March 1st 2012 6:54 am
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Is Jesus Worth Dying For?
This story will give you chills and is one of the most inspiring and moving we've ever shared. Please read it all.
As Cassie entered the ninth grade, her mom Misty just "had that gut feeling that something was wrong. I couldn't pinpoint it, but I just knew something was wrong. I didn't feel like either I nor my husband had any connection with her."
Desperate for answers, Misty began to search Cassie's room regularly, and on one occasion was shocked to discover evidence that her daughter had developed an interest in witchcraft, drugs and alcohol. Facing the trauma of how to deal with their troubled teen, Cassie's parents decided that the only way to stop their daughter from making more bad decisions was to make a few good choices for her.
So, they began making changes. For starters, they transferred Cassie to a new school-Columbine High School, in suburban Littleton, Colorado. They also kept closer tabs on her friends, her attitudes, and her study habits. In general, they put their foot down, and said, "Cassie, it stops here. You must now choose to take responsibility for your life."
Cassie began to respond - positively...new friends, new attitudes. One of the new friends was Dave McPherson, youth pastor at West Bowles Community Church. McPherson admitted to the Denver Post that, when he first saw Cassie, he thought to himself, "There's no hope for that girl. Not our kind of hope." The joyless look on her face, the monosyllabic speech which came from her lips -- all of it suggested that perhaps Cassie was just "too far gone."
One weekend, though, McPherson encouraged Cassie to accompany the church youth on retreat, and, with her parents' enthusiastic permission, she agreed. That weekend which changed Cassie's life. Said Brad, her father, "When she left, she was this gloomy, head-down, say-nothing youth. When she came back, her eyes were open and bright and she was bouncy and just excited about what had happened to her and was just so excited to tell us. It was like she was in a dark room, and somebody turned the light on, and she saw the beauty that was surrounding her." Said Misty, "She looked at me in the eye and she said, "Mom, I've changed. I've totally changed. I know you're not going to believe it, but I'll prove it to you.'"
The "light" that had been turned on in 17-year-old Cassie's life was the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom she had trusted as her personal Lord and Savior at that church retreat. Jesus changed Cassie-from the inside out. A deep-down, 100-percent kind of transformation, like Paul spoke of in Romans 12:2 when he exhorted us, "be transformed by the renewing of your minds!" Gone was the preoccupation with the occult; instead, Cassie began to spend her spare time, along with her new Christian friends, ministering at Denver's inner-city Victoria Outreach Church, serving dinner to prostitutes and drug addicts as part of that church's mission ministry. Cassie even planned to cut off her cornsilk-colored hair that hung halfway down her back, so that it could be given to "someone who makes wigs for kids who are going through chemotherepy," according to her aunt, Kayleen.
One night, Cassie spoke of her newfound hope for the future with her mom. She said, "Mom, it would be OK if I died. I'd be in a better place, and you know where I'd be." The same girl who, just a couple years before, had been spinning on the edge, in danger of falling into hopelessness. Jesus change her-she was living life sacrificially in Jesus' name, and she was ready to die as a child of the Lord Jesus.
On Sunday night, April 18, Cassie stood up and gave her testimony to her youth group at church. She told them, "You really can't live without Christ. It's, like, impossible to really have a really true life without Him." Cassie was ready. With her life-and with death, if necessary.
Two days after that, Cassie was sitting in the library of Columbine High School when Eric Harris and Dylan Kelbold burst in with homemade pipe-bombs and guns. They knew who she was; she'd made no secret of her newfound faith.
The Bible stacked on top of her textbooks, along with the WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do?") bracelet around her wrist, clearly marked Cassie as one of the "Christians" of Columbine High.
"Do you believe in God?" was the question which was posed to her by that young member of the self-proclaimed "Trenchcoat Mofia." Her friend, Keven Koeniger, later said that Cassie paused for a long moment. He said, "I think she knew she was going to die."
Finally, the response came: "Yes, I believe in God." The trigger was pulled.
You think the question, "Are you ready to die for Jesus?" isn't an urgent one? Just ask Cassie Bernall. Ask her parents. Misty and Brad said, "We looked at each other and we said, 'Would I have done that? I would have begged for my life!' She didn't.
Cassie Bernall's brother Chris found this poem on her desk. It was the last poem she wrote before she died.
"Now I have given up on everything else.
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ
And to experience the Mighty power
That brought Him back to life again
And to find out what it means
to suffer and die with Him.
So, whatever it takes
I will be one who lives
In the fresh newness of life
Of those who are alive from the dead"
Is your Jesus worth dying for?
February 19th 2012 9:15 am
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" I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there".
2 Chronicles 7:16 (NIV)
loving others can be a hard thing because it involves risk. It means extending our hand with risk of it being slapped away. It means opening ourselves up to the risk of being hurt by a person who doesn't reciprocate our love.
Yet Jesus asks us to love other people as we love ourselves. That's a lot of love, because we're programmed for survival and self -preservation.
But Jesus Himself was an example of loving despite risk.He loved Judas,whom He knew would betray Him. He loved Peter, who denied Him three times.
We don't often think of God the Father as loving with risk, but He did.
When Solomon built the temple, God promised that His eyes and His heart would be there. That meant He would see the people who sacificed to Him and prayed to Him. That meant He would feel the hurt of their unfaithfulness.
I think He felt it when invaders raided and looted His temple---after all, wouldn't you feel upset if someone raided and looted yout house? And He felt it when the temple was burned to the ground, because He had set His heart there, to love His people. He brought them out of Egypt because He chose them to be His people. He chose to love them, just like Jesus chose to love us.
Look again at the familar verse about loving others. Yes, it might involve risk and hurt , but Jesus thought the risk was worth it. God thought the hurt was worth it. If you're fearful, that's okay---bring it before Jesus and ask Him to help you to love others the way He loved us. Despite the risk of hurt.
February 15th 2012 9:03 pm
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When you've trusted Jesus and walked his way
When you've felt his hand lead you day by day
But your steps now take you another way,
When you've made your plans and they've gone awry
When you've tried your best and there's no more try
When you've failed yourself and you don't know why,
When you've told your friends what you plan to do
When you've trusted them and they didn't come through
And now you're all alone and it's up to you,
When you've failed your kids and they're grown and gone
When you've done your best but it's turned out wrong
And now your grandchildren have come along,
When you've prayed to God so you'll know his will
When you've prayed and prayed and you don't know still
When you want to stop cause you've had your fill,
When you think you're finished and want to quit
When you've bottomed out in life's deepest pit
When you've tried and tried to get out of it,
When the year has been long and successes few
When December comes and you're feeling blue
God gives a January just for you,
Starting over means "Victories Won"
Starting over means "A Race Well Run"
Starting over means "The Lords' Will Done"
We need not just sit there ... START OVER.
February 14th 2012 8:36 am
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Meet Cupid's Helpers, Truly Angels on Earth.
The outgoing coordinator for Loveland's valentine re-mailing program shares the history of this romantic endeavor.
By Duane Kaye, Loveland, Colorado
Hopeless romantic. That’s me all right. And who wouldn’t be, with a wife like mine? I guess Jeanette and I truly do belong in the romance capital of the world, Loveland, Colorado. When we moved here 22 years ago, we didn’t know much about this beautiful little town nestled in the mountains, where folks smiled and said hello when you passed them on the street.
I landed a postal worker position and got to know my new neighbors by name. But I had a surprise in store. I was working as a window clerk my first February on the job, and I’d just weighed a stack of letters when I heard laughter coming from the back room. A party? I wondered. On my break I checked it out. There in the back I found a small army of senior citizens. They sat on either side of a long folding table and appeared to be opening and stamping mail. “What’s going on?” I asked.
“We’re valentine volunteers,” one of the men explained. He held up an envelope. It was a valentine card from Seattle going to an address in Wisconsin. “We get cards from all over the world—more than a hundred countries,” the man said. “People send them here so we can hand-stamp them with a valentine message from right here in Sweetheart City.”
A lady beside him held up a pink envelope she’d just stamped. “Wouldn’t you want to get a valentine with our official postmark?” she said. The bright blue stamp included a four-line love poem.
Another lady at the end of the table had a stack of cards she was addressing with a calligraphy pen. “These envelopes arrived damaged,” she said. “So I’m replacing them!”
I stared at the stack of red, pink and white envelopes currently being sorted by a man in red heart suspenders. I’d never seen such an operation. “How many of these do you send out every year?” I asked.
“Over two hundred thousand,” the woman said proudly. “Not bad for only fifty volunteers doing two weeks’ work, huh?”
Not bad? Santa’s elves didn’t work so hard for Christmas!
“Does your special someone deserve a valentine this year?” one of the volunteers asked with a wink.
On Valentine’s Day Jeanette received a big pink envelope in the mail with our special stamp. Funny thing was, so did I! “How did you manage to send this without me seeing it at the post office?” I said.
“I have my ways,” said Jeanette.
I looked forward to the valentine program every year. When I heard the re-mailing coordinator was retiring I jumped at the chance to take the job myself.
“It’s not just fun and romance for two weeks,” he explained. “We hold a contest to pick the design for the official valentine, and the poem that goes on the stamp has to be approved by the Feds. The process begins in November.”
It was a lot of extra work, but I enjoyed every minute. Artists from across the nation submitted designs for the postmark and cachet. One morning as I left for work Jeanette presented me with a piece of paper. It was a computer generated drawing of two swans facing each other. Their necks created a heart. “It’s my entry to the contest,” she said shyly. “Don’t worry, I know you don’t get to pick the winner.”
With so many brilliant entries coming in I was relieved not to have a say in the outcome. The committee chairman came to the office to show me which one they’d picked: Jeanette’s swans!
I thought I was a hopeless romantic before. Now I felt like Cupid’s personal assistant, or like an angel delivering these messages of love. “Make sure this card reaches my fiancée on February fourteenth,” read a note with one 2.3 foot envelope. “I’m asking her to marry me on Valen-tine’s Day. The proposal is inside!”
Rain, sleet or snow...you can believe we delivered that card on Valentine’s Day! If she didn’t say yes, well, the young man can’t hold Loveland Post Office responsible.
Sometimes the folks sending letters became pen pals. Like the woman in Italy who stamped her card for her husband with beautiful Italian stamps. “Your stamps of the Italian countryside are breathtaking,” I wrote to her. “Unfortunately they are not valid in the US.” A few days later the woman wrote me back, enclosing Italian stamps just for me.
Another lady sent a shoebox filled with 50 knitted hearts—one for every volunteer. Eleanor in
Florida sent a brown paper package of flavored coffee, creamers and chocolates.
The whole town in Loveland gets into the romantic spirit. Local restaurants treat the volunteers to free lunch. Jeanette baked us valentine cakes with white drizzled frosting. There’s a community dance, sweetheart night at the library, the crowning of Miss Valentine. Personal messages on oversized hearts decorate the town. The one in front of the post office always reads the same: DUANE LOVES JEANETTE.
This year I plan to retire from the post office. Jeanette and I are going to take a second honeymoon, traveling around the country. But as much as I look forward to spending time with my sweetheart, I’ll miss delivering all those messages of love. I’m already planning to volunteer next year. Once you’ve worked as an angel, it’s hard to stop.
* * * * *
Loveland, Colorado, “Sweetheart City,” started its valentine re-mailing program in 1947. To receive the Loveland valentine cachet, enclose pre-addressed cards affixed with the proper postage in a larger envelope and mail first class to: Postmaster, Valentine Re-mailing, 446 East 29th Street, Loveland, Colorado, 80538. Cards for destinations in Colorado should be in Loveland by February 11. For US destinations outside Colorado, February 7. For international destinations, February 3.
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?
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.
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 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 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 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.
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