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Thread: Just sharing.

  1. #2181
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    Spilled apples


    A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their families that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

    In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of baskets of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. All but one. He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

    He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

    The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping, and no one to care for her plight. The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them into the baskets, and helped set the display up once more. As he did this, he
    noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $20 for the damage we did. Are you okay?"

    She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

    As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister..." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

    He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

    Do people mistake you for Jesus?

    That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

    If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day. You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

    Let us live like we are worth the price He paid. Think about it.

  2. #2182
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    The ice cream prayer


    Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

    As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"

    Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"

    Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

    As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.

    He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

    "Really?" my son asked.

    "Cross my heart." Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

    Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

    He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman.

    With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already."

  3. #2183
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    The magic letter


    Once again, I had run away and really do not know why. I would walk out the gate to go to school and then keep walking, and walking, and walking. I had just turned eleven-years-old the week before. It was almost dark; I was tired, scared, cold, and all alone. I had not eaten all day and was afraid to turn myself into the police. I knew I would receive another beating once I returned to the Children's Home Society in Jacksonville, Florida. There was nothing for me to do, except keep on walking.

    As darkness fell, I made my way over to the city park located on Park Street. I entered the darkened area and sat down on one of the wooden benches hoping to avoid the police cars. It was cold and I began to shiver uncontrollably. All was quiet except for the passing cars in the distance.

    "Well, hello young man." A voice came from behind me.

    I jumped, almost falling off the park bench. My heart was beating ninety miles per hour, and I could feel it thumping in the side of my neck. I gasp and I could hardly catch my breath. I looked up and saw a woman standing behind me in the shadows.

    "You look cold," she said.

    "I'm cold. I'm real, real cold." I continued to shiver.

    "Here wrap this around you."

    I watched as she took off her shawl and wrapped it around my shoulders.

    "But ain't you gonna be cold now?"

    "I'll be ok."

    "Is there anything else you need?” she questioned.

    "I sure could use some food."

    "Follow me," she said.

    I walked with her about twenty feet, then she stopped under one of the park streetlights.

    She held out her hand and said, "Here, you take this letter and give it to the store owner."

    I looked at her outstretched arm but saw nothing in her hand. "There's nothing in your hand," I told her.

    "Roger, reach out and take the letter from my hand," she replied.

    Slowly I reached out, acting as though I was taking something from her hand.

    "Now close your thumb and finger and hold the paper tightly," she instructed.

    I closed my thumb and finger as though I were grasping the letter.

    "Take it to any store owner."

    "What do I say to them?"

    "Nothing," she replied.

    "But what store do I go to?"

    "It doesn't matter," she said, as she smiled.

    I turned and began walking toward Five Points. Several blocks down the road, I came to a store with a woman sitting behind a counter. I opened the door, walked in, and stopped directly in front of her.

    "Can I help you?" asked the woman.

    I was hesitant to talk and had no idea what I should say. Very slowly I held out my hand toward her. I watched her face to see if she might think I was crazy or something.

    "Is that for me?" she asked.

    "Yes Ma'am.” I looked down at the floor.

    She reached out and as her hand touched mine, I opened my tightly closed fingers and stood there waiting. She pulled back, smiled, and looked down at her hands.

    She immediately turned and walked to the back of the store. I began to inch toward the front door for fear she might be calling the police. Just as I made it to the front door, I stopped as I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw the woman holding a paper plate.

    "Roger, here is something for you to eat."

    "How did you know my name?" I asked her.

    "It was on the paper."

    "But there wasn't no paper. I didn't see no paper," I told her.

    She smiled and motioned for me to eat by twirling her finger in front of her mouth. Within two or three minutes, I had downed the entire plate of food and several coca colas.

    "Are you full?" she asked.

    "Yes Ma'am."

    "Then it's time for you to go."

    I turned to leave when I felt her hand on my shoulder.

    "Here, your paper. You almost forgot your letter," she said, holding out her hand.

    Again seeing nothing, I held out my hand and closed my thumb and finger as though I were taking something from her. Tightly grasping nothing more than air, I walked out into the street and headed back to the park. When I arrived, the old woman was sitting on the park bench. "Did you eat?" she asked.

    "Yes Ma’am, and I had two coca colas too."

    "Good."

    "How do you do that magic?" I asked her.

    "It’s not magic."

    "But how does everyone know my name?"

    "It is written in the letter."

    "Can I have the letter so I can be magic too?" I asked.

    She reached out, took my hand, and opened my tightly closed fingers. Whatever was being held between my fingers, she took and placed into her apron pocket. "Would you help someone if they were hungry?" she asked me.

    "Yes Ma'am.

    "Would you help someone if they were hurt, cold or scared?"

    "Yes Ma'am. I would be their friend."

    "Roger, you are very lucky little boy. You will never need the magic letter," she responded.

    She stood up, kissed me on the forehead, removed the shawl from my shoulders, and began walking down the sidewalk. I watched as she disappeared into the darkness.



    © Roger Dean Kiser

    This is a true story by and about the author. By the age of four, Roger Dean Kiser had been abandoned, first by his parents and then his grandparents and placed in a Florida orphanage. This story of kindness is taken from "The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser." For more information, visit: www.rogerdeankiser.com

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    Twinkies and root beer



    A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey.

    When he had gone about three blocks, he met an elderly man. The man was sitting in the park just feeding some pigeons.

    The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.

    The man gratefully accepted it and smiled at boy. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.

    Again, the man smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

    As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the man, and gave him a hug. The man gave him his biggest smile ever.

    When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?

    "He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? God's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

    Meanwhile, the elderly man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked," Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

    He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added," You know, he's much younger than I expected."

    People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
    Embrace all equally!

  5. #2185
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    Friends


    Friends love you tops when you are at the bottom.
    Friends look up to you when the rest of the world is looking down.
    Friends lets you step on their toes to help you get on your feet.
    Friends show you the meaning of true friendship, not the meaningless of it.
    Friends shoot straight with you, not at you.
    Friends know most of your faults and care the least.
    Friends tell you when you are wrong, and not everybody else.
    Friends don't complain when you neglect them, only when you neglect yourself.
    Friends let you worry them more than their enemies.
    Friends want to know about your achievements as well as your losses.
    Friends are behind you when you're taking bows and beside you when taking boos.
    Friends don't split with you, when you flop, but split what they have.
    Friends are your best press agents and they do this for free.
    Friends have no greater love than to lay down their lives for their Friends.

    Thank you for being my Friend.

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    Nails in the fence


    This is an inspirational story about a little girl who had trouble controlling her temper, but she not only learned how to control it, she also learned the meaning of friendship and how, sometimes, the things we say can actually hurt the people we love.

    There once was a little girl who could not control her bad temper. So, her mother gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper, she must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

    The first day the girl had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails she hammered daily gradually dwindled down. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

    Finally the day came when the girl didn't lose her temper at all. She told her mother about this and her mother suggested that now she pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper. The days passed and the young girl was finally able to tell her mother that all the nails were gone. The mother then took her daughter by the hand and led her to the fence.

    She said, "You have done well, my daughter, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one." 

You can stick a knife into a person and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say "I'm sorry," the wound is still there. A verbal wound can be as bad as a physical one.

    Your friends are rare jewels indeed. They will make you smile and laugh, and encourage you to succeed or dissuade you from doing wrong. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts. So, cherish your friends, and beware of moments when anger or the wrong choice of words may cut deeper than a knife.

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  8. #2188
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    Courage On A Shirt


    In 1999 I was a teller in a local bank in our city, Kampala in
    Uganda. I had an experience one Saturday that makes me shiver
    with fright even up to now.

    I shared a house with a friend who also worked in a separate
    bank as a teller too. Two weeks earlier a young orphan girl my
    housemate was supporting by providing school tuition fees sent
    him a beautiful black T-shirt with an inscription at the front
    with the words "El Shaddai." On the back was a scripture
    passage, the words on the back said, "Do not be afraid, take
    courage and you will see what your God will do for you today".
    We used to share clothing, as most single men who live together
    are wont to do.

    On this particular Saturday morning while I was preparing to go
    to work, (we used to work half day on Saturdays) I felt a very
    strong urge to put on this T-shirt. However I realized my
    housie had used it the previous day and it smelled of sweat.

    I picked something else, but there was this overriding urge to
    put on the dirty shirt instead. I complied, picked the shirt,
    sprayed it with a deodorant to make it smell better and promptly
    dressed in it and was off to work.

    It was approaching midday, and thus it was time to balance up
    the day's transactions and end the day. As I prepared my
    payments and cash receipt vouchers, and counted the cash balance
    to hand over to my supervisor I realized I was short by
    5,000,000 Uganda shillings. (Equivalent to US$ 3,500 then)

    I was obviously perplexed, for it had not been a very busy day,
    and I had simply not had any major transaction that could have
    led to an overpayment of such a magnitude.

    I checked the cash and the vouchers once again and still could
    not trace the source of the difference. Panic began to set in,
    and I began to see myself possibly being arrested and detained
    for the loss. My monthly salary then was only Uganda Shillings
    235,000. (Approximately US$ 164).

    I reported the imbalance to my supervisor who promptly notified
    the branch manager, a tough no nonsense Asian gentleman. He
    simply told me one sentence; "John, return the money", and with
    that sentence I knew my fate never needed a prophet to predict
    and foresee, it was certain I was in big trouble.

    I began weeping inside me, crying to God to rescue me. That was
    a sum I could never pay back even if I went the whole year
    working without pay.

    But meanwhile another battle was going on in my spirit. The
    strong fear developing was being fuelled by a silent but pushy
    voice saying it is doom for me, forever. A voice began telling
    me I could never pay that money to my employer even if I worked
    for a lifetime, since I still also needed to pay rent, feed
    myself and pay fare to and from work. "Why not just kill
    yourself tonight!" And with the mention of that sentence so
    much fear and anxiety developed, I soon began to believe it, as
    desperation began to set in.

    I for lack of explanation, again went back to scrutinize the
    vouches and cheques one by one, being careful not to miss out on
    any clue that could provide an explanation. Does anyone still
    remember what I had at the back of my T-shirt? Neither did I
    remember at this point in time.

    I then came upon this cash deposit voucher which indicated that
    I had received 7,200,000 in the 5,000 shillings denomination. I
    immediately saw the source of the discrepancy, since I didn't
    have a full bundle of 5,000,000 shillings in 5,000 notes
    denomination. Actually a 2 had been written in a manner to show
    that it was a 7. In receiving the cash I received 2,200,000,
    but in the totals it had been added as a 7.

    I immediately called the person who had made that deposit and
    told him there was a problem with the money they had deposited.
    They denied and claimed the entries on their vouchers were
    correct, and besides I had already endorsed and appended a stamp
    as "received".

    In desperation I called the MD of the company (It was a big
    business company that dealt in import and export business) and
    explained to him what had happened. He told me he would be in
    the bank after a short while.

    After a two hour wait, during the course of which all my
    colleagues had wound up their work and left for home the Boss
    (MD) arrived. He went to my manager's office and asked, "Where
    is this cashier?" I was called in, he promptly handed me
    5,000,000 Shillings and said, "Young man you are a lucky man. I
    think you have a God". I could not believe my ears, nor my eyes;
    I just began weeping un-controllably.

    On inquiry as to what had really happened he explained thus:
    "After you called me, I decided to go to the company office and
    made an impromptu inspection of the lockers of each of the
    cashiers. And in one of them I found this money for which they
    could give no explanation. It takes a miracle for such a thing
    to happen."

    Meanwhile I had to write the banks end of day books of accounts
    closing the transactions of the day. Standing right behind me
    was the bank manager, the Chief Accountant and the Head Auditor.

    They were all reading the message on my T-shirt, amused the
    Chief Accountant asked me, "John, do you know what is written
    behind your shirt?" That was when I remembered, I wept for Joy,
    at the Lords deliverance.

    Were these a chain of well arranged and coordinated coincidences
    happening to a helpless employee?
    Well?
    You choose what to make of it.

    But friends, this is Our God at work; He is our Present Help in
    Times of trouble. Praise be to His Name.

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  10. #2190
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    Flat Tire Salvation


    By Charles Robey
    Soldier Joe was a colorful old character. No one knew exactly how old he was. To quote Joe, “He was older than dirt and twice as gritty.” And, he was loved by all, especially the staff and customers of the Haven of Rest Nursing Home.

    I first met Soldier Joe one spring afternoon. It was as if by divine nature that I had a flat tire in front of the Haven. And, I will never forget this first meeting. Soldier Joe ran off the nursing home front porch as if he was training for the Olympics. The first thing Joe said was, “Step aside Sonny, I’ll take care of that.” Joe insisted on helping me change my flat tire that day. What should have taken thirty minutes took over an hour, with Joe’s help. That was the first of our many meetings.

    Over the next few months I came to know Soldier Joe pretty well, and we became very close friends. One bright Sunday afternoon I just happened to drive by the nursing home. Joe was sitting on the porch dressed in a unique looking uniform with a shiny ‘S’ on each collar. Again, as if by divine intervention, I found myself on the porch talking with Soldier Joe. “What are you wearing, Joe?” I asked.

    “Well Sonny, that’s my uniform. I am just waiting on the bus to take me to church.” Joe then said he was a member of The Salvation Army, Gods Army.

    I though it strange what Joe said that day, but it didn’t sink in until later when Joe invited me to church. Yes, I agreed and picked Joe up to take him to church. What a unique group of soldiers. All were wearing the same military type uniforms as Soldier Joe. Why, the woman even wore unique old fashioned bonnets.

    The service started rather strangely as the leader stood up and announced a knee drill. The soldiers responded by kneeling to pray. They started bringing various people’s names before God and asked that their needs be met. Soldier Joe even requested an unspoken prayer request. Obviously, not being familiar with church, I just remained quiet so as to not disturb the soldiers as they prayed.

    The entire group joined in as if by divine direction, singing and clapping as they sang. Some of the women even played tambourines while one of the gentlemen kept time with the music by beating an old base drum. At one point in the service the preacher stood up and shouted, “Fire a Volley”, and all the soldiers responded by loudly shouting out “Amen and Hallelujah.”

    I thought it very strange when the preacher started to preach. He looked straight back at me and talked as if he had known me all my life. “Joe?” I asked, “Does this preacher know me?”

    Joe just smiled and replied, “I would understand what the preacher meant by and by.”

    Well, I just let it go since Joe’s answer seemed to be like all the other canned church talk I’d heard. As the service ended, one of the soldiers grabbed a flag and another soldier grabbed the old base drum. The two started marching around the room followed by a number of the other soldiers singing and praising God. What a strange song they were singing.

    “The Salvation Army has a right to beat the drum.
    The tambourine, the banjo, to make the Devil run.
    Come join our army and get the Gospel Gun.
    And shoot it at the Devil, if you want to see him run.”
    Well, time passed on and Joe and I seemed to go our separate ways, until one Sunday afternoon I was passing by the nursing home when lo and behold, you guessed it, I had another flat tire. Only this time, I had no jack. My only thought was to borrow the nursing home phone and get help. As I passed through the front lobby, I knew instantly something was wrong.

    I approached the nursing station, and overheard Joe’s name. I stopped in my tracks. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Suddenly, a man dressed in the same type of uniform as Joe wore gently placed his hand on my shoulder.

    “Joe’s not here,” the man exclaimed. Then he stated that Joe had been, “Promoted to Glory.”

    Before the fellow soldier could explain his remark, he just handed me an envelope. I could tell it was from Joe. I would have known Joe’s shaky handwriting anywhere. I just quietly walked over to a nearby bench so as to not to disturb the others and opened the envelope. It was as if an angel appeared out of nowhere when Joe's unreadable handwriting became very clear. The note said;

    "Sonny, just a note to tell you how much you have blessed me. I can never physically repay you for being a part of this old man's life but my God can. Just trust in Him." Joe's note then ended with a scripture verse, "For by Grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Also stuck between the envelope and the hand scribbled note was another piece of paper bearing what appeared to be some sort of affirmation, “While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight, I'll fight to the very end!” (William Booth)

    Joe’s prayers were surely answered that day. I am now serving the living God in my little county Church. And, oh yes, about that flat tire. Well, God’s grace is sufficient for any need even a flat tire. Amen.

    Charles Robey is proud to be an avid supporter of the Salvation Army, as the son of a lifelong Salvation Army officer, who has been promoted to glory and now, holds the rank of Brigadier Charles Robey Sr. in God’s heavenly army.

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    An Afternoon In the Park


    There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and he started his journey.

    When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

    They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

    As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

    When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.

    She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"

    He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

    Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home.

    Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

    She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
    Now you can get these stories, inspiring videos, and free gifts sent straight to your email inbox!

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    He’s Orchestrating Each Detail

    It always amazes how beautifully all the different sounds of a nicely put together orchestra fit together. If an individual tone of the orchestration were isolated by itself, it would often seem harsh or unnecessary. Yet when mixed together by a skillful composer, the individual notes and sounds become music. Like a master composer, God knows just how to orchestrate our days much better than we do.

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    I Corinthians For Mothers


    If I keep my house immaculately clean, and am envied by all for my interior decorating, but do not show love in my family -- I am just another housewife.

    If I'm always producing lovely things - sewing, art; if I always look attractive, and speak intelligently, but am not loving to my family -- I am nothing.

    If I'm busy in community affairs, teach Sunday School, and drive in the carpool, but fail to give adequate love to my family -- I gain nothing.

    Love changes diapers, cleans up messes, and ties shoes - over and over again.

    Love is kind, though tired and frazzled.

    Love doesn't envy another woman -- one whose children are "spaced" better, or in school so she has time to pursue her own interests.

    Love doesn't try to impress others with my abilities or knowledge as as a mother.

    Love doesn't scream at the kids.

    Love doesn't feel cheated because I didn't get to do what I wanted to do today -- sew, read, soak in a hot tub.

    Love doesn't lose my temper easily.

    Love doesn't assume that my children are being naughty just because their noise level is irritating.

    Love doesn't rejoice when other people's children misbehave and make mine look good.

    Love is genuinely happy when others are honored by their children.

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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    A Bad Heart


    What you're about to read is an honest and personal account of a series of events that permanently altered the course of my life. It began with my unexpected discovery that I had a bad heart--not the organ that pumps life-giving blood through my veins, but that place deep inside where all my thoughts and motives originate. Here's how it happened: I grew up in church and believed in God.

    I knew I wasn't perfect but felt in my heart that I was basically a decent person. I would later find that the Bible describes the condition of every heart (yours and mine) as deceitful (Jer 17:9). There I was, living it up (so I thought), unaware that I was deader than a door-nail in my sin (Eph 2:1); utterly lost, yet certain I knew exactly where I was going.

    My own heart was deceiving me. I wonder--could your heart be deceiving you, too? Curiously, though, my perspective began to change. I had always known evil existed, but I understood it to be something menacing and remote. Hitler, for example, was an evil man. Imagine my shock when I discovered in my own heart (of all places!) a seemingly inexhaustible fountain of evil. I suddenly saw everything in a different light.

    Even the good I tried to do seemed tainted by selfish motives, or pride, or some other defect. Now sometimes I'm a slow learner, but it didn't take me long to realize I had a problem--a BIG problem. It was God.

    I know it's not too popular to talk about God's anger. We prefer a god who's always lenient, overlooking our faults. To our own detriment, most of us never bother to find out for ourselves what the Bible really says about God. It's surprising to many people, for instance, how much Jesus talked about hell. For example, He said "Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

    Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell" (Matt 10:28). That's hard. We'd really rather not have anything to do with a God like that. So we ignore Him, or try to soften His image a bit. But He won't change or go away. And so I feared God. I knew He was angered by my sin, and rightly so (Rom 1:18-20). Where once I had excused my shortcomings, I now had to shut my mouth (Rom 3:19).

    Desperate for answers, I prayed and read my Bible. What (or rather Who) I encountered there changed my life. My sin had separated me from God--which is what sin does (Isa 59:2)--and I was unable to bridge the gulf between us. I was helpless (Rom 5:6) and hopeless (Eph 2:12). I needed a rescuer--someone to save me--and God had sent One (Jn 3:16).

    It was Jesus, crucified and risen, that I encountered in the pages of Scripture and on my knees. He saved me, not because of anything good I had done, but because of His mercy (Titus 3:5). What I deserved was death (Rom 6:23), and I knew it. But in a stunning display of love, Jesus died in my place (Rom 5:8; Isa 53:5-6)--the sinless One taking the sinner's punishment!

    Because of that one incredible sacrifice, God forgave me, as He does anyone who turns from sin and trusts Christ (Acts 3:19; Rom 3:23-24; 10:9-11). Amazing! It still brings me to my knees in grateful adoration. I have just one regret. Far too often I've failed to live my life in a way pleasing to the One who loved me enough to die for me. Without exception, though, I've found the Scripture to be true: "If you hide your sins, you will not succeed.

    If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy" (Prov 28:13). I've written this for a number of reasons. One of the most basic is because I care about you. I want you to know the truth because Jesus said the truth will make you free (Jn 8:32). Telling the truth could cost me a friendship--maybe yours--and that's something I don't want to lose.

    But I've come to the conclusion that I wouldn't be much of a friend to you if I didn't tell you what I've found. I am, as someone has said, a little like the beggar telling other beggars where he's found food. Still, it's a disturbing thing, this truth that frees. Itdisturbs our distorted views of God and ourselves, of heaven and hell. It disturbs our false sense of security, that confidence we misplace in unreliable things--our selves, our possessions, family, friends, even our religion. It reduces us to nothing and then, through Christ alone, freely offers us everything. It eliminates every pathway to God but one: "I am the way, the truth and the life," Jesus said. "No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6) "Enter through the narrow gate," He said on another occasion. "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

    But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt 7:13-14). Stop and look around. Which road are you on? It's essential that you know. If you've read this far, you've probably formed an opinion about what I've written. You may think I'm crazy, or that you've never heard anything so ridiculous. Maybe you think it's okay for me to believe what I want, but it's definitely not for you.

    The real issue, however, is whether what either one of us believes is true or not. Believing you're on a plane for New York when your flight is actually bound for Los Angeles won't get you where you want to go, no matter how sincerely you believe it. Please don't stake your eternal destination on something you haven't even honestly investigated. Find out for yourself what the Bible says. On the other hand, you may find yourself deeply stirred by what you've just read--drawn, not so much to my words as to the words of Christ. Though profoundly disturbing, they ring true to you. I, or the person who gave this to you, would be happy to talk with you further.

    Or better yet, call out to the Lord. He's nearer than you think, waiting to be gracious. Don't let your own bad heart fool you like mine did me. "Not all those who say I am their Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven," Jesus warned. "The only people who will enter the kingdom of Heaven are the ones who do what my Father in Heaven wants" (Matt 7:21).

    Those who follow Christ will find peace and freedom and fullness of life unimaginable by others. What you lose is nothing--no, less than nothing--- compared to what you gain. The Scriptures give us only two alternatives: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.

    Now choose life!" (Deut 30:19) "Christ died for all so that those who live would no longer live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from the dead so that they would live for Him" (2 Cor 5:15). There are the choices: life or death, blessings or curses, living for yourself or living for Christ. Which have you chosen?

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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    A Different Kind of Christian

    A worldchanger is someone who is committed to do just that, change the world. A worldchanger is not someone who blends in. A worldchanger sticks out! A Worldchanger stands up ready to make a difference. A worldchanger goes beyond the usual expectations of Christianity. A worldchanger finds the most intense demands that Jesus places on Christians and doesn't shy away but goes after then passionately and does whatever it takes to get the job done! She is not just doing it because her parents make her or because the youth pastor bribes her.

    A worldchanger has been radically, completely, and totally changed by a relationship with God! Christianity is not some boring thing that a person halfheartedly commits to just because they have been in church their whole lives. You are not hanging on to your parents Christianity. A worldchanger had found Jesus for them-- not just for mom and dad or just for the pastor. And because Jesus died for them, they are ready to give their lives for him. Christianity. is not just lip service.

    Worldchangers have a fervor to seek God with all of their hearts, and to do everything they can to let the world know that God is real and that he is alive! Worldchangers are not stuck in a bunch of boring rules and regulations, but they have the fire of the living God burning inside them! And they just can't keep it inside of them. Worldchangers are serious about learning the word of God and then taking that word and applying it to their lives.


    Worldchangers are constantly changing and becoming more and more like Jesus. Worldchangers develop a vision for their community and do everything they can to take the living Christ to a lost and dying world! Worldchangers are sick and tired of a watered down, namby-pamby Christianity.! They want the real thing and don't care how hard it hits them or what parts of their lives they have to change.

    They are sick and tired of the attitude that lukewarm Christians bring into the church, and they are ready to do something about it! They are especially ready to attack attitudes in their own lives! A Worldchanger loves the Lord with all of his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength and loves his neighbor as himself. Write this scripture down. Carry it with you! Begin to pray over what you have just learned about a worldchanger.

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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    A Hearts Love


    People hustling, bustling everywhere.
    Off to their own places, seemingly without a care.
    Yet as I stand here gazing,
    My heart is appraising
    The truth in their eyes.
    They are alone.

    They are forgotten.
    Did they ever hear Your cry?
    Jesus, who will stop them?
    Who will help their falling lives?
    Those souls at Hell's door appear
    Yet who for them sheds a tear?
    Did not the Savior say,
    "Have compassion on the multitude on this redemption day?"

    Slowly I turn,
    Just a time, a place to learn.
    That my mission is vital.
    My task great.

  17. #2197
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    Default Re: Just sharing.


    A Jewel In His Crown



    ...Once upon for always there lived a very rich, yet loving and compassionate King. His storehouses were full to overflowing with everything necessary to make life in His Kingdom perfect for Him and all those who dwelled there.?He would hold back nothing from His people for He loved them so.

    In His Kingdom He asked but one thing of His people ~

    "Will you let Me love you and care for you all your days?"

    With this request the King gave full freedom to His people to accept His offer of love and provision ~ or not.?He knew it was risky to give such freedom but if they let Him love them because they had to He was certain no one, including Himself, would be happy living life that way.?Surprisingly, the King found Himself without a Kingdom for every one of His beloved subjects had chosen to reject His love and walk away from His Kingdom forever into exile.?The King loved His people very much and wanted desperately for them to come back. Knowing just what He had to do He laid aside His crown of many jewels and set off to gather His people.......

    I heard a knock at my door yet opened it to find no one.?Although it was night, I was nearly blinded by the radiant light shed by the gift left on my doorstep.?It was a gloriously white garment and resting upon it was a brilliant jewel, neither of which I had ever seen or heard of anywhere in the world.?

    I looked down at what I was wearing and suddenly felt quite stained and dirty so I eagerly slipped this new garment on to discover a perfect fit.?It was as if this was all I would ever have to wear!?I couldn't get it dirty;?the fabric wouldn't tear;?it kept me warm when I was cold and cool when I was hot.?

    Feeling so completely protected with the garment on I decided then I would never take it off.?I then gazed at the indescribable beauty of the jewel and wondered who would give me these most precious gifts.?

    Most certainly it was someone who knew me and loved me.?I had to find out!?I noticed a blood stain on the door where my unknown friend had knocked and a trail of blood leading from my doorstep but strangely the blood screamed LIFE, not death to me.?

    Without a thought I dropped what I was doing and set out to follow this trail in hopes of finding the one who had done this great kindness to me.

    My journey down the trail, whether night or day, was illuminated by the brightness of my new garment.?I clutched the jewel in my right hand and looking down I followed, step by step, each drop of blood as they guided me down this path of life.?I found myself at every door of every person everywhere knowing that my friend had given to each one the same gift given me.?

    Who would have such an endless treasure and who would possibly just give it away??Much to my amazement I realized that not everyone appreciated the value of these gifts.?Some of the gifts ~ stepped on, trampled and dirty ~ their original radiance and beauty beginning to diminish due to total disregard ~ remained on the doorsteps where my friend had left them.?

    I remembered I couldn't get my garment dirty and decided the garment had to be worn for its mysterious qualities to be unleashed.?I looked up from time to time to see something so shocking I could scarcely believe it.?

    Some people had picked up their gift but instead of trying on the garment and cherishing the jewel they ran to the market to sell them!?Imagine this if you will, a gift of priceless worth ~ LIFE ~ traded for but a few pennies.?

    I knew this friend of mine must be full of a love so deep and so endless because as I continued down the path I found we had returned to the doors where the gift had been disregarded or sold the day before and replaced the old gift with a new one.

    I started to meet others along the way.?They were looking for my friend too.?Together we discussed how this gift had changed our lives from the inside out.?We owed our friend so much;?we owed him our lives.?We decided the only way to find him was to stay on the path;?to follow the life-giving drops of blood for as far as they went even if they took us to the ends of the earth.?Time started to pass as if time did not exist and our group in search of our friend grew continuously.?We all found that as long as we stayed wholly devoted to our search and did not stray from the path ~ to the left or to the right ~ we did not hunger nor did we thirst.?We had everything we needed to live this new life in victory.

    The path led us to a hill and on that hill was a cross.?Somehow we all knew we were nearing the end of our journey.?We also knew that the cross presented a question we all had to ask ourselves ~ "am I willing to give all I now have, gift and all, in order to finally find and meet this great friend I had been long in search of?"?Some decided no, turned and walked away;?the radiance of their garment dimming and their jewel turning to coal with every step.?There were many, however, who decided yes and continued on.?Knowing full well what had to be done, one by one we climbed that cross and shed our blood ~ full of death ~ so our friend's blood could replace our own and give to us the LIFE which had screamed to me when first I saw it outside my door.?As our blood drained from our bodies we felt the agony of death yet at the same time were comforted in knowing that our friend had been here first ~ the sacrifice was his.?Just as death was realized we felt life overcome us as his blood flowed through us.?The moment we were filled with new life we knew in our deepest parts that this life was really love ~ the purest love the world has ever known.?The power of this love carried us from the cross directly into the presence of our friend where we finally met him face to face.?With our garments as radiant as the day they were given to us and our precious jewel in hand we could do nothing but fall at his feet and praise and thank him for all he had done and for every step of our journey to find him.

    .....The rich, compassionate and loving King was back in His throne room for He had completed what He had to, to gather His people and bring them back to dwell at will with Him in His Kingdom and let Him love and care for them all their days.?One by one, His people carried their jewel to Him and placed it back in His crown from whence it came, for as many as there were people with jewels a place had been prepared for them on His royal crown ~ none too many and none too few.

    ?Somehow He knew...

    and He was their King ??????????????????and they were His people ????????????????????and together they lived ???????????????????????happily ever after.......

    I Give You All My Love, Your Friend ~ King Jesus

    2/14/96 XXXO ~ JRG



    "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."?Galatians 2:20 NAS

  18. #2198
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    A Letter To You From Satan


    I saw you yesterday as you began your daily chores. You awoke without kneeling to pray. As a matter of fact, you didn't even bless your meals, or pray before going to bed last night. You are so unthankful. I like that about you.

    I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not changed your way of living. Fool! You are mine. Remember, you and I have been going steady for years, and I still don't love you yet. As a matter of fact, I hate you, because I hate God. I am only using you to get even with God. He kicked me out of heaven, and I'm going to use you as long as possible to pay him back.

    You see, Fool, GOD LOVES YOU and HE has great plans in store for you. But you have yielded your life to me and I'm going to make your life a living hell. That way we'll be together twice. THIS WILL REALLY HURT GOD! Thanks to you. I'm really showing Him who's boss in your life. With all of the good times we've had..... We have been watching dirty movies, cursing people out, partying, stealing, lying, hypocriting, fornicating, overeating, telling dirty jokes, gossiping, back stabbing people, disrespecting adults and those in leadership position, NO respect for the church, bad attitudes: SURELY you don't want to give all this up!
    COME ON, Fool, let's burn together forever. I've got some plans for us. This is just a letter of appreciation from me to you. I'd like to say "THANKS" for letting me use you for most of your foolish life. You are so gullible. I laugh at you. When you are tempted to sin, you give in. HA HA HA You make me sick!

    Sin is beginning to take its toll on your life. You look 20 years older. I need new blood. So go ahead and teach some children how to sin. All you have to do is smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, cheat, gamble, gossip, fornicate, and listen to and dance to the top 10 jams. Do all of this in the presence of children and they will do it too. Kids are like that.

    Well, Fool, I have to let you go for now. I'll be back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again. IF YOU WERE SMART, you would run somewhere, CONFESS YOUR SINS, LIVE FOR GOD with what little bit of life that you have left. It's not my nature to warn anyone, but to be your age and still sinning, it's becoming a bit ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I still hate you...... IT'S JUST THAT YOU'D MAKE A BETTER FOOL FOR CHRIST.
    P.S. - And if you really love me, you won't share this letter with anyone.

  19. #2199
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    Default Re: Just sharing.

    The Soft Voice


    Actually, I don't know how to start this...
    Probably a little background will help.

    Yesterday really changed my life.
    Two things happened. First of all, I saw my girlfriend with
    another guy (they were kissing). We had been arguing a lot
    for the last couple of days, and somehow I was expecting that to
    happen. When I saw her, I felt relief at first because it
    couldn't be clearer that she is not for me and that it is
    time to let her go.

    After that, I called some friends and asked them to join me
    for lunch. As I was having lunch, my heartbeat started to go
    really really fast. That had been going for the last couple of
    days.

    Let me explain the feeling. As your heart starts to go as fast
    as mine did yesterday, you get dizzy, have shortness of
    breath, you feel like throwing up, your hands start to shake
    and you get a headache. It's not a good feeling, so one of my
    friends called his dad, who is a doctor, and he told him to
    take me to the ER.

    When I got into the ER, I was really scared.
    The doctors ran a couple of tests on me; they brought three
    different machines, connected cables through all my body and
    put needles on my arm and hand.

    After a while, I started feeling okay. A couple of minutes
    later, the Dr. came to me, asked me how I was feeling and he
    told me that I had a hole in my heart.

    This means that one of the main veins in my heart has a hole.
    He told me to go and see a cardiologist and he would decide
    what to do next. He gave me some drugs, told me to go home, and
    asked me NOT TO BE ALONE.

    Here is the interesting part...

    I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't use any kind of
    illegal drugs.

    I'm 21 years old.

    Later on that night when I was back home, I was left alone (I
    live by myself since I am in this city for college). My
    friend who took me to the hospital had to leave because
    he had things to do. I thought about calling my mom but I
    couldn't. I didn't want her to worry. I didn't want her
    to cry so I called a friend (my girlfriend's roommate). I
    couldn't help it but I started crying when I was on the phone.
    She got worried and came to where I was.

    She didn't say much, but as I was talking to her, I asked
    myself and God, "What is my lesson of all this;
    "What am I suppose to learn?"

    It's funny how the only two people that I knew would have made
    me feel better (my girlfriend, and my mom (the people I love))
    were not there. My girlfriend told me everything was over that
    morning, and I chose not to tell my mom.

    I didn't what to spend the night by myself so I asked my
    friend (my girlfriend's roommate) if I could stay at her
    apartment. She said that I couldn't because my girlfriend asked
    her not to take me to her apartment (she didn't want to see me).

    She still didn't know about my condition so I don't blame her.
    I called her just to ask if I could stay there because the
    doctor told me not to be alone.

    I called. When she answered, I told her that I needed to ask
    her a favor. She interrupted me and said, "NO, I am the one
    who needs to ask you for a favor... Don't ever talk to me
    again" and she hung up.

    In that very moment, even though my friend was there, I felt
    alone. I had no other place to go and I had no one else to
    call. I felt that no one loved me so I cried.

    As I was driving, I was still asking, "What is my lesson;
    What am I suppose to learn out of all of this?"

    Then a soft voice talked to my heart and said,
    "That you have to lean on Me, and let me hug you."

    Right now, I have no hard feelings against my girlfriend or
    God. I love her. I really want her to be happy.
    Now I understand that I will have to love her from afar.
    Now I look at God and I can feel His love.

    On the outside, I am still alone. On the inside, I know God
    is with me. I know my mom is with me even when she doesn't
    know what I am going through.

    This morning I understood that all this is happening because
    HE knows what is good for me. He is wiser than me so I will not
    complain; I will just cheer in His love. I understood that all
    this helps me to know which things really matter.

    I just read "Another view point" and it made it even clearer.
    IfGod is letting me go through all this because
    He knows I can handle it, and I'm sure I will.

    That same soft voice told me to share this experience. You
    have no idea how that soft voice and that feeling of love gives
    me peace and helps me to raise my head and smile.

    So now I only ask for you to pray. Not for me or my health,
    but for those who haven't felt that love that gives us
    strength.

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    Thanks For The Love


    It's not an easy task to find yourself heading into the holidays
    when there's little joy in your life.

    It had been a bad year. One that would be remembered for the
    loss of two loved ones. A year that saw financial despair and
    job loss.

    Then there were the health issues. Not everyday concerns but
    life threatening attacks.

    Nothing, but nothing went right.

    Still, the family gathered as always for the Thanksgiving Day
    feast. They came from all around the country to share once more
    in what was always a beautiful family tradition.

    The setting was the same as always at Grandma's house. Aunt
    Ester would bring her famous sweet potatoes. Uncle Joe would
    play the piano in the great room. Mom would set the table while
    Dad...well Dad would watch football.

    Aunts and Uncles, brothers and sisters would hug that warm
    loving embrace that says it's been much too long.

    Or would they?

    "It's really not the same without her here," someone said.
    Uncle Peter pretended not to hear it and continued on with an
    almost believable smile on his face.

    "Do you remember when George would tell that funny story about
    his first Thanksgiving turkey?"

    "It was really not that funny, but to hear George tell it.
    You laughed because of him!"

    There was an uneasy silence in the room.

    "Time for dinner!" Grandma announced.

    One by one each of them took their place at the table.
    There was an awkward moment when they discovered the two empty
    seats where they always sat.

    "Maybe it's time for Sissy and Jack to move up to the big
    table," someone said.

    "Yes, come sit here next to me," Uncle Peter motioned. "I could
    use some company right now."

    "Okay, everyone bow your heads for Grace," Grandma told them.

    "Lord, we are gathered here once again in thanks for all your
    blessings. We are grateful to you for the bounty of this feast
    and for the family we share it with. Amen."

    It was now the tradition of this family to take the time to
    share one thing they were each thankful for from the past year.

    "Who would like to go first?" Grandma asked.

    There was silence. An uncomfortable moment that most everyone
    dreaded this year.

    "Come, now. Who will start?"

    Jack, now the youngest one there at the grown up table rose to
    his feet and tried to slip away.

    Jack had lost his mother just a few weeks earlier after a long
    struggle with cancer.

    "Jack, you have not asked to be excused," Grandma said sharply.

    "Perhaps you would like to begin?"

    Oh, this was a tough moment. Grandma deserved the respect of a
    young man, but stirred in him a fire that only youth enjoy.

    "Thanks? For what?" he said sharply.

    "Thanks for taking my mom? Thanks for Uncle Dan losing his job
    and having to sell his house? Thanks for the cancer that has
    taken all too many lives?" he said with anger in his voice.

    "Thanks for what?"

    Most of the adults sat quietly with their heads lowered. Some
    struggled to hold back tears. It was a difficult time and no
    one there went unaffected by the loss and tragedies of this past
    year.

    Then suddenly a small voice could be heard.

    "Thanks for the love."

    Heads raised slowly. Looking around the room to see who had
    spoken, you could hear the rattle of the dishes and the scraping
    of the chairs against the floor as some repositioned themselves
    to get a better look.

    "Who said that?" Grandma said softly.

    Nervously the young child raised his hand and could barely be
    seen in the far corner of the room.

    It was the children's table, occupied this year by only two.
    The others had been promoted to fill the vacancies at the adult
    table.

    "Jacob, please stand up," Grandma urged.

    "Tell us again. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?"

    "I am thankful for the love. You can lose a job. God can call
    all of us home. What will always remain is the love. The love.
    I'm thankful for the love."

    The stillness in the room was unsettling.

    "I'm thankful for you Jacob," someone said.

    "Well, I'm thankful for...ever having your mom in my life. Even
    if only for such a brief time," Jack's father said.

    "I'm thankful for the memories," someone else added.

    "I'm thankful for the chance to start over with a new career,"
    Uncle Dan said.

    "I'm thankful for cranberry sauce!" the little child yelled out.

    Everyone was laughing. Jack returned to his seat as he listened
    to the others announce what they were thankful for.

    "My golf score!"

    "My new dress."

    "My trip to the Grand Canyon last summer with our neighbors.
    It was awesome!"

    Finally it went full circle right back to Jack.

    There was a sudden hush in the room as everyone waited to see if
    he would join in.

    Then looking up, with tears in his eyes Jack said, "Thanks for
    being my Mom!"

    Family rushed to his side and surrounding him they hugged,
    kissed and held his hands.

    "Let's eat!" Grandma said.

    The young man in the corner whispered,
    "See, God? Thanks for the love."

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