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Showing posts from 2014

God's Protection

By:  S. Jadlow 
A friend shared her story with me:
Mom married Dad and soon found herself in a horribly abusive union. His abuse didn't stop with her. We children suffered under his tirades also. Many years later before she died, she shared a couple of incidents with me, her daughter.
At any minute Dad would fly into a rage with no real provocation. It could be caused by a slight misstep. A burned potato. Or a word said with a wrong inflection. All our lives were a constant tight-rope walk. His evil nature ever simmered below the surface like an agitated volcano, ready to erupt at any minute.
Mother learned early in life to rely on Jesus. Life married to Dad drove Mother more solidly into Jesus' arms. I truly believe she would have died at Dad's hand, had it not been for Jesus' protection.
She told me about a time she stood in her bedroom and heard him snarl from the kitchen, "I'm going to kill you."
By this time she was so worn from his explosions she prayed, …

The Gift of a Second Chance

By:  K. O'Connor
Every day I walked along the concrete walkway that led from our condominium unit to the stairway. And each day I was annoyed by the sight of a dedraggled, overgrown plant hanging over the edge of the walkway above, down to the second floor where I lived at the time.
"Why doesn't Lois do something about that thing?" I asked half aloud. "It's an awful sight and it's practically dead anyway."
I complained to my husband about it.
"Don’t look at it," he said. "It's hers. Leave it be."
I should have listened, but I didn’t.
Later that week, I could no longer resist the urge to clip, clip! So I did. I reached over the railing with my pruning shears and snapped them shut around the ailing limb. It dropped into my free hand and from there I sent it down the trash chute! I felt better–almost heroic. I had put this poor thing out of its misery.
I went on with my day. About 11:00 I returned home from some errands, picked up our …

Fear of the New Thing

By:  B. Keith
Benji used to have this fuzzy blue puppy blanket that instantly got him to sleep. It was a miracle worker, Mommy's helper, the only thing that got me a break.
Well that was until I misplaced it.
We spent weeks looking beneath sofas and even inside vent ducts. Then we started trying to find substitutes but none ever quite "fit". This also meant weeks of bouncing, endless nights of playing lullabies on a loop and trying desperately to find anything to get normal back.
I'd all but forgotten about the blue blanket months later – that was until Ben discovered this big floppy eared bunny that he now likes to have laid across his tummy when he gets sleepy. The bunny is at least ten years old. It is dingy and green. (Sounds a little gross right?) Frankly, it smells a little weird. He found it when he learned to scoot right next to the closet I was cleaning out. Long story short - he loved it and took it for his own.
It's old. But to him it's a new thing. Now…

This Halloween, Give Grace a Chance

By:  N. Jeter
With a hammer in one hand and a large scroll under his arm, Martin Luther approached the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He paused to take a couple of nails from a pouch hidden in the folds of his dark woolen habit then began pounding his 95 theses to the church’s heavy wooden doors.
The date was October 31, 1517 and the event changed the course of human history.
Luther’s protest was not against ghosts and goblins or children dressing up to trick-or-treat. He chose All Hallow’s Eve because it was the night before All Saints’ Day, a day when most of Wittenberg’s inhabitants would be in church. It was good advertising.
This was not the United States of America where freedom of speech is protected as a Constitutional right. The Catholic Church was the supreme authority in the land: those who went against the Church did so at the peril of their lives.
What prompted this act of courage and defiance on Luther’s part?
As Luther studied Scripture, his eyes were opened to a new c…

When It Seems Like God Is Sleeping

By:  L. Holth
Emotionally exhausted, I crawled into my car and pulled onto the road. Instead of being happy for the newly engaged couple in my Bible study, I was jealous. I wanted a partner, too, someone to walk through life with and tell me I was worth fighting for.
After seven years of singleness, someone like that didn't seem to exist. I felt like I was in the disciples' boat when the storm came up all of a sudden, pouring water into the boat, and threatening to capsize it, and Jesus was asleep, blissfully unaware of the problem (Luke 8:22-25).
I was so tossed around and pummeled emotionally, I didn't know how I was going to make it through another day, month, year, or however long it took for Mr. Right to materialize.
I knew God could fix everything. He's God! But, He seemed to be asleep at the wheel ... again. Mysteriously, conspicuously absent. Why wasn't He DOING something?!
I finally decided God was big enough to take whatever I threw at Him, so I vented every o…

Passion is Powerful

By:  John L. M.
The starting point of all accomplishment is desire. Keep this in mind: feeble desires bring feeble results just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. Be passionate about your life.
Deep desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.  Attitudes alter abilities. It's passion that persuades. Does the path you're traveling capture your heart? Learn to be comfortable with being enthusiastic.
Every time zeal and passion are discussed someone brings up balance. Balance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of balance are apathy and weakness. Being balanced is usually an excuse for being lukewarm. Indifference, lukewarmness, and neutrality are always attached to failure.
Enthusiasm can achieve in one day what it takes centuries to achieve by reason. Put a smile on what you do. When your enthusiasm increases, stress and fear in your life diminish.

Passion is powerful.

God's Masterpiece

By:  C. Irvin
Have you ever sat and really looked at God's handiwork? Isn't it amazing? You can see the starlit sky at night. The stars seem to shine like diamonds. Or have you ever watched the heavens at dawn when it looks like a blazing orange canvas? Even when stormy days come, filled with gray skies and torrents of rainfall, and winds sway the trees like they are dancing, it is a sight to see the wonders of God's artistic hand.
I couldn't help from daydreaming the other day as I gazed out my window. I watched the lightening and heard the thunder. The rain was so heavy you could hardly see the shapes of the trees. The Creator of the universe created all that artwork. Our minds are captivated at the wonders of God's creation. Flowers bounce back after torrents of rain. Birds and squirrels even sit in the trees as if to watch what is happening around them. Yet in all this beautiful scenery there is something greater.
His greatest masterpiece is you and me. Wow! When …

Giants in the Land

By:  M. McCrary

The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size (Numbers 13:32).
Perhaps you’ve wondered, as I have, why God required the Israelites to work so hard to inherit a land He had already promised to give them. When someone offers to do us a favor, we normally expect no strings to be attached.
God has a long and storied history of requiring human activity to carry out His will – not because He needs our help, but because He wants our hearts. I’m not so sure we would relinquish this most vital of organs any other way.
If God did everything, He’d become a genie. If God did nothing, He’d become an afterthought. If either was the case, the best you could say of us is that we acknowledged God’s existence. But that’s not the same as knowing or loving Him.
The only way for God to have a relationship with us is for God to have a partnership with us. That’s His desire, and that’s one …

Choices

By:  C. Davis
 “To obey is better than sacrifice …”1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
Life is full of meaningful moments, days and events. Often, when thinking of anniversary moments, we think of weddings, birthdays, deaths, and other special events which impact our lives.
A while back, an interesting discussion took place at church regarding the high price of gasoline ($4.19/gallon at the time) and how it would affect travel to out-of-town weddings and graduation parties. The majority felt it would be less expensive to not travel, and add extra to a money gift.
Suddenly, my husband Wade, popped up from his seat and said, “I have a story to share!” He told of a man who had faithfully attended an out of town archery shoot for ten years. It was one of the biggest in the Midwest and he looked forward to it every year.
One day he opened his mail and found an invitation to a graduation party for the same weekend. This man was immediately filled with conflict over which event to attend. The graduate was the d…

Betrayed By a Friend

By:  M. Johnson
"It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them."Psalm 55:12-15 (NLT)
Of all experiences in life, betrayal by a trusted friend is one of the most difficult to bear.
Because of his preaching of judgment, Jeremiah found himself increasingly isolated until finally his close friends turned against him, seeking his downfall (Jeremiah 20:10).
Similarly, our lamenting psalmist describes an intimate friendship: "my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company" (verses 13-14).
They had worshiped together in the house of God, but now the friend has joined the enemies. From his enemies he could hide (verse 12), but how ca…

Enjoy All Our Years

By:  E. Jones
However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. - Ecclesiastes 11:8
Twenty-six years ago I drove my wife to the emergency room. For the next eight hours we played backgammon while waiting for her condition to improve. It didn't. The pain became unbearable; they gave her drugs. This helped, but not enough. My parents were in Atlantic City, gambling. Hers in Charlotte. So there we were, a young couple facing our first life or death moment without friends or family nearby.
I forget what I wore that day. A surf shirt, probably. I do recall wearing a white headband with the word "Coach" printed in blue marker. I guess I was a good coach because later that evening she delivered a baby boy, our first.
Birthdays are a big deal in our family. Not as big as Christmas, but close. Birthdays mark our beginnings and suggest we might leave a lasting impression on others. In our family, when it comes to birthdays, nobody does a better job of celebrating our legacy o…

A Child's Faith

By:  S. Jaynes
A little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6
“And dear God,” my little boy whispered, “I pray that you give Mommy and Daddy another Jaynes baby.”
After four years of praying for God to bless us with a second child, we realized that might not be His plan for our family. However, every night my little boy, Steven, prayed for another “Jaynes baby.” But how do you tell someone to stop praying a prayer?
As I pondered this dilemma, God took care of it for me. Just before his fifth birthday Steven and I were sitting at his child-sized table eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He looked up at me, and with all the wisdom of the prophets asked, “Mommy, have you ever thought that God might want you to have only one Jaynes baby?”
“Yes, son, I have,” I said. “And if that’s the case, I’m glad He gave me everything I ever wanted in one package when He gave me you.”
“Well, what I think we ought to do is pray until you’re too old to have one. Then we’ll know that was His answer.”
Steven h…

Sweeping the Places No One Sees

By:  N. Jeter
I must admit I’m not a very thorough housekeeper. As long as things are reasonably organized and superficially clean, I’m satisfied. Though I have a horror of clutter, I tend to neglect ceiling fans and baseboards and the rather out-of-the-way areas that a more conscientious cleaner might maintain well-dusted and well-scrubbed.
But I’m indebted to an elderly woman in England for reminding me of the importance of sweeping the places no one sees.
Early in the morning on a recent trip to England, I looked down from my bedroom window and spotted a small gray-haired woman slowly and meticulously sweeping the concrete slab in front of her home. The street was lined with row houses and this particular woman had basement rooms, just below street level, so that you would actually have to lean over the railing to see her front porch.
Why, I wondered, would anyone wake up so early in the morning to sweep a place so inconspicuous, so out of the way … a place that no one ever really sees…

Worst Case Scenarios

By:  E. Jones
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself, enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. Lamentations 3:29 (The Message)
"What's the worst that could happen?" I asked the college admissions officer.
"You could flunk out."
"Not if you won't let me in, I can't. Please, sir, isn't there some place you can put me?"
I sat in the admissions office at NC State hoping they'd give me a chance. That's all I needed, just a shot. But a look of disgust spread across the face of the clerk reviewing my transcripts. Months earlier, with SAT scores in the lower latitudes and grades barely above average, my college application had been swiftly dismissed.
"Son, I'd like to help, but honestly; you have no business at this university. Worse, you have no hope of graduating."
I persisted. (Tenac…

Cricket Mentalities

By:  D. Delay
I recently heard a story that may help us. A young boy had caught a handful of crickets and put them in a wide-mouth jar. He placed inside the jar your typical supplies: grass, flies, berries, etc. Then he put the lid on the jar with several holes punched in it so the crickets could breathe. Immediately, they began jumping hysterically trying to get out of the jar only to hit the lid and bounce back down. This behavior went on for a couple of days and then suddenly stopped. The crickets became content with their jar, moving about inside it, eating and adapting to their new surroundings. But when the boy decided to take the lid off, the crickets didn't notice. Wanting to see what would happen, he left the lid off the jar – but the crickets never tried to escape. Before, they had tried to get out only to be beaten down. Now that they could leave, they contently stayed. Why? Because in the process of time, they had programmed themselves to believe their fate was sealed.
U…