Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why?

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise.
Ah the beauty of God's creation is beyond description.
As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.
As I sat there, I felt the Lord's presence with me.
He asked me, "Do you love me?"
I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!"
Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?"
I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn't be able to do, the things that I took for granted. And I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."
Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?"
How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation.
So I answered, "Its hard to think of it, but I would still love you."
The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?"
How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God's Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."
The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?"
How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.
And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?"
With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!"
I thought I had answered well, but...
God asked, "THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?"
I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect."
"THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST? WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY THE EARNEST?"
No answers. Only tears.
The Lord continued: "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?"
The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.
"Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"
I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.
"You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all."
"DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME ?"
I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When I my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, " Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child."
The Lord answered, "That is My Grace, My child."
I asked, "Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?"
The Lord answered, "Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you."
"When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you.
When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you.
When you are down, I will encourage you.
When you fall, I will raise you up.
When you are tired, I will carry you.
I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever."
Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, "How much do You love me?"
The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dear Ruth:

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again.
There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter:
Dear Ruth:
I`m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit.
Love Always, Jesus
Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. "Why would the Lord want to visit me?
I'm nobody special. I don't have anything to offer."
With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. "Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to offer. I'll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner." She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents. "Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least!"
She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.
A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk...leaving Ruth with grand total twelve cents to last her until Monday.
Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.
"Hey lady, can you help us, lady?"
Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags
"Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us. Lady, we'd really appreciate it."
Ruth looked at them both.
They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.
"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself. All I have i s a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him."
"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway."
The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.
As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.
"Sir, wait!" The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest."
She handed the man her grocery bag.
"Thank you lady. Thank you very much!"
"Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering. "You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street...without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.
"Thank you lady! Thank you very much!"
Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have anything to offer Him.
She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.
"That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day." She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.
Dear Ruth:
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.
Love Always Jesus

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ice Cream?

Last week, I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads, he said, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!"
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"  Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?" As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer." "Really?" my son asked. "Cross my heart." Then, in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."  Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman.
With a big smile, he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lessons Learned From Noah's Ark


Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark.
Don't miss the boat.

Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Build your future on high ground.

For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

When you're stressed, float awhile.

Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

- Author Unknown

Monday, June 26, 2017

Did You Miss God?


The man whispered, "God, speak to me"
And a meadowlark sang.
But, the man did not hear.

So the man yelled, "God, speak to me"
And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen. The man looked around and said,

"God let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.
But the man did not see.

And, the man shouted, "God show me a miracle."
And, a life was born.
But, the man did not notice.

So, the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are here."
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But, the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

I found this to be a great reminder that God is always around us in the little and simple things that we take for granted even in our electronic age, so I would like to add one more:

The man cried, "God, I need your help!"
And an e-mail arrived reaching out with good news and encouragement.
But, the man deleted it and continued crying...

Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way that you expect.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Apples


A few years ago, a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases in hand, moving quickly through the airport terminal, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

All but one! He paused, took a deep breath, quickly assessed the situation -- and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then, he returned to the terminal where the apples were still all over the terminal floor.

The man was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl running the stand, he discovered, was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, all the while helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the rushing crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one caring for her plight.

No one else, that is. The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised. These he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly," he said.

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister..." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered, stunned by the words. Then slowly, he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

Friday, May 19, 2017

He Is With Us

A girl went to a party, but she ended up staying longer than planned and had to walk home alone. She wasn't afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the tall elm trees, she asked God to keep her safe from harm and danger.

When she reached the alley, which was a shortcut to her house, she decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God's protection. A comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her, and she felt as though someone was walking with her.

 When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely.  The following day, she read in the newspaper that a young woman had been raped in the same alley just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep.

Thanking the Lord for her safety and to help this young woman, she decided to go to the police station.  She felt she could recognize the man, so she told them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a lineup to see if she could identify him. She agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed.

The officer thanked her for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her. She asked if they would ask the man one question. She was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him, he answered, "Because she wasn't alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her."