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Thread: Just sharing.

  1. #2121
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    God works in mysterious ways

    It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the North had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the towns-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

    As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food."

    My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.

    I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

    Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.

    The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he replied, "just resting."

    "Have you eaten today?" "Oh, I ate something early this morning."

    "Would you like to have lunch with me?"

    "Do you have some work I could do for you?"

    "No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."

    "Sure," he replied with a smile.

    As he began to gather his things. I asked some surface questions. "Where are you headed?"

    "St. Louis."

    "Where you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida."

    "How long you been walking?"

    "Fourteen years," came the reply.

    I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

    Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona.

    He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly.

    He gave his life over to God. "Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."

    "Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

    "Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me.

    But God has given me this calling.
    I give out Bibles.

    That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."

    I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"


    "To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"

    "Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments.

    Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

    My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come, Ye blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."

    I felt as if we were on holy ground.

    "Could you use another Bible?" I asked.

    He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see."

    I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

    "Where you headed from here?"

    "Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."

    "Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"

    "No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission.

    I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

    Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked.

    "I like to keep messages from folks I meet."

    I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."

    "Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."

    "I know," I said, "I love you, too."

    "The Lord is good."

    "Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.

    "A long time," he replied.

    And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."

    "I'll be there!" was my reply.

    He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

    "You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."

    "God bless." And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

    Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.

    "See you in the New Jerusalem," he said.

    Yes, Daniel, I know I will.


    "I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again."

  2. #2122
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    God's rosebud

    A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day.

Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.

    The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any of the petals.

    The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.

    But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

    Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud, without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem...

    It is only a tiny rosebud,

    A flower of God's design;

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

    The secret of unfolding flowers

    Is not known to such as I.

    GOD opens this flower so easily,

    But in my hands they die.

    If I cannot unfold a rosebud,

    This flower of God's design,

    Then how can I have the wisdom

    To unfold this life of mine?

    So, I'll trust in God for leading

    Each moment of my day.
    I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way.


The path that lies before me,
    Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,

    Just as He unfolds the rose.

  3. #2123
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    How much is a miracle?

    Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and their house.

    Only a very costly surgery could save Andrew now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."

    Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all of the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

    She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was to busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

    "And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

    "Well, I want to talk to you about MY brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

    "I beg your pardon?" asked the pharmacist.

    "His name is Andrew, and he has something bad growing inside of his head, and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

    "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

    "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

    The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"

    "I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But, my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

    "How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

    "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

    "Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents -- the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

    That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge. And it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

    "That surgery," her Mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

    Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents... plus the faith of a little child.


    A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.

  4. #2124
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    Is your hut burning?

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

    Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect Him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. Then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost.

    He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

    Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

    It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground-it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

    For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for it.

    You say: "It's impossible"
    God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

    You say: "I'm too tired"
    God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

    You say: "Nobody really loves me"
    God says: I love you (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

    You say: "I can't go on"
    God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9& Psalm 91:15)

    You say: "I can't figure things out"
    God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    You say: "I can't do it"
    God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

    You say: "I'm not able"
    God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

    You say: "It's not worth it"
    God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28)

    You say: "I can't forgive myself"
    God says: I FORGIVE YOU (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

    You say: "I can't manage"
    God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

    You say: "I'm afraid"
    God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

    You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
    God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

    You say: "I don't have enough faith"
    God says: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

    You say: "I'm not smart enough"
    God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

    You say: "I feel all alone"
    God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

  5. #2125
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    It's how you see it

    A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He had a sign which read: "I am blind. Please Help." There were only a few coins in the hat.

    When a man came walking by, he took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. Then he took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words on the back. He put the sign where it was, so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

    Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

    That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were going. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"

    The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way. I wrote: 'Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.'"

    Both signs told people the same thing... that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were extremely fortunate that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

    Moral of the Story:
    Be thankful for what you have.
    Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively.

    When life gives you a reason to cry, show life that you have 100 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

    Keep the faith and drop the fear... just remember God is Near!

  6. #2126
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    Just push

    pushing the rockA man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.

    Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the Adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man's weary mind: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

    "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough." And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

    The Lord responded compassionately, "My child, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinew and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."

    At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. -- Romans 1:16

  7. #2127
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    Keep your fork

    A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her Pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures she wanted read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.

    Then she said, "One more thing... I want to be buried with a fork in my hand."

    The pastor was surprised.

    The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably say to everyone, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite time of the dinner, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie - something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ' What's with the fork?' Then, I want you to tell them, ' Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.' "

    The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.

    At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

    "Keep your fork. The best is yet to come."

  8. #2128
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    For Only A Dollar

    Today I went to Wendy's, the restaurant, which was one of
    those rare occasions I get to treat myself.

    I had it all
    planned out. I had been thinking about it all day.

    I was going to have my Wendy's usual, a chicken sandwich,
    small fry and small drink, which were all off the dollar menu.
    However, while placing my order, I had a change of heart. You
    see I live in Phoenix Arizona, and its 110 degrees today. So I
    decided to have the dollar frosty instead of the small drink.
    I decided to wait to order it until I finished my meal so that
    I could have it on the walk back to the bus stop. By the way,
    I was telling all this to the young guy who was taking my
    order. It makes me laugh at myself now. But he politely
    smiled, nodded and offered me a cup of ice water.

    I took my tray and sat down to enjoy my meal. As I was sitting
    there eating and listening to 3 unruly, crying kids and
    noticing 2 parents who think they are acting normal, an older
    gentleman came into the restaurant. He appeared to be in his
    seventies, very tall, very skinny, and a few days unshaven and
    very white hair. His clothes were clean but didn't fit right.

    He was carrying 2 backpacks, several newspapers folded neatly
    under his arm, and a large Igloo(r) water cooler. He placed his
    things in the booth next to mine and proceeded to the counter
    to order. At that time, I noticed how quiet the restaurant had
    become. No one was staring at the gentleman because they
    didn't want to make eye contact with him. Even the unconcerned
    parents were forcing their children to be quite and not look
    at him.

    I continued to watch everyone's reactions towards him, and I
    knew exactly what it felt like to be in his position. You see
    for the most part of the past 2 years, I have been homeless
    and it's hard to hide that fact. People don't know how to
    respond to you. They want to help, they know they should help,
    but for whatever their reasons are at the time they don't. So
    what do they do...?

    They get quiet and for God's sake don't make eye contact. As
    long as they don't make eye contact with you, they think you
    don't know that they know. However, we know and feel it more
    than you will ever know.

    I watched him order; he asked the young guy for ice for his
    cooler, then he ordered a large drink without ice. He paid
    with pennies. I noticed the look on the young guy's face. I
    recognized that look, he was nervous that the gentleman would
    not have enough money to pay. He then would have to make a
    decision on what to do; call a manager, put in some change of
    his own or tell the man to buzz off.

    The man had just enough to pay. He too had been planning his
    treat at Wendy's all day, he had counted that change over and
    over again to be sure he had enough before ever entering the

    He didn't want anyone to know and it was embarrassing enough
    to have to pay with a handful of 'found' pennies; but to do so
    and find you don't have enough is an even a bigger fear.

    So he
    paid and at that moment, he was rich. He was able to go into a
    cool place, order something, pay for it, read his paper and
    for a brief moment, feel normal.

    I continued to watch him and the others, not knowing exactly
    what to do myself. Sometimes we just want to pretend that no
    one knows. I watched him organize his things and he sat down
    next to me. He faced the window and his back was towards me.
    He didn't make eye contact. I watched him wipe the table and
    seat down before he sat down to read his paper.

    He took the
    drink without ice and poured it into the cooler; he stretched
    his dollar.

    I continued to enjoy my meal and tried not to
    feel sad for him, myself or those watching.

    Then I remembered my decision not to order the drink and to
    get a frosty instead. It all became clear. If I had ordered
    the drink, I would not have had the dollar in my pocket
    waiting on that frosty. I smiled at myself and said, "I get it
    God". I knew why you made me act a fool at the counter when
    ordering; I was suppose to have the dollar in my pocket at
    that moment. So I got up and walked up to the counter. The
    young guy said, "Ready for your frosty", and I said, "no, I
    think I need another chicken sandwich". He said, "Still
    hungry?" I replied "something like that".

    I took the chicken sandwich, sat back down at my booth, waited
    a couple of minutes and spoke to the gentleman. I told him I
    had an extra chicken sandwich and asked would he like it.

    He nodded his head yes, took the sandwich and began to eat it
    before he could unwrap it completely. I then noticed a strange
    reaction in the restaurant. It was no longer quiet. There was
    a buzz, but I wasn't sure why. Feeling good about what I had
    done and how much better that felt than the brain freeze I
    would have gotten from the frosty, I finished my meal.

    As I was gathering my trash, there was a rush to the counter.
    3 people from 3 different tables, including one of the parents
    from the unruly kid's table all headed to the counter.

    I sat back down to watch. One by one, they all brought him
    something over; first a fry, then a small salad and then a
    bowl of chili. All 3 saying the same thing I had said, I have
    an extra item, would you like it. He never said a word; he
    just reached out to take it and nodded yes to each. I watched
    for a minute longer as he arranged his banquet; he bowed his
    head for a moment and then continued on with his feast.

    I watched the others begin to leave the restaurant. They were
    walking very tall, big smiles and feeling pretty good. They
    got that feeling "For only a Dollar".

    I think sometimes we just don't know what to do, and we're
    just waiting for someone to show us. Today, God showed me what
    I needed to do. When I listened, look what happened. When we
    do something small it makes a world of difference. As I was
    leaving, the guy at the counter called his manager up and they
    both smiled at me as I left. I smiled with my big "Dollar"
    smile back and I felt seven feet tall.

    As I walked by the window, the gentleman waved at me and
    mouthed the words, "God bless you". I think I saw him wipe a
    tear from his eye. At that moment I felt pretty blessed and I
    definitely had to wipe a tear from my eye. And I got all this
    "For only a Dollar".

  9. #2129
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    The Carpenter

    Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell
    into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of
    farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and
    goods as needed without a hitch.

    Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small
    misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and
    finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by
    weeks of silence.

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

    "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you.
    Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in
    fact, it's my younger brother.

    Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his
    bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between

    Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one
    better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn?

    I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't
    need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."

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

    The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped
    the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for
    the day.

    The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing,
    nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter
    had just finished his job.

    The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.

    There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge.

    A bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other!

    A fine piece of work, handrails and all, and the neighbor,
    his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.

    "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said
    and done."

    The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge and then they
    met in the middle, taking each other's hand.

    They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his

    "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've got a lot of other projects
    for you," said the older brother.

    "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said,

    "but, I have many more bridges to build."

  10. #2130
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    The Other End Part 1.

    Tears streamed down my face when I got to the end of yesterday's
    column, "The Other End." It was not supposed to be released
    yesterday, according to the column, but someone was supposed to
    see it.

    I felt that someone was me!

    After nearly 16 years of service, my company laid me off two
    weeks ago. I didn't have as much responsibility as the man in
    your story, but I was middle-management working about 55 hours a
    week, with 50 employees, and responsibility of customer
    satisfaction in a $6M auto center. I was extremely stressed
    out, and my family life was suffering.

    I had reached a point in my life about six weeks ago, frustrated
    and tired, and prayed to God to help me. I told Him I would
    trust in Him wherever He led me.

    I decided to, "let go, and let God" help me.

    This was a big thing for me, because I had not been "religious"
    for some time. I was raised a Catholic, but over the years had
    grown away from the church.

    When I was laid off, I was stunned. I couldn't believe that
    this was what was supposed to happen when I left my life in
    God's hands.

    Then I remembered my vow to trust Him. I felt peace at that
    moment. I kept asking for signs that I am heading in the right

  11. #2131
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    The Other End Part 2

    It helps to keep life in proper perspective.
    Your perspective often depends on whom you associate with.

    I was at a business conference. I heard from entrepreneurs on
    the struggles of start-up, the mistakes and the successes.
    Everyone was geared to telling you how to get better which
    translated into how to get more.

    Captains of the industry were recognized not only for what they
    had done but most likely what they would do.

    The one exception was Ed Williams.

    Mr. Williams was retired. His days of glory and trailblazing in
    the industry were legendary, but they were days gone by.

    He was the former head of the Health and Beauty Aids section of
    Walgreens, one of the largest drug store chains in America.

    Everyone else was struggling to get and maintain,
    Ed was finished. He had a different perspective.

    "75% of my waking hours were spent working with Walgreens, seven
    days a week," he said. "When you retire, things change; it's a
    shock that most high-powered executives aren't prepared for."

    "I was over 5,000 people. I was responsible for over a billion
    dollars a year in sales. I went from that to an area where I
    didn't even know what the water bill was each month. Although I
    was head of the house, I soon realized that my wife ran everything."

    "I would wake up at 11 and ask my wife what's for breakfast.
    She replied, 'Breakfast is at 7:30; after 7:30 "what's for
    breakfast" refers to tomorrow.'"

    Ed Williams kept us rolling in laughter about his retirement.
    He was funny yet serious. Most of us had not given much thought
    to the other end of the road; we were busy on the treadmill of

    There are two ends of the road.
    Retirement, which is more of a speed zone than an end,
    and after we "cross over."

    "Too many of my colleagues dropped dead at 64," Ed explained
    when he was asked why did he retire. Ed didn't use a more
    politically correct term. "Dropped dead" was what he said.

    "Some of my fellow executives were worth millions but had never
    really left the office to enjoy it. I made up my mind to not
    follow that pattern."

    Ed Williams impacted me. It's easy to get wrapped up in the
    hustle and bustle of making another dollar. Even when your
    needs are met, you are still on the highway.

    While in the middle, it's good to realize there are other ends.

    Maybe it's time for some of you to leave the office for a few
    hours a week and smell the roses, before you push up the roses.

  12. #2132
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    Little miracles

    Golden Gecko

    The worst day of my life was the day I lost my best friend. I had just came back from a camping trip with my grandparents. Listo, a golden gecko and my friend for more than two years, had to stay behind with my mom.

    The second I got home I ran up stairs and to my room. There he was, just as he had always been. I lifted him carefully out of his cage and up to my face for inspection.

    "Listo. Did you miss me? I know I missed you." I softly spoke. Listo cocked his head and gazed up at me, as if he knew what I was saying.

    Listo was more than just a lizard to me. He always rode around on my shoulder as I went about my daily routine. If he wanted attention that he wasn't getting he would jump on my face. We went everywhere together, even the pet store to get crickets for him! Mark, the man who worked at the pet store we always went to, was constantly amazed at how calmly Listo sat with me. Listo was more than ordinary.

    I gave him a ride down the stairs and sat him at the computer desk. Just as I had always done. As I typed away he crawled onto the keyboard and looked up at me. I grinned down at him and shook my head.

    "Always have to get in the way, don't you? Are you going to let me get something done or not?" Listo continued to look up at me, grinning that permanent smile of his. I gently stroked him and moved him off the keyboard. Mischief, my kitten and sworn enemy of Listo, jumped onto my chair and curled up to sleep.

    "Samantha! Go get your shoes on and take out the trash!" My mom yelled from the kitchen. I sighed. Good to be back home. I got up and ran to get my shoes. Listo was left by himself, but I trusted him to stay put. He always did. Mischief and Listo didn't like each other, but since he was sleeping and my mom was right across from them, I figured he was safe.

    The approximate time of how long I was gone was less than two minutes. What could happen in that short amount of time? I ran back down the stairs and stared at the computer desk.

    "Mom, where is Listo?" I asked, full of confusion. Mischief was nowhere to be seen. Listo was nowhere to be seen. My mom walked over to me.

    "What do you mean?" She asked.

    "He was right here on the computer desk. Now he isn't." Panic was beginning to set in. He was little and defenseless. With Mischief around Listo had no chance.

    "Okay, lets just look every where. I'm sure he couldn't have gotten too far." My mom tried to reassure me. So we began to look under the curio cabinet, in the couch, in Mischief's mouth. We tore the house apart looking for him. Night had settled in and Listo was still missing. I was in shock. Tears poured down my face. How could this happen? It wasn't fair.

    "Don't cry, please. You took good care of him. He'll be all right on his own for a few days. We just have to keep looking. He couldn't have just disappeared!" My mom hugged me. I dried my tears and continued to look. I started to search upstairs. I was desperate. Finally I plopped down on the ground. We had searched all morning and night. In two minutes my little gecko had vanished off the face of the earth!

    My mom got the idea to bring his cage down and put it next to the computer desk. She said the sound of the crickets might draw him to his cage. I lay to sleep that night, but got none. All I could think about was where Listo could be and what would happen to him. Silently I cried for my best friend. I prayed for him to be okay. I prayed for him to come back.

    Morning came, but it didn't bring Listo. My mom went to work and I searched. By mid-day I had worn myself out and every possible place he could be. My mom called to check on me before she came home for work. Disappointment rang in her voice and tears choked up mine.

    Days went by and optimism dwindled. By the end of the week I had stopped looking except the hopeful glance under something occasionally. I just stopped caring about life. Food no longer appealed to me and talk just wasn't worth the effort. I couldn't sleep from worry and sadness. The times when I did sleep I dreamed of finding Listo. Some nights I dreamed of him dead or hurt. I hated night because it gave me time to think of what happened.

    Weeks went by. I was better, but I still wasn't okay. At least five times a day I would go to his cage to take him out, only to realize he was no longer there. At last, I completely gave up. Hoping it would make things easier, I threw away everything in his cage and stashed his cage deep in my closet. It helped, a little.

    An entire month passed. I no longer thought of my little Listo. Only when someone brought him up. Then the miracle I had been waiting for happened.

    My mom, my sister, and I pulled up into the driveway from a shopping trip. Justin, my mom's boyfriend walked out to greet us at the car. A little clear container was held in his hand. I couldn't see what was in it. He arrived at my car door as I was getting out.

    The second I saw Listo I burst into tears. I just couldn't believe it. A month! There he was, but not like he had always been. He was battered and bruised, skinny and frail. He was so weak he could hardly lift his head. Justin handed him over to me.

    "I was watching T.V. when I saw your cat playing with something. I looked over at him and there was Listo, sitting right beside me. I tried to give him some water, but he wouldn't drink." Justin said to me. I looked at Listo and Listo started to drink. I just couldn't stop crying. All I could think of was that he was going to die.

    We carried him inside and I brought him to my room. I held him quietly in my hand and the tears wouldn't stop falling. I gently stroked him and said soothing words to him. What was I going to do? How do you nurse a lizard back to health, after a month of being missing! I went back downstairs to ask my mom what we were going to do. She was on the phone with Mark, the pet store guy! She hung up and told me to calm down.

    "Mark said to buy pedialyte and feed him with a dropper every half hour for 24 hours. Spray him every so often to keep him hydrated. He only has a fifty percent chance of surviving. I'm going to go get some pedialyte, and you just keep him company." She raced off to the store while I comforted my poor, little Listo.

    All night long I stayed up with him. I fed him and sprayed him, and told him how much I loved him. My eyes began to droop at early morning, but I didn't fall asleep. It meant too much to sleep. By morning he was beginning to do better. He would bite the dropper, he had shed his dead skin, and seemed very alert. I knew he was going to be okay. When morning came I was exhausted, but happy. We went and bought all of his things again.

    After 24 hours my mom called Mark again. He told her to buy small crickets and try to feed him with a tweezers. I was quite unhappy. My biggest fear was crickets! Ironic due to the fact that I bought a lizard! I knew that Listo needed me, so I got over it and tried to feed him. He refused to eat it. I tried and I tried, but I was fighting a losing battle. I decided to stick a few crickets into his cage and hope he had the strength to catch them. I slept that night better than any other night.

    That morning I took him out of his cage and he went to the bathroom. He had eaten. Listo was going to make it!

    Listo is still trying to recover, but we are taking it one step at a time. Everyday I am thankful for everyone's help. Listo wouldn't have made it without Mark, Justin, and my mom. Listo acts like he was never gone and still likes to ride around on my shoulder. Since he came back I don't leave him alone at all. There may be no evidence, but I believe he ran off because of Mischief. I also still have no idea where he was hiding and never will know.

    I learned a very important lesson. Never lose hope. No matter how bleak it seems, don't stop trying. Miracles do happen!

    Copyright, 2007, Samantha Mankin - used with permission

  13. #2133
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    My father's angels

    I wasn't paying attention at the time to the good example my father set. He wasn't consciously "setting a good example" -- he was just living life according to his values.

    It was the 1950s in a small Middle Georgia farm town. Our family owned a clothing store in the middle of the main business block downtown. Six days a week, 8am until 6pm (9pm on Saturday), my father presided over his business. And sometimes an angel would come to our store.

    I didn't recognize those visitors as angels. Neither did my mother, who accepted my father's decisions but referred to Daddy's angels as "bums". She was concerned that they painted hobo marks to guide others to my father. My father was, and still is, an extremely kind man. He bought them lunch.

    I guess Daddy knew Mama's opinion and took precautions in case any individual "angel" might actually be an alcoholic. He would have a friendly, encouraging conversation with the person, who was shabby and obviously down on his luck.

    Then Daddy would walk him across the street to the Coffee Cup Cafe and pay for him to eat the daily special, a hearty meal. Depending on how the conversation was going, Daddy would sometimes sit and have lunch with him.

    Another variation on this theme was sometimes Daddy would bring the man to our house to do yard work to earn a bus ticket. Mama would feed him a good home cooked meal but would serve it to him in the kitchen or on the back steps.

    Daddy explained his theory of angels to his children this way: "It's Biblical. Sometimes God sends an angel among men unawares, to test us. How we behave toward the least of his children is how we treat Him."

    I remember chuckling at my "naive" father's actions later when I got more grown and more savvy. I laughed that he got it backwards about who the angel was.

    Now that I am middle-aged, I'm proud to say that I realize how blessed I am to have such a wise and good man, Joseph Van Johnson, as my father and my teacher.

    I am also doubly blessed to be meeting angels now myself. More than once I have recognized God Himself staring back at me from the face of a homeless mentally ill person. I understand now that my father was respecting the spirit of God that is within each of us.

  14. #2134
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    Nothing is written

    My all-time favourite film is "Lawrence Of Arabia" and, if I have a favourite scene from the movie, then I guess it is the one of Lawrence's triumphal return from the Nefud desert, having gone back to rescue the Arab Gasim. The crossing of the Nefud desert is considered impossible, even by the local Arabs, but Lawrence persuades them that, in this way, they can take the Turkish port at Aqaba from the rear.

    Having carried out the superhuman feat of traversing this furnace, it is discovered that one of the Arabs, Gasim, has fallen off his camel and is no doubt dying somewhere back in the desert. Lawrence is told that any idea of rescue is futile and, in any event, Gasim's death is "written". When Lawrence achieves the impossible and returns with Gasim still alive, Sherif Ali admits to him: "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it".

    As an impressionable teenager when this film was first released, I was stunned by Lawrence's courage and unselfishness in going back into the hell of the Nefud to attempt to find a man he hardly knew among the vast expanse of a fiery terrain and I was so moved by the sense of purpose of a man who is determined to take nothing as "written" but to shape his own destiny. This sense of anti-determinism and this belief that anything is possible has stayed with me always and continues to inspire me in small ways and large.

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