Stories

Some of these stories may be true, some are obviously great parables that help teach us ways we know we should live, or encourage us to strive to be all that God wants us to be. I am especially partial to "The Pianist" because it so accurately portrays how I feel about my own life and the use of the gifts God has given me. I bring my tiny little offering forward and give it to God for His use, and with His accompaniment, my gift is transformed. I can do things. I can even do good things. But, I can do nothing GREAT apart from Him.

A Bag of Nails

A Bag of Nails -
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
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The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Adversity

Adversity -
A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one, he placed carrots, in the second, he placed eggs, and in the last pot, he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her he asked. "Darling, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. "What does it mean, Father?"

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you," he asked his daughter? "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? "
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Bruised Reeds


Bruised Reeds
The Lord spoke to me as the wind blew strongly through my windows shaking the blinds. He said there has been a strong wind blowing and it was not the wind of His Holy Spirit. This was a noisy wind instilling fear in many. This wind was causing the bruised reeds I saw to push into each other and rub each other causing other reeds to bend even further over and become more bruised.

I heard the Lord say, So is My church doing to each other. They are bruising each other. They are allowing the winds of offense to come blowing in and make so much noise. There are those taking up offense, and those trying to defend themselves from the ones feeling offended. Great is the noise and the damage of offense in your lives and in the lives of those you touch with this offense, which is so strongly upon you. How loud the offense vibrates in your being and slowly but surely destroys you. It causes anger, bitterness and un-forgiveness, to the extent that you can barely love or care for one another.

One bruised reed bruises other reeds.

Then He said, It is within your power to stop this wind from blowing and bruising any further. You can rise up and close the windows through which they come in.

What windows do you have open today?
How easily are you moved by this wind of offense?
In what areas of your life are you most susceptible to being offended?
Why do you think that is?
How much in your life have you allowed to be destroyed because of this?
How many relationships or friendships have you let slip away because of offense?
How many people that you hold dear are you quick to offend when you get offended?
If you are quick to offend, you are ushering in the wind, and giving momentum to the spirit of offense.

He also said, There are many, many bruised reeds in My body just being blown in every direction. Who will stop that wind? Who will stop the offense? Who will close the window? Who will go and minister to the bruised and see healing come and not just let them fall to the ground and die? Who will love them? Who will restore them? Who will reach out their hands and be My hands to them? Who will die to self so that another can live? My people must rise up and do something about this wind of offense before it destroys and brings to ruin too much in your lives and those around you. Put a stop to it in your own lives. Do not take on the offense...choose rather to forgive. Forgive and you will experience life. Take on the offense and see death creep into your bones. Come to Me, give these offenses to Me so I may heal, I may restore. Then turn and restore your brothers and sisters. Let restoration and love guide your heart and be your goal, it is certainly My goal.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Forgiveness for the Sinner - If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extentnot to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgivenif there was anything to forgiveI have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
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Faith Moves Mountains

Faith Moves Mountains -
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with its undersized lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built.

In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard. Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had "mountain moving faith." They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock the pastor said the final "Amen". "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled," he assured everyone. "God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too."

The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called "come in", a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered. "Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We're building a huge shopping mall. We need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge if we can have it right away. We can't do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with mountain moving faith on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!

...I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20 TOP


Life is the Coffee

Life is the Coffee -
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee. After all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:

"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, THAT is the source of your problems and stress."

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it's just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and then began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee. . .and the jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. God brews the coffee, not the cups. Enjoy your coffee.
Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect; it means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections.
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Honey or Vinegar?

Honey or Vinegar -
The preacher placed two identical jars on the table next to the pulpit. He quoted 1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. "These jars came from the same factory, were made of the same materials, and can hold the same amount. But they are different," he explained.

Then he upset one and it oozed out honey. He turned over the other, and vinegar spilled out. "When a jar is upset, whatever is in it comes out. Until the jars were upset, they looked alike. The difference was within and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed. Until we are upset, we put on a good front. But when we are upset, we reveal our innermost thoughts and attitudes, 'for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.' Luke 6:45
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Fern & Bamboo

The Parable of the Fern and the Bamboo -
One day, I decided to quit. I wanted to quit my job, to quit my relationships, to quit my spirituality; I even wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. "God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"

His answer surprised me. "Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo."

"In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo."

"In the third year there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit."

"In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit."

"Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge they could not handle," He said to me.

"Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you! Don't compare yourself to others. The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come," God said to me. "You will rise high."

"How high should I rise?" I asked.

"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.

"As high as it can?" I questioned.

"Yes." He said, "Give Me glory by rising as high as you can. And remember... I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I will never give up on you. I will never, ever quit on you."
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Creation of Woman

Creation of Woman -
God Speaking:

When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being.

When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils.

But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate.

I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.

Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity.

From one bone, I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects man's life.

I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone, I shaped you....

I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully. Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile.

You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man , his heart.

His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life.

The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support man as the rib cage supports the body.

You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him.

You were taken from his side, to stand beside him, from beneath his arm to be protected by him, and close to his heart to be loved by him.

You are my perfect angel.....You are my beautiful little girl.

You will or have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes......don't change them. Your lips,how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form. Your hands so gentle to touch I've caressed your face in your deepest sleep. I've held your heart close to mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are most like me.

Adam walked with me in the cool of the day, yet he was lonely, He needed a mate. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience, I fashioned in you; my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and support.

You are special because you are an extension of me. Man represents my image, woman my emotions. Together, you represent the totality of God.
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Jesus at the Window

Jesus at the Window -
A little boy visited his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with in the woods. He practiced, but couldn't hit the target. Getting discouraged, he headed back to dinner. As he walked back, he saw Grandma's pet duck. Out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper. Sally smiled and said, Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help. She whispered again, Remember the duck? So Sally went fishing Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing his chores and Sally's, he could stand it no longer. He came to Grandma confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt beside Johnny said, I know. I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done that the enemy throws in your face (lying, debt, fear, hatred, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.), whatever it is, Jesus was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. He wants you to know He loves you that you are forgiven. He wonders how long you will let the enemy make a slave of you. Remember, God not only forgives you, He forgets.


Ezekiel Chapter 18
4 For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die. (not meaning a physical death, but a spiritual one, an emotional one)
20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
21 But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.
22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.
23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24 But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
30 Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.
31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?
32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
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Forgiveness & Potatoes

Forgiveness and Potatoes -
One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes. For every person we'd refuse to forgive in our life experience, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were quite heavy. We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to our desk at work. The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.

Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity! Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and it clearly is for ourselves!!

So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself ... isn't your bag heavy enough?

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Luke 17:4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
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Love Builds a Bridge

Love Builds a Bridge -
Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days' work", he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all - and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."
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Might as well Dance

A letter from one friend to another: 

Dear Bertha,
I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I'm not saving anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.


"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was. I'm guessing; I'll never know. It's those little things left undone that would make  me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
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"People say true friends must always hold
 hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance

Never Underestimate...

Never Underestimate the Power of Your Actions -
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks." They really should get lives. "He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, youre gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, Hey, big guy, you'll be great! He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. Thanks, he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began: Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends...

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story. I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life for better or for worse. God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.
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If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!Ecclesiastes 4:10

Pancakes

Pancakes -
Six year old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten. Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn't know to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, (and he didn't know how the stoveworked)! Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky. Just then he saw Dad standing at the door.

Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon's eyes. All wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.

That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can't stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

Just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying like Brandon to "make pancakes," for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried.
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but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Philosophy of Life


Philosophy of Life -
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up alarge empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full?They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else.The small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

But then...a student then took the jar which the other students and the professor agreed was full, and proceeded to slowly pour in a glass of water. Of course the water filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly full. He then told the class: The water represents the Living Water, Jesus Christ. Without that Water, no matter how full your life is with the other things your life will never be completely full! Just as He offered Living Water to the Samaritan Woman at the well, Jesus is still offering this precious life giving water today.
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When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink? 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds? Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:7-14

Power of Prayer

Power of a Childs Prayer -
Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about the pastor of his church. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten.

He did all this, checking his progress in the car frequently, then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved a little further forward, the rope broke. The tree went boing! and the kitten instantly sailed through the air -- out of sight. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he prayed, Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping, and went on about his business.

A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?

She replied, You won't believe this, and told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, Well if God gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it.

She told the pastor, I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.

Never underestimate the Power of God! (or the power of a child's prayer)
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Sand & Stone

Sand & Stone -
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: "TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE."

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: "TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE." The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?" The other friend replied: "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand
where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone.
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Sand Castles

Sand Castles -
You've watched it, too. I know I'm not the first or only person who has seen it. But there is a lesson in it that we both may have overlooked.

There are some children on a beach. They're playing and giggling -- building sand castles all the while. They seem so intent on the project. You get amused at how meticulous and careful they are with crumbly corners and towers. The looks on their faces as they screw their mouths around and stick out their tongues make you smile. Their resolute concentration on the task is priceless.

Then a big wave begins building and starts toward shore. But the kids don't panic. Instead, they do the strangest thing. They jump to their feet, scream with delight, and watch the torrent of water wash away their creations. There is no panic. No sadness. No bitterness. Even children know the inevitable end of sand castles. They are neither surprised nor angry about what has happened.

You and I should be so wise. The stuff of this world is about as lasting and durable as children's sand castles on the beach. Yet we grownups can get so caught up in it, defensive of it, and depressed over the loss of it.

God didn't create you to be famous, get rich, live in the biggest house, or drive the fanciest car. He created you for His glory. He put you in the world to love people and do holy things. Your destiny is not bound up in physical things, but spiritual. So living to be a hundred is far less important than living well -- even if for a short time. Beautifying your body is far less urgent than purifying your soul.

Children know that their sand castles are brief joys destined to disappear with an incoming tide. So they don't fret as the waves approach. They watch their creations get swept away without shedding tears. Again, we should be so wise. Everything about this life is fleeting and perishable. The incoming wave of human mortality is going to sweep it all away. Like sand
castles, nothing done for the sake of this world can last. Only what we do for eternity will survive.

What would the loss of your job or business do to you?
What if your house were lost to fire or storm?
What if a strange pain sent you to the physician and led to the discovery that you have only a few weeks to live?

These things really do happen to people, you know. We are all as vulnerable as sand castles. Life is God's gift. Revel in every good thing. But as you enjoy your creations in the sand, just remember not to get overly attached to them.
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Shake it Off

Shake It Off -
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realizedwhat was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells by simply refusing to quit! Shake it off and take a step up!

Remember the five simple rules to being happy: Free your heart from hatred, free your mind from worries, live simply, give more, expect less.
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Come againstadversity in the worldwith the Word of God:

Greater is He who is in me thanhe who is in the world!
1 John 4:4
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13
By His stripes I am healed.
1 Peter 2:24
I am MORE than a conquerorthrough Christ.
Romans 8:37
All of my needs are met according toGods riches in glory through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

When you come against your circumstances and you begin to praise God wholeheartedly in faith, you will watch as those walls or obstacles fall down in front of you! No devil or evil circumstance can stay in your presence when you learn how to praise God sincerely with your whole heart!


Stay

Stay -
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. "Who was that man?" he asked. The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered. "No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life."
"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"
"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed."
The next time someone needs you ... just be there. Stay.
WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE.
WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
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The Ant & the Contact Lens

The Ant & The Contact Lens -
Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lost a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it. Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You." I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will."
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
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The Chosen One

The Chosen One by Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow, I visualized God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make more notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew."
"Forest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron saint, Cecilia
"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint....give her Gerard. He's used to
profanity."

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "give her a handicapped child." The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel." "But does she have patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence that are so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her
has his own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps. "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, prejudice - and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in midair. God smiles. A mirror will suffice.
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The Cracked Pot

The Cracked Pot -
A Water Bearer in India had two large pots; each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the Water Bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer." What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The Water Bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws; we're all cracked pots, but if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's economy, nothing goes to waste.

So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway. Go out boldly, knowing that in OUR weakness we find HIS strength, and that "In Him every one of God's promises is a YES."
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The 45 Lessons Life Taught Me

The 45 Lessons Life Taught Me
Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry, God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life , don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?.
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything.. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is , not because of anything you did or didn't do.
34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative --- dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

The Girl/Apple/Fence

The Girl The Apple The Fence -
August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.

'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.' I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, then asked my age. 'Sixte en,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.

My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people. I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?' He didn't answer. I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her. 'No,' she said sternly. 'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.' She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany. We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night weeks later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.

'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.' He told of how his brothers each gave him a quarter of their daily allotment of one slice of bread because I was a growing boy. Thats love, he said. When all you have to eat is one slice of bread and you break off a quarter for someone else? Thats love. --Jewish News Weekly 17 March 2006

I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number. Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps near Berlin.

One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice, 'Son,' she said softly but clearly, I am going to send you an angel.' Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.

A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed-wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a litle girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softl y in German.

'Do you have something to eat?' She didn't understand. I inched closer to the fence and repeated question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence. I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'

I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both. I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me? Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.

Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia. 'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving.' I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM. In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over. I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited.

But at 8 A.M. there was a c ommotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too.

Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival. In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none. My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.

Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after tw o years. By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in.

One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me. 'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.'

A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma. I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.

The four of us drove out to Coney Island. Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too! We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.

We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat. As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'

'The camps,' I said, the terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget.

She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,' she told me. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.' I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were, both survivors, in a new world.

'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.'

What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked. He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.'

My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. This couldn't be. 'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'

Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes,' That was me! ' I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! My angel.

'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.

'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week. There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go.

That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren I have never let her go.

Herman Rosenblat, Miami Beach, Florida


This is a true story and you can find out more by Googling Herman Rosenblat as he was Bar Mitzvahed at age 75. This story is being made into a movie called The Fence.
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The Other Side

The Other Side -
A man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."
"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness."
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The Pianist


The Pianist-
Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took the small 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 house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son 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 hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligatio. 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 playing the concerto of your life.

Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.
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Throwing Darts Lately?

Throwing Darts Lately? -
A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a Seminary Class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons.

One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person's picture.

Sally's girl friend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased at the overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts, with much laughter and hilarity. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn,and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn't have a chance to throw any darts at her target, Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus.....

A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words.....
"In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Matthew 25:40
No other words were necessary; the tear-filled eyes of each student focused only on the picture of Christ.TOP

Trouble Tree

The Trouble Tree -
I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job, a flat tire made him lose an hour of work & his electric drill quit, his ancient one ton truck refused to start. As I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door he had undergone an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do at the little tree.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again." Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."


What RU Carrying?

What Are You Still Carrying by Alan Smith -
Two monks on a pilgrimage came to the fork of a river. There they saw a girl dressed in all her finery, obviously not knowing what to do since the river was high and she did not want to spoil her clothes. Without more ado, one of the monks took her on his back, carried her across and put her down on dry ground on the other side. Then the monks continued on their way.

However, the other monk, after an hour or so, started complaining, "Surely it is not right to touch a woman; it is against the commandments to have close contact with women. How could you go against the rules for monks?" The monk who had carried the girl walked along silently, but finally he remarked, "I set her down by the river an hour ago, why are you still carrying her?"*

One of the hardest things we must do is to let go of something from the past. Someone does us wrong and seeks forgiveness, but we want to keep carrying the memory. Or maybe we made a mistake and we can't seem to stop beating ourselves up, despite the fact that we have done what God says to we need to do to be forgiven. We don't want to keep carrying the memory (and the guilt), but we often do. In fact, it often seems more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. So when are you going to lay down your past mistakes?

The apostle Paul said, "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of {it} yet; but one thing {I do:} forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14-15).

Paul had to forget his past achievements (as an esteemed Jewish leader). He also had to forget his past failures (which included persecuting and killing God's people). He had to set those aside and dwell on the challenges and opportunities ahead. Guess what? So do you! So what are you carrying today that you should have set down a long time ago? Why not set it aside and leave it with God and go on to the things God wants to do through you today!
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Why go to Church?

Why Go to Church -
A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!TOP


Talking to Jesus

Talking to Jesus
A man's daughter asked the local priest to come and pray with her father. When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. I guess you were expecting me, he said. No, who are you? I'm the new associate at your parish, the priest replied.

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. 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. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. 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, Father, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd send me off to the funny farm.

The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the priest 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, Father. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.
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The Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched 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 the restricting 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 lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives 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!
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The Pearl Necklace
The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please? Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma. As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, Do you love me? Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you. Then give me your pearls. Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite. That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night. And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, Do you love me? Daddy, you know I love you. Then give me your pearls. Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper. That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you. And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. What is it, Jenny? What's the matter? Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, Here, daddy, this is for you. With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. Isn't God good? Are you holding onto things that God wants you to let go of? Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing.... God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place. The greatest gifts happen when you share love and touch others hearts!
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The Geese and the Snowstorm
There was once a man who did not believe in either the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it, and was skeptical even about God. He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her religious observances. It's all nonsense-why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It's such a ridiculous story, he said.

One snowy day, she and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window...And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their but they just moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on. Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed Why don't they follow me? Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety. At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words reverberated in his mind: If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them. Then, at last, he understood God's heart towards mankind... and he fell on his knees in the snow. And, he came to know the one who became one of us just to save us.
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The Interview
I dreamed I had an interview with God. Come in, God said. So, you would like to interview Me?
If you have the time, I said. God smiled and said, My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?

What surprises you most about mankind?

God answered:
That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived...

God's hands took mine and we were silent for while and then I asked...

As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?

God replied with a smile:
To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different.

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them...and likes them anyway.

To learn that it is not always enough that they receive forgiveness from others, but that they forgive themselves.

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, Anytime. I'm here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I'll answer.

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
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The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as thought life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable....it was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, Pedal! I was worried and anxious and asked, Where are you taking me? He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say I'm scared, He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight. So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says.....
Pedal.
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Sole to Soul
My alarm went off -- it was Sunday again;
I was tired -- it was my one day to sleep in.
But the guilt I'd have felt the rest of the day
Would have been too much, so I'd go; I'd pray.

I showered and shaved, adjusted suit and tie,
Got there and swung into a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in humble prayer
Before I closed my eyes,
I saw that the shoe of the man next to me
Was touching my own and I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side,
I thought, why do our soles have to touch?
It bothered me so; he was glued to my shoe,
But it didn't seem to bother him much.

Then the prayer began: Heavenly Father,
someone said. But I thought,
Does this man with the shoes have no pride?
They were dusty, worn, scratched end to end.
What's worse, there were 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 ended and songs of praise began.
The shoe man was loud, sounding proud as he sang.
He lifted the rafters; his hands raised high;
The Lord surely heard his voice from the sky.

Then the offering was passed; what I threw in was steep.
The shoe man reached into his pockets, so deep,
And I tried to see what he pulled out to put in,
Then I heard a soft clink, as when silver hits tin.

The sermon bored me to tears--
And no lie--
It was the same for the shoe man,
For tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service, as is custom here,
We must greet the visitors and show them good cheer.
But I was moved inside to want to meet this man,
So after the closing, I shook his hand.

He was old, his skin dark, his hair a mess.
I thanked him for coming, for being our guest,
He said, My name's Charlie, glad to meet you, my friend,
And there were tears in his eyes--but he had a wide grin.

Let me explain, he said, wiping his eyes.
I've been coming for months,
and you're the first to say, Hi.
I know I don't look like all the rest,
But I always try to look my best.
I polish my shoes before my long walk,
But by the time I get here they're as dirty as chalk.

My heart fell to my knees, but I held back my tears,
He continued, And I must apologize for sitting so near.

But I know when I get here, I must look a sight.
And I thought . . . if I touched you, our souls might unite.

I was silent for a moment knowing anything I said would pale in comparison, so I spoke from my heart not my head. Oh, you've touched me, I said. And taught me, in part,That the best of a man is what's in his heart. The rest, I thought, this man will never know how thankful I am that he touched my soul!
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The Wall by Gloria Jay Evans
I don't know when I first began to build the wall. I suppose it was when it occurred to me that I could keep people out of my life by building a simple wall. The wall would be a kind of boundary - a kind of protection. At first the little wall was only knee high. It was really quite attractive, made of native stone I had found in my life. The wall was so small that some people didn't notice it and would stumble right over it and fall flat on their faces. Others saw it but would step over it and come very close to me. I found this very uncomfortable. So I built the wall higher. This was really much better, but I found that some people would come and rest their arms on the wall while they talked to me. Some stayed too long. And some were not my kind of people. And even when I edged the top of the wall with sharp stones, they didn't seem to notice. One day one of them vaulted over the wall and stood right inside. This made me angry. I decided to build the wall higher. As I continued to build, I became more and more self-sufficient... and soon, no one could see in or out. But then I realized that no one had stopped by to talk for some time. Some walked by not seeming to notice me or my wall. Others stood sadly by and watched me build. I thought they were jealous of my wall, and I resented them - all of them. Some of my stones were so dear to me that I polished them carefully several times a day. Then one day I realized the wall was so high that I no longer saw anyone go by...or heard anyone.

Is anyone there? I yelled.

There was no answer. It was dark and the air was foul. I stayed there for a long time. It was quiet and dark and lonely. Only the whispers of my memories could be heard. One day someone yelled from the other side,

Your wall is ugly. It is twisted and gray and misshapen!

Now, I did not accept this willingly. I liked my wall. In fact, some of the stones from which I had built it were so dear to me... But, it was the day the flower fell at my feet that I began to cry. I ran to the wall and climbed to see who had thrown it over. By the time I reached the top, no one was there. I returned to the flower and sat for a long time looking at its perfection. I began to see the folly of my wall and its imperfection. Floods of tears brought me to my knees.

Oh, I am so alone. My wall is too high and too thick and ugly... I have nothing left. Won't someone help me... please?

Then a strange thing happened. Something inside me stirred like a remembrance of peaceful times passed. And in the stillness of my broken world I knew... God was there, a blessed presence, that God would come to me, that my darkness had been penetrated by this blessed light... I stood in the joy of this presence. I knew that God had watched me build my wall and that God had waited patiently for me to see it was in vain. Finally it occurred to me that the divine Creator would know why my wall was so ugly. When I asked, God began to teach me... my error. God gave the stones names: This stone is jealousy. You must remove it. I protested. This was my favorite stone. It was one I had saved and cherished for years. When I was finally ready, God helped me remove the stone. (And so it went through stones named envy, disillusionment, resentment, childishness, stubbornness, some came out with God's help, some with the help of strangers...) As we removed more stones, the light came in. I felt a hand reaching through a small hole. There was a stranger who walked in and told me he had let God tear down his wall. I told him how I had suffered so and that I would never forget how forsaken and lonely I had felt inside my wall.

Yes, he said, self-pity is a terrible thing.

When he left, I found my stone of self-pity in my wall. It was wet with my tears. I dried it off and laid it with the other stones I had taken from the wall. Over-whelmed by all God had done for me and all God had taught me, I stood on a large remaining stone and began to tell anyone who passed by what God had done for me. I was appalled that no one seemed to hear what I was saying... I noticed others working on walls and ran over to plead with them to stop, but no one would listen. In my frustration, I lay face down on the stone I had stood upon. It was extremely large, highly polished... it was more than life size. Do you want the answer to your question? God asked. Raise your head, and look at the stone you are lying upon. I raised my head and gasped, for I saw my own reflection in the massive stone. I knew the stone was pride. Quietly we removed it.

Then God said a strange thing. Now you must go. I will go with you and yet I will stay here.

I protested, There are still other stones to remove. I want you here.

I said I would go with you. Do you remember the flower that fell at your feet, the hand that you clasped, and the stranger who showed your self-pity?

Oh yes.

Then you must go and do likewise. For to whom much (grace) is given, much (grace) is expected. Wherever you go, I go with you. And whenever you come back here to be tempted, or to remove more stones, I will be here for you.

And so I went out. I saw the walls of others, and when I could, I threw a flower over, or reached my hand through. The walls were unbelievably ugly. I heard great sobs behind the walls and my heart ached. Won't you please help this person? I cried out to God one day. I returned to my wall and God the Blessed Presence was there. Together we removed the stones of fear, mistrust, and indifference. Then God said, Now you begin to understand love. Without love, the things I have told you would be meaningless. You will begin to live in peace and understanding of all those people around you whom you thought were not your kind. So it was that I went forth, reaching out - sometimes just waiting beside a wall, sometimes tossing a flower, sometimes grasping a hand.
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The Life-Giving Water
It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn't see some rain soon...we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort... trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed.

Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them... maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods.

Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house to a spigot to which we had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift cup, as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me: The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him.

It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. I'm not wasting, was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.

Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don't really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that... I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another. I don't know if anyone will read this...but I had to send it out. To honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon... But not before showing me the true face of God, in a little, sunburned body.
TOP

Because of Love

Because of Love (horse story)

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where their elderly parents with their small herd of horses dwelt. The farm was where they had grown up and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks "Why do you not at least dispose of 'The Old One'. She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?"

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, "Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.

His arm slid defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her near with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied softly, We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.

The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall; none but the Old One.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest. Looking up to the top of the hill the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift; shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down about the Old one close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the Old One as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife.

Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift; because of love, only because of love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy... And again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.TOP

Willy Eagle


Pam's Story

Pams Story (Tim Tebow)

In a recent email, I read about a woman named Pam, who knows the pain of considering abortion. More than 24 years ago, she and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn't think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, well name him Timothy and well make him a preacher.

Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pams youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his fathers ministry in the Philippines . He also plays football. Pams son is Tim Tebow.

The University of Florida s star quarterback became the first sophomore in history to win college footballs highest award, the Heisman Trophy. His current role as quarterback of the Denver Broncos has provided an incredible platform for Christian witness. As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah.

Tims notoriety and the familys inspiring story have given Pam numerous opportunities to speak on behalf of womens centers across the country. Pam Tebow believes that every little baby you save matters. I pray her tribe will increase!

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always! TOP




God's Existence

Conversation about God's Existencewith Professor

Professor : You are a Christian, arent you, son ?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?

Student : Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didnt. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent.)

Professor: You cant answer, can you ? Lets start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Is satan good ?

Student : No.

Professor: Where does satan come from ?

Student : From GOD

Professor: Thats right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isnt it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student :Yes

Professor: So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, dont they?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them ?

(Student had no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

Student : No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student : No , sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smell your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

Student : No, sir. Im afraid I havent.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student : Yes.

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesnt exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student : No, sir. There isnt.

(The lecture theatre became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we dont have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we cant go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isnt darkness?

Student : Youre wrong again, sir. Darkness 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 its called darkness, isnt it? In reality, darkness isnt. If it is, were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldnt you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?

Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science cant even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.

Student: Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

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

Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class was in uproar.)

Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professors brain?

(The class broke out into laughter. )

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professors brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess youll have to take them on faith, son.

Student : That is it sir Exactly ! The link between man GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

We really feel this is a great conversation concerning faith. If you are questioning your faith or know someone that has questions concerning God and faith please use this or if you have questions please feel free to ask. We would love to converse with you.

By the way, that Student was EINSTEIN.

Just Askin'

Just askin'

Me : God, can I ask you a question?

God : Sure.

Me : Promise you won't get mad.

God: I promise.

Me : Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

God : What do you mean?

Me : Well, I woke up late.

God : Yes.

Me: My car took forever to start.

God : Okay.

Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.

God : Huummm.

Me : On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call.

God : All right.

Me: And on top of it all, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?

God : Let me see, the Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me : (humbled): OH...

GOD : I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me : (ashamed)

God : The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.

Me : (embarrassed): Ok...

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me : (softly) I see God.

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I'm sorry God.

God : Don't be sorry, just learn to trust me.....in all things, the good and the bad.

Me: I will trust you.

God : And don't doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan.

Me : I won't God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.

God : You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God, and I love looking after my children.




Lamb With a Broken Leg

Lamb With A Broken Leg 

A woman visiting in Switzerland came to a sheepfold on one of her daily walks. Venturing in, she saw the shepherd seated on the ground with his flock around him. Nearby, on a pile of straw lay a single sheep, which seemed to be suffering. Looking closely, the woman saw that its leg was broken.

Her sympathy went out to the suffering sheep, and she looked up inquiringly to the shepherd as she asked how it happened. “I broke it myself,” said the shepherd sadly and then explained. “Of all the sheep in my flock, this was the most wayward. It would not obey my voice and would not follow when I was leading the flock. On more than one occasion, it wandered to the edge of a perilous cliff. And not only was it disobedient itself, but it was leading other sheep astray.

“Based on my experience with this kind of sheep, I knew I had no choice, so I broke its leg. The next day I took food and it tried to bite me. After letting it lie alone for a couple of days, I went back and it not only eagerly took the food, but licked my hand and showed every sign of submission and affection.

“And now, let me say this. When this sheep is well, it will be the model sheep of my entire flock. No sheep will hear my voice so quickly nor follow so closely. Instead of leading the others away, it will be an example of devotion and obedience. In short, a complete change will come into the life of this wayward sheep. It will have learned obedience through its sufferings.”

Many times it is the same in human experience. Through our suffering, God may be seeking to teach us obedience and reliance on his care.

~Anonymous