do come, He is far more admirable, precious, intimate and tender than could ever be conceived in mind's eye. Moreover, His generosity, mercy and compassion overwhelm our lingering reticence to yield our whole being to one who made, loved and redeemed us.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:11 KJV

To the Lord my God be glory forever and ever! Amen.

by - Brian Kuehmichel





Asking God



I asked God to take away my pain.

God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.

God said, No. Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.

God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted; it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.

God said, No. I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.

God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.

God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.

God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.

God said, "Ahhhh, finally you have the idea ..."

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Instructions For Life



1. Realize that great love and great achievements also involve great risk.

2. When you appear to fail, at least don't fail the lesson.

3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self. Respect for others. Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Recognize that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful benefit.

5. Learn the rules so you may acquire all the benefits from them.

6. Forgive an offense so that a little dispute will not injure a great friendship.

7. When you realize you've made a mistake, admit it and take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day in prayer.

9. Accept change, but don't accept a substitute for God's values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a life of integrity. Then when you get older and look back, you'll be able to rejoice over it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring-up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to remembered for a long time.

15. Treat God's creation as a steward.

16. Go to someplace new each year to enlarge life's perspective.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Success is not finishing a goal or task but continuing to work toward worthy goals throughout life.

19. Love deeply, give generously, help willingly.

20. Love builds and endures, but hate consumes and destroys.

Author unknown





Hope



"Hope ... means ... a continual looking forward to the eternal world. ... It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. ... It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in': aim at earth and you will get neither."

by - C.S. Lewis


Table of Contents





Saved by Love



After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life.... to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the line to his son's friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man's mouth. "The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us." With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys,"but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian." "Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see... I was the son's friend."

Author unknown





The Howard Center

New Research/December 1988



Cohabitation enjoys an undeserved reputation in some circles as a progressive alternative to marriage. One academic has gone so far as to label the marriage license as "a hitting license," legitimizing spouse abuse. However, new research at the University of New Hampshire finds that cohabiting couples abuse each other more often...

...neither age, education, nor occupation explain the violent propensity of cohabitors. Professors Stets and Straus conjecture that cohabiting couples may be more abusive, because they are "more likely to be isolated from their network of kin than dating and married couples." On the other hand, "it is possible that some enter cohabitation, rather than marriage, to keep more of their own independence, only to find that there are frequent arguments over rights, duties and obligations which may lead to violence... Indeed, [previous] research indicates that where the issue of control frequently arises, violence often occurs."...

Author unknown See: www.MarriageSavers.org


Table of Contents





The Seven Things God Hates

Prescriptions For Living From The Proverbs



Solomon, in Proverbs 6:16-19, says there are seven things that God hates:

1. A proud look. Pride was the original sin. It was pride in the heart of Lucifer that broke the heart of God and provoked Lucifer into deceiving himself into believing that he no longer needed God. Pride is responsible for distancing the human race—God and family members from each other.


2. A lying tongue. The purpose of a lie is to deceive. Lies and deceit not only separate us from God, but they separate us from each other. Relationships are built on trust, and you can't trust a liar.


3. Hands that shed innocent blood. Jesus said murder is in the heart of Satan. John reminds us that Cain hated Abel before he killed Abel. Then he says that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer (see 1 John 3:11-15).


4. A heart that devises wicked imaginations. God knows that imaginations are the precursors of behavior: They are the stuff from which behavior comes. So God hates evil before it is ever expressed. He knows that our actions come out of our imaginations.


5. Feet that are swift in running to mischief. Here God focuses His hatred on impulsive evil behavior. How many times people have said to me, "If I just hadn't said it. If I just hadn't done it." We know the destructive power of impulsive behavior.


6. A false witness that speaks lies. God hates a false witness because that witness lies under oath and undercuts the whole system of justice.


7. One who sows discord among brothers. God loves marriage and the family. These institutions are essential to our society. And God loves the Church, the family of God. When a person sows discord among family members, it weakens the fabric of our society. And when that kind of person gets loose in the church, it would destroy the whole church if it weren't for the grace of God.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





I'm Just a Mother, Excuse Me!



A few months ago, when I was picking up the children at school, another mother I knew well rushed up to me. Emily was fuming with indignation. "Do you know what you and I are?" she demanded. Before I could answer and I didn't really have one handy she blurted out the reason for her question. It seemed she had just returned from renewing her driver's license at The County Clerk's office. Asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation, Emily had hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. "What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job, or are you just a...?" "Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother." We don't list 'mother' as an occupation ... 'housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically. I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high-sounding title like "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar." And what is your occupation?" she probed. What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out.

"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations. "The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid-air, and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pompous pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire. "Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?" Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have four credits (all daughters). "Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are in satisfaction rather than just money." There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door. As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs, I could hear our new experimental model (6 months) in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another mother." Motherhood...what a glorious career. Especially when there's a title on the door.

Author unknown





To be a mensch, that is the thing!



"Mensch" is Yiddish. It means "a person," a human being. But in particular it signifies an upright, honorable, decent person. A Mensch is someone of consequence, someone to admire and imitate, someone of noble character. (From Leo Rosten's book, "The Joys of Yiddish")

Early Jewish writers held that one does not become a true man until his conversion to Judaism. Before that he is merely a creature. The Ten Commandments are to be found in Judaism. Only through them is there the possibility of doing the will of God. Only through them might one lead a life corresponding to God's image. (Karl Rengstorf, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament) The Greatest Jew Who ever lived told the Chosen People, You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:7) Jewish theology does not say that any man is begotten of God. But the thought is not completely absent. Philo calls all of God's creating a "begetting." Even plants and animals are begotten of God, in his thinking. But for him the divine sonship of the Israelites did not rest on a begetting of God. (Friedrich Buchsel, ibid.)

It remained for the only begotten Son to teach us of our adoption and new birth. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is fathered of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5)

We are capable of feigning or abandoning Christianity. It nevertheless remains true: When God makes you a mensch, you are a mensch! Jesus loves even such as us!

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Just Checking In:

OL' JIM and the Preacher



A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray. Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, the minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while. His shirt was kind of shabby and his coat was worn and frayed. The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away. In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap. Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap. Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear. He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?" The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour and lunchtime was his time for prayer, for finding strength and power. "I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away. As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say: "I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN."

The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine. He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime. Time to go, Jim smiled, and said "Thanks." He hurried to the door. The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before. His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there. As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer: "I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN."

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come. As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some. At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill. The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill. The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward. His smiles, a joy, "contagious". Changed people, were his reward. The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad. When no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had. The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern that no friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; "The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here all the while. Everyday at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me: "I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN. ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY, AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN."

Author unknown





Beauty of a Woman

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes. Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives.

Audrey Hepburn


Table of Contents





Jesus Found Inside



Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..."

"You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted.

The surgeon looked up, annoyed. "I'll cut your heart open, "he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..."

"But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there."

The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest back up and I'll plan what to do next."

"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there.

The hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart."

The surgeon had had enough. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well."

"You'll find Jesus there too. He lives there."

The surgeon left.

The surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery, "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis:, " here he paused, "death within one year." He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. "Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"

The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."

The surgeon's tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?"

The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."

The surgeon wept.

The surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?"

"Yes," said the surgeon.

"What did you find?" asked the boy.

"I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Deck of Cards



A young soldier was in his bunkhouse all alone one Sunday morning over in Afghanistan. It was quiet that day, the guns and the mortars, and land mines for some reason hadn't made a noise. The young soldier knew it was Sunday, the Holiest day of the week. As he was sitting there, he got out an old deck of cards and laid them out across his bunk. Just then an army sergeant came in and said, "Why aren't you with the rest of the platoon?" The soldier replied, "I thought I would stay behind and spend some time with the Lord." The sergeant said, "Looks like you're going to play cards." The soldier said, "No sir, you see, since we are not allowed to have Bibles or other spiritual books in this country, I've decided to talk to the Lord by studying this deck of cards." The sergeant asked in disbelief, "How will you do that?"

"You see the Ace, Sergeant, it reminds that there is only one God.

The Two represents the two parts of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments.

The Three represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The Four stands for the Four Apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The Five is for the five virgins that were ten, but only five of the ten were glorified.

The Six is for the six days it took God to create the Heavens and Earth.

The Seven is for the day God rested after working the six days.

The Eight is for the family of Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives, in which God saved the eight people from the flood that destroyed the earth for the first time.

The Nine is for the lepers that Jesus cleansed of leprosy. He cleansed ten but nine never thanked Him.

The Ten represents the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on tablets made of stone.

The Jack is a reminder of Satan. One of God's first angels, but he got kicked out of heaven for his sly and wicked ways and is now the joker of eternal hell.

The Queen stands for the Virgin Mary.

The King stands for Jesus, for he is the King of all kings.

When I count the dots on all the cards, I come up with 365 total dots, one for every day of the year.

There are a total of 52 cards in a deck; each is a week, 52 weeks in a year.

The four suits represents the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Each suit has thirteen cards; there are exactly thirteen weeks in a quarter.

So when I want to talk to God and thank Him, I just pull out this old deck of cards and they remind me of all that I have to be thankful for."

The sergeant just stood there and after a minute, with tears in his eyes and pain in his heart, he said, "Soldier, can I borrow that deck of cards?"

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Twelve Days Of Christmas



On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

The first gift of this Christmas song is a partridge, a small bird similar to a quail or a grouse. The original gift of Christmas is Jesus, sent to earth from God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son." John 3:16 The partridge was known as a valiant bird, willing to fight to the death in order to defend its young. This bird's readiness to die for its young made it an ancient Christian symbol of Christ. The pear tree represents the cross.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love (God the Father) gave to me two turtle doves.

For hundreds of years, Jewish families used turtle doves as offerings to God. The gift of two turtle doves is a reminder of the sacrifice offered for Jesus by Mary and Joseph. When Jesus was forty days old, they took him to the temple in Jerusalem. They brought a sacrifice of two turtle doves as was required by the law.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens.

French hens were valuable poultry during the sixteenth century only the rich could afford them. These costly birds symbolized the three valuable gifts given to Jesus by the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold myrrh were expensive spices used as incense and for burials.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four calling birds.

The four calling birds are reminders of the four Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These writers of the first four books of the New Testament proclaimed the testimony of Jesus' life and teachings. Like birds calling out with loud and distinctive voices, Matthew, Mark, Luke ad John spread abroad the news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. They called people to faith in Jesus as their Savior.


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five golden rings.

Gold rings are among the most valuable and treasured of all gifts. The five golden rings represent the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books, known, to the Jews as the Torah, were treated with great reverence and considered to be worth more than gold. In these books Moses records the creation story and the beginning history of the people of Israel.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese a-laying.

In many cultures, eggs symbolize new life. Six geese laying eggs become reminders of the six days of creation when God, by his Word, brought forth life on earth. God spoke and filled the earth with plants, birds, animals, and people during the first six days of creation, as found in chapter one of the book of Genesis.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven swans a-swimming.

Seven swans symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Just as baby swans grow and change from "ugly ducklings" into beautiful and graceful birds, so do God's children grow and change through the work of the Holy Spirit. The various gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed for the benefit of the entire body of Christ.


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking.

The eight milking maidens represent eight unique teachings of Jesus sometimes called the Beatitudes. These words of Jesus, from his Sermon on the Mount, nurture and strengthen us much the way milk nourishes a child.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing.

The nine ladies remind us of the nine different fruits that the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of God's children. Just as these ladies dance joyfully, so can every Christian rejoice over the life-changing fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gifts like love and joy and peace are worth of great celebration!


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten lords a-leaping.

Lords were men with authority to command people's obedience. Ten lords a-leaping symbolize God's ten basic laws, otherwise known as the Ten Commandments.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping.

Eleven pipers represent the eleven apostles who were chosen by Jesus and remained faithful to him. Like children joyfully following a piper, these disciples followed Jesus. They also called others to follow him. They piped an everlasting tune of great joy 'the salvation message of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming.

Just as drummers beat out a loud, steady rhythm for marchers to follow, so the Apostles' Creed sets forth the beliefs of those who call themselves Christians. The twelve drummers represent the twelve vital Christian beliefs as stated in the Apostles' creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father. He shall return to judge both the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


Another view of: The Twelve Days Of Christmas


From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark Luke and John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.


Table of Contents





Christmas Story



It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so. It all began because my husbandMike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending...the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma - the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to by pass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the rag tag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids 'all kids' and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and la crosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition — one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always. God bless!

Author unknown


Table of Contents





Things Aren't Always What They Seem



Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?

The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die. "Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it." "Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later...

Author unknown





God's Way is Always a Faith Journey



Heb. 11:1 Mat. 9:28-29; Mal. 3:10; Rom. 8:28; Jas. 5:14-16; Gen 23:8-18; 1Tim. 3:3

There is a story that really dirives home the point of belief in God's ability to do for us when we ask in faith. It goes something like this:

A man accidentally fell over the side of a cliff and as he was falling he was able to grab hold of one rotruding tree root. There hung the man holding on for dear life to this one root aware of the deep cavern that lie below him. He called unto God as his hands began to ache and become hot from fearful sweat and strain, "God, save me!" God replied, "Do you truly believe that I am able to save you?" "Yes, Lord, I believe. I have faith in your ability," the man cried out. But, God was silent.

Again the man, fearful and trembling, hands tiring of holding on to this only root that keeps him from plunging downward, calls out, "Oh God please save me! Don't turn a deaf ear to me." God responds, "Do you really believe I am able to save you?" "Yes Lord I believe, just get me out of this dreadful situation," he frantically cries. Again there is silence on God's part.

For the third time the man cries unto the Lord. "Lord hear me now, I know you are able to save me. Please save me! I'll do what you ask." God replies, "If you are willing to have faith then you must let go!"

Through our walk with God we find ourselves many times holding on to habits, organizations, philosophies and people that we feel, keep us from destruction. These become our stonghold. One by one, in our walk with God, He begins showing us that He needs to be that stronghold, that salvation, and we must let go of that security hold. His promises are full for us that He is able to meet the need in us and fill the void of that missing stronghold.

Do you, too, find yourself holding unto your umbrella of unbelief? It manifests itself in so many ways. Do you find yourself wondering if God should even be told about some situations because well, "We can take care of this problem ourself because the problem is such a little one." This is not belief in God. You are holding up the umbrella or clinging to your stronghold. Do you find yourself praying a prayer and then a day of even weeks later saying "It'll never work out because the problem is so big nothing can really be done." Do you hear unbelief? Many times our murmuring and complaining is because of unbelief!

Unbelief cause many defects of character. It breeds fear, self-sufficiency, personal pride, murmuring and depression to name a few. Ask God to heal your unbelief. Ask Him to develop in you a greater belief in His power to work and move in your life and in the lives of those around you. God still moves in the hearts of people. He does not sleep, nor does He slumber. God still moves so let go and let God!

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Piece Of Cake



Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this", or "Why did God have to do this to me"? Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong. She's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake." "Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.

"Yuck," says her daughter.

"How about a couple raw eggs?"

"Gross, Mom!"

"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"

"Mom, those are all yucky!"

To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!"


God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. I hope your day is a "piece of cake!"

Author unknown





A Simple Gesture



Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove, and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry the burden.

As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball, and history, that he was having a lot of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some t.v. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.

They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice. They ended up at the same High school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came, and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk. Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met.

"Do you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things from school that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother's pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together I realized that if I had, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up my books for me that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life."

by - John Wayne Schlatter


Table of Contents





Conversions Made Easy



For those who thought the hardest part of Physics 101 was the constant conversion from MKS or CGS units to English units, here are some humorous English system conversions.

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi
2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton
1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope
Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond
Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram
Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong
365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling: 1 lite year
Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon
1000 aches: 1 megahurtz
Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower
Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line (think about it for a moment)
453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake
1 million-million microphones: 1 megaphone
1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles
365.25 days: 1 unicycle
2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds (work on it....)
10 cards: 1 decacards
1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton
1000 grams of wet socks: 1 literhosen
1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche
1 trillion pins: 1 terrapin
10 rations: 1 decoration
100 rations: 1 C-ration
2 monograms: 1 diagram
8 nickels: 2 paradigms
2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League
100 Senators: Not 1 decision

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Light Bulb

How Many Christians Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?


Charismatics:

Only one . . . hands are already in the air.

Pentecostals:

Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians:

None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic:

None. Candles only.

Baptists:

At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

Episcopalians:

Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much they liked the old one better.

Evangelicals:

None. Jesus is the light. No bulb needs to be changed.

Mormons:

Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Unitarians:

We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb, and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists:

Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved — you can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. A church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday, August 19. Bring a bulb of your choice and a covered dish.

Nazarene:

Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans:

None. Lutherans don't believe in change.

Amish:

What's a light bulb?

Author unknown


Table of Contents





The Word Transforms


Dr. E. V. Rieu was a classical scholar and translator for many years. He rendered Homer into very modern English for the Penguin Classics. Rieu was sixty years old and a life-long agnostic when the same firm invited him to translate the Gospels. His son remarked: "It will be interesting to see what Father makes of the four Gospels. It will be even more interesting to see what the four Gospels make of Father."

The answer was soon forthcoming. A year later, Rieu, convinced and converted, joined the Church of England. In an interview with J. B. Phillips, Rieu confessed that he had undertaken the task of translation because of an "intense desire to satisfy himself as to the authenticity and spiritual content of the Gospels." He was determined to approach the documents as if they were newly discovered Greek manuscripts. "Did you not get the feeling," asked Canon Phillips, "that the whole material was extraordinarily alive?" The classical scholar agreed. "I got the deepest feeling," he replied. "My work changed me. I came to the conclusion that these words bear the seal of the Son of Man and God."

From J. B. Phillips, The Ring of Truth. quoted by R. Kent Hughes in 1001 Great Stories and Quotes, Tyndale House Publishers (1998) pp 28-29.





The Shoes



My alarm went off... — It was Sunday again.

I was sleepy and tired, — My one day to sleep in.

But the guilt I would feel — So I'd go and I'd pray.

I got there and sat — In a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer — As I closed my eyes,

I saw the shoe of the man next to me — Touching my own. I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side, — I thought, "Why must our soles touch?"

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine, — But it didn't bother him much.

A prayer began: "Our Father" — I thought, "This man with the shoes has no pride.

They're dusty, worn, and scratched — Even worse, there are holes on the side!"

Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on. — The shoe man said a quiet "Amen."

I tried to focus on the prayer, — But my thoughts were on his shoes again.

Aren't we supposed to look our best — When walking through that door?

Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought, — Glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended — And the songs of praise began.

The shoe man was certainly loud, — Sounding proud as he sang.

His voice lifted the rafters, — His hands were raised high,

The Lord could surely hear — The shoe man's voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering — And what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached — Into his pockets so deep.

I saw what was pulled out, — What the shoe man put in,

Then I heard a soft "clink" — As when silver hits tin...

The sermon really bored me — To tears, and that's no lie

It was the same for the shoe man, — For tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service, — As is the custom here,

We must greet new visitors — And show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow — And wanted to meet shoe man

So after the closing prayer, — I reached over and shook his hand.

He was old and his skin was dark, — And his hair was truly a mess

But I thanked him for coming, — For being our guest.

He said, "My names' Charlie, — I'm glad to meet you, my friend."

There were tears in his eyes — But he had a large, wide grin.

Let me explain," he said — Wiping tears from his eyes.

I've been coming here for months, — And you're the first to say 'Hi.'"

I know that my appearance — Is not like all the rest,

But I really do try — To always look my best."

I always clean and polish my shoes — Before my very long walk

But by the time I get here, — They're dirty and dusty, like chalk."

My heart filled with pain and — I swallowed to hide my tears

As he continued to apologize — For daring to sit so near.

He said, "When I get here, — I know I must look a sight.

But I thought if I could touch you, — Then maybe our souls might unite."

I was silent for a moment — Knowing whatever was said

Would pale in comparison. — I spoke from my heart, not my head

Oh, you've touched me," I said, — And taught me, in part,

That the best of any man — Is what is found in his heart."

The rest, I thought, — This shoe man will never know.

Like just how thankful I really am — That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





A Christmas Alphabet



A is for Angels, appearing so bright, telling of Jesus that first Christmas night.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host." Luke 2:13


B is for Bethlehem, crowded and old, birthplace of Jesus by prophet foretold.

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." Micah 5:2


C is for Cattle, their manger His bed, there in the stable where He laid His head.

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid himin a manger." Luke 2:7


D is for David and his ancient throne promised forever to Jesus alone.

"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." Luke 1:32


E is for East, where shone the bright star which Magi on camels followed afar.

"Behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Matthew 2:1, 2


F is for Frankincense, with myrrh and gold, brought by the Wise Men as Matthew has told.

"And when they had opened their treasurers, they presented unto him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11


G is for God, who from heaven above sent down to mankind the Son of His love.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16


H is for Herod, whose murderous scheme was told to Joseph in a nocturnal dream.

"The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt... for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." Matthew 2:13


I is for Immanuel, "God with us," for Christ brought man back to the Father's house.

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14


J is for Joseph so noble and just, obeying God's word with absolute trust.

"Then Joseph being raised form sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife." Matthew 1:24


K is for King. A true king He would be, coming in power and authority.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, the King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation." Zechariah 9:9


L is for Love that He brought down to earth that night in the stable in lowly birth.

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." I John 4:9


M is for Mary, His mother so brave, counting God faithful and mighty to save.

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38


N is for Night, when the Savior was born for nations of earth and people forlorn.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8


O is for Omega, meaning "the last;" He's eternal: present, future and past.

"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13


P is for Prophets, when living on earth foretold His redemption and blessed birth.

"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel." Numbers 24:17


Q is for Quickly, as shepherds who heard hastened to act on that heavenly word.

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:16


R is for Rejoice. The sorrow of sin is banished forever when Jesus comes in.

"And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth." Luke 1:14


S is for Savior. To be this He came; the angel of God assigned Him His name.

"She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21


T is for Tidings related to all, telling of Him who was born in a stall.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10


U is for Us, to whom Jesus was given to show us the way and take us to heaven.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11


V is for Virgin, foretold by the sage, God's revelation on prophecy's page.

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23


W is for Wonderful, His works and His words, the King of all Kings, the Lord of all Lords.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6


X is for Christ. It's X in the Greek, Anointed, Messiah, mighty, yet meek.

"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." Acts 10:38


Y is for Yes, called God's Yes in His Word; God's answer to all is Jesus the Lord.

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." II Corinthians 1:20


Z is for Zeal as it burned in Christ's heart. Lord, by thy Spirit to us zeal impart.

"And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." John 2:1

Author unknown





Jesus Trumps Santa

Jesus is better than Santa


Santa lives at the North Pole,

JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh,

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year,

JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies,

JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited,

JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa,

JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap,

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What is your name?"

JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly,

JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is the laughter of: HO HO HO,

JESUS offers present help, hope for the future and the certainty of His kingdom.

Santa says "You better not cry!"

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys,

JESUS makes new lives, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but,

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree,

JESUS became the greatest gift and died on the tree.


It's obvious there is really no comparison. Jesus entering this world to be both Savior and Lord is WHO and what Christmas is all about.

Acts 4:12, Matthew 1:21


Table of Contents





Daniel's Gloves


I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, 'I will work for food.' My heart sank.

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: 'Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square.'

Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the church, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.

'Looking for the pastor?' I asked.

'Not really,' he replied, 'just resting.'

'Have you eaten today?'

'Oh, I ate something early this morning.'

'Would you like to have lunch with me?'

'Do you have some work I could do for you?'

'No work,' I replied 'I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.'

'Sure,' he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. Where you headed?'

'St. Louis.'

'Where you from?'

'Oh, all over; mostly Florida ...'

'How long you been walking?'

'Fourteen years,' came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, 'Jesus is The Never Ending Story.'

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences.. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona... He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.

'Nothing's been the same since,' he said, 'I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.'

'Ever think of stopping?' I asked.

'Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.'

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: 'What's it like?'

'What?'

'To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?'

'Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me.'

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused He turned to me and said, 'Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.'

I felt as if we were on holy ground. 'Could you use another Bible?' I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite.. 'I've read through it 14 times,' he said.

'I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see' I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

'Where are you headed from here?' I asked.

'Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.'

'Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?'

'No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.'

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

'Would you sign my autograph book?' he asked... 'I like to keep messages from folks I meet.'

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, 'I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.'

'Thanks, man,' he said. 'I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you.'

'I know,' I said, 'I love you, too.' 'The Lord is good!'

'Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?' I asked.

A long time,' he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed.. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, 'See you in the New Jerusalem.'

'I'll be there!' was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, 'When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

'You bet,' I shouted back, 'God bless.'

'God bless.' And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.

Then I remembered his words: 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office.. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. 'See you in the New Jerusalem,' he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will...


'I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.

Author unknown





What a hug can do!


It's wonderous what a hug can do.

A hug can cheer you when you're blue.

A hug can say "I love you so",

Or I sure hate to see you go.

A hug is Welcome back again,

And great to see you, where've you been?

A hug can soothe a small child's pain

And bring a rainbow after rain.

The hug, there's no doubt about it,

We scarcely could survive without it.

A hug delights and warms and charms.

It must be why GOD gave us arms.

Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,

Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.

And chances are your favorite aunts

Love them more than potted plants.

Kittens crave them, puppies love them.

Heads of state are not above them.

A hug can break the language barrier

And make your travel so much merrier.

No need to fret about your store of them,

The more you give the more there's more of them.

So stretch those arms without delay

And give someone a hug today.

Author unknown


Table of Contents





She Has Arrived


O say, "She has arrived!"
And not that "She has gone."
May every thought of her
Be in that Land of Morn


Arrived! To hear His voice
And see His welcoming smile;
And then to greet again
Those she has lost a while.


Arrived! To tread no more
The weary path of pain,
Nor feel the waning of strength
The body feels, again.


To be forever free
From all that limits love
In joyful service thus
She now may tireless move


Then say not, "She has gone,"
Nor think of her as dead
But say, "In the Father's House
She has arrived!" instead.

Author unknown





I'm Free


Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.


I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that peace at the close of day.


If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.


Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full. I savored much:
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.


Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don't leengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now; He set me free.

Author unknown





The Flowers of Spring


The flowers of spring had awakened
As they appeared from the earth.
The sun and rain bid them welcome
As the soil gave them birth.


They beautified the woodland & countryside.
Their fragrance filled the air.
A beauty to behold but a mystery
Of which the heavens only are aware.


Jesus said "Consider the lilies how they grow.
They toil not nor do they spin.
Yet I say unto you, Solomon in all his glory
Was not arrayed as one of these within."


Flowers are used in so many different ways,
At funerals they graciously do their part.
Nothing could be used to express deeper sympathy
Or sooth and comfort an aching heart.


A bride often uses them
To adorn the headband of her veil.
Although she could search everywhere
No suitable product would she find for sale.


Little children gather them from the countryside
And proudly present them to their mothers.
That bouquet of flowers tells her "I love you!"
A gift better than any others.


Of all the creations on this earth
God made many different colored flowers.
He made them to express His glory
And again they will grace Eden's bowers.

by Walter Bredlau, Loyal, WI.





My Brother Walks In Sin


What am I to say, "My Brother Walks In Sin,"
Can I open his heart and look within?
No do I know how hard he tries,
Nor for his sin how many tears fall from his eyes.


How can I wipe away his tiny grain of sand
When a boulder behind mine lies?
To say his fight against sin is ought
Or I a much better battle fought
Or judge him because he is slow to learn,
Or akward and not refined,
And in my mind's eye to cast him far behind.


Oh, I pray to my God, I do not such a thing,
And upon myself condemnation bring.

by Walter Bredlau, Loyal, WI., 1980


Table Of Contents





My Evening Prayer


If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own wilful way,
Dear Lord, forgive!


If I have uttered idle words or vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I myself should suffer through the strain,
Dear Lord, forgive!


If I have craved for joys that are not mine,
If I have let my wayward heart repine,
Dwelling on things of earth, not things devine,
Dear Lord, forgive!


If I have been perverse, or hard, or cold,
If I have longed for shelter in thy fold,
When thou hast given me some part to hold,
Dear Lord, forgive!


Forgive the sins I have confessed to thee,
Forgive the secret sins I do not see,
O guide me, love me and my keeper be,
Dear Lord, Amen

by C. Maude Battersby, c.1911





Footprints


One night a man had a dream. He was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, the other to the Lord. When the last scene flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints and noticed that many times along the path there were only one set of footprints in the sand. He also noticed that this happened during the lowest and saddest times of his life. This relly troubled him, so he questioned the Lord.

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow You, You would walk with me all the way, but I noticed that during the most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, why? Why did You desert me?"

The Lord replied, "My child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Author Unknown





Your Duty and Mine


Turning away from the world and sin,
Striving each day some lost one to win,
Keeping ourselves pure and clean within;
This is your duty and mine.


Lighting the way for the toiler worn,
Binding the wounds of those who are torn,
Drying the tears of the ones who mourn;
This is your duty and mine.


Giving of warmth to the stranger cold,
Guiding the feet of young and of old,
Helping with kindness the wise or dold;
This is your duty and mine.


Yes, duty, but give it with ready grace,
Give it with pleasure and smiling face,
No matter what your station or place;
Yes, this is your duty and mine.

by Burton Castle


Table Of Contents





A Smile For You


Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.


I passed around the corner
and someone saw my grin
When he smiled I realized
I'd passed it on to him.


I thought about that smile
then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth.


So, if you feel a smile begin,
don't leave it undetected
Let's start an epidemic quick,
and get the world infected!

by Karen McLendon-Laumann





The Two Principles of Common Law


The principle, stare decisis, that similar legal cases (disputes between two or more parties) should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that they will reach similar results. The common law system is based upon the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions. The body of precedent (from decisions of prior relevant courts) provides the basis for, gives guidance to, and binds future court decisions.

To keep peace with your neighbor:

1. Do all you agree to do.

2. Do not encroach upon your neighbor.


But, to love your neighbor:

1. For you have the poor with you always, and whensoever you will you may do them good. (Mark 14:7)

2. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 ) & Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (Luke 6:35)

3. Show kindness and mercy. (Luke 10:29-38; James 2:13; 2 Peter 1:7)

4. Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28)


Table Of Contents





Bound by Invisible Bonds


Across our native land and beyond the distant sea,
A humble longing people, would lift up their hearts to thee.
A Father, how we're scattered, how our tents are pitched apart,
But we long to be together, with the loved ones of our heart.


But, Father, in our scattered state, we thank thee for the chain
That binds our hearts in unison, while on earth we remain;
The bond which makes it possible, though scattered far and wide.
To live so close and love so dear each memeber of that bride.


We're glad, e'en though the flesh is bound unto a certain place,
The spirit's free in thought to be with every child of grace.
We're with each brother in His work, no matter where he be;
In prayer, in love, in daily thought, to wish him victory.


And even where a saint may be whom we have never met,
Some isolated gem, perchance, no brother's seen as yet,
Sweet waves of love go from that heart to each devoted soul,
Unintroduced by earthly form, we've reached communion's goal.


So, loved ones, while we miss your face, we know your heart is here.
We've felt the power of your prayers, effectual and sincere.
The many miles that intervene may keep the flesh apart,
But with it there's a closeness naught of earth can e'er impart.

by Benjamin H. Barton





Things Worth Striving For


The patient perseverance which cannot discourage nor discouragement defeat.

The impartiality which delights as much in the great work another has done as if he had done it himself.

The spirit which finds more ready excuse for your brother than for yourself.

The righteousness which would rather right a wrong than to conceal your share in it.

The charity which always looks for some good intention even where a slight or an injury was seemingly intended.

The loyalty which even your stumblings and failures cannot dishearten.

The lowliness which will sorrow when your enemy fails and rejoice when you are humbled.

The wisdom which knows when to speak and when to keep silent.

The zeal which can never do enough and yet seeks no credit, and encourages no compliments.

The forgiveness which not only pardons in word but proves its sincerity by never refering to the matter again.

The humility which would choose the meaner and more undesirable part of service, to leave the nobler and more honurable part for another brother.

The christianity which is as careful how we live in our homes as how we act before the brethren.

by Benjamin H. Barton


Table Of Contents





The Stable of Bethlehem


'Twas not a palace proud and fair
God chose His Son's first home;
No dazz'ling pile of granduer rare,
With pillar'd hall and dome;
Oh no! a stable, rude and poor,
And thus was born, unknown, obscure,
The Heir of Heaven and Earth.


No band of anxious menials there,
To tend the new-born child,
Joseph alone and Mary fair
Upon the iinfant smiled;
No broidered linens fine had they
Those little limbs to fold
No baby garments rich and gay,
No tissues wrought with gold.


Come to your Savior's lowly bed,
All ye of humble heart,
And learn with bowed and humble head
The lesson'twill impart;
'Twill teach you not to prize too high
The riches vain of earth—
But to lay up in God's bright sky
Treasures of truer worth.

Author Unknown





The Book of Life


The Bible is the Word of God;
It's a looking glass as well.
Its a chart when sailing stormy seas
And a glorious story to tell.


It's a treasure house of wisdom;
It's a light that clearly shines.
A comfort for the sorrowing
And a hope for troubled times.


It gives the simple wisdom;
Shows the lost the way back home.
Its food for the hungry multitude
And a friend to those who roam.


It is the wondrous Book of books.
To its promises we cling,
For it was given to us
By our glorious God and King.


My heart standeth in awe of thy Word. Psalm 119:161

Author Unknown





One Solitary Life


He was born in an obscure village
    the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village
    where he worked in a carpenter shop
    until he was thirty.

Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never travelled more than two hundred
    miles from the place where he was born.
He did none of the things one
    usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty three when the tide
    of public opinion turned against him.

His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies
    and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While dying, his executioners gambled for his
    clothing, the only property he had on earth.

When he was dead,
    He was laid in a borrowed grave
    through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
    and today Jesus is the central figure
    of the human race
    and the leader of mankind's progress.

All the armies that have ever marched,
    all the navies that have ever sailed,
    all the parliaments that have ever sat,
    all the kings that ever reigned,
    put together, have not affected
    the life of mankind on earth
    as powerfully as that one solitary life.

Dr. James Allan, et al.





If Jesus Came to Your House


What would you do if Jesus came to your house?

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two,
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you'd do?
Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room to such an honoured Guest,
And all the food you'd serve Him would be the very best -
And you would keep assuring Him you're glad to have Him there!
That, serving Him in your home is a joy beyond compare!

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door,
With arms outstretched in "welcome" to your Heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they'd been?
Would you turn off the radio (TV) and hope He hadn't heard?
And wish you hadn't uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder - if the Saviour spent a day or two with you -
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you keep right on saying the things you always say?
Would your life continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing and read the books you read?
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your closest friends?

Or would you hope they'd stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do!
If Jesus came in person to spend some time with YOU!

by Ida Stanton - Hall's Gap

Table Of Contents





Let It Pass


Be not swift to take offence - Let it pass

Anger is a foe to sense - Let it pass

Brood not daily over a wrong
Which will disappear before long - Let it pass

Rather sing the cheery song - Let it pass

Strife corrodes the purest mind - Let it pass

As the unregarded wind - Let it pass

Any vulgar souls that live may
Condemn with our reprieve - Let it pass

Tis the noble who forgive - Let it pass

Echo not an angry word - Let it pass

Think how often you have erred - Let it pass

Since our joys must pass away
Like the dew drops on the spray - Let it pass

Wherefore should our sorrows stay - Let it pass

If for good your taken ill - Let it pass

Oh be kind and gentle still - Let it pass

Time at last makes all things straight Let us not resent, but wait - Let it pass

And our triumph will be great - Let it pass

Bid your anger to depart - Let it pass

Say these homely word to heart - Let it pass

Follow not the giddy throng
Better to be wronged than wrong - Let it pass

Therefore sing the cheering song - Let it pass

Author Unknown





Child of Mine, I love thee


CHILD of Mine, I love thee, listen now to Me,
And make answer truly while I question thee.
For I see that shadows do thy soul oppress,
And thy faith so weakens, that I cannot bless.

Thou hast craved My power and presence in thy soul.
Wilt thou yield thee truly unto My control?
Wilt thou let Me ever with thee have My way,
Yield thyself in all things simply to obey?

Though My presence ofttimes seem to be withdrawn,
Of Mine inward workings not a trace be shown,
Wilt thou count Me present notwithstanding all,
Still believe I'm working ever in thy soul?

When I give to others what I thee deny,
Flood them with My sunshine, wholly pass thee by,
Wilt thou still believe in My strong love for thee,
Yield thee to My purpose whatsoe'er it be?

When I to thy pleadings seem no heed to pay,
And thy foes grow bolder, claim thee as their prey,
Though toward thee I'm silent, wilt thou stand the test,
On My Word of promise lay thee down to rest?

If to these My questions thou canst answer “Yes,”
Thou shalt be forever one I love the best.
To the inner circle of My favored few,
Thou shalt be admitted, and My glory view.

"Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed."

Author Unknown

Table Of Contents





Moses' Burial


On Nebo's lonely mountain heights,
On the east side of Jordan's way,
In a vale in the land of Moab,
There lies a stark and lonely grave.

That was the strangest funeral rite
That ever took place here on earth.
No man was there to attend it
Or to see them proceeding forth.

No man does know that resting place
No man dared to even draw near.

Noiselessly just as the day dawns
When the night is over and gone
Walking beneath the great bright sun,
The angels overturned the sod
And laid him there deep in the earth.

God has His mystery of grace
Hidden ways that we cannot tell,
Moses kept safe, resting in death
He whom the Lord knew face to face.

All this to honor him who served,
A friend, faithful in all His house.

Moses spoke of Him he loved so well,
"The Lord is my strength and my song,
He is my God, I will exalt him."
Exodus 3:6; 15:2; 33:11;
Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:1-6, 10;

Author Unknown





Chronos vs Kairos Time


In order to know a semblance of serenity during the days of our lives, we also need to discover Time's twin nature, which the ancients Greeks called chronos and kairos.

Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, and beepers. Chronos is time at her worst. Chronos keeps track. Chronos is a delusion of grandeur. Chronos is running the Marine Corps marathon in heels. In chronos we think only of ourselves. Chronos is the world's time.

Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. Kairos lets go. In kairos we escape the dungeon of self. Kairos is a Schubert waltz in the nineteenth-century Vienna with your soul mate. Kairos is Spirit's time.

We exist in chronos. We long for Kairos. That's our duality. Chronos requires speed so that it won't be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in chronos. In kairos we're allowed to be.

We think we've never known kairos, but we have; when making love, when meditating or praying, when lost in music's rapture or literature's reverie, when planting bulbs or pulling weeds, when watching over a sleeping child, when reading the Sunday comics together in bed, when delighting in a sunset, when exulting in our passions. We know joy in kairos, glimpse beauty in kairos, remember what it means to be alive in kairos, reconnect with God in kairos. So how do we exchange chronos for Kairos?

  • By slowing down.
  • By concentrating on one thing at a time.
  • By going about whatever we are doing as if it were the only thing worth doing at that moment.
  • By pretending we have all the time in the world, so that our subconscious will kick in and make it so.
  • By making time.
  • By taking time.

In only takes a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment. All that kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres.

Today, be willing to join in the dance. Now you're in kairos.

Author Unknown





Day of Judgment


This is an approximation of the real 'Day of Judgment.'


After living a "decent" life, my time on earth came to an end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor," he was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me, he definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat my lawyer, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed very familiar to me.

The corner door flew open and there appeared the judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as he moved across the room and I couldn't take my eyes off of him. As he took his seat behind the bench he said, "Let us begin," The prosecutor rose and said, "My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in Hell." He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank.

I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own lawyer, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at my representative who sat there silently, not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life ѿ couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I've done? Satan finished with a fury and said "This man belongs in Hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise."

When it was his turn, my lawyer first asked if he might approach the bench. The judge allowed this, over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned him to come forward. As he got up and started walking, I was able to see him now in his full splendor and majesty. Now I realized why he seemed so familiar, this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior. He stopped at the bench and softly said to the judge, "Hi, Father." Then He turned to address the court. "Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And yes, the wage of sins is death and this man deserves to be punished."

Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted me as his Savior, so he is mine." My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the Book of Life and no one can snatch him from me. Satan still does not understand yet, this man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy."

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at his Father and replied, "There is nothing else that needs to be done, I've done it all." The Judge lifted his mighty hand and slammed the gavel down and the following words resounded from his lips, "This man is free ѿ the penalty for him has already been paid in full, case dismissed."

As my Lord led me away I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I'll win the next one!" I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions on where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?" Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to me and asked me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, "Paid in Full." In this world of terrible hurt, pain, suffering, and extreme self-centered focus to the exclusion of everyone else, there are times when logic, thought, discussion, etc., do nothing. It is in these times that I have learned that I have only one place to turn to ease the pain.

Author Unknown


Table Of Contents





School Shootings


Dear God:

Why didn't you save the school children at . . .

245 school shootings from February 2, 1960 to January 29, 2016

List of school shootings in the United States

Sincerely,

Concerned Student




Dear Concerned Student:


I am not allowed in schools.


Sincerely,


God




Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools. And we said, OK ...

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors yourself," And we said, OK ...

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore...

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning...

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea...

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea...

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, it doesn't matter what anybody, including the President, does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good...

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech...

And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex...

And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said, it's just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead...

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.

Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...

"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW!" Galatians 6:7-8

Author Unknown



GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

For over 35 years our public schools have been teaching our children that they are the accidental products of spontaneous evolution. This has produced a generation of Americans who are totally ignorant of any theological perspective on life. For them, human beings are just one among all other creatures on this earth. Nothing is considered sacred about human life. This is what happens when God is left out of the equation of life. But even a casual observation of the universe bears overwhelming evidence of organization and design. God planned it all. In addition, the God who planned the universe has a plan for your life. You are unique; there is not another person on earth like you.

From your mother's side, the chances that you would be born YOU were only 1 in 300,000. And from your father's body came millions of potential human beings, no two of whom had the same genetic heritage. So when you multiply 1 in 300,000 times 1 million, then you have the odds that you would be born you or I would be born me. It is awesome. So you have the opportunity to develop and reflect a likeness of Christ unduplicated in the universe. That is, Christ as He is reflected in your personality and in your body will be different from the reflection of Christ through the body and personality of any of His other children. This means God has a unique purpose for you to accomplish in your life to go along with that unique reflection of His Son. There are things for you to do that no one else can do. There are places for you to go that God wants to use you in uniquely, and there are people that you can influence that no one else can touch.

Highlights from the radio program FROM THIS DAY FORWARD with Dr. Richard D. Dobbins

Click HERE - to hear today's message on the Internet


Table Of Contents





HALLOWEEN TEACHING


HALLOWEEN — ANGELS, DEMONS & SATAN

The commercial world and profit-making spirit has turned Halloween into something that rivals Christmas. I think there are alternatives Christian parents should offer their children to Halloween decorations and celebrations. Many churches are beginning to do this. Let's dress up like Bible characters instead of demons. Let's come to church, with a special night for children and young people to have a celebration of the harvest season.

Christian parents should teach their children about the pagan origins of Halloween. The word "Halloween" is a contraction from "All Hallows' Eve," related to All Hallows' Day—November 1—when the church set aside a day to honor all the saints. But Halloween has its roots in pagan practices that go back to fifth century B.C. in Celtic Ireland. The holiday the Celts celebrated on October 31—their end of summer—focused on their belief that on that day the spirit of everyone who died the previous year came back searching for a body to live in for the next year. The living didn't want to fall prey to these spirits, so they extinguished the fires in their huts to make them cold and undesirable and dressed up in ghoulish costumes and paraded around their villages being destructive. All this was to frighten away the spirits who were seeking to possess them.

Certainly as Christians we don't accept the pagan superstitions. The church still has every reason to honor those that are with the Lord, and yet the pagan thinking of the world still keeps alive this whole superstitious tradition of Halloween. The tradition of "trick or treating" goes back to the pagan traditions of Beggar's Night. People would go from house to house, particularly the poor people, looking for "soul cakes." These were small pieces of pastry with currants in them. The more soul cakes given to the beggars, the more prayers the beggars would say for the family. We need to provide constructive and enjoyable alternatives to the commercial world of haunted houses, ghoulish costumes and trick or treating. Let's transform Halloween into a divine opportunity to get our children involved in biblical costume parties and food collection for the hungry. Let's take advantage of the enemy's efforts to divert our attention to celebrations rooted in paganism and use the occasion to do good.


WHO SATAN IS AND WHAT HE IS DOING

According to a recent poll, less than half of Christians who claim to be born again believe Satan is a real spirit being, and less than a third of Roman Catholics believe this. But, if you believe the Bible is infallible, you have no doubt that Satan is a real spirit being. In the Bible he is called "Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12); the devil, which means slanderer or false accuser; and a variety of other names. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan is determined to overthrow God's rule of the universe. And according to Revelation 12:3,4 he persuaded a third of the angels to join in his effort. That is why he and his angels were cast out of heaven.


THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS

You cannot take the Bible seriously and not believe in angels. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of references to angels. David refers to them as spiritual beings created by God to praise Him (see Psalm 148). They surround the throne of God, administer praise and worship to Him, and are somehow involved with Him in carrying out His will in the universe. They are much more intelligent than humans, more powerful and more imbued with divine energy. Although angels have superhuman powers and knowledge, we need to understand that they are not omniscient (all-knowing, like God), nor are they omnipotent (all-powerful). One of the functions of the fallen angels who were thrown out of heaven with Satan seems to be to resist or oppose the prayers of God's people. Paul refers to this spiritual warfare when he says, "We do not wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers... against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). And despite Halloween depictions of gargoyles and grotesque looking demons, we really don't know anything from the Bible about what fallen angels look like. Paul says they may appear as angels of light and seek to twist and distort the gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:14,15 and Galatians 1:8).

The Bible does have a lot to say about the ministry of good angels. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him to protect them (see Psalm 34:7). How can we know if we've seen an angel? We really can't. We know from Scripture they appear in human form sometimes to godly people in need. We know that they are ministering spirits sent to care for God's people (Hebrews 1:7).


FALLEN ANGELS AND DEMONS

Halloween causes people to focus especially on fallen angels and demons. Although there is a lot of superstition connected to the subject, a Bible believer just cannot dismiss the matter. There are just too many references to evil spirits and demons in Scripture to dismiss them. We don't know from Scripture exactly who demons or evil spirits are, but we do know they are the offspring of Satan. They are involved in Satan's efforts to tempt God's people. There are cases when they afflict people with suffering and perhaps some diseases. And many times demons can oppress us. I believe the origin of much depression is demonic, is spiritual in origin. I am thankful for the role antidepressants play in helping depressed people, but I also believe there is a spiritual component that needs to be added to the treatment.

There are cases, and they are very rare, of demon possession. In our work at EMERGE ministries for over 30 years, I remember a particular case of a medical technician who came to us and proved ultimately to be demon possessed. Although professing Christ, the woman had never really surrendered her life to Christ. The demon was exorcised through the ministry of her church and her pastor. She was beautifully converted to Christ, regained her sanity, and has gotten on successfully with her life.

Christians cannot be demon possessed. That's one danger this woman will never face again. When Jesus comes into your life, the Bible says our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not share that temple with a demon spirit.


COMMITTING THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

Many Christians fear that they have committed the unpardonable sin because that sin which Jesus talks about is so badly misunderstood. He is misquoted so often, sometimes by zealous, well-meaning preachers who want to scare people away from rejecting the gospel. The Pharisees were attacking Jesus' ministry, saying He indeed cast out demons but that He did so by the power of Beelzebub--the devil (see Matthew 12). So the Pharisees were attributing the miracles of Jesus to the work of the devil. And Jesus warned them to be careful, because they would not be forgiven for attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil (Matthew 12:31,32). They were dangerously close to saying the Holy Spirit was a demon!

Interestingly, I have never seen a person in my counseling career that believes they've committed the unpardonable sin that is not dealing with some kind of unresolved sexual guilt. I'm afraid that parents, in trying to control their children, teach them that the genital parts of their body are evil. And then the whole idea of sexuality gets connected with evil. From there, when you talk to people about sin they feel they've committed that is unpardonable, it's inevitably some unresolved sexual guilt. If you fear that you've committed the unpardonable sin, ask yourself this question: Is your conscience more difficult to satisfy than God's holy nature? If the blood of Jesus Christ was adequate for the holy nature of God, permitting God to forgive you, is it not adequate for you? Let Jesus help you forgive yourself.

Dr. Richard D. Dobbins from "Guidelines for Good Living."


Table of Contents





HE GIVETH MORE GRACE


Annie Johnson Flint's life on earth could never be measured in any degree by comfort and ease; quite the contrary, from childhood her body endured the onslaught of Rheumatoid Arthritis until she could no longer rise from bed. Over the years the affliction took a great toll, leaving her with no choice but to seek some comfort from sleeping and resting on soft pillows. Her body developed serious bed sores and finally she suffered the ravages of cancer. Yet her attitude through all the struggles with pain and confinement may best be expressed through one of her great Christian poems that has been set to music in many hymnals. Her faith in God and His purpose, reflected through these words, portray her deep commitment and disposition of hope and peace:


He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.

To added affliction He addeth His mercy;

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.


His love has no limit;

His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again.


When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,

Our Father's full giving is only begun.


His love has no limit;

His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

By Annie Johnson Flint, 1866-1932





Lessons Worth Living By


Obey God and leave all consequences of your obedience to Him.

Learn to trust Him for every need.

No weapon formed against thee will prosper.

Do not believe the world's view you must make it by your own effort.

Learn to wait for God's direction in God's time. Isa 64:4

Give generously to the Lord's work.

Money is not our goal - His kingdom is the goal.

This attitude will protect you from greed, materialism, selfishness and their consequences.

Christ is the one who makes me acceptable and holy - not myself.

In Christ we have success as shown in Romans chapter 8.

God loves us unconditionally by His own choice. Jn 17:23

God is in control of all affairs of men. Rom 8:28.

We are not a victim when God is sovereign - He has permitted these things.

We need these experiences. Even the bitter, hard, painful experiences help us.

Depend on God's spirit to develop and promote our gifts.

Discernment, understanding, wisdom, skill and accomplishment are from Him.

Fraud is claiming the source of these abilities.

A priority of life is personal meditation upon God, His word, and prayer.

Look to God to speak to your head and heart.

The gospel of Jesus Christ when clearly presented in the power of the spirit can penetrate the hardest heart.

From Dr. Charles Stanley





Matthew 11:28 - Story of encouragement


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."


I shook my head in disbelief. This couldn't be the right place. After all, I couldn't possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation several times, by several different people, and had finally decided to see what this place was all about. But, this just couldn't be the right place.

Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that I clutched in my hand. I scanned past the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required," and found the location. Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the window again and saw a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy. All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.

Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was dirty, in fact, filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I couldn't shake the grime that clung to my body. As I turned around to leave, the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at me ...... "Come as you are. No jacket required." I decided to give it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile. "Jimmy D. Brown," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains. He didn't seem to notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very good, sir. A table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be seated?"

I couldn't believe what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of course!" He lead me to a table and, sure enough, there was a placard with my name written on it in a deep, dark red. As I browsed over a menu, I saw many delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace," "joy," "blessings," "confidence," "assurance," "hope," "love," "faith," and "mercy." I realized that this was no ordinary restaurant! I flipped the menu back to the front in order to see where I was at... .."God's Grace," was the name of this place!

The man returned and said, "I recommend the 'Special of the Day'. With it, you are entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu." You've got to be kidding! I thought to myself. You mean, I can have ALL of this! "What is the 'Special of the Day' I asked with excitement ringing in my voice. "Salvation," was his reply. "I'll take it," I practically cried out. Then, as quickly as I made that statement, the joy left my body. A sick, painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between my sobs I said... "Mister, look at me. I'm dirty and nasty. I'm unclean and unworthy of such things. I'd love to have all of this, but, but, I just can't afford it.

Undaunted, the man smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken care of by that Gentleman over there," he said point to the front of the room. "His Name is Jesus." Turning, I saw a man whose very presence seemed to light the room. He was almost too much to look at. I found myself walking towards Him and in a shaking voice I whispered, "Sir, I'll wash the dishes or sweep the floors or take out the trash. I'll do anything I can do to repay you for all of this." He opened His arms and said with a smile, "Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto me. Ask me to clean you up and I will. Ask me to take away the stains and it is done. Ask me to allow you to feast at my table and you will eat. Remember, the table is reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I offer you."

Astonished, I fell at his feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life. Please change me and sit me at your table and give me this new life." Immediately, I heard the words, "It is finished." I looked down and white robes adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and wonderful had happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted and I found myself seated at His table. "The 'Special of the Day' has been served," the Lord said to me. "Salvation is yours." We sat and talked for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him. He told me, me of all people, that He would like for me to come back as often as I liked for another helping from God's Grace. He made it clear that He wanted me to spend as much time with Him as possible.

As it drew near time for me to go back outside into the "real world," He whispered to me softly, "And Lo, I am with you always." And then, He said something to me that I will never forget. He said...."My child, do you see these empty tables throughout this room?" "Yes, Lord. I see them. What do they mean?" I replied. "These are reserved tables...but the individuals whose names are on each placard have not accepted their invitations to dine. Would you be so kind as to hand out these invitations to those who have not joined us yet?" Jesus asked.

"Of course," I said with excitement as I picked up the invitations." "Go ye therefore into all nations," He said as I turned to leave. I walked into God's Grace dirty and hungry. Stained in sin. My righteousness as filthy rags. And Jesus cleaned me up. I walked out a brand new man...robed in white, His righteousness. And so, I'll keep my promise to my Lord. I'll go. I'll spread the Word. I'll share the Gospel... I'll hand out the invitations. And I'll start with you.

Have you been to God's Grace? There's a table reserved in your name, and here's your invitation... "Come as you are. No jacket required." "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." - Ephesians 2:8,9

(For more stories, visit the Sermon Illustrator: http://www.tagnet.org/illustrations)





Shine Up Your Neighbor's Halo


One Sunday morning, drowsing in a back pew of a little country church, I dimly heard the old preacher urge his flock to "stop worrying about your own halo and shine up your neighbor's!" And it left me sitting up, wide-awake, because it struck me as just about the best eleven-word formula for getting along with people that I've ever heard. I like it for its implication that everyone, in some area of life, has a halo that's worth watching for and acknowledging. I like it for the firm way it shifts the emphasis from self to interest and concern for others. Finally, I like it because it reflects a deep psychological truth: People have a tendency to become what you expect them to be.

By Arthur Gordon





When the ball is over, take off your dancing shoes.


As a child, I used to hear my aunt say this, and it puzzled me a good deal, until the day I heard her spell out the lesson more explicitly. My sister had come back from a glamorous weekend full of glitter, exciting parties and stimulating people. She was bemoaning the contrast with her routine job, her modest apartment and her day-to-day friends. "Young lady," our aunt said gently, "no one lives on the top of the mountain. It's fine to go there occasionally -- for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That's where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work are done. That's where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks." It's a steadying thought when the time comes, as it always does, to exchange your dancing shoes for your working shoes.

By Arthur Gordon





If you can't change facts, try bending your attitudes.


Without a doubt, the bleakest period of my life so far was the winter of 1942 to 1943. I was with the Eighth Air Force in England. Our bomber bases, hacked out of the sodden English countryside, were seas of mud. On the ground, people were cold, miserable and homesick. In the air, people were getting shot. Replacements were few; morale was low. But there was one sergeant - a crew chief - who was always cheerful, always good-humored, always smiling. I watched him one day, in a freezing rain, struggle to salvage a Fortress that had skidded off the runway into an apparently bottomless mire. He was whistling like a lark. "Sergeant," I said to him sourly, "how can you whistle in a mess like this?" He gave me a mud-caked grin. "Lieutenant," he said, "when the facts won't budge, you have to bend your attitudes to fit them, that's all." Check it for yourself. You'll see that, faced with a given set of problems, one man may tackle them with intelligence, grace and courage; another may react with resentment and bitterness; a third may run away altogether. In any life, facts tend to remain unyielding. But attitudes are a matter of choice - and that choice is largely up to you.

By Arthur Gordon





The tragedy when God's people forgot about God


The Bible talks about the tragedy when God's people forgot about God. Judges 8:34 says that God's people "did not remember the Lord their God who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side." David's Psalms show us what can happen if making memorials and remembrance are a part of the normal flow of our lives.

"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him." Psalm 22:27

"Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord." Psalm 25:7

"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night." Psalm 63:6

"Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced." Psalm 105:5

"He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations." Psalm 105:8

"I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them." Psalm 119:52

"In the night I remember your name, O Lord, and I will keep your law." Psalm 119:55

The Bible also says "remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come..."

Author Unknown





Changing One Student


Here is a great tribute to all the WONDERFUL educators and Moms out there. ...
To believe in someone is perhaps the greatest gift we can give.


Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making a bold mark and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death had been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken." Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class".

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer-- the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD. The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you.

Author Unknown




Yesterday is history. Tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!
I think this time is special...  live and savor every moment...  it is not a dress rehearsal!
Author Unknown