January 10th 2012 6:33 am
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God's Amazing Grace
I shook my head in disbelief. This couldn't be the right place. After all, I couldn't possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation several times, by several different people, and had finally decided to see what this place was all about.
But, this just couldn't be the right place. Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that I clutched in my hand. I scanned past the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required, " and found the location.
Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the window again and saw a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy. All were neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and appeared strangely clean as they dined at this exquisite restaurant.
Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was dirty, in fact, filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I couldn't shake the grime that clung to my body. As I turned around to leave, the words from the invitation seemed to leap out at me........."Come as you are. No jacket required."
I decided to give it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man standing behind a podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile. "Richard W. Causey," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains. He didn't seem to notice the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very good, sir. A table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be seated?"
I couldn't believe what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of course!" He led me to a table and, sure enough, there was a placard with my name written on it in a deep, dark red.
As I browsed over a menu, I saw many delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace," "joy," "blessings," "confidence," "assurance," "hope," "love," "faith," and "mercy." I realized that this was no ordinary restaurant!
I flipped the menu back to the front in order to see where I was at.... "God's Grace," was the name of the place! The man returned and said, "I recommend the 'Special of the Day.' With it, you are entitled to heaping portions of everything on this menu."
You've got to be kidding! I thought to myself. You mean, I can have ALL of this! "What is the 'Special of the Day' I asked with excitement ringing in my voice.
"Salvation," was his reply. " I'll take it," I practically cried out. Then, as quickly as I made that statement, the joy left my body. A sick painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between my sobs I said..."Mister, look at me. I'm dirty and nasty.
I'm unclean and unworthy of such things. I'd love to have all of this, but, but, I just can't afford it." Undaunted, the man smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken care of by that Gentleman over there," he said pointing to the front of the room. "His Name is Jesus."
Turning, I saw a man whose very presence seemed to light the room. He was almost too much to look at.
I found myself walking towards Him and in a shaking voice, I whispered, "Sir, I'll wash the dishes or sweep the floors or take out the trash. I'll do anything I can do to repay you for all of this."
He opened His arms and said with a smile, "Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto me. Ask me to clean you up and I will. Ask me to take away the stains and it is done. Ask me to allow you to feast at my table and you will eat.
Remember, the table is reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I offer you."
Astonished, I fell at His feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up my life. Please change me and sit me at your table and give me this new life." Immediately, I heard the words, "It is finished."
I looked down and white robes adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and wonderful had happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted and I found myself seated at His table.
"The 'Special of the Day' has been served," the Lord said to me. "Salvation is yours." We sat and talked for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him. He told me, me of all people, that He would like for me to come back as often as I liked for another helping from God's Grace.
He made it clear that He wanted me to spend as much time with Him as possible. As it drew near time for me to go back outside into the "Real World, " He whispered to me softly, "And Lo, I am with you always." And then, He said something to me that I will never forget.
He said..."My child, do you see these empty tables throughout this room?" "Yes, Lord. I see them. What do they mean?" I replied. "These are reserved tables... but the individuals whose names are on each placard have not accepted their invitations to dine.
Would you be so kind as to hand out these invitations to those who have not joined us yet?" Jesus asked. "Of course, " I said with excitement as I picked up the invitations. "Go ye therefore into all nations."
He said as I turned to leave. I walked into God's Grace dirty and hungry. Stained in sin. My righteousness as filthy rags. And Jesus cleaned me up. I walked out a brand new man...robed in white, His righteousness.
January 11th 2012 10:21 am
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If You Never...
If you never felt pain,
Then how would you know that I'm a Healer?
If you never went through difficulties,
Then how would you know that I'm a Deliverer?
If you never had a trial,
Then how could you call yourself an over-comer?
If you never felt sadness,
Then how would you know that I'm a Comforter?
If you never made a mistake,
Then how would you know that I'm forgiving?
If you knew all,
Then how would you know that I will answer your questions?
If you never were in trouble,
Then how would you know that I will come to your rescue?
If you never were broken,
Then how would know that I can make you whole?
If you never had a problem,
Then how would you know that I can solve them?
If I gave you all things,
Then how would you appreciate them?
If I never corrected you,
Then how would you know that I love you?
If you had all power,
Then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect,
Then what would you need Me for?
January 12th 2012 7:47 am
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Thank You For Our Messy Home
Thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.
Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.
And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.
My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mess, soggy, grimy towels and the dirty lavatory; they are all so convenient.
Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.
Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; it has baked so many things over the years.
The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing and lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.
Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play. Many children cannot.
Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings... Thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible...Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising...Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic with socks that are lost, toast that is burned, tempers that are short, and my children that are so loud...Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times not balanced...Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous...Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who are jobless.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest...Thank you, Lord, for life.
January 16th 2012 5:58 am
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The Importance of Accepting Others
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam.
He called his parents from San Francisco.
"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've got a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring with me."
"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."
"There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mined and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."
"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."
"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."
"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."
At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.
A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are.
Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.
Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!!
There's a miracle called -Friendship- that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens or when it gets started. But you know the special lift It always brings and you realize that Friendship Is God's most precious gift!
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
January 17th 2012 5:40 am
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Never Be Ashamed
Never be ashamed of the scars that life has left you with.
A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed, you endured
the pain and God has healed you.
January 21st 2012 3:40 pm
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Some things are beyond planning.
And life doesn't always turn out as planned.
You don't plan for a broken heart.
You don't plan for a failed business venture.
You don't plan for an adulterous husband
or a wife who wants you out of her life.
You don't plan for an autistic child.
You don't plan for spinsterhood.
You don't plan for a lump in your breast.
You plan to be young forever.
You plan to climb the corporate ladder.
You plan to be rich and powerful.
You plan to be acclaimed and successful.
You plan to conquer the universe.
You plan to fall in love - and be loved forever.
You don't plan to be sad.
You don't plan to be hurt.
You don't plan to be broke.
You don't plan to be betrayed.
You don't plan to be alone in this world.
You plan to be happy. You don't plan to be shattered.
Sometimes if you work hard enough, you can get what you want.
But MOST times, what you want and what you get
are two different things.
We, mortals, plan. But so does God in the heavens.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand God's plans especially
when His plans are not in consonance with ours.
Often, when God sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger.
True, we cannot choose the cross that God wishes us to carry,
but we can carry that cross with courage knowing that God will
never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with.
Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul.
Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole.
Sometimes, God allows pain so we can be stronger.
Sometimes, God sends us failure so we can be humble.
Sometimes, God allows illness so we can take better care of
ourselves. Sometimes, God takes everything away from us
so we can learn the value of everything He gave us.
Make plans, but understand that we live by God's grace.
January 25th 2012 3:21 pm
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God couldn't take the time to Bless us today because
we could not take the time to thank Him yesterday...
God decided to stop leading us tomorrow
Because we didn't follow Him today...
God didn't walk with us today because we failed to
recognize it as His day...
We never saw another flower bloom because
we grumbled when God sent the rain...
God stopped loving and caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others...
God took away the Bible tomorrow, because
we would not read it today...
God took away his message because
we failed to listen to His messenger...
God didn't send His only begotten Son because
He wanted us to prepared to pay the price of sin...
The door to the church was closed because
we did not open the door of our hearts...
God would not hear us today because
we would not listen to Him yesterday...
God answered our prayers the way we answer
His call to service...
God met our needs the way we give
Him our lives...
We failed to pass this message on...
January 26th 2012 6:12 am
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Open the Rose
A beautiful story/poem with a meaning we should all listen to...
A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day and feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was inquiring of the older preacher. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.
The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the WILL OF GOD for his life and for his ministry. Because of his high respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact...It wasn't long before he realized how it was impossible to do so.
Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud while keeping it intact, the older preacher began to tell the following poem...
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD's design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I'll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
January 27th 2012 11:52 am
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A beautiful reminder about just how generous and loving God is :)
If God gave us only one day of life, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one springtime or fall, one summer or winter, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one day of laughter, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one beautiful meal, beautifully served in a secure home, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one friend to share the journey of time, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one child, sound in mind and body, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one storm that left us unharmed, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one day for a good time with friends, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one talent for creating beauty, it would have been generous.
If God let us laugh only once in the face of calamity, it would have been generous.
If God gave us only one moment's pride in the success of those we love, it would have been generous.
But God has given us life and time, joy and sorrow,
sunshine and storms, laughter and tears,
gifts to share and days to remember.
God has given us friends and lovers, children and parents,
you and me, and Himself as well.
It is God who gives us life,
who tells us ever after to choose life,
God who is our resurrection and our hope,
who dwells within our hearts as the spirit of life,
the vanquisher of death,
and the comforter of the afflicted.
February 2nd 2012 9:27 am
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Why Not You?
Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?
Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?
Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?
Today, for many, the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?
Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?
Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?
Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?
Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?
Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?
Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?
Today is a new day!
Many will seize this day.
Many will live it to the fullest.
Why not you?
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