.......Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:8
No Need to Scroll---Click To Go
Then click your "back" button to return and find another!
Taking Mother's Hand Marble Tiles How do you live your dash?
The courtroom The Bible & TV Guide Life in the 1500's
I Am A Mother Fasting & Feasting Mr. Pointy Nose
Bigger the Better Safely Home The Water Bearer
The Straying Lamb Thinking vs. Promises Giving your Best
Precious Stone Heaven or Hell








"Taking Mother's Hand"

When a boy or girl thrusts his small hand in yours, it may be smeared with chocolate ice cream, or grimy from petting a dog, and there may be a wart under the right thumb and a bandage around the little finger.

But the most important thing about his hands is that they are the hands of the future. These are the hands that someday may hold a Bible or a Colt revolver; play the church piano or spin a gambling wheel; gently dress a leper's wound, or tremble wretchedly uncontrolled by an alcoholic mind.

Right now, that hand is yours. It asks for help and guidance. It represents a full-fledged personality in miniature to be respected as a separate individual whose day-to-day growth into Christian adulthood is your responsibility.

Marble Tiles

There was this museum laid with beautiful marble tiles, with a huge marble statue displayed in the middle of the lobby. Many people came from all over the world just to admire this beautiful marble statue. One night, the marble tiles started talking to the marble statue. Marble tile:  "Marble statue, it's just not fair, it's just not fair! Why does everybody from all over the world come all the way here just to step on me while admiring you?  Not fair!"

Marble statue: "My dear friend, marble tile.  Do you still remember that we were actually from the same cave?"

Marble tile:  "Yeah!  That's why I feel it is even more unfair.  We were born from the same cave and yet we receive different treatment now. Not fair!" he cried again.

Marble statue: "Then, do you still remember the day when the designer tried to work on you, but you resisted the tools?"

Marble tile:  "Yes, of course I remember.  I hate that guy!  How could he use those tools on me??!! It hurt so badly."

Marble statue: "That's right!  He couldn't work on you at all as you resisted being worked on."

Marble tile:  "So???"

Marble statue: "When he decided to give up on you and start working on me instead, I knew at once that I would be something different after his efforts.  I did not resist his tools, instead,I bore all the painful tools he used on me."

Marble tile:  "Mmmmmm......." Marble statue: "My friend, there is a price to everything in life. Since you decided to give up half way, you can't blame anybody who steps on you now."

******************************************************************
The moral of the story is .... ... It simply means that the more hard knocks you go through in life, the more you'll learn and put them to use in the future!! Do not be discouraged by setbacks and failures. Only if you dare to be different...... then can you be different....

HOW DO YOU LIVE YOUR DASH

I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone From the beginning...to the end. He noted that first came her date of birth And spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years.   (l900-l970)

For that dash represents all the time That she spent alive on earth... And now only those who loved her Know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own; The cars...the house...the cash, What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard... Are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough To consider what's true and real, And always try to understand The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more And love the people in our lives Like we've never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile... Remembering that this special dash Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read With your life's actions to rehash... Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash?

The Courtroom


         I had a dream one night. I saw myself in a courtroom. I was the defendant and was being tried for some little crime that I had committed several years ago. I saw that I was scared, the prosecutor was pushing for the death penalty. When the judge asked him to present his evidence, he brought a big, heavy book. It was bound in leather and looked to very old, almost as if it was older than I was. He said this book was an account of all the crimes that I had ever committed. He had kept track of every single little thing that I had ever done, from telling an insignificant lie to the worst thing I had ever done that I thought no one knew about. I was scared, I saw as he presented all this information to the judge that the judge had a very grim look on his face. I knew I would be convicted, I had to be, the evidence was so overwhelming. I felt no hope, I knew I could do nothing to convince them I should not serve my sentance and pay for my crimes. I was guilty. After the prosecutor had concluded presenting the evidence the judge asked my lawyer if he had anything to say in defense of me. He said nothing but turned and looked at me for the longest time, I could see there was great pain in his eyes. I saw a lone tear trickle down his and a great love that I did not understand in his eyes. He then turned and looked at the judge and asked to look at the book. As he reached for the book I saw a wound in his wrist that I had not noticed before. It was a bad puncture wound, and I wondered what could have cause such a horrifing wound. And as he was about the take the book he said, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing." And a drop of blood fell from his wound and landed on the book. Even as the drop of blood hit the book, it dissappeared, vanished as though it had never even been. Then he turned and looked at me and said, "I love you." Then I knew him, he was Jesus. I was forgiven!
Thank you Jesus

The Bible and the TV Guide

On the table side by side:
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn but cherished with pride
(Not the Bible, but the TV Guide).
One is used daily to help folk decide;
NO!  It isn't the Bible; it's the TV Guide

As pages are turned, what shall they see?
Oh, what does it matter?  Turn on the TV.
Then confusion reigns; they all can't agree
On what they shall watch on the old TV.
So they open the book in which they confide
(NO, not the Bible; it's the TV Guide).

The Word of God is seldom read-
Maybe a verse ere they fall into bed
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be,
Not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.
So then back to the table, side by side,
Are the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.

No time for prayer, no time for the Word.
The plan of salvation is seldom heard.
Forgiveness of sin so full and free
is found in the Bible, not on TV.

Life in the 1500's

     
Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. She married at the age of 26.  This is really unusual for the time.  Most people married young, like at the age of 11 or 12.  Life was not as romantic as we may picture it.  Here are some examples:
     
Anne Hathaway's home was a 3 bedroom house with a small parlor, which was seldom used (only for company), kitchen, and no bathroom.
     
Mother and Father shared a bedroom.  Anne had a queen sized bed, but did not sleep alone.  She also had 2 other sisters and they shared the bed also with 6 servant girls.  (this is before she married) They didn't sleep like we do lengthwise but all laid on the bed crosswise.
     
They were also  small people, the men only grew to be about 5'6" and the women were 4'8".  SO in their house they had 27 people living.
     
Most people got married in June.  Why?  They took their yearly bath in May, so they were till smelling pretty good by June, although they were starting to smell, so the brides would carry a bouquet of flowers to hide their b.o.
     
Like I said, they took their yearly bath in May, but it was just a big tub that they would fill with hot water. The man of the house would get the privilege of the nice clean water. Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally  the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was pretty thick.  Thus, the saying, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water," it was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
    
I'll describe their houses a little.  You've heard of thatch roofs, well that's all they were.  Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath.  They were the only place for the little animals to get warm. So all the pets; dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs, all lived in the roof.  When it rained it became slippery so sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.  Thus the saying, "it's raining cats and dogs."

Since there was nothing to stop things from falling into the house they would just try to clean up a lot. But this posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings from animals could really mess up your nice clean bed, so they found if they would make beds with big posts and hang a sheet over the top it would prevent that problem. That's where those beautiful big 4 poster beds with canopies came from. 

  
When you came into the house you would notice most times that the floor was dirt.  Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, that's where the saying "dirt poor" came from.  The wealthy would have slate floors.  That was fine but in the winter they would get slippery when they got wet.  So they started to spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they would just keep adding it and adding it until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside.  SO they put a piece of wood at the entry way, a "thresh hold".
    
In the kitchen they would cook over the fire, they had a fireplace in the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the master bedroom.  They had a big kettle that always hung over the fire and every day they would light the fire and start adding things to the pot.
     
Mostly they ate vegetables, they didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.  Sometimes the stew would have food in it that had been in there for a month! Thus the rhyme:  peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
   
Sometimes they could get a hold on some pork. They really felt special when that happened and when company came over they even had a rack in the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. That was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the bacon."   They would cut off a little to share with guests and they would all sit around and "chew the fat."
     
If you had money your plates were made out of pewter. Sometimes some of their food had a high acid content and some of the lead would leach out into the food. They really noticed it happened with tomatoes. So they stopped eating tomatoes, for 400 years.
     
Most people didn't have pewter plates though, they all had trenchers, that was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. They never washed their boards and a lot of times worms would get into the wood. After eating off the trencher with worms they would get "trench mouth." If you were going traveling and wanted to stay at an Inn they usually provided the bed but not the board.
     
The bread was divided according to status.  The workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle and guests would get the top, or the "upper crust".
     
They also had lead cups and when they would drink their ale or whiskey.  The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days.  They would be walking along the road and here would be someone knocked out and they thought they were dead. So they would pick them up and take them home and get them ready to bury.  They realized if they were too slow about it, the person would wake up. Also, maybe not all of the people they were burying were dead.  So they would lay them out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. That's where the custom of holding a "wake" came from.
    
Since England is so old and small they started running out of places to bury people.  So they started digging up some coffins and would take their bones to a house and re-use the grave.  They started opening these coffins and found some had scratch marks on the inside.
    
One out of 25 coffins were that way and they realized they had still been burying people alive.  So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.  Someone would have to sit out in the  graveyard all night to listen for the bell. That is how the saying "graveyard shift" was made.  If the bell would ring they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer".


I AM MOTHER

You know you're really a mom when:

1. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

2. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

3. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

4. You mastered the art of placing food on a plate without anything touching.

5. Your child insists that you read "Once Upon a Potty" out loud in the lobby of the doctor's office, and you do it.

6. You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night talking about and checking on the kids.

7. You hope ketchup is a vegetable because it's the only one your child eats.

8. You find yourself cutting your husband's sandwiches into unusual shapes.

9. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say,
"Not in your good clothes."

10. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

11. You read that the average five-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is "above average."

12. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job," but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.

Fasting and Feasting

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from concern for self; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

Mr. Pointy Nose

Once upon a time, there lived a happy family in a great wood: Mother and Father, Brother, Sister and Baby. Father went off to work each day, and Mother planted seeds and tended her garden and loved her children and taught them to read and write. At night, when Father came home, the family sang songs and laughed and played together.

One day while Father was away at work, a knock came at the door of the family's home. Mother opened the door and found a stern man with sharp teeth and a very pointy nose standing on the doorstep.

"May I help you?" Mother asked.

"I am here," snarled the man, "to inspect your home and your children."

Mother was surprised. "Whatever for?" she asked.

"It has been reported," snapped Mr. Pointy Nose, "that you do not institutionalize your children, as is the norm. It has been reported that you spend an abnormal amount of time with your children, and you have been seen laughing with them, and they with you. It has been reported that your teen child is not embarrassed to be seen with you and that she smiles while working in your garden and hanging laundry. I will have to inspect your house and ask you some questions."

Mother invited Mr. Pointy Nose in and offered him a cup of tea. Mr. Pointy Nose pulled a great pile of papers from his briefcase and began asking important questions: "How many television sets do you own, how often do you dine out, why do you have so many books, what do you have against institutions, why do you grow your own food, do your children know who Madonna is, how about Beavis and Butthead?"

Mother was very kind and reassuring: "We have one television set in the closet," she told Mr. Pointy Nose, "and we dine outside several times a week in nice weather. We have so many books because we love to read. We have no personal grudge against institutions -- we simply choose not to institutionalize. We grow food to eat, and of course my children know who the Madonna is. I'm not sure what a beavis is, and while butthead is a rather crude term, I have known a few."

Mr. Pointy Nose seemed insulted by this last statement and jumped up in a huff. "I must speak with your children," he announced.

Mother called Brother and Sister. Baby was too young to speak. Brother was six years old and Sister was 13. Mr. Pointy Nose asked Brother, "Have you ever heard of Beavis and Butthead?"

"Yes," said Brother. "We have beavers in the creek, and Butthead is my uncle's boss."

Sister giggled, but Mr. Pointy Nose was not amused. He addressed Brother again. "Do your parents ever yell at you?"

"You better believe it!" said Brother. "One time I climbed clear to the top of a 30 foot tree, and Dad yelled and yelled at me to stay up there till he could climb up, too. He doesn't get much time to climb trees, and I think he yelled so much 'cause he was excited at the chance."

Mr. Pointy Nose turned in disgust and asked Sister, "Wouldn't you like to be institutionalized with other children your age?"

"Well, most of my friends are institutionalized," Sister told him. "And I haven't been too impressed with it. They can hardly read anything --they don't even like Charles Dickens. And they all hate history and math. I like playing jump rope with them in the evening, but they talk about the most boring things, like clothes and make-up and what's on TV, and... oh -- I know who Beavis and Butthead are. Do you know who Mr. Pickwick is?"

"No," said Mr. Pointy nose curtly. "What sort of music do you listen to?"

"Oh, Beethoven is my favorite. Did you know he went deaf and just kept on writing music?"

"No," said Mr. Pointy Nose impatiently. "Why don't you listen to popular teenage music?"

Sister was surprised that a grown-up would ask such a question, but she answered as politely as possible, "Because it sounds simply wretched."

"Wretched! Wretched!?" screeched Mr. Pointy Nose. "That is not a seventh grade word! Where did you learn it?"

Mother had been in the kitchen preparing a snack of homemade bread and strawberry preserves. When she heard Mr. Pointy Nose screech, she rushed to the living room. "What's wretched?" she asked, a little alarmed.

"This child," Mr. Pointy Nose said indignantly, "correctly used the word wretched."

"Oh, I'm sure she wasn't referring to you," Mother said gently. "Here, have some fresh bread and jam."

Mr. Pointy Nose looked at the tray in Mother's hands suspiciously, then cautiously took her offering. As he ate he began to relax a little. "You made this yourself?" he asked.

"Oh, yes," said Mother.

"And I helped," chimed in Sister. Then she added, "I'm sorry for upsetting you. I didn't know you had an aversion to that word, or I would never have said it."

"Aversion?" Mr. Pointy Nose sighed. He slumped in his chair and looked at Mother. How do you ever expect your children to fit into the world if you don't institutionalize them, and you encourage them to develop advanced vocabularies and you teach them self-sufficiency. This does not coincide with the new way -- they must follow the new standards."

Mother looked at Mr. Pointy Nose thoughtfully. "I appreciate your apparent concern, kind sir," she said, " but you see, I am not raising children to follow standards -- I am raising them to set standards."

Mr. Pointy Nose looked around in a musing way and murmured, "Yes, yes. I can see that." He left with a bread recipe and an invitation to visit again some time.

The Bigger, The Better

      Karen and I were the proud "Parents of the Day" at our son, Michael's, kindergarten class. We had fun as he toured us around his classroom and introduced us to all his friends. We joined in for cut and paste and sewing and spent the better part of the morning in the sandbox. It was a riot!

       "Circle up!" called the teacher, "It's story time." Not wanting to look out of place, Karen and I "circled up" with the rest of our new buddies. After finishing the story, entitled Big, the teacher asked this enthusiastic group, "What makes you feel big?"

       "Bugs make me feel big," yelled one young student. "Ants," hollered another. "Mosquitoes," called out one more.

       The teacher, trying to bring some order back to the class, started calling on children with their hands up. Pointing to one little girl, the teacher said, "Yes dear, what makes you feel big?" "My mommy," was the reply.

       "How does your mommy make you feel big?" quizzed the teacher. "That's easy," said the child. "When she hugs me and says I love you, Jessica!"

~ Safely Home ~

  I am home in Heaven dear ones;
  Oh so happy and so bright.
  There is perfect joy and beauty,
  In this ever lasting light.

  All the pain and grief are over,
  Every restless tossing past.
  I am now at peace forever,
  Safely home in Heaven at last.

  Did you wonder why I so calmly,
  Trod the valley of the shade?
  Ah! but Jesus' love illumined,
  Every dark and fearful glade.

  And He came Himself to meet me,
  In that way so hard to tread.
  And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
  Could I have no doubt or dread?

  Then you must not grieve so sorely,
  For I love you dearly still.
  Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
  Pray to trust the Father's will.

  There is work still waiting for you,
  So you must not idly stand.
  Do it now while life remaineth,
  You shall rest in Jesus' land.

  When that work is all completed,
  He will gently call you home.
  Oh the rapture of that meeting,
  Oh the joy to see you come.

Water Bearer

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste.

So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.

Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength, and that "In Him every one of God's promises is a Yes".

The Story Of A Straying Lamb

The Shepherd loved His little lamb,
And gave it tender care...
And followed it with loving eyes
As it wandered here and there.

And as He sat by His grazing flock
Who so meekly His voice obeyed
He pondered sadly His little lamb
As again and again it strayed.

The little lamb had a loving heart,
And adored His Shepherd, true...
But would turn aside and seek his own way
As lambs will so often do.

With His gentle voice the Shepherd called,
To His loved and straying lamb,
"Come back, little one, for you are not safe
Unless you are where I am."

But still the lamb would soon forget
And unthinkingly wander away,
And not really noticing what he did,
From the Shepherd's side would stray.

Until one day, the Shepherd kind
Took His rod in His gentle hand,
And what He then did seemed so cruel
That the lamb could not understand.

For with one sharp and well-aimed blow
Down the rod so swiftly came
That it broke the leg of the little lamb
And left it crippled, and lame.

Then the little lamb, with a cry of pain,
Fell down upon his knees...
And looked up at his Shepherd, as though to say,
"Won't you explain this, please?"

Then he saw the love in the Shepherd's eyes
As the tears ran down His face,
As He tenderly set the broken bone,
And bound it back in it's place.

Now he was utterly helpless,
He could not even stand!
He must trust himself completely
To his Shepherd's loving hand.

Then day by day, 'till the lamb was healed
From the flock he was kept apart...
And carried about in the Shepherd's arms,
And cradled near to His heart.

And the Shepherd would whisper gentle words
Into his now listening ear...
Thus he heard sweet words of love
That the other sheep could not hear.

He felt the warmth of the Shepherd's arms
And the beat of His faithful heart...
Until it came a blessing to seem,
By his weakness to be set apart.

Every need of the little lamb
By his Shepherd so fully was met
That through his brokenness he learned
What he never again would forget.

And as the broken bone was healed,
And once more became whole and strong...
Wherever the Shepherd's path would lead,
The lamb would follow along.

Thus at the Shepherd's side he walked
So closely, day by day,
For once a lamb has a broken leg
It will never again go astray.

For the cords of love had bound it so
In its hour of weakness and need...
That it had no desire to wander away,
When once again it was freed.

Could it be you are broken today,
And you cannot understand
The painful blow of the Shepherd's rod
Nor believe it came from His hand?

He only seeks, by this painful thing,
For a time to call you apart...
To cradle you close in His loving arms,
And draw you near to His heart.

So look up into your Shepherd's eyes,
And earnestly seek His face...
And prove in the hour of your weakness and need
The sufficiency of His grace.

For as you are borne in His loving arms,
And carried there, day by day...
He will bind you so close with the cords of His love
That never again will you stray!

Our Thinking Vs. God's Promises

         "It's impossible"
         All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

         "I'm too tired"
         I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

         "Nobody really loves me"
         I love you (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

         "I can't go on"
         My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

         "I can't figure things out"
         I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

         "I can't do it"
         You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

         "I'm not able"
         I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

         "It's not worth it"
         It will be worth it (Romans 8:28)

         "I can't forgive myself"
         I forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

         "I can't manage"
         I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

         "I'm afraid"
         I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

         "I'm always worried and frustrated"
         Cast all your cares on Me (I Peter 5:7)

         "I don't have enough faith"
         I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

         "I'm not smart enough"
         I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

         "I feel all alone"
         I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

= = GIVING YOUR BEST = =

I read of a man who was involved in a tragic accident. He lost both legs and his left arm, and only a finger and thumb remained on the right hand. There was only enough left of the man that had been, to suffer and remember.

But he still possessed a brilliant mind, enriched with a good education and broadened with world travel. At first he thought there was nothing he could do but remain a helpless sufferer.

A thought came to him. It was always nice to receive letters, but why not write them – he could still use his right hand with some difficulty. But whom could he write to?

Was there anyone shut in and incapacitated like he was who could be encouraged by his letters. He thought of men in prison – they did have some hope of release whereas he had none – but it was worth a try.

He wrote to a Christian organization concerned with prison ministry. He was told that his letters could not be answered – it was against prison rules, but he commenced this one sided correspondence.

He wrote twice a week and it taxed his strength to the limit. But into those letters he put his whole soul, all his experience, all his faith, all his wit, and all his Christian optimism. It must have been hard writing those letters, often in pain, and particularly when there was no reply.

Frequently he felt discouraged and was tempted to give it up. But it was his one remaining activity and he resolved to continue as long as he could.

At last he got a letter. It was very short, written on prison stationery by the officer whose duty it was to censor the mail. All it said was: "Please write on the best paper you can afford. Your letters are passed from cell to cell till they literally fall to pieces."

No matter what our personal situation is, we still have God-given gifts and talents, experience, and encouragement that we can share with others.

= = PRECIOUS 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 this 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 this stone." 

Heaven or Hell

One day while walking down the street a highly successful executive woman was tragically hit by a bus and she died. Her soul arrived up in heaven where she was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself. "Welcome to Heaven," said St.Peter. "Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we've never once had an executive make it this far and we're not really sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in." said the woman.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have higher orders. What we're going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in."

"Actually, I think I've made up my mind...I prefer to stay in Heaven", said the woman.

"Sorry, we have rules..." And with that St. Peter put the executive in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell. The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends - fellow executives that she had worked with  and they were all dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old  times.  They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kinda cute) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved good-bye as she got on the elevator.

The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates and found St. Peter waiting for her. "Now it's time to spend a day in heaven," he said. So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got her.

"So, you've spent a day in hell and you've spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity," he said.

The woman paused for a second and then replied, "Well, I never thought I'd say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell."

So St. Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went down-down-down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and Filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm  around her. "I don't understand," stammered the woman, "yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable."

The Devil looked at her and smiled. "Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you're staff."





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