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Thread: Just sharing.

  1. #2041
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    Story: On the Wrong Train

    Jason stood at the train station, his army bag in hand. He’d been told by his commander to board the train labeled “True and Pure.” But at the moment, Jason had forgotten this commandment. In fact, he temporarily forgot everything when he saw an amazingly comfortable-looking train pull up and call out, “All aboard.” Without thinking or even asking where the train was headed, Jason hopped on board.

    Jason nestled into the plush seat. He was tired from many long battles, and this train felt fabulous. Leaning back, he relished in the sensation of the soft material against him, the clean walls and windows, and the delicious smell of the food the service attendants were getting ready to serve. With everything so nice, why did he feel so uneasy?

    He hadn’t gone far before he started to notice a problem. Something wasn’t right with the service attendants on this train. They gave him everything he wanted, but why did he get the impression they were waiting to pounce on him? A glance out the window made his heart pound. Was that enemy territory he saw? Where was this train going, anyway? He chided himself for not having found out. He looked around for any trace of a Pure and True sign, but he didn’t see one. With a groan, he realized he’d been fooled into getting on an enemy train.

    Jason turned his attention to figuring out a way off the train. It was going way too fast to jump off, that he knew. He inquired about the next stop, but the servant attendant ignored his question and instead offered him another beverage. He took it uneasily. Where were they going?

    Jason was not left in suspense for long. The train soon pulled to a stop in front of a depot that looked more like a prison. Jason tried to run away as soon as the train stopped, but he discovered that the delicious food and beverages he’d consumed on the train had left him weak. He found himself helplessly led inside the depot and thrown in a damp, dirty, and altogether unpleasant room not unlike a prison cell. He was indeed trapped.

    Then Jason remembered the radio in his pocket. He quickly found it and radioed his commander. “I got on the wrong train and ended up trapped. I can’t escape. Please help—I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to your instructions,” he whispered, least anyone overhear.

    “Make your way to the door. I’ll get you out,” came the prompt reply.

    “Right now?”

    “Right now. I’m right outside the door—I’ve been near you the whole time, just waiting for you to realize what you’d done and ask for help. I paid the ransom to free you from the enemy years ago, remember?”

    Jason hurried to the door, remembering well the tremendous price the commander had paid to ransom him. True to his word, the commander quickly opened the door and, supporting Jason with his arm, led him through a special passageway out of the enemy depot to a waiting jeep. Oh, how good the fresh air felt to Jason!

    The commander drove Jason back through the enemy lines to a friendly depot, leaving him there to board a Pure and True train. As Jason waited, he thought back over what had happened. How foolish he had been to jump on a pleasant-looking train without thinking through its destination!

    “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” Romans 6:21

    “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

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  3. #2043
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    A Soldier with a Mission

    When Timothy first joined the army, he was so excited. He knew he was fighting an important war. Above all, his heart thrilled at the thought of serving underneath his captain–the one who had saved his life and enlisted him in his army.

    His enthusiasm bubbled over into everything he did and to everyone he met. Whatever task he was assigned–whether big or small–Timothy had attacked with joy and enthusiasm. He might not see how, but he knew the drills and tasks before him were all part of an important war. Otherwise, the captain wouldn’t have assigned them. And he knew that after the war ended, the captain would take them all to live in the new kingdom together. When other soldiers annoyed him, Timothy let their words fall off his shoulders. His enemy would like nothing more than to get them to waste their energies in anger at each other!

    You could say Timothy was a soldier with a mission. He knew why he was there, whom he was serving, and where he was going. And he let that knowledge put a joy and delight into everything he did.

    But as the weeks went by, Timothy gradually lost sight of the big picture. He, like so many of his fellow soldiers, got caught up in just making it from day to day. He still did his drills and tasks, but he did them as a man checking a box. He began allowing other soldiers’ comments irritate him. Worse still, he began being critical of others. Timothy was no longer a soldier with a mission.

    One day, Timothy bumped into another soldier named Zach. Zach was struggling with a lack of joy and asked Timothy for advice. Timothy tried to help, but his words sounded hollow to himself. Where was his own joy?

    His conversation with Zach caused Timothy to remember the big picture–to remember why he’d enlisted in the first place. He remembered what the captain had done and promised to do for them. He began praising in his heart again instead of complaining. Slowly but surely, he remembered why he was there, whom he was serving, and where he was going. And as he did, his zeal and joy returned. There was no need to just make it through the day. Once again, he was a soldier with a mission.

    “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

    “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

  4. #2044
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    Life's Echo

    A son and his father were
    walking on the mountains.
    Suddenly, the son falls
    hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
    To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating,
    somewhere in the mountain: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

    Curious, he yells: "Who are you?"
    He receives the answer:
    "Who are you?"
    Angered at the response,
    he screams: "Coward!"
    He receives the answer:
    "Coward!"

    He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"
    The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."

    And then he screams to the mountain:
    "I admire you!"
    The voice answers:
    "I admire you!"

    Again the man screams:
    "You are a champion!"
    The voice answers:
    "You are a champion!"

    The boy is surprised,
    but does not understand.
    Then the father explains:
    "People call this Echo,
    but really this is Life.

    It gives you back everything
    you say or do.
    Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
    If you want more love in the world,
    create more love in your heart.

    If you want more competence
    in your team, improve your competence.

    This relationship applies to everything, in all
    aspects of life.

    Life will give you back
    everything you have given to it.

  5. #2045
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    If You're Thirsty, Drink!

    "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness...Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" Isaiah 55:1,2,6

    I woke up this morning thirsty. Yet it wasn't for nearly an hour that I finally made my way downstairs and quenched that thirst with water. Before that, I complained mentally about being thirsty, but I did nothing about it.

    Foolish, I know, yet don't we do the same thing spiritually? We know God is the only one who can satisfy our spiritual thirst, yet we allow ourselves to ignore that thirst and pursue satisfaction in something else. Or maybe we wallow in self-pity or false humility, blaming ourselves for being such poor Christians and messing up again instead of running to the Source of Life who died because He knew we had no good in ourselves. Perhaps we allow habitual sins to reign in our hearts, struggling against them on our own in vain, forgetting that the One who bids us come has already broken the power of sin and offers us His victory if we will but come.

    Whatever the case, we don't have to walk in unquenchable thirst. We don't have to live with our eyes on ourselves. That Living Water--Jesus--is there. He bids us come. He bids us cry out to Him. And He promises that all who seek Him will find Him.

    "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

  6. #2046
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    Biscuit bounced into the room with all the energy and joy of a puppy, despite being a two-year-old lab. She wagged her tail and happily buried her face in Jason’s lap.

    Jason lovingly stroked her head. He loved Biscuit. And so far, Biscuit had seemed delighted with her new owner. Ever since he had rescued her from the pound, she had seemed to understand that Jason loved her and would care for her. He was so very different from her previous owner, who had treated her harshly.

    *******

    One day, Jason couldn’t find Biscuit. It was so unlike her not to greet him the moment he walked in the door. What had happened?

    He finally found her hiding underneath a bed. She hid her head in her paws when she saw him, trying to hide her eyes and make him disappear.

    “What are you doing, Biscuit? It’s okay…you can come out.” It took quite a bit of coaxing before Biscuit finally came out from under the bed. Her whole frame trembled, as her head was hung in shame. Tail drooping in between her legs, she led Jason into the other room. As Jason surveyed the broken china and glass all over the floor, he suddenly understood. Biscuit had obviously broken the lamp and then hid herself under the bed, afraid her master would no longer love her.

    Jason reached out his hands gently and stroked Biscuit. “It’s okay, girl. I still love you. Nothing you do will make me stop. You may have consequences for what you do,”—Jason added this as he noticed a small cut on her foot caused by some of the broken glass—“but I’m still going to care for you.”

    It took several days of Jason repeating these words and still lovingly caring for Biscuit before the happy wag came back to her tail. Once again, she was at peace in her master’s care.

  7. #2047
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    Biscuit was still adjusting to her role as mother. She took the responsibility of caring for her four puppies very seriously. In fact, she hadn’t seemed to realize yet that Jason would care for them just as he had for her. Once they finished nursing, she seemed convinced it was still her job to provide food for them. She even tried her hand at hunting—which proved a comical, although utter, failure.

    Jason faithfully put out food for each puppy as well as the mother. Each time he did, though, Biscuit seemed incredibly surprised and relieved. It took months before she finally realized she didn’t have to worry—her master would take care of her puppies as well as her. The happy wag returned again to her tail. She was at peace in her master’s care.

    *******

    At one point in time, Biscuit ended up with a broken leg. Jason, as usual, took good care of her. He got the leg set and casted (even though Biscuit hated the veterinarian working on her) and gave her medicine to ease the pain. He even carried up the stairs when her leg was too sore to make the trip.

    But as the days went on, Biscuit began to show signs of depression. She wouldn’t eat well, and she didn’t seem interested in anything.

    Jason kept trying to interest her in all the things she still could do—sitting on his lap, chewing a bone, etc., but Biscuit remained uninterested. All she wanted to do was run and play outside—and since she couldn’t do it, she seemed determined to be miserable.

    “What’s wrong with your dog?” Jason’s friend Mike asked one afternoon when Biscuit shrank back from his attempts to interest her in a toy. “She used to love that toy.”

    Jason nodded. “I know. She’s been this way ever since her injury. She doesn’t seem to believe that I’m still here caring for her.”

    “Too bad,” Mike remarked. “She was always such a happy one. What are you going to do?”

    “Do? Why, keep loving and caring for her, of course. Maybe one day she’ll realize she can rest in my care, no matter what’s happening or how she feels.”

    “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.” Psalm 116:7

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    Where Are We Going?

    "Just trust me and obey my directions. I'll guide you turn by turn." Those had been her father's words when they first set out on this special trip together.

    At first, Jessie had been excited. She knew her father loved her, and she could hardly wait to see where he'd planned for them to go. In her mind, she kept imagining possible destinations.

    Then, one by one, they had been passing the destinations she had in mind. As she passed each familiar intersection, she'd ask her father, "Are you sure we shouldn't turn here?" But he'd shake his head.

    As one possible destination after another zoomed by, Jessie's mind instantly replaced it with another possible location and began racing with all the wonders in store for her there. Ah, we turned left on Maple. Maybe we're going to end up at Mary's house. We'll have so much fun together--that must be why Father had us pass by the store I'd hoped we would stop at and why he had us turn onto Maple, she reasoned...until they passed by Mary's house too.

    To add to her discouragement, Jessie noticed as she passed Mary's house that many of her good friends were there. She also saw that another friend had stopped at one of the stores Jessie had longed to stop at. It seemed everyone else got to experience the places she dreamed about.

    On and on they drove. Disappointment followed disappointment for Jessie as one after another of her hopes came to nothing. Sometimes her father clearly told her to bypass a road she wanted to travel; other times a roadblock or impassible road made it impossible to go the way she wanted, ruining all her plans.

    Jessie kept driving, but as she continued her heart began to feel heavy. She knew deep down her father knew what he was doing, but she still felt unsettled. Was she just wasting her life driving around aimlessly?

    "Father, can't you please tell me where we're going? I'll be fine with anywhere. Just tell me where," Jessie pleaded.

    Jessie's father looked at her lovingly. "Jessie, do you trust me?"

    Jessie nodded. She knew above all else that she could trust her father. "But have I misunderstood your directions?"

    Jessie's father smiled. "Do you really think I'd let you go far the wrong way without correcting you? You can trust me to pull you back on track."

    "But Joanne and Nadia ended up at Mary's house and-"

    "And don't look at where others end up. They have their own challenges and temptations. Don't forget that I am here with you, leadng and guiding, and I love you perfectly. My dear daughter," Jessie's father added, "won't you just trust me to lead you where you need to go and start enjoying our time together in the car? "

    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

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    Waiting Happily


    Early this morning I woke up to find a dog sitting outside my deck door looking into my house. It startled me to see his content, expectant, happy countenance. And it puzzled me that his demeanor did not change when I walked toward the door to look at him more closely, nor when I walked back away from the door. I wondered, Why is this dog here? What is it waiting for? Was it lost? How can it be so happy and content? How and why had it come to this dead-end part of the deck--two stories above the ground?

    This dog's sweet countenance got me to thinking about waiting on the Lord, not only without anxiety and fear, but with joyful expectation! This dog was waiting joyfully for me...and he didn't even have a clue who I was or that I could be trusted. How much more contentedly should we wait when we know we can trust the Lord!

    This month, as you wait on the Lord for different aspects of your life or homeschool, I pray you will wait like the dog this morning--with joyful expectation. I can assure you God has the whole picture and your ultimate best interest in sight--your eternal interests. Join me in thanking Him that His mercies are new every morning.

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    The Other Woman


    After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping
    alive the spark of love.

    A little while ago, I went out with another woman.

    It was really my wife's idea.

    "I know you'll love her," she said one day, taking me by
    surprise.

    "But I love YOU too," I protested.
    "I know, but you also love her."

    The other woman who my wife wanted me to visit was my mother who
    had been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my
    three children had made it possible to visit her only
    occasionally.

    That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a
    movie. "What's wrong, are you well," she asked?

    My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night
    call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

    "I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with
    you."

    I responded, "Just the two of us." She thought about it for a
    moment and then said, "I would like that very much."

    That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was a
    bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she,
    too, seemed to be nervous about our date.

    She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her
    hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate
    her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was
    as radiant as an angel's.

    "I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and
    they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car.

    "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

    We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very
    nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First
    Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes
    could only read large print.

    Halfway through the entree, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting
    there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.
    "It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were
    small," she said.

    "Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor,"
    I responded.

    During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation, nothing
    extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's
    life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we
    arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you
    again, but only if you let me invite you."

    I agreed.

    "How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

    "Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,"
    I answered.

    A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack.

    It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do
    anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with
    a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I
    had dined. An attached note said:

    "I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn't
    be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates; one for you
    and the other for your wife.

    You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you."

    At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time:
    "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they
    deserve.

    Nothing in life is more important than God and your family.

    Give them the time they deserve because these things cannot be
    put off until "some other time."

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    Job Usurping


    Jeremy wanted desperately to be helpful. In fact, he had given up several opportunities in order to stay home and help his father. But now Jeremy was incredibly frustrated. It felt as if he wasn’t accomplishing anything. Sure, he had a few small tasks to do, but they were nothing special. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to do something great. And he resented all the circumstances that kept preventing him from fulfilling any of his plans.

    As Jeremy entered the barn one day, he stopped short as he heard his brother singing while he worked. Jeremy sighed to himself. He remembered the day when he used to sing while he worked too. What had happened to his joy?

    He knew what had happened. Previously, he’d chosen to rejoice, knowing that his father was giving him his daily assignments and had the future all in control. He’d rejoiced in his father’s love and care. But lately—although he never would have acknowledged or worded it this way—he’d begun to doubt his father’s care. He knew that was a pretty foolish thing to do. His father was incredibly wise and smart…and totally loving. Jeremy knew that. Yes, he knew it—but would he live as if he knew it?

    Jeremy didn’t quite see how to, but he knew the first step was to repent and start replacing his complaints with praise. Whenever the complaints would fill his mind, he began choosing to say a praise instead. He also began reminding himself of his father’s character and love—and of how faithful his father had always been. Slowly but surely, the cloud began to lift from his heart and a smile crept back once again. Once more, he was content to let his father direct his steps, even if that plan didn’t seem very special at the moment.

    ~~~~~~~

    “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    ~~~~~~~

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    Jeremy knew the fields needed planted soon. His mind kept racing to try to figure out what he should plant where. Should they grow potatoes or corn in the backfield? Should they order from Seeds Express or Seeds Forever? How many tomatoes should they plant? The list of decisions went on, and with each additional one, the tension in Jeremy’s heart grew that much bigger. He finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He hurriedly sought out his father.

    Jeremy’s father was waiting for him and, as always, listened lovingly as Jeremy poured out his list of decisions. “You know, Jeremy, I’ve already made all those decisions.”

    Jeremy looked up in surprise. “You have?”

    Jeremy’s father nodded. “A looong time ago. Jeremy, I’ll tell you what to order when. Just seek me and ask what you need to do and be about what I tell you to do.”

    Those words lifted a huge weight from Jeremy’s shoulders. No wonder he’d felt so exhausted lately—he’d been trying to do his father’s job! Now how silly was that? His father had it all under control.

    ~~~~~~~
    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
    ~~

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    “Benjamin, that’s not how you feed the pigs. Daniel, would you please try to pay attention to the instructions I printed on how to milk a cow?”

    Jeremy’s patience was completely exhausted with his brothers. He wanted desperately for each of his brothers to do a good job—for his father, of course!

    And the neighbors—now they were a whole other story. Jeremy wanted them to get to know his father too—he knew that was what his father wanted. But sometimes it felt quite impossible to convince any of them to so much as talk with his father.

    Once again, Jeremy was discouraged. And once again, he sought out his father.

    His father explained, “My dear son, you’re taking on my job again.”

    Jeremy looked at him in surprise. “I am?”

    His father nodded. “It’s my job to train your brothers and deal with them if they’re not getting it—it’s just yours to faithfully teach them what I tell you. And it’s my job to get the neighbors to talk to me—it’s just yours to faithfully present to them the truths I gave you to share with them. You can’t control any outcomes; that’s my job. All you can do is faithfully obey what I tell you.”

    Once again, a load fell from Jeremy’s shoulders. Oh, when would he learn to stop trying to take over his father’s job!

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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    Casting Cares


    I need to get someone else to walk the neighbor’s dog.

    The thought came to Chloe as she lay on her bed, unable to move or think much due to an accident the day before. She knew she was helpless to do anything about her commitment to walk the neighbor’s dog. Why, she could hardly even open her eyes, and it seemed to take every ounce of her energy to merely whisper a yes or no to simple questions.

    She tried to figure out a plan of who could walk the dog, but she quickly realized she couldn’t even do that. The mere attempt was making her feverish. “Papa,” she whispered.

    “I’m right here, Dear,” came the sweet, always gentle reply.

    “Rojo…needs…walked.” The words were punctuated with great gasps for breath.

    “I’ll see it’s taken care of,” came the immediate reply.

    “But how…?”

    Chloe’s father laid a gentle hand on his daughter’s forehead. “Never you mind how. I’ll take care of it. Just trust me.”

    “Do you know where the leash is kept…and—” but Chloe’s father put his finger on Chloe’s lips.

    “Stop worrying about it, Chloe. If I need you to tell me anything or do anything on it, I will tell you. Let it go. I’ve got it.”

    Chloe relaxed. Her father would tell her if there was anything else she needed to tell him. He had it in his hands.

    “When am I supposed to take my medicine?” came the next troubled question. Chloe was so afraid she’d forget something important—her brain felt like mush.

    “Not till later. Stop thinking about it. I’ll tell you when it’s time and help you take it. Chloe, Sweetheart, there’s something you need to understand.”

    “Yes, Papa?”

    “Your job right now is to rest. When worries come into your mind, just tell them to me and let them go. I promise that I will take care of them, and that if there’s something you need to do about them, I will tell you and help you do them. But you can’t bear them.”

    A faint smile stole across Chloe’s face. That was certainly true. Why, she could hardly even open her eyes. It was shear foolishness to think that, knowing as little as she did right now of life outside the four walls of her room, she could even make an intelligent decision on her own. Chloe finally relaxed. She could trust her father to handle every care.

    “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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    Stuck in the Jungle

    Jason let his machete rest by his side. He was so tired of hacking his way through this jungle. He felt as if he took one step forward only to encounter some obstacle that either pushed him back or delayed his progress. His feet longed to race again on normal soil. How long would this jungle stretch on? When could he run again?

    “Getting a little eager to be on our way again, are we?” asked a kind voice at Jason’s side.

    Jason gave his friend Matt a half-hearted smile. “A little more than a little. I’m downright tired of this.”

    Matt nodded. “Me too,” he replied. “But you know, I’ve been thinking.”

    “About?”

    “About the king’s instructions. When he sent us out on this race, he told us it wouldn’t be easy. Ever since the rebellion, nothing down here in Earthville is easy. But remember, the king sent his son to redeem us and bring us to his kingdom, where all is as it should be. Once we’re there, all these trials will be over once and for all. And in the meantime, he told us we should run the race set out for us with patience.”

    Jason shook his head despondently. “I’m trying to be patient, Matt. At the same time, it seems as if this jungle will never end! I just so long for firm, clear ground again.”

    Matt nodded. “I know. And yet when we were on a clear stretch awhile back, our legs ached and longed for a rest, remember?”

    Jason nodded. “They sure did.”

    “Well, that’s just it. Until we get to the king’s kingdom, there’s always bound to be some sort of pain or suffering. But remember? The king himself marked out our course, and he did it out of love. He sees what we can’t. He knows how long this jungle stretches on. And this jungle is exactly where he wants us to glorify him right now.”

    “Okay, but don’t you think we could glorify him more running a little faster than this jungle allows? I could cover so much more distance without all these obstacles!” Jason countered, waving his hand to indicate the dense foliage through which they’d been traveling.

    “Jason, that’s just it! These obstacles and this ground is where the king marked out our course, so obviously it’s where we’re to travel. This race isn’t about our comfort or getting what we want.”

    Jason knew Matt’s words were true. But he still didn’t see how he could go on. “I get all that…but I’m out of energy. I just don’t know how to keep going.”

    Matt nodded. “Yeah, I guess I’m pretty tired too. But didn’t the king promise to provide all we needed? Didn’t he say he’d always give us the victory? Didn’t he give us his very shoes and tell us he was with us and could give us strength when we had none? And didn’t he give us these supplies and bid us drink and eat?”

    A light bulb suddenly went off in Jason’s head. What fools they’d been! Of course they would be unable to make it through the jungle on their own strength. They had forgotten to partake of the king’s provisions! They just needed to lift their eyes from the jungle and remember what the king had done, was doing, and had promised to do.

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3

  17. #2057
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    Carrying Extra Weight


    “Hey, Jackson, what are you doing with all that weight on your shoulders?” Ethan asked, surprised to see his friend with several pounds of weight tied to his shoulders.

    Jackson looked up, attempted to straighten himself, and then slumped back from the burden of the weights. “Hi, Jackson. I’m doing fine—just a little discouraged.”

    “Well I would be too if I insisted on walking around with all that weight on my shoulders,” Ethan declared. “I ask again, why are you carrying all of that?”

    “All of what?” Jackson asked, mystified.

    “All that weight—don’t you feel it?” Ethan asked.

    Jackson put his hand on the weights around his neck, sudden understanding dawning. Was that why everything had been such a chore? “I…uh-” Jackson stammered, unsure what to say.

    “You are carrying around weights for no reason,” Ethan finished for him. “How did it happen?”

    Jackson tried to remember. “Well, I think I just started picking up the weights as I came across them. I was trying to help others by doing so, but it seemed the more I picked up, the less I could help anyone. To be honest, Ethan, I’ve been having a hard time thinking or functioning. Everything has seemed so tiring. Just existing has been a drudgery.”

    “And no wonder! You’ve been trying to do it all with all those weights. You can’t help anyone while carrying those around—they’ll just keep you from being useful.”

    Thought to Ponder: Are we carrying weights—worries and burdens—about ourselves, others, our society? It doesn’t help anyone to carry those worries—we have to give them to the Lord so we can walk in freedom and joy and truly be able to help others.

    “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    Paper Route


    Forty-three years seems like a long time to remember the name of
    a mere acquaintance. I have duly forgotten the name of an old
    lady who was a customer on my paper route when I was a twelve-
    year-old boy in Marinette, Wisconsin back in 1954. Yet it seems
    like just yesterday that she taught me a lesson in forgiveness
    that I can only hope to pass on to someone else someday.

    On a mindless Saturday afternoon, a friend and I were throwing
    rocks onto the roof of the old lady's house from a secluded spot
    in her backyard. The object of our play was to observe how the
    rocks changed to missiles as they rolled to the roofs edge and
    shot out into the yard like comets falling from the sky.

    I found myself a perfectly smooth rock and sent it for a ride.
    The stone was too smooth, however, so it slipped from my hand as
    I let it go and headed straight for a small window on the old
    lady's back porch. At the sound of fractured glass, we took off
    from the old lady's yard faster than any of our missiles flew
    off her roof. I was too scared about getting caught that first
    night to be concerned about the old lady with the broken porch
    window.

    However, a few days later, when I was sure that I hadn't been
    discovered, I started to feel guilty for her misfortune.
    She still greeted me with a smile each day when I gave her the
    paper, but I was no longer able to act comfortable in her
    presence. I made up my mind that I would save my paper delivery
    money, and in three weeks I had the seven dollars that I
    calculated would cover the cost of her window.

    I put the money in an envelope with a note explaining that I was
    sorry for breaking her window and hoped that the seven dollars
    would cover the cost for repairing it. I waited until it was
    dark, snuck up to the old lady's house, and put the envelope of
    retribution through the letter slot in her door. My soul felt
    redeemed and I couldn't wait for the freedom of, once again,
    looking straight into the old lady's eyes.

    The next day, I handed the old lady her paper and was able to
    return the warm smile that I was receiving from her. She
    thanked me for the paper and said, "Here, I have something for
    you."

    It was a bag of cookies.

    I thanked her and proceeded to eat the cookies as I continued my
    route.

    After several cookies, I felt an envelope and pulled it out of
    the bag. When I opened the envelope, I was stunned.

    Inside were the seven dollars and a short note that said,

    "I'm proud of you."

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    Default Re: Just sharing.


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