January 14th 2013 5:49 am
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As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.
Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.
But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all. I glanced around me. Not many others had such squares. Other than a few holes here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.
My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.
Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."
May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.
January 17th 2013 5:15 pm
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Lucky the Dog
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named "Lucky." Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.
Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.
It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease....in fact, she was just sure it was fatal.
She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her.... what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.
The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.
Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.
When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.
Remember . . . live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget.... the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.
If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
January 21st 2013 5:45 am
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Another day is dawning
Another day's begun
Another day to turn to God
And pray, "Thy will be done"
A day to slay doubt's dragon,
To know within your soul
That as you give yourself to Him
He'll bless and make you whole.
A day to live with purpose
A day to show you care
When others turn to you distraught
Confused or in despair
A day to share God's blessings
In quiet countless ways
That touch the heart with hope and joy
And brighten cloudy days
A day for sweet rejoicing
For gratitude and praise
Because His love enfolds you
Both now, and all your days.
January 23rd 2013 7:48 am
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As the story goes, they built a new church building and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired its beauty! Up on the roof, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely structure-except the nail! No one even knew he was there, and he became angry and jealous.
"If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!" So the nail then released its hold, slid down the roof, and fell in the mud.
That night it rained and rained. Soon, the shingle that had no nail blew away, and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall, the carpet was stained, and the pulpit Bible was ruined by water. All this because a little nail decided to quit!
But what of the nail? While holding the shingle, it was obscure but it was also useful. Buried in the mud it was just as obscure, but now it was useless and would soon be eaten up by rust!
The moral of the story -- EVERY MEMBER IS IMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH! You may, like the nail, feel obscure at times, but just like the nail, your absence is felt. When you are not present for worship, in some way the body of Christ hurts. We are ALL a part of the Lord's ministry.
January 25th 2013 8:12 am
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10 Rules for a Happy Day
TODAY I WILL NOT STRIKE BACK:
If someone is rude, if someone is impatient, if someone is unkind... I will not respond in a like manner.
TODAY I WILL ASK GOD TO BLESS MY "ENEMY:"
If I come across someone who treats me harshly or unfairly, I will quietly ask GOD to bless that individual. I understand the "enemy" could be a family member, neighbor, co-worker or stranger.
TODAY I WILL BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT I SAY:
I will carefully choose and guard my words being certain that I do not spread gossip.
TODAY I WILL GO THE EXTRA MILE:
I will find ways to help share the burden of another person.
TODAY I WILL FORGIVE:
I will forgive any hurts or injuries that come my way.
TODAY I WILL DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE, BUT I WILL NOT DO IT SECRETLY:
I will reach out anonymously and bless the life of another.
TODAY I WILL TREAT OTHERS THE WAY I WISH TO BE TREATED:
I will practice the golden rule - "Do unto others as I would have them do unto me" - with everyone I encounter.
TODAY I WILL RAISE THE SPIRITS OF SOMEONE WHO IS DISCOURAGED:
My smile, my words, my expression of support, can make the difference to someone who is wrestling with life.
TODAY I WILL NURTURE MY BODY:
I will eat less; I will eat only healthy foods. I will thank GOD for my body.
TODAY I WILL GROW SPIRITUALLY:
I will spend a little more time in prayer today: I will begin reading something spiritual or inspirational today; I will find a quiet place (at some point during this day) and listen to GOD's voice!!!
"But since we belong to the day, let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and hope of salvation as a helmet."
1 Thessalonians 5:8
February 2nd 2013 7:02 am
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Entering Heaven's Gate
Some folks in this day and time,
Say that God has changed - No never!
My God tells us in His Word,
He's the same yesterday, today and forever!
They say there are other ways
To get through Heaven's gate.
I pray that Jesus goes to them
Before it is too late!
It's Gods will that all should know
That for us there is a place.
He wants you to call on Jesus
To find out about His grace!
The saving grace available to all
Who turn away from their sin.
And ask Jesus into their heart
Then they let Him live within.
But Jesus is the only Door
Through which we attain the prize.
Of life forever in the presense of God
In His Heaven beyond the skies!
February 5th 2013 6:56 am
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You Can See God
I sat at my desk staring at the letter for a long time. It was written by a friend of mine who was going through some difficult times. It listed problem after problem and seemed full of despair. It ended with these words: "I would like to have faith, but I have always had a problem in believing in what I can't see. You can't see God, you know!"
After awhile I still hadn't thought of how to answer my friend's letter and help him. Hoping a walk would help, I put a lease on one of my dogs and headed out the back door. The warm, golden sunshine of Spring warmed my face as soon as I stepped off the porch. A fresh breeze carried the scent of a thousand budding trees on it. A butterfly danced above a patch of dandelions floating from flower to flower. Robins were flying back and forth to the Maple tree in my backyard carrying fresh grass and twigs to reline their nests. Across the road my new neighbor's children were playing in her backyard with a big ball. It was such a delight seeing her toddler chasing after it with such joy.
I felt a nuzzle against my leg and looked down to see my dog cuddling in for a hug. I smiled and scratched his head while the laughter of the children and the sound of crickets in the woods blended together to create a unique and beautiful music. I started to walk back inside and saw my own son grinning at me from the window. Most of the world could only see his mental handicaps, but when I looked at him then his eyes sparkled with a divine light. I waved to him and laughed when his older sister snuck up behind him and wrapped him in a loving hug.
When I got back inside, I knew what to write. I went to my friend's letter and wrote of everything I had just seen, smelled, heard, and felt in those brief moments outside. Then I finished by writing this:
"I think we all can see God! We just need to know where to look!"
February 15th 2013 8:40 am
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So Little Time
So little time to say the things
You'd really like to say -
Before you even find the words,
The time just slips away.
So little time to do the things
You feel that you must do.
So treasure, like the purest gold,
The time God's given you.
So little time to dream your dreams,
For youth has passed its prime,
And all too soon you realize
That there's ... so little time.
So little time to reach the height
To which you're bound to climb,
For swiftly pass the waning years,
And there's ... so little time.
So little time to pass regrets,
And less, to make amends,
Yet God can heal the deepest wounds
In chosen, cherished friends.
So little time to share God's love
And beauty here on earth,
And know, before His endless time,
Their meaning and true worth.
Oh, yes, there is so little time
To seek the hidden door
That opens up to heaven's time,
Where time's forevermore.
February 27th 2013 8:08 am
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In This Moment
It was a cold, cloudy and rainy morning outside my kitchen window today. I shivered and walked over to the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a steaming bowl of oatmeal in the other. I sat down, gave thanks, and took in a spoonful of the oatmeal and a sip of the coffee. I sighed as my chilled insides grew instantly warmer.
Just then I felt a nudge on my knee. I looked down and saw my little beagle, Snoopy's warm brown eyes looking up at me. I petted her head and smiled down at her. Suddenly, I felt two arms wrap gently around my neck as my daughter gave me a loving hug. I squeezed her arms with my hand and said "Good morning" to her. I gazed out the window and saw a single ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds and shining on the Maple tree in the meadow behind my house. A red Cardinal flew down, landed on a branch, and looked at me. It was beautiful. At that moment I felt so loved! I felt loved not only by my daughter and my dog, but by God and life itself. At that moment I had what we all want in this life: sweet, wonderful, glorious happiness! I looked to the heavens, laughed, and thanked God for my life!
Most of us go through life with one eye looking towards the future and the other eye gazing into the past. Half our sight is focused on our goals and desires. The other half is looking back with regret at mistakes and missed opportunities. In order to be happy, though, both of our eyes have to be here in the present. In order to be happy we have to live here now.
The future is only a dream and the past is only a memory. God doesn't want us to live in either. God wants us to live in this moment. God wants us to love each other in this moment. God wants us to share kindness and have happiness in this moment. Life is a collection of moments. May you always fill yours with love, joy, and oneness with God.
~ Joseph J. Mazzella
March 2nd 2013 9:32 pm
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The Wisdom of Will Rogers
Don't squat with your spurs on.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes
from bad judgment.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin'
it back in.
If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now
and then to make sure it's still there.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try
orderin' somebody else,s dog around.
After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he
started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and
shot him.......The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your
Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
There's two theories to arguin' with a woman.
Neither one works.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop
Never slap a man who's chewin' tobacco.
It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person,
don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.
When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it
thrown around by somebody else.
The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put
it back in your pocket.
Never miss a good chance to shut up.
There are three kinds of men. The one who learns by reading.
The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee
on the electric fence for themselves.
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