Providence United Methodist Church

161 Providence Rd, Forest City, NC  28043

 
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Here are more inspirational stories we thought would be a blessing to you. Hope you enjoy!



THE ROCK CLIMBER

A rock climber had a goal to climb the highest mountain in the world. The man spent years preparing and training himself to accomplish his dream. The only problem was he wanted all the glory for himself; therefore he wanted to climb the mountain alone.

The day came when he felt he was ready to start on his adventure and so he began his way up the mountain. During one of the nights, however, as he approached the top, the clouds covered the moon and the stars. Nevertheless the man chose to continue the climb even though he had zero visibility.

Only a few feet from his destination, however, he slipped and fell. Gravity sucked him through the air down the mountainside at a tremendous and frightening speed. All the man could see was black spots before his eyes.

As he was falling his life flashed before him. He was thinking about how he was rapidly getting closer and closer to death when suddenly he felt the rope tied around his waist pull him hard. Unexpectedly he was jerked to a stop and suspended in mid-air with only the rope to hold him.

As he collected himself from the waves of adrenalin, terror and physical trauma, in the stillness and silence of the night he cried out to God for help.

Surprisingly a deep voice from heaven spoke to him and said,

"What do you want me to do?"

The man replied, "Save me."

The voice said, "Do you really think I can save you?"

Again the man answered, "Of course I believe you can."

"Then cut the rope tied around your waist," he said.

The man thought about it long and hard, but decided instead to hold onto the rope with all of his strength.

Unfortunately the next day rescue workers found the climber, frozen and dead, still clinging tightly to the rope. The clincher, however, was that he was only a few feet from the ground. He did not turn loose of the rope nor did he know he was only a short distance from his deliverance.

Solomon reminds us to "Remember our Creator – before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

Many times the things in this life we cling to so tightly may very well be the things that will, in the end, destroy us. Perhaps, for example, it is a bad habit or relationship.

Jesus said, "Those who seek to save their lives will lose it, but those who lose their lives for My sake will find it."

This is a difficult lesson to learn – to have a loose reign on the things of this world – to cut the rope, so to speak - and to hold tightly instead to the promises of God. For after all, our salvation and hope is found in Him and Him alone.



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RUNNING IN THE RAIN

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in.

"Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.

"What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.

"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain."

"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.

"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, "If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

The Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.

Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well, maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.

Then off they ran.

We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. But they did get soaked. However, they were followed by a few others who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did too. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.

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AUSTIN’S PRAYER

My 9-year-old's last-second request surprised his doctor and taught me a valuable lesson about sharing the gospel.
Tina Blessitt

Last fall my 9-year-old son, Austin, had his tonsils removed. Before the surgery, Austin's anesthesiologist came to start an IV. He was wearing a cool surgical cap covered in colorful frogs. Austin loved that "frog hat.":

The doctor explained that he had two choices. He could either try to start the IV, or he could wait until Austin was up in the operating room. In the OR the doctor would give Austin some "goofy" gas, and start the IV when he was more relaxed.

"So, Austin," he asked, "which do you want?"

Austin replied, "I'll take the gas."

But when the doctor started to leave, Austin called, "Hey, wait."

The doctor turned. "Yeah, buddy, what do you need?"

"Do you go to church?"

"No," the doctor admitted. "I know I probably should, but I don't."

Austin then asked, "Well, are you saved?"

Chuckling nervously, the doctor said, "Nope, but after talking to you, maybe it's something I should consider."

Pleased with his response, Austin answered, "Well, you should, 'cause Jesus is great!"

"I'm sure He is, little guy," the doctor said, and quickly made his exit.

After that a nurse took me to the waiting room. Someone would come and get me when Austin's surgery was done.

After about 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist came into the waiting room. He told me the surgery went well and then said, "Mrs. Blessitt, I don't usually come down and talk to the parents after a surgery, but I just had to tell you what your son did."

Oh boy, I thought. What did that little rascal do now?

The doctor explained that he'd just put the mask on Austin when my son signaled that he needed to say something.

When the doctor removed the mask, Austin blurted, "Wait a minute, we have to pray!"

The doctor told him to go ahead, and Austin prayed, "Dear Lord, please let all the doctors and nurses have a good day. And Jesus, please let the doctor with the frog hat get saved and start going to church. Amen."

The doctor admitted this touched him. "I was so sure he would pray that his surgery went well," he explained. "He didn't even mention his surgery. He prayed for me! Mrs. Blessitt, I had to come down and let you know what a great little guy you have."

A few minutes later a nurse came to take me to post-op. She had a big smile on her face as we walked to the elevator.

"Mrs. Blessitt, I couldn't wait to tell you something exciting that your son did."

With a smile, I told her that the doctor already mentioned Austin's prayer.

"But there's something you don't know," she said. "Some of the other nurses and I have been witnessing to and praying for that doctor for a long time. After your son's surgery, he tracked a few of us down to tell us about Austin's prayer. He said, "Well girls, you got me. If that little boy could pray for me when he was about to have surgery, then I think maybe I need his Jesus too."

She then recounted how they joined the doctor as he prayed to receive Christ right there in the hospital.

Wow! Austin had played a small part in something wonderful. But then, so did the nurses who prayed and witnessed.

I thought about John's words in his Gospel, "One sows and the other reaps" (John 4:37).

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THE WOODEN BOWL

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four year - old grandson.

The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

"We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.

Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded,

"Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up."

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:

  • a rainy day
  • the elderly
  • lost luggage
  • and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life"..

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

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GOD LIVES UNDER THE BED

I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...."

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplane stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05 eager for a day of simple work.

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be..

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never as happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent , always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

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THE BARBER

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children?"

"If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument.

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

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WATCH THE GARBAGE TRUCKS

How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly one can get back their focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab.

Here's what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you."

"When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did."

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck." I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People." Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks." see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about. The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? Here's my bet. You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so..
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe that everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance , TAKE IT!
If it changes your life , LET IT!
Nobody said it would be easy...
They just promised it would be worth it!

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Subject: A very nice metaphor for an old truth...

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:

"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves.... that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups."

"Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups."

The happiest people don't have the best of everything..... They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

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GOD'S 26 GUARDS

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan.

While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.

This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point.

On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine, and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital.

Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord.

I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident... .

Two weeks later I repeated my journey.

Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. ."

At this, I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite.

The young man pressed the point, however, and said, "No, sir, I was not the only person to see the guards, my friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone."

At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened.

The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story:

"On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to start when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up? "

The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary wasn't concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw.

There were 26!

This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord moves in behalf of those who love Him. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it.

As the above true story clearly illustrates, "With God all things are possible."

More importantly, God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful.

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today.
To guide you and protect you as you go along your way.
His love is always with you, His promises are true, and
when we give Him our cares you know He will see us through.
So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best,
Just remember I'm here praying, and God will do the rest.

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DADDY’S EMPTY CHAIR

A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.

"I guess you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?" said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up."

"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter, said the man.

But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.

I abandoned any attempt at prayer, the old man continued, until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, "Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest:"

"Sit down in a chair; Place an empty chair in front of you, And in faith see Jesus on the chair."

It's not spooky because he promised, "I will be with you always". Then just speak to him in the same way You're doing with me right now.

So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

"Did he die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him."

"But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

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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 mommy 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.

God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.

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WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."

I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing.

"This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.

"How is it that? There's no work going on here?" I asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.

"Simple," the angel answered. "Just say, "Thank you, Lord."

"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the wealthy in the world."

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. Also.....If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world."

"If you can attend a church meeting without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world."

"If your parents are still alive and still married... you are very rare."

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair."

Ok, what now? How can I start?

Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

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WEALTH VS. NOT

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

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SKY ANGEL COWBOY

A 13 yr old boy called the Sky Angel Cowboy – Logan Henderson - lives in the middle of Nebraska on a ranch isolated from much of the world. Logan listens to Christian Radio Station KSBJ from Houston, Texas that he picks up on Sky Angel.

Logan called the DJ in late October 2007.

"Hey, Mike, can I talk to you?"

"You bet Logan, what’s up?"

"I want to tell you something that God just told me."

"Last night my dad was roping this calf. And this calf had been born from a really old cow…she, she didn’t really have the greatest milk – She didn’t have like the vitamin C and stuff, but anyway … she broke her back. And this morning I went out and put her down myself."

"I was talking to God and I was asking God, 'Why? She was special.'"

And God said, "You know, Logan, my son was special too. But He died for a purpose."

"It is kind of the same thing. The calf was close to me and God’s son was close to Him."

"But I just wanted to tell you guys that... that it’s so important. Just remember when you lose a loved one or a pet. Always remember that God gave His son too. And He understands. He will always understand. He will always. Just run to Him."

"Logan, you’re wiser than you know buddy."

"Oh, I just figured I’d better call and share with you guys. Love you."



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TEN LITTLE CHRISTIANS

Ten Little Christians, standing in a line,
One disliked the pastor, then there were nine.

Nine little Christians stayed up very late,
One slept too late on Sabbath, then there were eight.

Eight little Christians on their way to Heaven,
One took the low road, then there were seven.

Seven little Christians chirping like some chicks,
One disliked the music, then there were six.

Six little Christians seemed very much alive,
but one lost his interest then there were five.

Five little Christians pulling for heaven's shore,
but one stopped to rest, then there were only four.

Four little Christians, each busy as a bee
One got her feelings hurt, then there were three.

Three little Christians knew not what to do,
One joined the sporting crowd, then there were two.

Two little Christians, our rhyme is nearly done,
differed with each other, then there was one.

One little Christian, can't do much 'tis true;
brought his friend to Bible study-then there were two.

Two earnest Christians, each won one more,
that doubled the number, then there were four.

Four sincere Christians worked early and worked late,
Each won another, then there were eight.

Eight splendid Christians, if they doubled as before,
In just a few short weeks, we'd have 1,024

In this little jingle, there is a lesson true,

You either belong to The Building, Or to the wrecking crew.



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Bran Muffins

The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.

Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, "Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now."

The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. "Why, nothing," Peter replied, "remember, this is your reward in Heaven."

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth. "What are the greens fees," grumbled the old man.

"This is heaven," St. Peter replied. "You can play for free, every day."

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

"Don't even ask," said St. Peter to the man. "This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy."

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.

"Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?," he asked.

"That's the best part," St. Peter replied. "You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!"

The old man pushed, "No gym to work out at?"

"Not unless you want to," was the answer.

"No testing my sugar or blood pressure or... "

"Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself."

The old man glared at his wife and said, "You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!"



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4 BOY FRIENDS


Once upon a time there was this girl who had four boyfriends. She loved the 4th boyfriend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the Best.

She also loved the 3rd boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.

She also loved her 2nd boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girls 1st boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the first boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him.

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short.

She thought of her luxurious life and wondered: I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone.

Thus, she said to the 4th boyfriend, "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No way!", replied the 4th boyfriend and he walked away without another word.

His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then said to the 3rd boyfriend, "I loved you all my life. Now That I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No!", replied the 3rd boyfriend. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to marry someone else!"

Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then said to the 2nd boyfriend, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the 2nd boyfriend. "At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave."

His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go."

The girl looked up, and there was her first boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the girl said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!7quot;

In truth, you have 4 boyfriends in your lives:

  • Your 4th boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.
  • Your 3rd boyfriend is your possessions, status and wealth. When you die, It will all go to others.
  • Your 2nd boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.
  • And your 1st boyfriend is your Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, your soul is the only thing that will follow you where ever you go.

Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.

Thought for the day: Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray.

Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections.



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TEENAGER'S VIEW OF HEAVEN

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like.

"I wowed 'em," he later told his father Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever wrote.."

It also was the last.

Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room.

"I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it," Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband, therefore, want to share their son's vision of life after death.

"I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him," she said.

Brian's Essay: The Room...

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room..

There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked."

I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

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

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird - "Books I Have Read", "Lies I Have Told", "Comfort I have Given", "Jokes I Have Laughed at .."

Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers". Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents."

I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched", I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts", I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!

In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With".

The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

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

"No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus." I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.

He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again…

He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.

Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.

His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.

He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door.

There were still cards to be written.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Be at peace with yourself.
Be kind to all you encounter.
Life is too short to have regrets.


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The Nursing Home

The 92-year-old petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably fixed and makeup perfectly applied even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the Nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room... just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged... it's how I arrange my mind."

"I've already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do."

"Each day is a gift and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life."

"Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories."

"Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing."

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  • Free your heart from hatred.
  • Free your mind from worries.
  • Live simply.
  • Give more.
  • Expect less.

    ~Author Unknown~



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    The Little Girl in the Park

    There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by.

    She never tried to speak, she never said a word. Many people passed but no one would stop. The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the little girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot as she was yesterday, and still with the sad look in her eyes.

    Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone. As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress was obscenely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to help.

    Deformities are a low blow to our society and, heaven forbid if you make a step toward assisting someone who is different. As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the obscene shape of her back more clearly. She was grotesquely shaped in a humped-over form. I smiled to let her know it was OK, I was there to help, to talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple Hello.

    The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a "hi," after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me and with a sad face said, "Because I'm different."

    I immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, "I know."

    "Little girl," I said, "you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent. She looked at me and smiled. Slowly she got to her feet and said, "Really?"

    "Yes, you're like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by."

    She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she spread her wings and said, "I am. I'm your Guardian Angel," with a twinkle in her eye.

    I was speechless, sure I was seeing things. She said, "For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done.

    "I got to my feet and said, "Wait. So why did no one stop to help an angel?"

    She looked at me and smiled, "You're the only one that could see me," and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically.

    So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.

    - Contributed by Jodi Kalas



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    Rudy's Angel


    (author unknown)

    I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

    Rudy often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

    Rudy knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on.

    Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two. Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak. Suddenly a woman came beside me.

    She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks. She saw me watching her and she smiled.

    "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know."

    I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

    "My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together."

    She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

    I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

    I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine. As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes.

    "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms.

    "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.

    I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know?

    Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone.

    "Oh, Rudy, you haven't forgotten me, have you?" I whispered, with tears in my yes. He was still with me and she was his angel.

    Contributed by Kay McCrary



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    The Legend of the Starfish

    A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned.

    The boy was walking slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said,

    "I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Surely such an industrious and kind-hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?"

    The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, "It makes a difference to that one."



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    KEEPER

    Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a housedress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

    It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence.. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

    But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

    Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it.... it's best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick. This is true... For marriage.... old cars... children with bad report cards...... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents.... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with..

    There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special..... And so, we keep them close!

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    God Vs Science

    A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, "Let me explain the problem science has with religion."

    The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

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

    "Yes sir," the student says.

    "So you believe in God?"

    "Absolutely."

    "Is God good?"

    "Sure! God's good."

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

    "Yes."

    "Are you good or evil?"

    "The Bible says I'm evil."

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

    "Yes sir, I would."

    "So you're good...!"

    "I wouldn't say that."

    "But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn 't."

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

    The student remains silent.

    "No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

    "Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"

    "Er...yes," the student says.

    "Is Satan good?"

    The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."

    "Then where does Satan come from?"

    The student falters. "From God."

    "That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"

    "Yes."

    "So who created evil?" The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

    Again, the student has no answer. "Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?" The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."

    "So who created them?"

    The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. "Who created them?"

    There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"

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

    The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"

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

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

    "No, sir, I have not."

    "Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"

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

    "Yet you still believe in him?"

    "Yes."

    "According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?"

    "Nothing," the student replies. "I only have my faith."

    "Yes, faith," the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith."

    The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. "Professor, is there such thing as heat?"

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

    "And is there such a thing as cold?"

    "Yes, son, there's cold too."

    "No sir, there isn't."

    The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called "cold". We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees."

    "Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold."

    "Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."

    Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

    "What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"

    "Yes," the professor replies without hesitation. "What is night if it isn't darkness?"

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

    "That's the meaning we use to define the word."

    "In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?"

    The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. "So what point are you making, young man?"

    "Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."

    The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. "Flawed? Can you explain how?"

    "You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains. "You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't 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. 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 monkey?"

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

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

    The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

    "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 now not a scientist, but a preacher?"

    The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

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

    The student looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out into laughter.

    "Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? 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, with all due respect, sir."

    "So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"

    Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

    Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."

    "Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life," the student continues. "Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"

    Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

    To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

    The professor sat down.

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    LORD PROP US UP...

    Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who alway s prayed, 'Lord, prop us up on our leanin' side.' After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

    He answered, "Well sir, you see, it's like this... I got an old barn out back. It's been there a long time; it's withstood a lot of weather; it's gone through a lot of storms, and it's stood for many years.

    It's still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.

    So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall.

    Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I've been around a long time.

    I've withstood a lot of life's storms. I've withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I've withstood a lot of hard times, and I'm still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, 'cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

    Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning towar d bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn't . So we need to pray, "Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord. "

    If you stare at this barn for a second you will see who will help us stand straight and tall again."

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    The Burden

    Author Unknown

    "Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life I wondered.I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence.

    "Oh God," I cried, "let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!"

    With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me.

    Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: The figure of a man standing before a cross.

    "My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?"

    "Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that... I can't go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry it anymore."

    "But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

    "I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?"

    "My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would like to try a different one?"

    "I can do that?"

    He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of these."

    All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled with a name.

    "There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken.

    "Let me try that one." How difficult could her burden be? I thought.

    The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulders. I sank my knees beneath its weight. "Take it off!" I said. "What makes it so heavy?"

    "Look inside."

    I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak.

    "Joan, you'll never be good enough for my son," it began. "He never should have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren..."

    I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer.

    "I see why her burden is so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling and helping others. I didn't realize...."

    "Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly.

    I tested several. Paula's felt heavy: She was raising four small boys without a father. Debra's did too: A childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I came to Ruth's burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home.

    "They're all too heavy, Lord" I said. "Give back my own."

    As I lifted the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others.

    "Lets look inside," He said.

    I turned away, holding it close. "That's not a good idea," I said.

    "Why?"

    "There's a lot of junk in there."

    "Let Me see."

    The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me so I opened my burden.

    He pulled out a brick.

    "Tell me about this one."

    "Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to the doctor. They've never been to a dentist. And I'm tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs."

    "My child, I will supply all of your needs... and your children's. I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight."

    Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked.

    "Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. "But, Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him...."

    "My child," He said, "If you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience."

    Then He took some pebbles from my burden.

    "Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and can't stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!"

    "My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight."

    My burden now seemed lighter than before.

    "I guess I can handle it now," I said.

    "There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick."

    "Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it."

    "My child, give it to Me." Again His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound.

    "But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so.....Lord! What happened to Your hands? They're so scarred!"

    No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars-as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh.

    "Lord," I whispered. "What happened to You?"

    His loving eyes reached into my soul.

    "My child, you know. Hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it."

    "How?"

    "With My blood."

    "But why, Lord?"

    "Because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me."

    I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the cross and hurled my brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple.

    "Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now."

    "Yes, Lord, I will call on You."

    I reached to pick up my burden.

    "You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's.....

    As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

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    The Three Trees

    Author Unknown

    Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

    The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

    The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

    The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

    Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.

    The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

    The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered. With a swoop of his ax, the third tree fell.

    The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

    The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake.

    The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

    Many, many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. "I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered.

    The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

    One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.

    The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

    One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.

    It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

    The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

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    If I Were The Devil

    By Paul Harvey

    If I were the Devil.....

    I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world.

    I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings.

    I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around.

    I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue.

    I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership.

    I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies.

    I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient.

    I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more that human beings.

    I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a law suit.

    I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them.

    I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda.

    I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.

    I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation.

    I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art.

    I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled.

    I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct.

    I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive.

    I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional.

    I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

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    Graduation

    I was exhausted from working my two jobs over the weekend and was not looking forward to the graduation ceremony. I have been to many graduations and I know how boring they are for most people. To top everything off, my wife and I had our two kids under the age of three with us. Both of the kids were squirming and whining, and I knew it was going to be a long afternoon. Our sole comic relief came when my three-year-old patted and rubbed the head of a bald man we did not know in front of us. As the ceremony dragged on I kept thinking of all the places I would rather be, and made up my mind that I wasn't going to enjoy myself.

    It was your ordinary graduation ceremony: a hot, sweaty auditorium filled with people fanning themselves with their programs, listening to speech upon boring speech, and the endless calling of names as each matriculator walked across the stage to grab this piece of paper that symbolized his or her academic accomplishment. It was getting harder and harder to pay attention. Just as my attitude started to go sour, they began calling out the graduate's names. The classmates formed a single file line and made their way up towards the podium.

    That's when I caught my first close-up glimpse of Kim. She looked up at us and was trying in vain to hold back the tears. She was not doing a good job of it. Believe me, holding back emotions is not something that Kim does very well. There she was, standing in line, about to receive her diploma, and she was probably thinking about a number of things. Maybe her dad who passed away a few years ago and didn't get to see her reach her goal, or her grandmother, who also passed away recently, and who had always wanted to attend college, but her family didn't have the money... For me it was like something from a movie. You know, the dramatic slow motion scene where all the crowd noise grows quiet, and the camera slowly moves up on her face as the tears begin to fall. She was a good distance away from us, but to me it was as if she were standing in front of me. That simple act of looking up at those loved ones who had come to watch her graduate, and gently rubbing the tears of joy, accomplishment, and pride out of her eyes really got through to me.  The selfishness in me melted away, and I realized why I was there and not somewhere else.

    "KIMBERLY ANNE CONWAY, GRADUATING MAGNA CUM LAUDE," came booming over the auditorium's sound system, and she walked gracefully across the huge stage and received this piece of paper that symbolized so many things to her. Then just before she walked off the stage, she turned around towards those who had come to share the day with her, and, with the brightest smile on her face, waved and grinned at us like a little girl getting on the school bus for the first time.

    I glanced at my wife, and saw the tear-drops roll gently down as the love she had for her sister manifested itself on her face.

    You see, Kim is not your ordinary college graduate. She is thirty- eight years old, and has stuck with her goal of graduating from college for the past twenty years. It's not like she is going to look back on that part of her life, sigh, and say, "College... the best twenty years of my life!"

    She attended college while working full time, and she studied extremely hard, especially the past couple of years as she pushed toward her goal of a college degree. Many times she felt like quitting, and, if it weren't for her support group of other nontraditional students that cared for her, she would have given up on her goal. Many times she would call one of the other students she knew and tell them she wanted to quit, and would be talked out of it. Then a while later this student would call her and say she wanted to quit and Kim would talk her out of it... (Luckily, they both didn't want to quit at the same time!)

    I have the utmost respect for Kim. It takes a special person to stick with a goal as long as she has. I attended college for three years when I got out of high school, but I stopped when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. Many times I have looked back and wished that I had stuck with it and gone on to be a high school teacher.  If for no other reason, I wish I had finished something that I had started.

    I know what it feels like to walk out of that last final exam of the semester, breathe in the fresh air just outside the doors of the university, and feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders for at least a little while. I can't even begin to imagine what it felt like for Kim after so many years...

    I love you, Kim, and I want you to know that I admire you for that symbolic piece of paper that will soon adorn a wall in your house.

    In the words of Caleb, my three-year-old:  "HAPPY GRADULATION, AUNT KIMMY!"

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    The Bag Lady and Thanksgiving Dinner

    It was very cold and a light snow was falling as young Jimmy Dorche piloted his Ford Escort down the street toward the city park. Snow on Thanksgiving was a rarity in this part of the country and it caused almost as much excitement as the traditional turkey dinner, the traditional afternoon of football, or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. But none of these things were on 17-year-old Jimmy's mind at the moment as he carefully maneuvered his car over the blacktop. He had his own tradition to tend to and what he was looking for he would probably find in the deserted park.

    Usually bustling with activity, even on cold days, the park was practically empty now. Everyone was home with friends and family enjoying their Thanksgiving turkey. Jimmy was tempted to have a bit more dinner himself, but his second helping sat on the car seat beside him along with a big hunk of Mom's homemade pumpkin pie and a Thermos bottle of hot coffee. Jimmy wouldn't succumb to temptation and eat more today.

    For the past two years, Jimmy had established a tradition for himself. He had never suffered a hungry day in his life. The son of an unwed teenaged mother, he was given up for adoption as an infant and was taken in by a Christian family. When he was fifteen, to honor his Lord as well as his parents, he decided to take his second helping of Thanksgiving dinner to the park to share with a homeless man or woman.

    His first year, he had found a man who had been on his own since he was thirteen. In the summer he worked odd jobs, but in winter he lived at the local rescue mission where he earned an occasional dollar by cleaning up the place. The second year, he shared his Thanksgiving dinner with an elderly man whose wife had died long before and his children had moved to another city. They never contacted their father nor offered to help him in any way. "I reckon they're ashamed of me," the rheumy old man had said.

    Throughout the year, Jimmy often thought about the two men. He had gone to the mission to try to find them, but they were gone without a trace. Now Jimmy wondered who he would meet this Thanksgiving.

    As soon as he arrived at the park, he saw a ragged woman sitting hunched over on the bench of one of the heavy concrete picnic tables provided by the city. She wore an old battered red coat and a dark wool cap over her matted, graying hair. Close beside her was the tattered bag that carried all her worldly possessions.

    Jimmy pulled the car into a parking place and got out. He took the covered dishes and the Thermos bottle from the front seat and began walking toward the bag lady. When he stood in front of her, she jumped as if she had suddenly been awakened from dozing. She looked up at Jimmy. Suddenly her eyes brightened and she started to speak but, instead, she lowered her head and stared at the frozen ground.

    "God bless you, ma'am," Jimmy said, smiling. "I have brought you some Thanksgiving dinner. Would you do me the honor of sharing it with me."

    The woman looked at the food. She was very hungry -- she hadn't eaten since last night's dinner at the mission. She nodded and Jimmy served her food, uncovered the plates, put a napkin and silverware on the cold concrete picnic table, and poured her a streaming cup of coffee from the Thermos. Then he watched her as she ate. Although it was very cold in the park, he felt warm inside. The God of love was clearly at work within him. He loved his tradition and he intended to continue it -- and more -- for the rest of his life.

    When the woman had finished, he cleared the table and put the dishes into a pile. He poured another cup of coffee into her Styrofoam cup and closed the Thermos. Then he reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. He thrust the money into her gnarled hand. Then he reached over and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

    "May God richly bless you, ma'am," he said softly. "And thank you for giving me the honor of sharing my Thanksgiving dinner with you." With that, Jimmy picked up his dishes and returned to the car.


    She had stayed in the city purposely to see him grow, but remained carefully in the background and out of sight so she would not embarrass him or cause him pain. Her own life was a shambles -- time spent in state mental hospitals and, at other times, living on the streets. But she had seen him grow into manhood and was very proud of his many accomplishments. Today, she had longed to tell him who she was, but could not bring herself to do it. Instead she thanked God that He had so richly blessed her today, in spite of her trials.

    Tears welled up in her eyes. She had seen her son on Thanksgiving and he had loved his mother.

    "The greatest among you will be your servant."   (Matthew 23:11 NIV)

    [ by Ed Price -- from 'Themestream' ]

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