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 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 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 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 10th 2012 5:29 am
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This is a beautiful story that's analogous to what our Savior went through.
I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.
Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.
Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: "Rags!" Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.
"Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!"
"Now, this is a wonder," I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?
I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn't disappointed.
Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.
The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.
"Give me your rag," he said so gently, "and I'll give you another."
He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.
Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he put her stained handkerchief to his own face; and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.
"This IS a wonder," I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.
"Rags! Rags! New rags for old!"
In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.
Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.
"Give me your rag," he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, "and I'll give you mine."
The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood - his own!
"Rags! Rags! I take old rags!" cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.
The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry.
"Are you going to work?" he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.
The Ragman pressed him: "Do you have a job?"
"Are you crazy?" sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket - flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.
"So," said the Ragman. "Give me your jacket, and I'll give you mine."
Such quiet authority in his voice!
The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman - and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman's arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.
"Go to work," he said.
After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, and old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.
And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider's legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.
I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.
The little old Ragman - he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.
Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope - because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.
I did not know - how could I know? - that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.
But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.
Light - pure, hard, demanding light - slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.
Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: "Dress me."
He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!
January 6th 2012 7:45 pm
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A little boy the age of six
Come home from school one day
With tear filled eyes he told his mom
What he'd heard the teachers say
We can't have prayer in school no more
The teacher say's it's law
Please tell me why we can't pray mom
I don't understand at all
Some kids are saying God is dead
And Jesus isn't real
Mom all this talk confuses me
How am I suppose to feel
I know I'm just a little kid
But kids have questions too
So if there is no God mom
Then who made me and you
Who made all the trees mom
Who made the flowers to bloom
Who put the stars up in the sky
And hung the silver moon
Who made the gentle breeze to blow
Who made the deep blue sea
Who made all the mountains mom
Who made the air we breath
Why can't we pray in school no more
We use to every day
Our Bible teacher's there no more
They said she went away
All this just can't be right mom
They pushed God out the door
And if He can't be in school with me
I don't want to go no more
The mother lifted up her child
And held him to her breast
She gently wiped his tears away
Then answered his request
She said, yes son, there is a God
And Jesus is alive
He goes to school with you each day
He never leaves your side
And as you grow older son
You'll hear it more and more
It's not just schools, it's others too
That's pushed God out the door
Just keep your trust in God son
No matter what you hear
And when you want to talk to Him
You'll find He's always near
The one's that say there is no God
And Jesus isn't real
Will one day face their Master's son
Their fate will then be sealed.
December 27th 2011 9:15 am
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An excerpt from
The Strangest Secret
by Earl Nightingale
George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.
Now, it stands to reason that a person who is thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because that's what he's thinking about. And we become what we think about.
Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety, fear and worry—his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing...he becomes nothing.
How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.
Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make a decision.
We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant.
Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand—one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds—one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted. As it's written in the Bible,
"As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
Remember, the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the plants—one corn, one poison. The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety, and so on. But what we plant it must return to us.
You see, the human mind is the last great, unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.
December 9th 2011 9:25 am
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I am the center of my universe
But I do not live here alone.
Each move I make creates a ripple in someone else's ocean
Each breath I take effects the air all around me
Each word I utter falls on someone else's ears
That which I touch is felt by another
That which I do will certainly affect another
That which I do not, will also affect another
We never know how far reaching something
we say or do really is until it returns to us
And it always does...
ALL THINGS IN LIFE FORM A CIRCLE
Whether we see the circle or not.
“Life is not what it's supposed to be. Its what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”
November 20th 2011 9:05 am
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There was a little boy,
On the week's first day,
Coming home from Sunday School
And wandering on the way.
He scuffed his shoes into the grass
And found a caterpillar.
He found a fluffy milkweed pod
And blew out all the filler.
A bird's nest in a tree above,
So wisely placed on high,
Was just another wonder
That caught his eager eye.
A neighbor watched his crooked course
And hailed him from the lawn.
He asked him where he'd been that day
And what was going on.
"I've been to Sunday School," he said
As he turned a piece of sod,
And picking up a worm, he smiled,
"I've learned a lot from God!"
"That's a fine way," the neighbor said,
"For a boy to spend his time.
"Now if you can tell me where God is,
I'll give you a brand new dime."
Quick as a flash the answer came,
The boy said without complaint,
"I'll give you a dollar, Mister,
If you can tell me where God ain't!"
November 16th 2011 6:44 am
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"Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day,
"What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?"
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,"' I told him.
"All the food was slow."
"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"
"It was a place called 'at home,'" I explained. "Grandma cooked
every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat down
together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she
put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was
going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him
the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.
But here are some other things I would have told him about my
childhood if I figured his system could have handled it:
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot
on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit
card. In their later years they had something called a revolving
charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe
it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck
anymore. Maybe he died.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly
because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that
weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).
We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but
my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course, black
and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover
the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom
third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was
perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding
across someone's lawn on a sunny day.
Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the
picture look larger.
I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called
'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth
and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my
chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.
We didn't have a car until I was 15. Before that, the only car
in our family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a 'machine.'
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house
was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you
could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you
didn't know weren't already using the line.
Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.
All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered
newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7
cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at
4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents
from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave
me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite
customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on
Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in
the movies. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called
French kissing and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know
what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we
weren't allowed to see them.
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you
may want to share some of these memories with your children or
grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.
~Old Author Unknown~
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