Stories to Think About…….
AnonymousJuly 30, 2006 at 12:03 am
Here is another thread that brought alot of inspiration.
Angels Among Us
*This was written by a Hospice of Metro Denver physician
I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends:
I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die – I barely managed to coast, cursing into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart” building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.
When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel. At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.
I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”
I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there. So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.
I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?”
This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”
It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.
Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings…
Psalms 55:22 “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
Here is the prayer:
“Father, I ask You to bless my children, grandchildren, friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace, In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”
AnonymousJuly 30, 2006 at 6:22 am
Three Letters from Teddy
Elizabeth Silance Ballard
Teddy’s letter came today, and now that I’ve read it, I will place it in my cedar chest with the other things that are important in my life. “I wanted you to be the first to know.” I smiled as I read the words he had written and my heart swelled with a pride that I had no right to feel.
I have not seen Teddy Stallard since he was a student in my 5th grade class, 15 years ago. It was early in my career, and I had only been teaching two years. From the first day he stepped into my classroom, I disliked Teddy. Teachers (although everyone knows differently) are not supposed to have favorites in a class, but most especially are not supposed to show dislike for a child, any child. Nevertheless, every year there are one or two children that one cannot help but be attached to, for teachers are human, and it is human nature to like bright, pretty, intelligent people, whether they are 10 years old or 25. And sometimes, not too often, fortunately, there will be one or two students to whom the teacher just can’t seem to relate.
I had thought myself quite capable of handling my personal feelings along that line until Teddy walked into my life. There wasn’t a child I particularly liked that year, but Teddy was most assuredly one I disliked. He was dirty. Not just occasionally, but all the time. His hair hung low over his ears, and he actually had to hold it out of his eyes as he wrote his papers in class. (And this was before it was fashionable to do so!) Too, he had a peculiar odor about him which I could never identify. His physical faults were many, and his intellect left a lot to be desired, also. By the end of the first week I knew he was hopelessly behind the others. Not only was he behind; he was just plain slow! I began to withdraw from him immediately.
Any teacher will tell you that it’s more of a pleasure to teach a bright child. It is definitely more rewarding for one’s ego. But any teacher worth her credentials can channel work to the bright child, keeping him challenged and learning, while she puts her major effort on the slower ones. Any teacher can do this. Most teachers do it, but I didn’t, not that year. In fact, I concentrated on my best students and let the others follow along as best they could. Ashamed as I am to admit it, I took perverse pleasure in using my red pen; and each time I came to Teddy’s papers, the cross marks (and they were many) were always a little larger and a little redder than necessary. “Poor work!” I would write with a flourish.
While I did not actually ridicule the boy, my attitude was obviously quite apparent to the class, for he quickly became the class “goat”, the outcast — the unlovable and the unloved. He knew I didn’t like him, but he didn’t know why. Nor did I know — then or now — why I felt such an intense dislike for him. All I know is that he was a little boy no one cared about, and I made no effort in his behalf.
The days rolled by. We made it through the Fall Festival and the Thanksgiving holidays, and I continued marking happily with my red pen. As the Christmas holidays approached, I knew that Teddy would never catch up in time to be promoted to the sixth grade level. He would be a repeater. To justify myself, I went to his cumulative folder from time to time. He had very low grades for the first four years, but not grade failure. How he had made it, I didn’t know. I closed my mind to personal remarks.
First grade: Teddy shows promise by work and attitude, but has poor home situation.
Second grade: Teddy could do better. Mother terminally ill. He receives little help at home.
Third grade: Teddy is a pleasant boy. Helpful, but too serious. Slow learner. Mother passed away at end of year.
Fourth grade: Very slow, but well-behaved. Father shows no interest.
Well, they passed him four times, but he will certainly repeat fifth grade! “Do him good!” I said to myself.
And then the last day before the holiday arrived. Our little tree on the reading table sported paper and popcorn chains. Many gifts were heaped underneath, waiting for the big moment. Teachers always get several gifts at Christmas, but mine that year seemed bigger and more elaborate than ever. There was not a student who had not brought me one. Each unwrapping brought squeals of delight, and the proud giver would receive effusive thank-you’s.
His gift wasn’t the last one I picked up; in fact it was in the middle of the pile. Its wrapping was a brown paper bag, and he had colored Christmas trees and red bells all over it. It was stuck together with masking tape. “For Miss Thompson — From Teddy” it read. The group was completely silent, and for the first time, I felt conspicuous, embarrassed because they all stood watching me unwrap that gift. As I removed the last bit of masking tape, two items fell to my desk; a gaudy rhinestone bracelet with several stones missing and a small bottle of dimestore cologne — half empty. I could hear the snickers and whispers, and I wasn’t sure I could look at Teddy. “Isn’t this lovely?” I asked, placing the bracelet on my wrist. “Teddy, would you help me fasten it?” He smiled shyly as he fixed the clasp, and I held up my wrist for all of them to admire. There were a few hesitant oohs and aahs, but as I dabbed the cologne behind my ears, all the little girls lined up for a dab behind their ears. I continued to open the gifts until I reached the bottom of the pile. We ate our refreshments and the bell rang. The children filed out with shouts of “See you next year!” and “Merry Christmas!” but Teddy waited at his desk.
When they had all left, he walked toward me, clutching his gift and books to his chest. “You smell just like Mom,” he said softly. “Her bracelet looks real pretty on you, too. I’m glad you liked it.” He left quickly. I locked the door, sat down at my desk, and wept, resolving to make up to Teddy what I had deliberately deprived him of — a teacher who cared.
I stayed every afternoon with Teddy from the end of the Christmas holidays until the last day of school. Sometimes we worked together. Sometimes he worked alone while I drew up lesson plans or graded papers. Slowly but surely he caught up with the rest of the class. Gradually, there was a definite upward curve in his grades. He did not have to repeat the fifth grade. In fact, his final averages were among the highest in the class, and although I knew he would be moving out of the state when school was out, I was not worried for him. Teddy had reached a level that would stand him in good stead the following year, no matter where he went. He enjoyed a measure of success, and as we were taught in our teacher training courses, “Success builds success.”
I did not hear from Teddy until seven years later, when his first letter appeared in my mailbox:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I just wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class next month.
Very truly yours,
I sent him a card of congratulations and a small package, a pen and pencil gift set. I wondered what he would do after graduation. Four years later, Teddy’s second letter came:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know. I was just informed that I’ll be graduating first in my class. The university has not been easy, but I liked it.
Very truly yours,
I send him a good pair of sterling silver monogrammed cuff links and a card, so proud of him I could burst! And now today — Teddy’s third letter:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know. As of today, I am Theodore J. Stallard, M.D. How about that? I’m going to be married in July, the 27th, to be exact. I wanted to ask if you could come and sit where Mom would sit if she were here. I’ll have no family there as Dad died last year.
Very truly yours,
I’m not sure what kind of gift one sends to a doctor on completion of medical school and state boards. Maybe I’ll just wait and take a wedding gift, but my note can’t wait:
Congratulations! You made it, and you did it yourself! In spite of those like me and not because of us, this day has come to you. God bless you. I’ll be at that wedding with bells on!
Elizabeth Silance Ballard
AnonymousAugust 4, 2006 at 9:19 pm
Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.
They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy’s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the PantherCreek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.
In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying.
Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. I looked like a walking laundry basket.
The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.” The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firm line.
“He is not leaving until he sings to his sister” she stated. Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray. ” Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. “Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.
“You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.” As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”
“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”. Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.
“Keep on singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”
The next day…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home. Woman’s Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother’s Song. The medical staff just called it a miracle.
Karen called it a miracle of God’s love.
NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE. LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.
“The evidence of God’s presence far outweighs the proof of His absence.”
AnonymousAugust 20, 2006 at 6:42 am
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”
He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me cu rious, so one day I went up and asked him, “I don’t get it!
You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”
He replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or … you can choose to be in a bad mood.*I choose to be in a good mood.”
Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or… I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.
“Yes, it is,” he said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”
I reflected on what he s aid. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins…Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
“The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,” he replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
He continued, “..the paramedics were great.*They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said John. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘ Gravity’.”
Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude… I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
Attitude, after all, is everything.
After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
AnonymousAugust 20, 2006 at 7:42 am
The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things— your family, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained , your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really
matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad! you asked.
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”
AnonymousSeptember 6, 2006 at 5:14 pm
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]BETH MOORE AT AIRPORT[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]For those of you who don’t know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible Studies, and a married mother of 2 daughters. She is a member of First Baptist, Houston.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]April 20, 2005[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]At the Airport in Knoxville Waiting to board the plane: I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I say that because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I tried to keep from staring but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a ! wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long. Clean, but strangely out of place on an old man.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?….[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]There I sat trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was! growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him; Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]”Oh no, God please no.” I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, “Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!”…[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]There I ! sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, “Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Then I heard it…”I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, “God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m you’re girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am on him. I am going to witness to this man.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. “That is not what I said, Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I looked up at God an! d quipped, “I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane, How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?”…[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: “I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.” (2 Tim 3:17) I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I knelt down in front of the man, and asked as demurely as possible, “Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]He looked back at me and said, “What did you say?” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]”May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair? To which he responded in volume ten, “Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that. At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, “SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, “If you really want to.” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Are you kidding? OF course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, “Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]”I have one in my bag,” he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but I must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I know this sounds so strange but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Him! self at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, “Sir, do you know my Jesus?” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]He said, “Yes, I do.” Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, “I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.” He said, “You see, the problem is, I haven’ t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God! moment, and I’ll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft. [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, “That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?” [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I said, “Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!” And we got to share. I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted because you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees! you as an individual. Tell Him your need![/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way… all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]by Beth Moore[/SIZE][/FONT]
AnonymousOctober 29, 2006 at 7:35 am
A Living Bible
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans,
and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of
college. He is brilliant, kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a
Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative
church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how
to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes,
jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so
Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely
packed and he can’t find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit
uncomfortable, but no one says anything.
Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes
there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although
perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had
never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight,
and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the
church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in
his eighties, and has silver-gray hair, and wears a three-piece suit. He is a
godly man, very elegant, very dignified very courtly. He walks with a cane
and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves
that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man
of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?
It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly
silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on
him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the
sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly
man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and
sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won’t be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion.
When the minister gains control, he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will
never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. “Be careful
how you live. You may be the only ‘Bible’ some people will ever read”.
I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today,
To guide you and protect you as you go along your way.
His love is always with you,
His promises are true,
and when we give Him all our cares,
you know He will see us through.
AnonymousDecember 16, 2006 at 3:23 pm
A simple white envelope–a beautiful story of Christmas sharing
SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE
It’s just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of
our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no
inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree
for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas –oh,
not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial
aspects of it — the overspending, the frantic running
around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and
the dusting powder for Grandma — the gifts given in
desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the
usual shirts,sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for
something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an
unusual way. Our son Kevin, Who was 12 that year, was
wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.
Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match
against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that
shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them
together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their
spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling
shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the
other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light
helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a
luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight
class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he
swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind
of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.
Mike seated beside me,shook his head sadly, “I wish just one
of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of
potential, but losing like this could take the heart right
out of them.” Mike loved kids — all kids — and he knew
them, having coached little league football, baseball, and
That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I
went to a local sporting goods store and bought an
assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them
anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I
placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling
Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His
smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and
in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the
tradition — one year sending a group of mentally
handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a
check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned
to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The
envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was
always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our
children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with
wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope
from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical
presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story
doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to
cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so
wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But
Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and
in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our
children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope
on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and
someday will expand even further with our grandchildren
standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation
watching as their fathers take down the envelope.
Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with
us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the
season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
AnonymousDecember 23, 2006 at 6:18 am
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger.
“God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.
“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. St. Paul wrote, “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).
St. Paul had confidence that good would come out of everything (Romans 8:28), so he learned to be thankful, not bitter, even when he was suffering.
Remember the next time your little hut is burning to the ground–it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
AnonymousFebruary 21, 2007 at 7:17 am
Well worth reading. And a few good laughs are guaranteed.
My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.
“In those days,” he told me when he was in his 90s, “to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.”
At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: “Oh, bull—-!” she said. “He hit a horse.”
“Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”
So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.
My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.
My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that. But, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.”
It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first.
But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown. It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car.
Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother. So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, and a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving.
The cemetery probably was my father’s idea.
“Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying once.
For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps — though they seldom left the city limits — and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.
Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)
He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin’s Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning.
If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home. If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”
After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio.
In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”
If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out — and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream.
As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”
“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.
“No left turns,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.”
“What?” I said again.
“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer. So we always make three rights.”
“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.
“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.” But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”
I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. “Loses count?” I asked. “Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”
I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.”
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90. She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102. They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)
He continued to walk daily — he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.
One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news. A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.” At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to live much longer.”
“You’re probably right,” I said.
“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated.
“Because you’re 102 years old,” I said.
“Yes,” he said, “you’re right.” He stayed in bed all the next day.
That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night. He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: “I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.”
An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:
“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.” A short time later, he died.
I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.
I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life
Or because he quit taking left turns.
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