It’s funny how you can learn things from even the smallest things in our life. In today’s story, you’ll find an interesting way to remember where our trust SHOULD be every day.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.
He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.
Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her.
Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”
She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful…and God is patient.
Have you ever experienced situations in your life in which seem impossible to solve and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel? Are the obstacles that have gotten in your way and have stopped you from achieving a life dream or a personal goal? Then I have an inspiring and motivational story you! This is an encouraging illustration of obedience, perseverance, faith and long-suffering. It will demonstrate to you the importance of maintaining your faith and patience with adversities that may come into your life.
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.”
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.”
That’s what the weary man planned to do but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend when I asked, you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.
When everything seems to go wrong… just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down … just P.U.S.H.!
When people don’t react the way you think they should … just P.U.S.H!
When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…just P.U.S.H!
When people just don’t understand you, just P.U.S.H.
There are many, many causes and circumstances throughout a person’s life that may make an individual fearful and afraid of the future or a situation that they might be presently experiencing and can cause a great deal of hardship and turmoil. Some of the leading causes of anxiety and distress in today’s world are things such as stresses in school, work, relationships, financial/money, the death of a loved one, a serious medical illness, drugs…the list goes on and on.
It is during these times, that people may begin to feel isolated, lonely, and hopeless. Friends, family, and other acquaintances may seem a million miles away and it can appear like no one is around to help.
Well, I have great news for you!!! Today, I am going to share with you an old American Indian legend regarding the Cherokee Indians and their young boy’s “rite of passage” into manhood. It is my hope that this story will supply you with a positive sense of comfort and reassurance when you are experiencing the “valleys and shadows” of life.
At the time the ritual begins, a father takes his young son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The boy is required to sit on a stump the entire night and not remove his blindfold until he sees the dawns first rays of sunlight shine through it. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
The boy is not allowed to tell any of the other boys in his village of this experience because each male must experience and come into manhood on his own. Naturally, the boy is terrified and scared to death. He can hear all kinds of noises…some are familiar, but many are strange and scary. There is no question that wild animals are all around him…or maybe even another human that may be wanting to cause him harm!
The wind blows the grass and the earth and shakes his stump…but the boy sits quietly and stoically, never getting up or removing his blindfold. This is the only way that he can become a man!
Finally, what seems like an eternity, the terrible night is over. Dawn’s first rays of sunlight appear, and the boy now takes off his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump next to him. He had been watching his son the entire night, protecting him from harm.
You see folks, we, too, are never alone…even when we don’t know it, God is always with and watching over us…sitting on the stump next to us!
I recently came across an incredibly heartwarming story on USHumor.com (not a funny story), that will melt your heart and maybe bring a tear to your eye. There are millions of people who have pets. Their pets become like another person in their family. They go to stores, walks, car or truck rides, trips, and a host of other things together. Pets grow up with their owners and become an integral part of their masters lives.
For many people, when their pets die, it can be absolutely devastating. There are some people that I know (and I am 53 years old), that still claim to this day, that losing their pet was one of the hardest and saddest time in their lives.
Thus, today’s story and the sweet response that someone decided to do to help mend a broken heart…..
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter, Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God. I told her that I thought we could…so she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she was sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending you a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, “To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand. Inside, there was the letter that we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother that you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember…I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
Millions of people around the world believe in a greater, powerful being. For the individuals that don’t share that belief, then, unfortunately, today’s poem is not for you…or is it? There are many things that we don’t know about God but we do believe that He takes care and loves us unconditionally. The following poem is meant to give you something to think about and well as be thankful for the blessings that have.
What if, GOD couldn’t take the time to bless us today because
we couldn’t take the time to thank Him yesterday?
What if, GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because
we didn’t follow Him today?
What if, we never saw another flower bloom because
we grumbled when GOD sent the rain.
What if, GOD didn’t walk with us today because
we failed to recognize it as His day?
What if, GOD took away the Bible tomorrow because
we would not read it today?
What if, GOD took away His message because
we failed to listen to the messenger?
What if, GOD didn’t send His only begotten Son because
He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin.
What if, the door of the church was closed because
we did not open the door of our heart?
What if, GOD stopped loving and caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others?
What if, GOD would not hear us today because
we would not listen to Him yesterday?
What if, GOD answered our prayers
the way we answer His call to service?
What if, GOD met our needs
the way we give Him our lives???
A crow lived in the forest and was absolutely satisfied in life. But one day he saw a swan. “This swan is so white,” he thought, “and I am so black. This swan must be the happiest bird in the world.”
He expressed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I was feeling that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a parrot, which has two colors. I now think the parrot is the happiest bird in creation.” The crow then approached the parrot. The parrot explained, “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. I have only two colors, but the peacock has multiple colors.”
The crow then visited a peacock in the zoo and saw that hundreds of people had gathered to see him. After the people had left, the crow approached the peacock. “Dear peacock,” the crow said, “you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird on the planet.”
The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird on the planet. But because of my beauty, I am entrapped in this zoo. I have examined the zoo very carefully, and I have realized that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So for past few days I have been thinking that if I were a crow, I could happily roam everywhere.”
That’s our problem too. We make unnecessary comparison with others and become sad. We don’t value what God has given us. This all leads to the vicious cycle of unhappiness. Learn to be happy in what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have. There will always be someone who will have more or less than you have. The person who is satisfied with what they have, are the happiest people in the world!
I’m not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?
Well, did you know that?…..
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves
SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.
He doesn’t calculate how you failed in ’99. It’s not even on the record.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!
The Holidays are here! Millions upon millions of people rush around looking for gifts to buy, decorate their homes, spend time with their family and friends and enjoy welcoming in the New Year with their loved ones.
Unfortunately, there is a flip side to this time of year…a dark side you might say. The holiday season is also the pinnacle of year in which an untold amount of individuals suffer depression, loneliness, and despair. It is during this point of time that the suicide rate around the world, is at its highest.
It is for this reason that I decided to share this video with you. Watch it to the very end. It is my hope and prayer that it will encourage and uplift you but most importantly, help you to realize that there is a simple beauty inside each one of us!
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
One day, a little boy wanted to meet God. He packed his suitcase, brought a bag of some drink and cookies then started his journey. He walked a long, long way until he began to get hungry and tired.
He soon came to a park and decided to sit down and rest. He opened his bag, took out his food and began to eat. As he was eating, he noticed an old woman sitting on the bench next to him would not only looked very sad but hungry as well. Looking at the cookie that he was eating, he decided to offer her a piece of his tasty morsel.
She gratefully accepted it with a wide look of thankfulness and gratitude then smiled at him. Her smile was so beautiful that the boy longed to see it again. After some time, he offered her another piece of his cookie. Again, she accepted it and smiled at him.
The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy became frightened, so the boy decided to leave and go home. As he up got to leave he had gone only a few steps, when suddenly, he turned around, ran back, and gave the poor lady a hug. She hugged him back, gave him a kiss on the cheek then once again, flashed the nicest smile that he had ever seen.
After a long while, the little boy finally returned home.When the boy opened the door, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you look so happy?”
He replied,” I had lunch with God.”
Before, his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and asked, “Mom, what did you do today that made you so happy?
“She replied, “I ate cookies in the park with God.” Before his son could respond, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
Remember, nobody knows what God will look like. People come into our lives for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime. Accept all of them equally!
If you’re spiritually alive, you’re going to love this!
If you’re spiritually dead, you won’t want to read it.
If you’re spiritually curious, there is still hope!
A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. I’ve gone for 30 years now,’ he wrote, ‘and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons, but for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them so, I think I’m wasting my time and the priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.’
This started a real controversy in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!’
Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!
On July 2, 1881, the 20th president of the United States, President James Garfield, was in a railroad station getting ready to board a train for the New Jersey shore, when he was suddenly shot twice by a madman, Charles Guiteau.
President Garfield was shot twice at close range…one shot glanced off of his arm while the second bullet found its way into his abdomen. He was taken immediately to Washington DC to be cared for and treated.
Over the course of the next 80 days, sixteen doctors tried their skill and techniques to try to save the life of the president. The stuck a metal probe into him to search for the bullet as well as their dirty fingers and filthy instruments.
Because of the heat and humidity it was decided that he would be moved to a cottage at the Jersey shore. Shortly thereafter, President Garfield’s temperature began to rise, so the decision was made to reopen him up and try to dislodge the bullet and again, they failed. What started out as a shallow, 3 inch wound became a huge 20 inch long, pus infected wound that leaked infection and fluids…from his ribs to his groin.
His robust weight of 210 pounds dropped to an anemic 130 pounds. Then, on September 19, 1881, President Garfield yelled out, “This pain, this pain!” He was suffering from a massive heart attack and died a little while later.
You may be asking yourself what this story has to do with forgiveness and unforgiveness. Well, this story illustrates the harmful power unforgiveness. Sometimes when a person is wronged, whether it be verbal, physical, or mentally, it can be a very difficult thing to forgive the transgressor.
In a group setting, the effects of unforgiveness can have an even greater effect on a person…and here is why. When a person (or a group of people) cannot forgive an individual…what sometimes happens is that the wronged person might begin to get teased, ridiculed, laughed at, or sometimes, sadly, even harmed by the stubborn person (or people) or cannot forgive.
The result? What could have ended a problem, a situation, or a wrong-doing in a quick, simple fashion, festered into something ugly and sometimes, repulsive. Just like the doctors who “treated” President Garfield with dirty hands and implements….harmful words and actions y others can “infect” and “contaminate” a person’s soul, which can destroy an individual’s life.
It is important to remember this…it wasn’t the bullet that lead to President Garfield’s death…it was the constant prodding, poking, and bad practices that caused him to die. Such it is when people cannot forgive..it can lead to the destruction of others.
So, remember, the next time you have the ability and opportunity to forgive someone who has confessed to you a wrong, even though it might be a hard thing to do, have the courage and conviction to do what is right…and help heal a wounded soul today!
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” _ Matthew 6: 14-15
GOD STILL HEALS AND RESTORES!!
Some very interesting additional information about this story from a reader of this blog: You really struck on an important point in the history of our country for your good illustration! With very great interest, I read “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President,” by the very talented author, Candice Millard. You are quite correct that Garfield’s physicians killed him via unsanitary treatment ~ completely unacceptable because Dr. Lister in France had already discovered the necessity in providing medical care in a completely sanitized environment; however, did you know that Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, sent his own father’s physician, Dr. Willard Bliss, to Washington to help in the treatment of Garfield? And also that one Dr. Susan Edson, one of the first female doctors in the country, was also present? Also, very interesting, a young Alexander Graham Bell attempted inventing an instrument capable of precisely locating the bullet w/o invasive procedure? (The fully successful completion of this would, unfortunately, come later but still…) “noblethemes”
This is a re-post of an article that I put up on my blog a while ago. I hope that it encourages and warms your heart like it did mine!!
During World War II, a US Marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire, he had lost touch with his comrades.
Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen.”
After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.”
Just then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.
“Hah” he thought, “what I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”
As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.
Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered it for quite a while.
“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man, “I had forgotten that in you a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”
We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways.
As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, “In God we will have success!” [Nehemiah 2:20]
Remember: Whatever is happening in your life, with God, a mere spider’s web can become a brick wall of protection. Trust and believe that He is with you always. Just ask for his help and you will see His great power and love for you.
Have you ever thought to yourself how “good” your life REALLY is? What if the direction of your life suddenly changed and you found yourself in a situation that you had never thought that you would be in? One minute you think your life is great, you are healthy and everything is “smooth sailing?” then you find out that something in your body or mind wasn’t as good as you thought and that you were “very close” to experiencing a life-changing event?
Such was the case with me…
I have always enjoyed my life: talking with other people, spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the taste of delicious food, taking in the pleasures of seeing the beautiful things in the world, generally speaking, loving the life that I have been given.
But a little over a week ago, my life drastically took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a simple two hour screening procedure turned into a four day stay in the hospital.
It was during those four days that I discovered that my heart had been beating at an outstanding rate (150 beats per minute) and because of that high tempo, my heart had weakened to a dangerous level. Unbeknownst to me, I had had this condition for the past couple of years!
After leaving the hospital and meeting with the doctor the next day, I was told that the doctor was surprised that I hadn’t had either a stroke or a heart attack. YIKES!! What a shocking, wake up piece of news. I had NEVER KNOWN that my heart was 1) beating at such a high rate, and 2) that my heart had weakened to such a bad state.
So, imagine my thoughts today, when the doctor told me that despite the condition of my heart, everything would be ok. The doctors found out what was causing my elevated heart rate, the proper medicine to take to control my heart rate, and that my condition was totally correctable and curable!
The doctor simply said, “look at it this way…you have a second chance at life.”
Needless to say, I am ecstatic for a couple of reasons…1) I feel great. I feel like I did 10-20 years ago, 2) I feel excited that now that I know that the doctors diagnosed the problem, everything will be OK, and 3) I have a new lease on life and I am going to take full advantage of it and take care of myself and love life even more than I did before.
Just thinking of “what could have happened” has left me feeling very humble and aware of my mortality more than it ever was. And it has taught me a lesson. It has taught me to live my life to its fullest. I shouldn’t be afraid to fail because, many times, it is when we fail that we grow and learn lessons that will benefit us in our lives.
It has made me value and love my friends, loved ones and family more so now than ever. I has allowed me to REALLY appreciate the things around me that I have taken for granted every day. But more importantly, it has strengthened my faith and assurance that my Lord and God never once abandoned or left me. He has always been there by my side throughout my life when things were going well and He was guiding the doctors and comforting me during my stay in the hospital.
You see, that’s the beauty of true FAITH. Faith is that knowledge of believing in someone or something when you cannot see it but you KNOW it is there. When you sit on a chair, do you bend down and test it first to make sure that it will hold you? Or do you simply just sit on the chair without closely inspecting its durability and strength? Having faith in the Lord is exactly the same thing. I KNOW that He will take care of me and I KNOW that He is there to hold me up and to strengthen me. I don’t have to question or test anything that He does for me..My life is in His hands and if my time on earth is done, He will hold me close to himself and take me home. I have total peace and total fulfillment in my life knowing that He is always there with me.
So, how has your life treated you? How much do you appreciate the ways that you have been blessed? How well do you REALLY love and appreciate your loved ones? How strong is your faith? How secure are you if things were to suddenly go in a negative direction in your life?
Take the time everyday to truly be thankful for the good things in life. Find the moments in your daily routine to be grateful for your family and friends and show them how you feel. Discover the paths that you can follow and explore to give yourself a second chance in life.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
It was once said that sports and the competition that is found in each athletic contest is much like life…every emotion that you find in sport competition are the same ones that you find in everyday life. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, discipline, hard work, endurance, perseverance, anger, frustration and sportsmanship…just to name a few.
In today’s blog, I would like to share a video of a great story that shows us the beautiful side of sports. Sportsmanship and the belief of having a mind set of helping others, despite when things do not go our way, it a tremendous attribute to possess. It is my hope that you will be inspired by today’s video.
This is a story of a young boy, Caleb, who was involved on a horrible accident which left him with various broken bones and a severe brain injury. Doctors said that he would probably never recover…or live at all.
Along came a therapy dog, named Colonel, that would change this little boys life, and his family forever.
It is fascinating to me how God can sometimes work His miracles through animals. It really does remind me of the true reason why God made animals and allowed them to live with us side by side.
This story is an amazing one…one that will touch your heart in a special way and warm your heart and, hopefully, remind you that there is always hope for a miracle when a situation may seem impossible.
This video clip will almost certainly bring a tear to your eye…so tissues may be required.
Tribute to a Therapy Dog
by Cheryl Goede
I am in the hospital, I must try and get well The reasons why are varied, we each have our stories to tell Some days are bad some days are good, the wish to “get well” is understood My body has grown weak, I’ve felt so tired, but you walked in, and new dreams were inspired. I was losing hope and at the end of my rope, but your friendship saved, new hurdles are easily braved. I walked the corridors with you, laughing with glee, to have you with me was all I would need. You cuddled me close, kissed my hands and my face, your love is priceless, could never be replaced. And if for some reason, I could not stay, it wasn’t your fault, don’t think that way. I’ll tell all the angels, when heaven I see, how happy you made me, your love carried me.
As most of you know, I am not only a teacher but I am also a coach. I played three sports in high school and college and still enjoy playing softball every week. I have coached at least two sports a year for the past 29 years and have enjoyed doing so almost every minute.
Everyone has a person or a few people, that they have been fortunate enough to be a part of their life and today, I have asked a coach and friend of mine since I was in high school, if I could post some thoughts of his that he wrote for the Easter season. So, without further adieu, here are the words from Coach Mo…a man who had a great impact on my life…more than he will ever know.
“And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.'”
Like a straightforward coach before a big game, God lays out a winning strategy. He defines the path to life, to victory. And He shares what must be avoided, the ways that will kill a team, a mission, a man. That’s good, critical coaching!
At a deeper level, God also wants us to see that the way of life starts with death…and that the way of death starts with apparent life. The death that leads to life is a death to pride and surrender of self. It’s a daily death. The life that leads to death is a life self-consumed, self-driven, self-defined, self-justifying. It is a daily deception.
Easter week is a great time to see these two paths playing out. We see death-to-life fleshed out so powerfully in Jesus. And we see life-to-death fleshed out so tragically by all the rebellious and indifferent self-righteous.
Praise God that He has set before us two ways to go: towards life and towards death. And He’s both shown the way and paved the way in Jesus. So let’s follow His road signs and good coaching to victory.
Lord, keep coaching us towards life and victory. We don’t wanna lose. Show us the way of life. And help us to be courageous and trust even if that means dying comes first.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
There are times in our lives when we all get depressed, down on ourselves, and wonder why we were put into a situation that may seem so unfair or cruel. I recently came across the following short story written by Helen Down on Life if Hope that is a terrific reminder why we shouldn’t focus on the negative things that happen in our lives but to use them to help others that may be experiencing the circumstance as you did.
He looked in the mirror, repelled by the sight of what he saw, a constant reminder of his last fire-fight. ‘Though he’d rescued a man, a dog, and a boy, his fame as a “hero” brought him little joy. His wife had now left him for a more handsome man. She crushed his soul when she said, “Care of an invalid was not in my plan.”
As he stood there bemoaning his unhappy state, he was filled with self-pity, with anger and hate. His dreams for the future now turned upside down, he limped to the park with a deep frown on his face. He decided to give his mind some relief, so he sat down and started to read. As he read, he paid little attention to the movement that began around him.
Then out from a group of some children at play, a ragged young girl approached, her head turned away. Standing close to his side, and her eyes to the ground, she stretched out her arm and said, “Look what I found!” She held in her hand what looked like a weed, all wilted and brown, its flower gone to seed.
The man growled in answer, “Just leave me alone. Get on with your playing, or run along home.”
But the child was undaunted. “I picked these for you. They’re awfully pretty, and I think you are, too.”
The man was annoyed, for her eyes seemed to shift. He pushed her aside, refusing her gift. He thought that she mocked him, as others had done–the object of ridicule, the target for “fun”.
And then something happened. God opened his mind. A new look he took: the wee girl was blind! He reached out and touched her. He patted her head; then accepted her flowers, although they looked dead.
His anger and hatred had started their melt. God’s love, through this child, he knew he had felt. The man turned to thank her, but she wasn’t there. She seemed to have vanished into the noon air. Although day after day to the park the man came, he never did see his small angel again.
But the child had awakened in him a desire to start a new life, to forget that last fire. He went to the hospital, where once he had been. He stood there and stared at familiar scenes. He watched the burn patients in their therapy. In some he saw anger, in some, agony. Remembering so vividly the pain he’d endured, he knew that the “inside” was the hardest to cure. From that moment on, he knew what he’d do. He’d help these folks heal. And his soul would heal, too.
One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season, is finding interesting and heartwarming stories that touch your soul and put a smile on your face. Well. today, I was reading some stories on the web page “The Gathering Place” and came across this story. Even though the author is unknown, I felt that it was a sweet little tale to share with you!
Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.
“Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”
“Yes, Santa,” he replied. “My sister, Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.
“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ….” the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
“…The girl in the photograph … my granddaughter . well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa . any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.
Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.
“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “this is the least I can do.”
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.
“Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.
“C’mon …. I’ll take you there,” Rick said softly.
Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a Chair near the bed ! with weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.
Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he ad to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.
Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.
Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.
“Oh, yes, Santa … I do!” she exclaimed.
“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you,” he said.
Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still
with eyes closed, he started singing softly,
“Silent Night, Holy Night …. all is calm, all is bright.”
The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.
“Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”
He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he “had” to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.
“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.
Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.
“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”
They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.
“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”
“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a “good” Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the “only” child in the world at that moment.
“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”
Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.
“Sarah!” he exclaimed.
He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.
He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed — and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”
There are many times throughout our lives that we sometimes forget the true power and strength of God. We cast our focus on famous or powerful people and shower them adoration, praise, honor and glory. We put them up on a pedestal and view them as people who have all the right answers, the correct decisions, and say the perfect things. It is sort of sad then when we find out how flawed these people are and how disappointed we are that they “let us down.”
A few days ago, I came across this great little story on InspirationalStories.com written by James Baldwin, (The Book of Virtues), which gave me a tremendous illustration about the simple power and glory of God. I hope you enjoy it.
Long ago, England was ruled by a king named Canute. Like many leaders and men of power, Canute was surrounded by people who were always praising him. Every time he walked into a room, the flattery began.
“You are the greatest man that ever lived,” one would say.
“O king, there can never be another as mighty as you,” another would insist.
“Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do,” someone would smile.
“Great Canute, you are the monarch of all,” another would sing. “Nothing in this world dares to disobey you.”
The king was a man of sense, and he grew tired of hearing such foolish speeches.
One day he was walking by the seashore, and his officers and courtiers were with him, praising him as usual. Canute decided to teach them a lesson.
“So you say I am the greatest man in the world?” he asked them.
“O king,” they cried, “there never has been anyone as mighty as you, and there never be anyone so great, ever again!”
“And you say all things obey me?” Canute asked.
“Absolutely!” they said. “The world bows before you, and gives you honor.”
“I see,” the king answered. “In that case, bring me my chair, and we will go down to the water.”
“At once, your majesty!” They scrambled to carry his royal chair over the sands.
“Bring it closer to the sea,” Canute called. “Put it right here, right at the water’s edge.” He sat down and surveyed the ocean before him. “I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command?”
His officers were puzzled, but they did not dare say no. “Give the order, O great king, and it will obey,” one of then assured him.
“Very well. Sea,” cried Canute, “I command you to come no further! Waves, stop your rolling!. Surf, stop your pounding! Do not dare touch my feet!”
He waited a moment, quietly, and a tiny wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet.
“How dare you!” Canute shouted. “Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!”
And in answer another wave swept forward and curled around the king’s feet. The tide came in, just as it always did. The water rose higher and higher. It came up around the king’s chair, and wet not only his feet, but also his robe. His officers stood before him, alarmed, and wondering whether he was not mad.
“Well, my friends,” Canute said, “it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps you have learned something today. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him.”
The royal officers and courtiers hung their heads and looked foolish. And some say Canute took off his crown soon afterward, and never wore it again.
Every once in a while, I come across a story that renews my faith in miracles. The following true story is an example of how miracles just “don’t happen” but come from a higher being.
Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.
Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation,
“Only a miracle can save him now.”
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.
Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the Big Red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.
She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.
Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.
That did it!
“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice.
“I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.
“He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, “the pharmacist said, softening a little.
“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”
“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.
“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents—the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.
Tess’s Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery, “her Mom whispered.”was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents …… plus the faith of a little child.
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law!
I recently read a short article written by Catherine Marshall of Guideposts Magazine in which she listed 10 Bible verses that we can all use when we really need God’s comfort, peace and assurance. There are many, many other promises and assurances that we can find in Scripture but here is the list that Ms. Marshall created. It is my hope and prayer that some of these passages from the Bible will comfort and help you in some way.
When I need guidance:
“Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight” (Proverbs 3:6,The Daily Life Bible).
When the answer to prayerseems slow in coming:
“Steady patience is what you need, so that after doing the will of God you may receive what you were promised” (Hebrews 10:36).
When I have sinned and need forgiveness:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
When I’m lonely and long to feel Christ’s presence:
“Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me” (Revelation 3:20).
When I do not feel good enough to be acceptable to God:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
When I am tempted:
“…God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
When I need physical strength and good health:
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you… he will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
When I wonder if God understands what I’m up against:
“But Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest who has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned” (Hebrews 4:14, 15).
When troubles multiply:
“… we triumph even in our troubles, knowing that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope—a hope which never disappoints us, since God’s love floods our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:3, 5).
How I know there is life after death:
“… I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again. Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again. He is given eternal life for believing in me and shall never perish” (John 11:25, 26).
Millions of people search and look for God every day. Sometimes, a person can find God in a most unexpected way…
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and he started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home.
Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?”
She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
By Julie A. Manhan
from A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Throughout our lives, we all have opportunities to learn life lessons from many, many things. Everyone of us experience hardships and difficult times but the key is what we learn and how we handle these situations. A foolish person will dwell on the negative experience, may become depressed and suffer bouts of anxiety, sickness or other kinds of physical distress. A wise individual will take the awful circumstance, learn from it, and become a better person because of it.
Today’s little “story” demonstrates a wonderful lesson that we can all learn from some animals that you may never have thought of before. I hope that you can use this little “nugget of truth” the next time you go through a difficult time of your life (or if you are struggling through a tough time in your life right now).
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!
That’s the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem…. just look up!
Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around,
But faith looks up!Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and trust in our Creator, who loves us.
Perception of the circumstances and things that happen throughout our lives can be so very important. Sometimes, when things happen, it seems as if we have no control over them…they are out of our hands. But…are the circumstances that we experience REALLY out of our hands? IT DEPENDS WHOSE HANDS THEY ARE IN!
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark Mcquire’s hands is worth $19 million.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’ hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it’s in.
As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in. So put your concerns, your worries your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God’s hands because — It depends whose hands it’s in!