.......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
It Is Well With My Soul Faithful Is He The Difference
God Said NO Hold My Hand Lord Teen Creed
The Cross Room I Am In Christ A Fork In One Hand
The Treasure The Road of Life Abstienence
GOD'S VOICE I Loved you Enough Speeding
DESIRE Friends Stand By Worship
Why I Love Him The Burning Hut Stars With Friends
Praying Hands Wait On God A Man and His Son
All I Hope For Marriage Takes Three My Pace Setter
Prayers of the Faithful The Years Pass By Reflections of a Mother
My only Child A Living Example How Sweet it is
Godís Embroidery A Room with a View MORE




The Christian Counter





"A Room with a View"


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked For hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of7 the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young couples walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn't seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window - that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence--deathly silence.



The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn To look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased room mate had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

"GOD'S EMBROIDERY"


When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work with in the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side." I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Come and sit on my knee."

This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing."

Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?" He has answered, "I am embroidering your life."

I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why canít they all be bright?" The Father seems to tell me, "My child, you go about your business of doing and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side."

How Sweet It Is

How sweet it is to know,
The Lord God loves thee so.
Thou art the apple of His eye.
And so that thou mayest no more die,
He gave His only begotten Son,
Who, on the cross died after crying, "It is done."

Cherubim and seraphim wander in awe,
And praise their Maker evermore,
"What love Thou hast,
Contend to give Thy Best,
Upon Adam's ruined race
And thus to save them by Thy grace."

To every penitent heart, God says,
"Goodness and mercy all thy days
Shall surely follow thee.
Arise, repent, believe in Me.
Wait on Me, draw nigh,
And I'll bestow thee power from on high."

"In sickness and in health,
Poverty or wealth,
Life or death, I will be ever near,
And to all the sorrowful, I will truly hold dear.
I love thee that much, I was thy sacrifice
To atone fully for thy sins, yea, I paid the price."

By: Lawrence Rue


Living Example


Reporters and city officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station one afternoon in 1953. The person they were meeting was the 1952 Nobel Peace Prizewinner. A few minutes after the train came to a stop, a giant of a man - six feet four inches - with bushy hair and a large mustache stepped from the train. Cameras flashed. City officials approached him with hands outstretched. Various people began telling him how honored they were to meet him. The man politely thanked them and then, looking over their heads, asked if he could be excused for a moment.

He quickly walked through the crowd until he reached the side of an elderly black woman who was struggling with two large suitcases. He picked up the bags and with a smile, escorted the woman to a bus. After helping her aboard, he wished her a safe journey. As he returned to the greeting party he apologized, "Sorry to have kept you waiting."

The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary doctor who had spent his life helping the poor in Africa. In response to Schweitzer's action, one member of the reception committee said with great admiration to the reporter standing next to him, "That's the first time I ever saw a sermon walking."
Taken from: Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul


Speeding


Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. The flashing red in his rearview mirror insisted he pulls over quickly, but Jack let the car coast. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. He slumped into his seat, the collar of his trench coat covering his ears. He tapped the steering wheel, doing his best to look bored, his eyes on the mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little too eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jack was tempted to leave the window shut long enough to gain the psychological edge but decided on a different tack. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.
"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."
"Hello, Jack." No smile.
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
'Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good. "I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -- just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"
"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct," Bob said. Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.
"What'd you clock me at?" asked Jack.
"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?" Bob said.
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65."
The lies seemed to come easier with every ticket. "Please, Jack, in the car."

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.

The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.

A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.
"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror, bottom teeth scratching his upper lip. When Bob vanished inside his car, Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:
Dear Jack,
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it -- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left.
Bob
Jack shifted uncomfortably in his trench coat. Then he twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.
by Manfred Koehler


"Reflections of a Mother..."


I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things, but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I cannot make you beautiful inside.
I can offer you advice, but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but cannot choose them for you.
I can advise you about sex, but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you the facts of life, but I can't build your reputation.
I can tell you about drink, but I can't say "no" for you.
I can warn you about drugs but I can't prevent you from using them.
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can't achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can't force you to be gracious.
I can warn you about sins, but I cannot make you moral
I can love you as a child, but I cannot place you in G-d's family.
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Jesus your Lord.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.
I can love you with unconditional love all of my life..... and I will!!!

Always, Mom


Years Pass By


4 YEARS OF AGE
†My Mommy can do anything!

† 8 YEARS OF AGE
†† My Mom knows a lot!† A whole lot!

† 12 YEARS OF AGE
† My Mother doesn't really know quite everything

†† 14 YEARS OF AGE
†† Naturally, Mother doesn't know that either.

†† 16 YEARS OF AGE
† Mother?† She's hopelessly old-fashioned.

†† 18 YEARS OF AGE
†† My Mother ???† She's way out of date!

†† 25 YEARS OF AGE
†† Well, she might know a little bit about it.

†† 35 YEARS OF AGE
†† Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

†† 60 YEARS OF AGE
†† Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

†† 65 YEARS OF AGE
†† Wish I could talk it over with Mom once more.

Prayers of the Faithful!


There was a Christian lady who lived next door to an atheist. Everyday, when the lady prayed, the atheist guy could hear her. He thought to himself, "She sure is crazy, praying all the time like that. Doesn't she know there isn't a God? "Many times while she was praying, he would go to her house and harass her, saying "Lady, why do you pray all the time? Don't you know there is no God?"†† But she kept on praying. One day, she ran out of groceries.† As usual, she was praying to the Lord explaining her situation and thanking Him for what He was gonna do.

† AS USUAL, the atheist heard her praying and thought to himself. "Hmph . . .I'll fix her. "He went to the grocery store, bought a whole bunch of groceries, took them to her house, dropped them off on the front porch, rang the doorbell and then hid in the bushes to see what she would do. When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she began to praise the Lord with all her heart, jumping, singing and shouting' everywhere! The atheist then jumped out of the bushes and told her, "You ol' crazy lady, God didn't buy you those groceries, I bought those groceries! "Well, she broke out and started running down the street, shouting and praising the Lord.

When he finally caught her, he asked what her problem was . . . She said, "I knew the Lord would provide me with some groceries, but I didn't know he was gonna make the devil pay for them!

The Lord is my pace-setter,


I shall not rush.
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance,
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activitiy.
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility,
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours,
For I shall walk in the place of my Lord, and dwell in His house forever.




MARRIAGE TAKES THREE

I once thought marriage took
Just two to make a go,
But now I am convinced
It takes the Lord also.

And not one marriage fails
Where Christ is asked to enter
, As lovers come together
With Jesus at the center.

But marriage seldom thrives,
And homes are incomplete,
Till He is welcomed there
To help avoid defeat.

In homes where Christ is first,
It's obvious to see,
Those unions really work,
For marriage still takes three.



WORSHIP

W is for who we worship,
Our Saviour and our King,
For He alone is worthy
Of the offerings that we bring.

O is for the open heart
We bring before His throne
As we bow our knees before Him
And praise Him, and Him alone.

R is for the righteousness
We have through His shed blood,
For we were washed as white as snow
When it poured out like a flood.

S is for our shame and sin
Which were the reason that He came,
And now, because He died for us,
Our lives will never be the same.

H is for the happiness
He has brought into my life,
For when He came into my heart
He set me free from pain and strife.

I is for the immenseness
Of His love and mighty power
For He is our fortress and our shield,
And our strong and mighty tower.

P is for the praise we give
To our Father up above
For He alone is worthy
Of our honour and our love.

So fall on your knees and worship
Before His holy throne,
And give Him all the glory
Due to Him, and Him alone.

Copyright © 1998 Christine Chipman.



FAITHFUL IS HE

Are you passing through a testing.
Is your pillow wet with tears?
Do you wonder what the reason,
Why it seems God never hears?
Why it is you have no answer
To your oft-repeated plea,
Why the heaven still is leaden
As you wait on bended knee?

Do you wonder as you suffer,
Whether God does understand,
And if so, why He ignores you,
Fails to hold you in His Hand?
Do black doubts creep in, assail you,
Fears without, and fears within,
Till your brave heart almost falters
And gives way to deadly sin?

All God's testings have a purpose-
Some day you will see the light.
All He asks is that you trust Him,
Walk by faith and not by sight.
Do not fear when doubts beset you,
Just remember-He is near;
He will never, never leave you,
He will always, always hear.

Faithful is He who has promised,
He will never let you fall,
Daily will the strength be given
Strength for each and strength for all.
He will gladly share pain with you,
He will gladly give you peace.
Till your tired and weary body
Finds its blessed, glad release.

When the darkened veil is lifted,
Then, dear heart, you'll understand
Why it is you had to suffer,
Why you could not feel His hand
Giving strength when it was needed,
Giving power and peace within
Giving joy thru tears and trial,
Giving victory over sin.

So till then just keep on trusting,
Thru the sunshine and the rain,
Thru the tears and thru the heart-aches,
Thru the smiles and thru the pain-
Knowing that our Father watches,
Knowing daily strength He'll give,
Victory for each passing hour,
This is life, so let us live!


-John E. Zoller

Why I love HIM

You ask me why I love the Lord,
And why I wear a smile;
You ask me why I feel so good,
And everything's worth while;
I don't know why He loved me so,
Some things I can't explain;
I only know I've peace with God,
And I've been born again.
I never knew this peace before
Until the Lord saved me;
I never knew He loved me so,
And died on Calvary.
But since my soul has been redeemed,
My night has turned to day;
And now I'm walking in the light,
And Jesus leads the way.
It sure feels good to be redeemed,
To have this peace inside;
To know your sins are washed away
In Calvary's crimson tide.
And that's the reason why I sing
His praises here below;
Because He saved a wretch like me,
That's why I love Him so.

by; Walt Huntley

Hold My Hand Lord

Hold my hand through troubled waters,
Lord, I'm tempest-tossed and frail;
Without Thee, I'd surely flounder
Like a ship without a sail.
Be my anchor, lest I perish
For there is no help but Thee.
With Thy mighty strength, uphold me
While I cross this stormy sea.

Sorrow's clouds are growing darker;
Paths ahead, I cannot see,
And the gales blow fierce about me...
Thou, my Savior, pilot me!
What a comfort, Lord to know Thee!
Feel Thy blessed presence near;
And to hear Thee gently whisper
"Child, I'm with you...do not fear."

I accept this trial from Thee, Lord,
For I know 'tis as You've planned;
And I'll trust Thy love and wisdom
Though I do not understand.
One glad day, I'll know the reason,
See Thy blessing now disguised,
Know just why You chose to lead me
Through these waters deep and wide.

But for now..just hold my hand, Lord,
And together we will row
Through this sea of troubled waters.
'Tis enough for me to know
That You never will forsake me
In the blackness of the night;
And Your love will safely guide me
Through the storm to morning light.

Author Unknown


The Burning Hut


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. Paul wrote, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. " (Philippians 4:12).

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.


Teen Creed

Don't let your parents down,
they brought you up.

Be humble enough to obey,
you may give orders someday.

Choose companions with care,
you become what they are.

Guard your thoughts,
what you think, you are.

Choose only a date
who would make a good mate.

Be master of your habits,
or they will master you.

Don't be a show off when you drive.
Drive with safety and arrive.

Don't let the crowd pressure you.
Stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

It Is Well With My Soul

When Horatio Spafford sat with his wife Anne and their four daughters at Thanksgiving dinner in November 1871, he had to think twice when asked to pass the sugar bowl. Life had been anything but sweet in recent weeks. During the past summer, this Chicago attorney had experienced the most challenging test to his Christian faith. A virus swept through the city leaving a trail of tombstones in it's wake. Among the dead was the Spaffords' only son. Emotionally bankrupt, this wealthy businessman shivered with grief while others fanned themselves in the humid Midwestern heat. Less than four months later, on October 9, Spafford anxiously watched as the great Chicago fire swallowed up 10 square blocks of office buildings and homes along Lake Michigan. Among the smoldering ash heaps were several of Spafford's prized investment properties. It is likely that the words of the apostle Paul stuck in his throat while he swallowed his turkey dinner, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God...concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). How could he be grateful when life was anything but sweet? But as he looked around the family table at his beloved Anne and his four darling daughters, Sparrod realized his true wealth had not gone up in smoke. He sensed the presence of a faithful God. Two Thanksgivings later Horatio sat alone at an empty table. No turkey or pumpkin pie. No appetite. A grateful, yet broken heart, once again pulsated with pain. In an effort to move beyond the devastation of their son's death and the financial ruin of the fire, the Spaffords had planned an extended vacation in England. Unexpected business dealings prevented Horatio from traveling with his wife and girls who had booked passage on the Ville du Havre. He would join them within a week or two. And then the unthinkable. The vessel collided with an English ship and within 12 minutes had sunk. Although many of the passengers (including his wife) were saved by the English crew, all four daughters drowned. As he sat at the family table he couldn't eat. He could only ponder the telegram from his Anne which contained only two words..."saved alone." In his grief he was grateful his sweetheart had been spared. He thanked the Lord all his girls were Christians. He found the inner strength to celebrate that God was in control. Two years earlier he had learned that the granules of God's grace could sweeten the bitter taste of seemingly senseless tragedy. Beneath the ache of his bleeding heart he felt an unexplainable peace. In the depth of his soul all was well. A few days later, Spafford booked passage for England to join Anne. When his ship sailed in the vicinity of where the Ville du Havre went down, Horatio stood on the deck and penned a poem articulating his emotions. Little did he realize his lines would be sung as a hymn in churches for generations to come.

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'it is well, It is well with my soul.' And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight. The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend; Even so, it is well with my soul."

****IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
Author: Horatio G. Spafford, 1828-1888
Music: Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876


The Difference

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day. I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me and heavier came each task. `Why doesn't God help me?' I wondered. He answered, `You didn't ask.'

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak; I wondered why God didn't show me. He said, `But you didn't seek.'

I tried to come into God's presence; I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, `My child, you didn't knock.'

I woke up early this morning, and paused to pray before entering the day. I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

-- Author Unknown --



Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"Wait? You say, wait! " my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting.... for what?"

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want~~But, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;

You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save.... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.

You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for Thee."
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!

So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT."



And God said, "No."

I asked God to take away my pride,
And God said, "No."
He said it was not for Him to take away,
But for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
And God said, "No."
He said her spirit is,
While her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
And God said, "No."
He said patience is a by-product of tribulation.
It isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
And God said, "No."
He said He gives blessings,
Happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain,
And God said, "No."
He said, "Suffering draws you apart from
Worldly cares and brings you closer to Me."

I asked God to make my spirit grow,
And God said, "No."
He said I must grow on my own,
But He will prune me to make it fruitful.

I asked God if He loved me,
and God said, "Yes."
He gave me His only Son, who died for me.
And I will be in Heaven someday
Because....I believe.

I asked God to help me love others
As much as He loves me,
And God said,
"Ah finally, you have the idea."

"The Friend Who Stands By"

When troubles come your soul to try
You Love the friend who just stands by.
Perhaps there's nothing she can do
The thing is strictly up to you.
For there are troubles all your own
And paths the soul must tread alone.
Times when love can't smooth the road
Nor friendship lift the heavy load.
But just to feel you have a friend
Who will stand by until the end.
Whose sympathy through all endures
Whose warm handclasp is always yours.
It helps somehow to pull you through
Although there's nothing she can do.
And so with fervent heart we cry
God Bless the friend who just stands by.
Anonymous
Albrecht Durer

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - ever makes it alone!



A Man and His Son

An upstate NY man was rich in almost every way. His estate was worth millions. He owned houses, land, antiques, and cattle. But though on the outside he had it all, he was very unhappy on the inside. He had always wanted a little boy to carry on the family legacy.

Miraculously, his wife became pregnant in her later years, and she gave birth to a little boy. The boy was severely handicapped, but the man loved him with his whole heart.

When the boy was five, his mom died. The dad drew closer to his special son. At age 13, the boy's birth defects cost him his life and the father died soon after from a broken heart.

The estate was auctioned before hundreds of bidders. The first item offered was a painting of the boy. No one bid. They waited like vultures for the riches. Finally, the poor housemaid, who helped raise the boy, offered $5 for the picture and easily took the bid. To everyone's shock, the auctioneer ripped a hand-written will from the back of the picture. This is what it said,

"To the person who thinks enough of my son to buy this painting, to this person I give my entire estate." The auction was over. The greedy crowd walked away in shock and dismay.

How many of us have sought after what we thought were true riches only to find out later that our Father was prepared to give us His entire estate if we had only sought after His Son alone?

"All I Hoped For"

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve:
I was made weak that I might obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things:
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy:
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men:
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life:
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I received nothing that I asked for, but all I had hoped for.
My prayer was answered, I am most richly blessed.

Desire

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and >found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.

Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said "with all your money, you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words "PAID IN FULL".
How many times do we miss God's blessings because we can't see past our own desires?


I Loved You Enough

Some day when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I will tell them: I loved you enough to ask you about where you were going, with whom, and what time you would get home.

I loved you enough to insist that you buy a bike we could afford to give you with your own money.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your hand-picked friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way - with a bite out of it - to a drugstore and to confess: "I stole this."

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me fifteen minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust, and tears in my eyes.

I loved you enough to admit I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness.

I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and hurt.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions at 6, 10, 16 or 20.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.


The Cross Room

A young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out he dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear."

The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."

The young man was filled with relief. "Thank you Lord," he sighed, and he did what he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many other crosses, some so large the tops weren't even visible. Then he spotted a tiny cross leaning against the far wall. "I'd like that one Lord," he whispered.

And the Lord replied, "My son, that is the cross you just brought in.




A Fork in One Hand


The sound of Martha's voice on the other end of the telephone always brought a smile to Brother Jim's face. She was not only one of the oldest members of the congregation, but one of the most faithful. Aunt Martie, as all of the children called her, just seemed to ooze faith, hope, and love wherever she went. This time, however, there seemed to be an unusual tone to her words.

"Preacher, could you stop by this afternoon? I need to talk with you."

"Of course, I'll be there around three. Is that ok?" It didn't take long for Jim to discover the reason for what he had only sensed in her voice before. As they sat facing each other in the quiet of her small living room, Martha shared the news that her doctor had just discovered a previously undetected tumor.
"He says I probably have six months to live". Martha's words were naturally serious, yet there was a definite calm about her. "I'm so sorry to...," but before Jim could finish, Martha interrupted.
"Don't be. The Lord has been good. I have lived a long life. I'm ready to go. You know that." "I know," Jim whispered with a reassuring nod.

"But I do want to talk with you about my funeral. I have been thinking about it, and there are things that I know I want." The two talked quietly for a long time. They talked about Martha's favorite hymns, the passages of Scripture that had meant so much to her through the years, and the many memories they shared from the five years Jim had been with Central Church. When it seemed that they had covered just about everything, Aunt Martie paused, looked up at Jim with a twinkle in her eye, and then added, "One more thing, Preacher... When they bury me, I want my old Bible in one hand and a fork in the other."

"A fork?" Jim was sure he had heard everything, but this caught him by surprise. "Why do you want to be buried with a fork?" "I have been thinking about all of the church dinners and banquets that I attended through the years," she explained. "I couldn't begin to count them all, but one thing sticks in my mind... At those really nice get-togethers, when the meal was almost finished, a server or maybe the hostess would come by to collect the dirty dishes. I can hear the words now. Sometimes, at the best ones, somebody would lean over my shoulder and whisper, 'You can keep your fork.' And do you know what that meant? Dessert was coming! It didn't mean a cup of Jell-O or pudding or even a dish of ice cream. You don't need a fork for that. It meant the good stuff, like chocolate cake or cherry pie!..When they told me I could keep my fork, I knew the best was yet to come!

"That's exactly what I want people to talk about at my funeral. Oh, they can talk about all the good times we had together. That would be nice... But when they walk by my casket and look at my pretty blue dress, I want them to turn to one another and say, 'Why the fork?' That's when I want you to tell them, that I kept my fork because the best is yet to come!"

Indeed as clay is in the potters hand, so are you in my hands. Jeremiah 18:6



The Treasure


The cheerful 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 $2.00. 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 when 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 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 babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so 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. It's for you." With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind 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 had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure. So like our Heavenly Father. What are you hanging on to?

I AM... in Jesus Christ

I AM ACCEPTED!

John 1:12 I am God's child
John 15:15 I am Christ's friend
Romans 5:1 I have been justified
1 Cor 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and am in one spirit with Him
1 Cor 6:19,20 I have been bought with a price. I belong to God
1 Cor 12:27 I am a member of Christ's body
Eph 1:1 I am a saint
Eph 1:5 I have been adopted as God's child
Eph 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit
Col 1:14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins
Col 2:10 I am complete in Christ
I AM SECURE!
Romans 8:1,2 I am free forever from condemnation
Romans 8:28 I am assured that all things work together for good
Romans 8:35 I cannot be separated from the love of God
II Cor 1:21,22 I have been established, annointed and sealed by God
Col 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God
Phil 1:6 I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected
Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of Heaven
II Tim 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind
Heb 4:16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need
I John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me
I AM SIGNIFICANT!
Matt 5:13,14 I am the salt and light of the earth
John 15:1,5 I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ's
I Cor 3:16 I am God's temple
II Cor 5:17 I am a minister of reconciliation for God
II Cor 6:1 I am God's coworker (1Cor 3:9)
Eph 2:6 I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm
Eph 2:10 I am God's workmanship
Eph 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


God's Voice

Not long ago I heard a story about a young man and an old preacher. The young man had lost his job and didn't know which way to turn. So he went to see the old preacher.Pacing about the preacher's study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, "I've begged God to say something to help me, preacher, why doesn't God answer?"

The old preacher, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply, something so hushed it was indistinguishable. The young man stepped across the room. "What did you say?" he asked. The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher's chair.

"Sorry," he said. "I still didn't hear you." With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. "God sometimes whispers," he said, "So we will move closer to hear him." This time the young man heard and he understood.

We all want God's voice to thunder through the air with the answer to our problem. But God's is the still, small voice... the gentle whisper. Perhaps there's a reason.

Nothing draws human focus quite like a whisper. God's whisper means I must stop my ranting and move close to Him, until my head is bent together with His. And then, as I listen, I will find my answer. Better still, I find myself closer to God. And there is no better place to be ÖÖ.Amen?


SHARING THE STARS WITH FRIENDS

Living so far away from each other,
separated by much land and sea.
But at night when we look into the dark sky,
the same stars twinkle down, at you and me.

They shine down on us to remind us,
that we are not really that far apart.
As no matter how far away from one another,
we both share their beauty inside our heart.

The sharing of the stars brings us close,
and forms a smile between your heart and mine.
A close friendship growing from a distance,
as thoughts and feelings intertwine.

So no matter where either of us may live,
the stars will always follow us home.
Forever joining our hearts with a wide smile,
and shining on the wonderful friendship that has grown.

The Road of Life


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 Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tendem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggest 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 was 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 would say, "I'm scared!", He would lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, My Lord's and mine. 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 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's 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'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view, and the cool breeze in my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do it anymore, He just smiles and says..."Pedal."

What About Abstienence?


I WAS HOLDING A NOTICE FROM my 13-year-old son's school announcing meeting to preview the new course in sexuality. Parents could examine the curriculum and take part in an actual lesson presented exactly as it would be given to the students. When arrived at the school, I was surprised to discover only about a dozen parents there. As we waited for the presentation, I thumbed through page after page of instructions in the prevention of pregnancy or disease. I found abstinence mentioned only in passing.
When the teacher arrived with the school nurse, she asked if there were any questions. I asked why abstinence did not play a noticeable part in the material. What happened next was shocking. There was a great deal of laughter, and someone suggested that if I thought abstinence had any merit, I should go back to burying my head in the sand. The teacher and the nurse said nothing as I drowned in a sea of embarrassment. My mind had gone blank, and I could think of nothing to say.
The teacher explained to me that the job of the school was to teach "facts", and the home was responsible for moral training. I sat in silence for the next 20 minutes as the course was explained. The other parents seemed to give their unqualified support to the materials.
"Donuts, at the back", announced the teacher during the break. "I'd like you to put on the name tags we have prepared -- they're right by the donuts -- and mingle with the other parents." Everyone moved to the back of the room. As I watched them affixing their name tags and shaking hands, I sat deep in thought. I was ashamed that I had not been able to convince them to include a serious discussion of abstinence in the materials. I uttered a silent prayer for guidance. My thoughts were interrupted by the teacher's hand on my shoulder.
"Won't you join the others, Mr. Layton?" The nurse smiled sweetly at me. "The donuts are good." "Thank you, no", I replied.
"Well, then, how about a name tag? I'm sure the others would like to meet you."
"Somehow I doubt that", I replied. "Won't you please join them?" she coaxed.
Then I heard a still, small voice whisper, "Don't go". The instruction was unmistakable. "Don't go!" "I'll just wait here", I said.
When the class was called back to order, the teacher looked around the long table and thanked everyone for putting on name tags. She ignored me. Then she said, "Now we're going to give you the same lesson we'll be giving your children. Everyone please peel off your name tags. I watched in silence as the tags came off. "Now, then, on the back of one of the tags, I drew a tiny flower. Who has it, please?" The gentleman across from me held it up.
"Here it is!" "All right", she said. The flower represents disease. Do you recall with whom you shook hands? He pointed to a couple of people.
"Very good", she replied. "The handshake in this case represents intimacy. So the two people you had contact with now have the disease." There was laughter and joking among the parents. The teacher continued, "And whom did the two of You shake hands with?" The point was well taken, and she explained how this lesson would show students how quickly disease is spread.
"Since we all shook hands, we all have the disease.
It was then that I heard the still, small voice again."Speak now", it said, "but be humble." I noted wryly the latter admonition, then rose from my chair. I apologized for any upset I might have caused earlier, congratulated the teacher on an excellent lesson that would impress the youth, and concluded by saying I had only one small point I wished to make.
"Not all of us were infected", I said. "One of us... abstained."

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