The Fireplace

Photo Credit: Stephane Juban via Unsplash

A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the firey sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.’

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

The Lord is my Shepherd —– that’s a Relationship!

I shall not want —– that’s Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures —-that’s Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters —–that’s Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul —– that’s Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness –that’s Guidance!

For His name sake —– that’s Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death–that’sTesting!

I will fear no evil —– that’s Protection!

For Thou art with me —– that’s Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me —–that’s Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies——that’s Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil —–that’s Consecration!

My cup runneth over —– that’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life—-that’s Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord —–that’s Security!

Forever —– that’s Eternity!

Face it, God loves you!

What is most valuable is not what we have in our lives, but WHO we have in our lives!

This Years Christmas Star – AMAZING!

Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels

I know some have seen the post about The Christmas Star appearing this year on December 21st. A friend couldn’t help but really take a deeper look at how amazing that this occurrence would be happening in the year 2020. The following information about this rare event is not only fascinating…it is also very uplifting and encouraging!

In the year when Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It was dark.

The Magi found him by way of the star, which was the “meeting” of 3 stars: Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. They followed the star until it rested on where he was and they began to worship him. In a time where is was dark, Light was brought in to our world. Jesus stepped in to the chaos and brought peace.

Fast forward to this year, 2020. It’s a time of violence, chaos, political and social unrest. It is dark. Winter Solstice, December 21st, being a time where the day is the shortest and night is the longest…it’s literally the “darkest day” and is the beginning of what most would say the cold, dark winter season.

But on the darkest day this year, Jupiter and Saturn meet, giving us the Christmas Star! How fitting…that in the moment of time during the Christmas season that we get to see this beautiful reminder…that even in the darkest of times…Light will, and has, stepped in. In our chaos He is there. In our darkest time, He is there. He brings Light, and makes all things new.

So as you look out on Dec 21st for the Christmas Star, may we be reminded of His power, and His Light that he brings for all mankind. He is perfect at stepping into chaos and bringing it into peace.

Finding Perspective In These Difficult Times

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The Corona Virus has brought the world to a virtual standstill. The things that people once enjoyed doing and the places they loved to travel has all come to an abrupt halt. The virus has affected the lifestyle of every individual and family. It’s a mess out there now. It can sometimes be hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria.

Consider this; did any of us think, just a few short months ago, that we would all be required to wear masks, keep a six-foot distance between each other, be told not to touch, shake hands, or even hug each other for fear of spreading this dastardly virus? Did you ever fathom the thought that businesses, gyms, theaters, salons, eateries, and other establishments would be closed and millions upon millions would be out of work? And who ever heard of the term, “social distancing?”

The current environment has also affected people psychologically in various ways Some people have used the time of quarantine in positive ways: spending more quality with their families, spending more time in prayer and Scripture reading, enjoying the quietness of life. Unfortunately, this time has had the opposite effect on individuals: rise in depression, abuse and other negative effects. A current study showed that nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.

Let’s put this whole period of time into perspective. So far, this pandemic has only been with us for about three months and, for some people, it seems like a lifetime. But let’s take a moment and put this into perspective.

Imagine for a moment, that you were born in the year 1900. (right around the time period that your grand, great-grand parents were born).

On your 14th birthday, World War I begins, then ends on your 18th birthday four years later. 22 million people perish in that war.

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it during those two years with 500 million people infected.

Yes, 50 million perished!

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33.

The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts, and you aren’t even over the hill yet!

On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII.

Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.

On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.

When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they survive all of that?

Think about all of those things that you would have experienced in your lifetime. When your grandparents speak about, “when times were hard,” now you have an idea what life was like from their perspective!

Yet they survived through everything listed above.

What we are experiencing right now has been for a FEW MONTHS.

Perspective is an amazing art. We become refined, wiser, and more enlightened as time marches on. Let’s try and keep things in perspective and remember, the God, the maker of the heavens and the earth knows exactly what is going on in the world around us. We don’t need to fear the unknown for He will take care of us. He will keep us safe, free from harm, and watch over us every day!

“The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” ~ Psalm 212:7-8

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

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Life and death. The two most basic components of every living person and thing on earth. It was once said that the two most certain things in life are death and taxes. Each one of us will pass on from this world someday and we all probably know of someone who has left us.

Unfortunately, there are times when our loved ones leave us suddenly. We never had the chance to say good-bye and share our final thoughts with them.

I came across the following poem in a paper a few years ago and decided to share with it with you today. I hope that it may bring you a measure of peace and comfort…or please feel free to share it with someone who you may think need it.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

When tomorrow starts without me,

Please try to understand,

That an angel came and called my name,

And took me by the hand

 

The angel said my place was ready,

In Heaven far above,

And that I’d have to leave behind

All those I dearly love.

 

But when I walked through Heaven’s Gates,

I felt so much at home,

For God looked down, smiled at me,

And told me “Welcome Home.”

 

So, when tomorrow starts without me,

Don’t think we’re far apart,

For every time you think of me,

I’m right there in your heart.

 

~ Author Unknown

We Are Not All in the Same Boat

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Over the course of the past few months, the CORONAVIRUS has had far reaching effects felt around the world. Millions of people have experienced a variety conditions and situations in not only their personal lives but also with their families and friends. One of the things that we all hear is, “We are all in this together”…and it’s true.

But consider the following…

I heard that we’re all in the same boat but it’s not like that. We were in the same storm but not in the same boat. Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa

For some, quarantine is optional. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others this is a desperate financial and family crisis.

With the 600% weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss of sales.

Some families of four just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of four saw $0.00.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned there would be enough bread milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending two to three hours a day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending two to three hours a day to educate their children on top of a 12 hour work day.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if the loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So friends we are not in the same boat. We’re going through a tough time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge in our own way from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking actually seen.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

 

Realize that and be kind!

~ Author: Unknown

Poems of Comfort in Times of Grief

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Simply put…a two poems of comfort for times of grief.

 

The Moment That You Died

The moment that you died

My heart was torn in two

One side filled with heartache

The other died with you.

 

I often lie awake at night

When the world is fast asleep, and

Take a walk down memory lane

With tears upon my cheeks.

 

Remembering you is easy

I do it every day

But missing you is heartache

That never goes away.

 

I hold you tightly within my heart

And there you will remain

Until the joyous day arrives

That we will meet again.

~ Unknown~

*****************

Walking With us Forever

Our lives go on without you

But nothing is the same

We have to hide our heartache

When someone speaks your name.

 

Sad are the hearts that love you

Silent are the tears that fall

Living here without you

Is the hardest part of all.

 

You did so many things for us

Your heart was kind and true

And when we needed someone

We could always count on you.

 

The special years will not return

When we were all together

But with the love in our hearts

You walk with us forever.

~All-greatquotes.com~

A Prayer for the Times

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Photo by Meet Savsani on Unsplash

The world has been brought to a stand-still and millions of people around the world are struggling and need a sense of peace and comfort. This is a prayer that was recently posted by a friend of mine whose friend is a Lutheran pastor. I thought that this supplication would be something worth sharing to people who may need it.

 

May we who are merely inconvenienced remembered those whose lives are at stake.

 

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

 

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

 

May we have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

 

May we have had to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

 

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

 

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

 

During this time, we cannot visually wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

 

Amen.

Love and Time

 

 

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Photo Credit: Martin Widenka via Unsplash

How valuable is your time and how much of it do you REALLY use to show your love towards others?

The following little story puts the importance of our time, love, and other unseen attributes of our life in perspective.

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all the others including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so they all constructed boats and left…except for Love.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment. When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you.

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself.”

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went on her own way. Realizing how much she owed the elder, Love asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love truly is.

 

**************

Go out and spend time with the people who are special to you and show them LOVE.

**************

Story Courtesy of Silent Child / Tumblir

 

 

Seven Lovely Logics

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The following are some great thoughts to live by…

Seven Lovely Logics

  1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t spoil your present.
  2. What others think of you is none of their business.
  3. Time heals almost everything…give the time, some time.
  4. No one is the reason for your happiness except you yourself.
  5. Don’t compare your life with others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
  6. Stop thinking too much, it’s alright not to know all the answers.
  7. Smile, you don’t own all the problems in the world.

CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!

An Angel’s Hand

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The death and loss of a loved one, family or friend, is never easy. There are times when it comes unexpected and other instances when it arrives after a long period of time. I have experienced this kind of loss with dear friends of mine as well as family and relatives.

For me, I have always found comfort knowing that despite the hard and painful time I was going through, there was a promise and hope that I would see them again…whole, perfect, without pain and suffering.

I recently discovered the following poem, written by John F. Connor, that really gave me a beautiful image about what happens to our lost loved ones and their souls the moment they pass away from this earth.

It is simply a wonderful, heartwarming and beautiful little poem that I felt I needed to share. It is my hope that it will comfort someone today.

An Angel’s Hand

An angel whispered in my ear

Believe in me and have no fear,

Come with me and take my hand,

I will take you to another land.

 

A place of peace, a place of light,

Don’t be afraid, just hold on tight.

Your earth days are done but don’t be sad

Remember all the times you had;

Loved ones will join you, don’t despair,

You have many in Heaven waiting there.

 

Your body dies, your soul is free,

That’s why you get to fly with me.

I Will Be Here

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Photo by Keegan Houser on Pexels.com

Occasionally, I come across a poem or the words to a song, that is very calming and reassuring. Today, I am going to share the lyrics to a song written by Steven Curtis Chapman, “I Will Be Here.” You can interpret them as either coming from a friend’s point of view or from God’s but either way, I hope that you find this comforting.

 

“I Will Be Here”

Tomorrow morning if you wake

Up and the sun does not appear

I will be here

If in the dark, we lose sight of love

Hold my hand and have no fear

‘Cause I will be here

I will be here

When you feel like being quiet

When you need to speak your mind

I will listen

And I will be here

When the laughter turns to cryin’

Through the winning and the losing and trying

We’ll be together

I will be there

Tomorrow morning if you wake up

And the future is unclear

I will be here

Just as sure as the seasons were made for change

Our lifetimes were made for these years

So I will be there

I will be here

And you can cry on my shoulder

When the mirror tells us we’re older

I will hold you

And I will be here

To watch you grow in beauty

And tell you all the things you are to me

I will be there

I will be true to the promise I have made

To you and the One who gave you to me

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up

And the sun does not appear

I will be here

Oh, I will be here

Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year

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Photo by Luke Barkhuizen on Pexels.com

The Christmas and Holiday season is one of the most beautiful and exciting times of the year for millions of people around the world. The celebrations, music, parades, and all of the other thrilling festivities are some of the things that make the season so beautiful and heartwarming.

Unfortunately, for an untold number of other people, this time of year can be very sad, miserable, or depressing. The loss of a friend or loved one, or the remembrances of times and people in the past can make this time of year downright depressing. I lost both of my parents during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season…my dad, two weeks before Christmas, and my mom, seven days before Christmas. It seems funny to me how every year, a few weeks before the holiday season, I subconsciously begin to become sad and nostalgic about my parents.

So, it goes without saying, that I recently came across the following poem on a friend’s post called, “I’m Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Christmas” (written by Wanda Bencke) that I thought was a unique perspective of someone who has left this earth and is now in heaven with God. The following rhyme is a wonderful and touching piece of writing that I hope with help uplift your heart and touch your soul!

 

“I’m Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Year”

I see the countless Christmas trees,

Around the world below.

With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars,

Reflecting in the snow.

 

The sight is so spectacular,

Please wipe away that tear.

For I’m spending Christmas,

With Jesus Christ this year.

 

I hear the many Christmas songs,

That people hold so dear.

But the sounds of music can’t compare,

With the Christmas choir up here.

 

For I have no words to tell you,

The joy their voices bring.

For it is beyond description,

To hear the angels sing.

 

I can’t tell you of the splendor,

Or the peace here in this place,

Can you just imagine Christmas,

With Jesus, face to face?

 

I’ll ask Him to light your spirit,

As I tell Him of your love.

So then pray one for another,

As I lift you eyes above.

 

Please let your hearts be joyful,

And let your spirits sing.

For I’m spending Christmas in Heaven,

And I am walking with the King!