A PIECE OF CAKE          WHISPER OR BRICK          Twenty-Third Psalm         Trust God          

 

THE WEATHERED OLD BARN          THE TWELVE DAYS of CHRISTMAS         HOLLY WREATHS     The Piano  

  

THE PEARLS       The Nature of The Heart         The Hand          THE GOLDEN GATE    

 

 Butterfly Attack       The Empty Chair          The Butterfly         POOR          Keep Your Fork   

 

 J U S T  P E D A L          It Was Meant To Be          I Wish For You          Happy Moments    

 

 Handwriting On The Wall          Enough          And they call some of these people "retarded"?...        

 

 An old Cherokee      Whose Packing Your Chute          UNFOLDING THE ROSE        

 

 The Women and The Stone

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PIECE OF CAKE

 

Sometimes, we wonder "What did I do to deserve this," or "Why did God have to do this to me.

 

" Here is an explanation!!!

 

A little boy is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong. School, family problems, severe health problems, etc. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which, of course, he does. "Here, have some cooking oil." "Yuck" says the boy. "How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Grandma!" "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Grandma, those are all yucky!"

To which Grandma replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by them selves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would

let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!"

Hope your day is a "piece of cake!"

 

 

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WHISPER OR BRICK?

 

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door!

He slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid who was standing there and pushed him against a parked car shouting, “What do you think you are doing, boy?” Building up a head of steam he went on," That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" Please sir, please. I’m sorry, I didn’t know what else to do,” pleaded the youngster.  “I threw the brick because no one else would stop...

” Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around the parked car.

“It’s my brother, sir,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.

” Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair, sir?

He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.

He lifted the young man back into  the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts,

checking to see that everything was going to be okay.

“Thank you and may God bless you, sir,” the grateful child said to him. 

The man then watched the little boy push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long walk back to his Jaguar...a long slow walk. He never did repair the side door.

He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention. God whispers in your soul and speaks to your heart.

Sometimes when you don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at you.

It’s your choice: Listen to the whisper—or wait for the brick.

 

 

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Twenty Third Psalm

 

This an eye opener. We probably never thought nor looked at this Psalm in this way,

 

even though we say it over and over again.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd ~ That’s Relationship!

 

I shall not want ~ That’s Supply!

 

He maketh me to lie down in  green pastures ~ That’s Rest!

 

He leadeth me beside the still waters ~ That’s Refreshment!

 

He restoreth my soul ~ That’s Healing!

 

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness ~ That’s Guidance!

 

For His name sake ~ That’s Purpose!

 

Yea, though I walk through the  valley of the shadow of death ~That’s Testing!

 

 I will fear no evil ~That’s Faithfulness!

 

 For Thou art with me ~ That’s Protection!

 

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me ~That’s Discipline!

 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies ~ That’s Hope!

 

 Thou annointest my head with oil ~That’s Consecration!

 

 My cup runneth over ~That’s Abundance!

 

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ~ That’s Blessing!

 

 And I will dwell in the house of the Lord ~That’s Security!

 

Forever ~ That’s Eternity!

 

Face it, the Lord is crazy about you.

 

What is most valuable, is not what we have in our lives,

 

but WHO we have in our lives!

 

 

 

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Trust God

 

 

May today there be peace within you.

 

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

 

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

 

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on

 

the love that has been given to you.

 

May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.

 

Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,

 

dance, and to bask in the sun.      

 

 

 

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The Women and The Stone

 

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The  hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left,  rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough  to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later he came  back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious.

Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

 

 

 

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       THE WEATHERED OLD BARN

 

 

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked.  He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty. Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and the ice  and the howling wind.

The summer sun's beat down on that old barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful. That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn. The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. 

He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood. It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too... and lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing. And as the years pass He's busy using the hard wealth of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons, to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house. And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us. And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here... and just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house. May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

 

"I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our

feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly".

 

   ~Author Unknown

 

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THE TWELVE DAYS of CHRISTMAS 

 

Did you know that this wasn’t originally a carol, but a way to teach children a faith

 

That they could not openly practice because of persecution by Henry VIII ? 

 

Here’s the code:

 

On the first day of Christmas, my true love (God) gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree (Christ on the cross) 

 

 2 Turtle Doves (Old and New Testament)

 

 3 French Hens (Trinity of gifts of the Magi)

 

 4 Calling Birds ( the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)

 

 5 Golden Rings ( The Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament)

 

 6 Geese a-laying  ( the six days of creation)

 

 7 Swans a-swimming ( the seven miracles in St. John)

 

 8 Maids a-milking ( the eight beatitudes)

 

 9 Ladies dancing ( the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit)

 

10 Lords a-leaping ( the ten Commandments)

 

11 Pipers piping ( the eleven faithful disciples)

 

12 Drummers drumming ( the twelve points made in the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

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HOLLY WREATHS

 

Most popular of Christmas decorations is the evergreen wreath – symbolic of the crown of thorns,

 

which was pressed on the brow of Christ at the Crucifixion.

 

 

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The Piano

 

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took the small boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way  through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE." When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her  little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master  made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered  in the boy's ear, Don't quit. Keep playing." Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his  left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm  reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligation. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized. That's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful. Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit" "Keep playing. " Feel His loving arms around you.  Know that His strong hands are playing the concerto of your life. Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. And He'll always be there to love and guide you on to great things.

 

 

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THE PEARLS

 

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?" Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma. "As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions  for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" "Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite." "That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?" "Daddy, you know I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper." "That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And  as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was  trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?" Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, daddy, this is for you." With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure. So it is with our Heavenly Father.  He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. Isn't God good?

Are you holding onto things that God wants you to let go of. Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships,  habits, and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand, but do believe this one thing...

 

God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.

 

 

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The Nature of The Heart

 

John Blanchard stood up from the bench straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months  before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book,  but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name,

Miss Hollis May Nell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing him and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they  scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central  Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote,  "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel. " So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened: A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim.  Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears;  her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting

to notice that she was not wearing a rose.  As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis May Nell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankle feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.  The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though  I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible.  

Her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke  I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss May Nell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?" The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!" It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss May Nell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."

 

 

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The Hand 

 

At first it sounded like a Thanksgiving story, but the more I reflected on it, the more appropriate it seemed for any time of the year. The way I heard it, the story went like this: Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment - to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful. Most of the students were economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her students' art...and they were. But, Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy.

He was the teacher's true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes. Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand. His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkey. Another suggested a police officer, because the  police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went - until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself. When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas' desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, "It's yours, teacher." She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, "Take my hand, Douglas, we'll go outside." Or, "Let me show you how to hold your pencil." Or, "Let's do this together." Douglas was most thankful for his teacher's hand. Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work. The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglass of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they'' remember the hand that reaches out.

 

 

(Author unknown)

 

 

 

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THE GOLDEN GATE

 

 

lOVE is by far the most important thing of all. It is the Golden Gate of Paradise.

 

Pray for the understanding of love, and meditate upon it daily.

 

It casts our fear. It is the fulfilling of the Law.

 

It covers a multitude of sins. Love is absolutely invincible.

 

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer: no disease

 

that enough love will not open: no gulf that enough love will not

 

bridge: no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem.

 

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble,

 

how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake;

 

a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.

 

If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most

 

powerful being in the world.....

 

 

Emmet Fox

 

 

 

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Butterfly Attack

 

Walking down a path through some woods in Georgia, I saw a water puddle ahead on the path. I angled my direction to go around it  on the part of the path that wasn't covered by water and mud. As I reached the puddle, I was suddenly attacked! Yet I did nothing for the attack was so unpredictable and from a source so totally unexpected. I was startled as well as unhurt, despite having been struck four or five times already.

I backed up a foot and my attacker stopped attacking me. Instead of attacking more, he hovered in the air on graceful butterfly wings in front of me. Had I been hurt I wouldn't have found it amusing, but I was unhurt, it was funny, and I was laughing. After all, I was being attacked by a butterfly! Having stopped laughing, I took a step forward. My attacker rushed me again. He rammed me in the chest with his head and body, striking me over and over again with all his might, still to no avail. For a second time, I retreated a step while my attacker relented in his attack. Yet again, I tried moving forward. My attacker charged me again. I was rammed in the chest over and over again.  I wasn't sure what to do, other than to retreat a third time. After all, it's just not everyday that one is attacked by a butterfly. This time, though, I stepped back several paces to look the situation over. My attacker moved back as well to land on the ground. That's when I discovered why my attacker was charging me only moments earlier. He had a mate and she was dying. She was beside the puddle where he landed. Sitting close beside her, he opened and closed his wings as if to fan her. I could only admire the love and courage of that butterfly in his concern for his mate. He had taken it upon himself to attack me for his mate's sake, even though she was clearly dying and I was so large. He did so just to give her those extra few precious moments of life, should I have been careless enough to step on her. Now I knew why and what he was fighting for There was really only one option left for me. I carefully made my way around the puddle to the other side of the path, though it was only inches wide and extremely muddy. His courage in attacking something thousands of times larger and heavier than himself just for his mate's safety justified it. I couldn't do anything other than reward him by walking on the more difficult side of the puddle. He had truly earned those moments to be with her, undisturbed. I left them in peace for those last few moments, cleaning the mud from my boots when I later reached my car. Since then, I've always tried to remember the courage of that butterfly whenever I see huge obstacles facing me. I use that butterfly's courage as an inspiration and to remind myself that good things are worth fighting for.

 

 

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The Empty Chair

 

A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed.

The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?" "I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied.  "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up." "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man.

"Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the pastor shut the door. "I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head..""I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued,  "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I'll be with you always.'

Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now."

"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day.

I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown

or send me off to the funny farm." The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange--kind of weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."

 

 

 

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The Butterfly

 

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared;

 he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force

its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors

and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that,

at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body,

which would contract in time.

 

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life

crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the

restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get

through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body

of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once

it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature

allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.

 We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

 

And we could never fly...

 

 

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POOR

 

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose

of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh Yeah" said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father proudly. The son answered: I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them." With this the boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are. " Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don't have. What is one's person’s worthless object is another's prize possession. It is all based on one's perspective. Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for all the bounty we have instead of worrying about wanting more.

Take joy in what you have and see the treasure in it.

 

 

Author Unknown

 

 

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Keep Your Fork

 

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. 

So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss

certain aspects of her final wishes.  She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.  “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply.  “This is very important,” the woman continued.  “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”  The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked. “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor. 

The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork’. It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.  Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?'. Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork....the best is yet to come”. The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death.  

But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. 

She KNEW that something better was coming.  At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. 

Over and over, the pastor heard the question “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled. 

 During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died.  He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.  He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

 

 

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J U S T  P E D A L

 

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him. But later on, when I met God, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was at the back, helping me pedal. I don't know when it was that he suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when he took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds.

It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer! and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed; gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey. And we were off again. He said, 'Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight.' So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets,

knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks,  knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with God as my delightful constant companion. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says," Pedal!"

 

 

Author Unknown   

 

 

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It Was Meant To Be

 

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church. By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor

while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job. What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

 

True Story - submitted

by Pastor Rob Reid

 

Who says God does not work in mysterious ways. 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. So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best, Just remember I'm here praying, and God will do the rest.

 

 

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“I Wish For You...”

 

Comfort on difficult days,

 

Smiles when sadness intrudes,

 

Rainbows to follow the clouds,

 

Laughter to kiss your lips,

 

Sunsets to warm your heart

 

Gentle hugs when spirits sag,

 

Friendships to brighten your being,

 

Beauty for your eyes to see,

 

Confidence for when you doubt,

 

Faith so that you can believe,

 

Courage to know yourself,

 

Patience to accept the truth,

 

And love to complete your life.

 

God Bless you!

 

 

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Happy Moments

 

"Happy moments, praise God.


Difficult moments, seek God.

 

Quiet moments, worship God.


Painful moments, trust God.


Every moment, thank God."


Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like doing something nice for someone
you care for... THAT'S GOD... He talks to you through the Holy Spirit. Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to talk to... THAT'S GOD... He wants you to talk to Him. Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven't seen in a long time and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone call from them... THAT'S GOD... there is no such thing as "coincidence." Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn't even ask for, like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or a coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you wanted, but couldn't afford... THAT'S GOD... He knows the desires of your heart... Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get better, but now you look back on it... THAT'S GOD... He passes us through tribulation to see a brighter day... "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

 

 

 

 

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Handwriting On The Wall

 

A weary mother returned from the store, lugging groceries through the kitchen door. Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son, Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done. “While I was out playing and Dad was on a call, T.J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall! It’s on the new paper you just hung in the den. I told him you’d be mad at having to redo it. She let out a moan and furrowed her brow, “Where is your little brother right now?”

She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride, She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

She called his full name as she entered his room. He trembled with fear—he knew that meant doom!  For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved about the expensive wallpaper and how she had saved. Lamenting all the work it would take to repair, She condemned his actions and total lack of care. The more she scolded, the madder she got, then stomped from his room, totally distraught! She headed for the den to confirm her fears. When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears. The message she read pierced her soul with a dart. It said, “I love Mommy,” surrounded by a heart. Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it, with an empty picture frame hung to surround it.

A reminder to her, and indeed to all, Take time to read the handwriting on the wall.

 

 

 

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Enough

 

Recently I over heard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure

and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed.  I wish you enough, too, Daddy." They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking,

"Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied.  Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.  So I knew what this man experiencing. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked.   "I am old and she lives much too far away.  I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said. "When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?" He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations.  My parents used to say it to everyone. " He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.  "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with

just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory. "I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.  I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

 

He then began to sob and walked away.

 

 

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And they call some of these people "retarded"?...

 

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the sound of the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash,

but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and  began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back... every one of them. One little girl with Down's syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

People who were there are still telling the story.  Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. If you pass this on, we may be able to change our hearts as well as  Some one else's...

 

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle".

 

 

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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life

 

 

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight

 

between two wolves. One is evil--he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,

 

arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

 

"The other is good--he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,

 

kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, courage, and faith.

 

"This same fight is going on inside you--and inside every other person, too."

 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

 

"Which wolf will win?"

 

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

 

 

 

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Who's Packing Your 'Chute??

 

Charles Plumb was a U.S. .Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said,

"You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb." I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today." Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute,  holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know. Now, Plumb asks his audiences, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who
pack your parachute.

 

 

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UNFOLDING THE ROSE

 

 

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 die.

 

If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design,

 

then how can I have the wisdom To unfold this life of mine?

 

So I’ll trust in Him for leading each moment of my 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.

 

 

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