May 14th 2012 4:24 pm
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How God's Grace Works
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
Sometimes things loom up before us that seem impossible. Facing a big surgery, or the death of a loved one, or a lost job, or even a pile of unending laundry can feel like facing Mount Everest. We know that with God all things are possible, and we know He gives us the grace we need. But will it be enough? Fear closes in. Weakness. Uncertainty. How will we ever have enough strength to handle it?
I was thinking about this one day when I was baking bread. It smelled so good coming out of the oven. The dark gold color of the outside signaled perfect crispness. Like my Granny used to do, I rubbed butter over it, allowing it to melt into the fluffy interior. Before the bread could even cool, my family devoured a whole loaf. This was fun, but it’s not typical of our bread-eating behavior.
We buy most of our bread at the store, and it comes pre-sliced. On Monday I use two slices for my husband’s sandwich, and on Tuesday he gets two more. It’s the same for my kids. Two slices each, lathered in peanut butter and jelly. Then two slices the next day. Not the whole loaf at once.
Our bread-eating habits are the perfect metaphor for how God’s grace works—and His strength, His mercy, His power. When we’re contemplating Mount Everest we may want the whole loaf, but God knows what is good for us. He knows what we really need. He slices off enough for the first step. Then, when it’s time for the next one, another slice is there. And another and another and another till the journey is done. The whole loaf is ours—but God gives it as needed. Never too little, always just the right amount to fit our need.
Faith step: What is your deepest need today? Trust Jesus for it. He is Your manna from heaven.
May 11th 2012 6:26 am
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A Bouquet for Mother
This puts it all into perspective. Happy Mother's Day.
A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.
As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.
He asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars."
The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a rose."
He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers.
As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."
She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother's house.
May 7th 2012 5:45 pm
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The Heart of the Watermelon
True riches can't be measured with money :)
When I was a kid in Minnesota, watermelon was a delicacy. One of my father's buddies, Bernie, was a prosperous fruit-and-vegetable wholesaler, who operated a warehouse in St. Paul.
Every summer, when the first watermelons rolled in, Bernie would call. Dad and I would go to Bernie's warehouse and take up our positions. We'd sit on the edge of the dock, feet dangling, and lean over, minimizing the volume of juice we were about to spill on ourselves.
Bernie would take his machete, crack our first watermelon, hand us both a big piece and sit down next to us. Then we'd bury our faces in watermelon, eating only the heart - the reddest, juiciest, firmest, most seed-free, most perfect part - and throw away the rest.
Bernie was my father's idea of a rich man. I always thought it was because he was such a successful businessman. Years later, I realized that what my father admired about Bernie's wealth was less its substance than its application. Bernie knew how to stop working, get together with friends and eat only the heart of the watermelon.
What I learned from Bernie is that being rich is a state of mind. Some of us, no matter how much money we have, will never be free enough to eat only the heart of the watermelon. Others are rich without ever being more than a paycheck ahead.
If you don't take the time to dangle your feet over the dock and chomp into life's small pleasures, your career is probably overwhelming your life.
For many years, I forgot that lesson I'd learned as a kid on the loading dock. I was too busy making all the money I could.
Well, I've relearned it. I hope I have time left to enjoy the accomplishments of others and to take pleasure in the day. That's the heart of the watermelon. I have learned again to throw the rest away.
Finally, I am rich.
May 4th 2012 5:15 am
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This brought tears to my eyes, I hope you'll take the time to read it and share it for me...PLEASE READ!! IT MAY BE LONG, BUT IT'S A STORY WORTH READING!!
They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly. I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.
But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant. They must’ve thought I did.
But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.
See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.
Maybe we were too much alike.
I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”
____________ _________ _________ _________
To Whomever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it. He knew something was different.
So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet. Doesn’t
matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after them, so be careful. Don’t do it by any roads.
Next, commands. Reggie knows the obvious ones —-“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”
He knows hand signals, too: He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.
Feeding schedule: twice a day, regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He’s up on his shots. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car. I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. It’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.
And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you…His name’s not Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. But if someone is reading this … well it means that his new owner should know his real name. His real name is “Tank.” Because, that is what I drive.
I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with .. and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter … in the “event” … to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.
Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he
If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.
____________ _________ _________ _______
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver
Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.
I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.
“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.
The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.
He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered.
His tail swished.
I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my
face into his scruff and hugged him.
“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.” Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
“So whatdaya say we play some ball?” His ears perked again.
“Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room. And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.”
May 3rd 2012 7:39 am
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Sunday mornings are a leisurely time in many households, but they certainly weren't in our Ogilvie, Minnesota home back in the late 1920s.
Church services began at nine-thirty in the morning. Mother was the organist, so she had to be there early. That meant all of us kids had to be washed and dressed with our hair neatly combed by the time Mother left the house.
As you'd expect, there was a lot of hurrying around to make sure everyone was ready on time. That was trouble enough, but one day we had another problem on our hands -- our dog, Brownie.
Every morning, Brownie was let out by the first person who got up. When we called him back in, he'd usually come running right away...but not on this particular Sunday.
We called and coaxed for as long as we could, but Brownie was simply nowhere to be found. Unable to locate our disappearing dog, we gave up in despair and headed off to church, leaving Brownie outdoors somewhere.
We arrived at church and got settled in, with Mother at the organ. After some hymns and prayers, the minister began his sermon. We kids tried to sit still, just as we had been told to do, and not fidget. But as the preacher began to warm to his subject, I thought I heard something unusual. No one else seemed to hear it though. But then it came again, louder. It sounded like something was scratching at the church door. We kids all exchanged silent glances and stifled our giggles. Then the scratching sound was followed by the plaintive sound of a lonely dog howling. All the grown-ups pretended not to hear anything, leaning forward in their pews so they could hear every word of the minister's oration. But we kids knew that howl. Only one dog in the neighborhood made that sound.
The wailing continued and the minister paused for a moment, furrowing his brow in frustration. He didn't want to have to compete with a howling hound, so he signaled to the usher to open the door and shoo the dog away. But the usher was not quick enough for Brownie. As soon as he opened the door, in bounded our dog with a smug look on his face! He strolled up the aisle, cool as you please, as congregation and minister looked on aghast. When Brownie got to where Mother sat at the organ, he just plopped down and sat quietly. A murmur went around the church and there were some smiles and nodding of heads. The minister, determined to ignore this unusual canine caper, resumed his sermon.
The following Sunday happened to be one of those rare Sundays when we didn't go to the morning service. However, no one had informed Brownie of the change in our schedule. After we attended the evening service, we heard the story: In the morning, Brownie had made a commotion at the church door until once again he was let in. Again, he sauntered down the aisle until he reached the organist, who was about to begin playing. Brownie stood stock-still for a moment, staring at the female organist. Then, when he had determined to his satisfaction that she was definitely not Mother, he returned to the church door and made it clear that he was not interested in attending this particular service.
There were many Sundays when Brownie repeated his demonstrations of religious piety and family loyalty. As you can imagine, this was quite embarrassing for Mother. There were some people who weren't all that happy to see a dog in church. And each time we got a new preacher, Mother had to explain our unusual dog to him. Since Brownie lived to be nineteen years old, quite a few preachers got used to having that little brown dog interrupt their Sunday services.
Shortly after Brownie passed away, our minister came to call. After consoling us over our loss, he said, "If there is a heaven for dogs, you can be assured Brownie will be scratching at the door -- and when it is opened, he will be given a place right up front with the best of them."
May 2nd 2012 6:29 pm
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Top 20 ways you know if you are addicted to the Internet
1. You find yourself typing "com" after every period when using
a word processor.com
2. You turn off your computer and get this empty feeling,
like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.
3. You start introducing yourself as "Jon at gmail dot com"
4. Your wife drapes a blond wig over your monitor to remind you
of what she looks like.
5. All of your friends have an @ in their names.
6. You can't call your mother...she doesn't have internet.
7. Your phone bill comes to your doorstep in a box.
8. You laugh at people with under five MB upload speeds and you
laugh even harder at people who don't know what that means.
9. You move into a new house and decide to Netscape before you
10. You refer to going to the bathroom as downloading.
11. You tell the cab driver you live at
12. Your spouse makes a new rule: "The computer cannot come to
13. You ask a plumber how much it would cost to replace the
chair in front of your computer with a commode.
14. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :^)
15. You turn on your computer and turn off your spouse.
16. Your best friend is someone you've never met.
17. Your spouse says communication is important in a
marriage...so you buy another computer so you can chat.
18. You begin to wonder how on earth your service provider is
allowed to call 200 hours per month "unlimited."
19. Your dog has its own home page.
20. So does your goldfish.
May 1st 2012 8:10 am
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The Saving Grace In An Ashtray
God places people in our path for us to be a blessing.
Growing up in New York in a single parent household, my mother
would always get on me about giving things away. I can remember
as far back at the age of seven, I gave a little girl my shoes
off my feet because I saw a need. My mother would always say
that I would never have anything, but that way of thinking never
was in my mindset.
I know that in accordance to God's will, when He instructs us to
give, we must be obedient because in all actuality, it all
belongs to Him. I believe if every person heeded God's voice
when He instructs them to bless someone, we would be in a better
position as a country and as a people.
My son and I were in Powder Springs driving home down Hwy 278
when we saw this young woman walking, looking as though she was
exhausted. I made a U-turn and came back around and asked her
could we give her a ride. She took the offer immediately.
As I am driving I hear God's voice say to give her the money
that I had in my ashtray. I don't smoke so I would keep change
or throw the dollars I have in the ashtray.
The only thing was that I knew that I had $300 in the astray.
I didn't hesitate, nor was I upset about His request, I just
heeded. As I dropped her off to her destination I could see that
it was an environment of drugs, sexual perversions and God knows
what. As she was thanking me for the ride, I took the money out
of the ashtray and balled it up in my hand and placed it in her
She didn't know what I was giving her and I asked her not to
think nothing of it and told her that God loves her and that He
is with her every step of the way. I gave her my business card
and told her if she ever needed to get to church call me and I
would take her.
She got out and we drove off. Long story short, she called me
about three weeks later excited about her new apartment. She
went on to say how it had to be God because she was in a
situation with five young children where she and her kids were
living with her uncle who was violating her physically but she
had nowhere to turn. The money that God instructed me to give
her along with the money that she saved two weeks prior gave her
exactly what she needed to make her transition.
People need to know that everything is not always about monetary
gain but about being obedient and sensitive to the voice of God
and to give when He instructs us to give.
by Vivian Toney, Memphis, TN
April 25th 2012 4:10 pm
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“ Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. ”
Psalm 36:5 (TLB)
From the lochs to the lakes, our tour of Scotland was magnificent. We feasted at dinners complete with haggis, and kilts swirled as dancers did the Gille Callum over crossed swords. We were stirred by the pageantry of the Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, the highlight of which was one lone piper standing on the ramparts playing "Amazing Grace."
But from all the glorious memories we carried home with us, the one I cherish the most was that of a small dog named Greyfriars Bobby. A statue of him stands outside the pub that he and his master frequented. Bobby was a Skye terrier, named after the Isle of Skye, which is the northernmost of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. He was the devoted companion of John Gray, nicknamed Auld Jock, a night watchman with the Edinburgh police.
In 1858, Auld Jock died of tuberculosis and was buried in the Greyfriars churchyard. For fourteen years Bobby kept vigil, sleeping on his master's grave, leaving only for the midday meal doled out to him from the familiar restaurant. Whenever he was led away and offered a home, at his first chance he returned to stay close to the one he loved. He so touched the heart of the keeper of the churchyard that he built a shelter to protect Bobby from pouring rain and cold weather. News of the little dog's faithfulness spread and people flocked to see him.
When Bobby died in 1872, he was buried in Greyfriars near his master's grave. His granite headstone has this inscription: "Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all."
Lord and Master of my life, create in me a faithful heart to stay forever close to You, and through the storms of life to take shelter under the promise of Your presence.
By Fay Angus
April 19th 2012 1:21 pm
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Summers here in Tennessee can be very hot. This spring I decided to buy myself to a nice screenhouse. Now that the setup fiasco is behind me, I find myself spending most of my day in my 'Thinking Tent'. Sometimes I enjoy it so much that I don't want to come inside. My record so far is 2 A.M. I am certain that soon I'll be witnessing the rising sun from my tent.
Peanut and Roscoe, the two most wonderful dogs in the world (in case you haven't heard), love the tent too. I think that they know that this is our special place.
Most of our weather works well with the screenhouse. On sunny days the green roof heats up and makes it very cozy. There is an almost constant crosswind that is so refreshing. The spring rain showers are just wonderful to watch from the safety of our tent.
Yesterday, Peanut, Roscoe, and I experienced something that my tent was not intended for. I was sitting at my table working on my laptop computer when all of a sudden the screen went blank. Puzzled, I checked my wires to see if I could find out why it had shut off. For some reason, there was no electricity. I looked across the street and said, 'Hmmph, they've lost power too. I wonder why?' Just then a loud rumble of thunder answered my question. Slowly I turned my head, and dropped my jaw. Sliding down the mountain and headed straight towards me was a dark gray thundercloud. Forks of lighting connected the ground to the sky. I could see sheets of rain on the mountain. I looked at Peanut and Roscoe and said, 'This is going to be a bad storm!?
It seemed like they smiled back at me. I covered them with our blanket and quickly stowed things away that needed to stay dry. Just as I finished, the rain started. It looked like we would have to ride this one out in the tent.
Much to the puppies delight, I joined them underneath the blanket. They spent a few moments arranging themselves and ended up each placing their lovely heads on my shoulders. I pulled the blanket over their heads and turned my attention back to the storm.
The wind started to pick up. The poles of the tent shook back and forth. I feared that with this much pounding, the poles might fly apart and collapse the tent on my buddies and I.
My head turned back and forth to catch the flashes of lightening. An explosion of thunder quickly followed each flash of light. It seemed that the storm was quickly getting closer and closer. My heart raced as the lightning strikes sounded all around us.
The rain beat hard on the roof of the tent. Soon the wild wind drove the rain inside. My face was getting wet. The storm showed no sign of passing on.
My thoughts turned to my puppies. How afraid they must be. The noise alone must have made them scared for their lives. Between the hard pounding of the rain, the harsh gusting of the wind, and the explosive sounds of the thunder, they must have been close to panic. I felt so badly for Peanut and Roscoe as I imagined their eyes wide with fear, crying into my shoulder.
I reached my hand down and felt Peanut's heartbeat. Instead of a quick scared pounding, her heart was calm. So was Roscoe's. How could they be so calm in the middle of this terrible storm?
I gently lifted the blanket and looked at my puppies. What I saw surprised me. Their little eyes were closed. Roscoe took a deep breath, and let it out with a loud snore.
I couldn't believe it! Even as the flashes of frightening lightening lit up their faces, they were both sound asleep. I wondered how they could be sleeping!
Then it hit me. Peanut and Roscoe had total faith in me. They knew, and trusted that no matter what happened, I'd make sure that they were safe and unhurt.
Now, it is true that I'd do anything in my power to protect keep them safe, secure and dry. The problem is no one ever told them that I had no power over this storm. I too was at the mercy of the wind and rain.
Once again my precious puppies taught me something special. As I lay under the blanket, I thought of Peanut and Roscoe's total faith and trust. They were demonstrating for me what my faith in God should look like!
So often I just trust God a little bit. When it comes to my life, my sin, and my problems, God wants to take complete charge. He doesn't want me scurrying around trying to help. All he wants is for me to trust Him in the same way that Peanut and Roscoe trusted me.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.?
Can I tell you that the only way you or I will ever find rest is to surrender to God? We need to stop our efforts at 'managing? our lives and trust God completely. We must let God take us wherever He wants.
Truthfully, my dog's faith and trust was misplaced. I do not deserve it. Since I can't explain this to them, I do my best to keep the trust they give me.
It is different with God. He does deserve our total trust. He does have power over the whole earth. God knows everything. He is in control of everything. On top of that, God loves us very much. That makes it perfectly safe to trust God with everything in our lives.
We need to get practical with this. God has given us His word. Trusting God means following that Word. We must read it, and then obey it. It is that exercise of faith that seems to activate God's power in our lives.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells the people to obey everything He and God have told them.
(24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
(25) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
(26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
(27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Trusting and obeying God is the first step towards obtaining that special peace mentioned in Philippians 4:7 'And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.?
When the storms of life come, and be assured that they will, cling to the promises and commands found in God's word. When you do, you can be like Peanut and Roscoe, and know that by the end of it all will be well.
April 14th 2012 10:12 am
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The value of a sister/brother
Who doesn't have one.
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.
The value of one second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when
You can share it with someone special.
To realize the value of a friend or family member:
The origin of this letter is unknown.
Hold on tight to the ones you love!
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