Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.
He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard er screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn't let go."
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. Not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle. He's been there holding on to you.
The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.
Never judge another person's scars, because you don't know how they were made.
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God, and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven, provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says.
Funny how someone can say "I believe in God," but still follow Satan who, by the way, also "believes" in God.
Funny how we are quick to judge, but not to be judged.
Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.
Are you laughing?
Funny how, when you go to email a message like this, you will not send it to many on your address list, because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.
Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.
"Yuck" says her daughter.
"How about a couple raw eggs?"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies, "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
Life may not be the party we expected... but while we are here we might as well dance.
A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger.. He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent's den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?....
We just call him... "TV." He has a younger sister now. We call her "Computer."
just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends. Here it is:
I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and my car started to choke and sputter and died.
I barely managed to coast, cruising, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the "quickie mart" building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump! So I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen. She was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.
At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying "I don't want my kids to see me crying," so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now.
So, I asked, "And you were praying?" That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, "He heard you, and He sent me."
I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay the rent January 1st, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.
So. she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.
I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, "So, are you like an angel or something?"
This definitely made me cry. I said, "Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people."
It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow for a check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.
Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings.
"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." - Psalms 55:22
I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply. He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you." We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way saying good-bye. But at home a difference is told, how we treat our loved ones, young and old. Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My son stood beside me very still. As I turned, I nearly knocked him down. "Move out of the way," I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken. While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said, "While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, But the children you love, you seem to abuse. Go and look on the kitchen floor, You'll find some flowers there by the door. Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue. He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, and you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."
By this time, I felt very small, and now my tears began to fall. I quietly went and knelt by his bed; "Wake up, little one, wake up," I said. " Are these the flowers you picked for me?" He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree. I picked 'em because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue." I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't have yelled at you that way." He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway." I said, "Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."
Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.
I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.
How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?
How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?
I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gas up and stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain." And my personal favorite: "It's Monday." She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.
Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches... We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!
We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.
Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to," "I plan on," and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit."
When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.
My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.
Now... go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to do... not something on your ‘SHOULD DO’ list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?
Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask "How are you?" Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow." And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say "Hi"?
When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift... Thrown away... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.
An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.
Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter "H" that glowed in the sunlight. Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.
He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'
'This is ranch, Heaven, sir,' the man answered.
'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.
'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'
As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, 'Can I bring my partners, too?'
'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'
The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.
After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. 'Excuse me,' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'
'Sure, there's a pump right over there. Help yourself.'
'How about my friends here?' the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.
'Of course! They look thirsty, too,' said the man.
The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog. When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. 'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.
'This is Heaven,' he answered.
'That's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'
'Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That's hell.'
'Doesn't it make you angry when they use your name like that?'
'Not at all. Actually, we're happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'