The Amazing Healing Powers of Animals: Caleb’s Story

Photo Credit: Sean Freese via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Sean Freese via CC Flickr

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.

Two Ways to Go

Photo Credit: Morag Spinner via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Morag Spinner via CC Flickr

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.'”
Jeremiah 21:8

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.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Happy Easter!!

Photo Credit" Waiting For the Word via CC Flickr
Photo Credit” Waiting For the Word via CC Flickr

I would like to take this time to wish all of my brothers and sisters in the Lord a VERY blessed Easter!

We serve an amazing God who loves us so much. My heart breaks for those who do not believe in God and in Jesus Christ and what He went through so that we could have eternal life! I cannot imagine not worshiping the Living God.

He has Risen!

He has risen INDEED!!!

The Day A Chicken Taught Us A Lesson of Easter

 

Photo Credit: Paul Joseph via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Paul Joseph via CC Flickr

The following true story shows to all of us how sometimes God uses things that we would never imagine, to teach us lessons. God works in mysterious ways…and sometimes we can learn lessons in ways that we never dreamed of. The following story is a sweet account of a lady, one of her pets, and how her little friend taught a lesson of faith to a group of people.

What do you think of when you think of Easter?

Eggs, of course. The symbols of new life come spring. How better to illustrate the season’s spiritual message?

I looked forward to teaching the lesson of the egg in my Sunday school class as Easter approached, but when I asked the children where eggs came from the answer surprised me.

“Bunnies!” all 12 students shouted.
Bunnies? I thought. Could these kids be so far removed from nature they actually think rabbits lay eggs? My own chickens would have been insulted!

“It’s on TV,” one of the girls explained. “A white rabbit lays chocolate eggs.”

Now I knew what they meant. I’d seen the commercial, but it didn’t have much to do with the lesson I wanted to teach. I had to think this through.

The following Sunday morning I got ready for school, still not sure what to do. I have to find a way to set them straight, I thought.

I checked my chicken coop before I left. My birds strutted and clucked around the hen houses: Ida, Ada and Henney Penney in their nesting boxes, Rudy the rooster scratching at the ground. Penney puffed her feathers to twice her size when Rudy got close. She was guarding a dozen eggs.

“If only the kids at Sunday school could see your eggs,” I said, stroking Penney’s copper-speckled feathers, “they’d forget all about chocolate.”

That’s when it hit me: What if I took Penney and her eggs to Sunday school with me? How many of the kids had ever seen a real egg hatch? Or watched an ordinary-looking, beige-colored egg turn into a live chick with bright little BB-pellet eyes, downy feathers and tiny feet, peeping away? The hatching of an egg was like a miracle. Why not share it with the kids? I’d give those children an Easter message they’d never forget!

I hunted for a box to hold the eggs. But wait a minute: Was I really planning to bring a chicken to church? I tried to remember another time any kind of animal had joined us at our solemn service. Once a sparrow flew in an open window and fluttered around, disturbing the reading. And a puppy had wandered in and led the ushers in a merry chase around the aisles while the children laughed. But those events hadn’t been planned.

I thought of a certain church lady, a good Christian with very strong opinions. She’d once objected to my son’s carrying in a Bible with a jazzy cover. “It’s a New Testament,” I’d assured her as she eyed the brightly colored jacket.

“Well,” she’d sniffed, “it looks like a Betty Crocker cookbook!”

I had a vision of my little bantam hen pooping on the ecclesiastical carpet. “I guess chickens really don’t belong in church,” I said. But then I remembered Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of Matthew: “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”

“That settles it,” I told Penney. “Jesus would approve of a chicken in church, and he’s who matters!” Penney would be in the Sunday school wing anyway. Nowhere near the church, actually. And nowhere near that straitlaced church lady (I hoped).

I poked holes in the lid of a straw-filled cardboard box and transferred Penney and her eggs into it. It was waiting on the table when the children came to class. As they took their seats I said, “Guess what’s inside.”

“Rabbits!” one boy shouted.

“Kitten!” a girl said over him.

“Puppy!” called someone else.

“Nobody has guessed it,” I said and lifted the lid. All the children gasped. Penney blinked in the sudden light and ruffled her feathers, but soon settled down and clucked. The children came forward slowly, so as not to scare her. The girls took turns stroking her feathers.

“What do you think Penney’s brought with her?” I said. I lifted her up to reveal a dozen eggs.

A boy poked one of the shells with a pudgy finger. “How can she sit on them?” he asked. “They’re hard!”

“Penney wants her babies very much,” I said. “She’s willing to go through hard things. Just like your mother did before you were born. God puts love into all parents’ hearts—even chicken parents!”

Now that the children had seen the eggs, I offered them a deal. “Penney has laid 12 eggs. That’s one for each of you,” I said. “You have a choice what to do with your egg. You can take it home and have your mom cook it for breakfast…”

The children giggled.

“Or I can bring Penney back next week and you can see your eggs turn into babies!”

Not one child voted for an omelet. By the following week the children had told all their friends. We discussed the impending blessed event. They couldn’t wait to see the chicks they’d been promised on Easter Sunday.

I promised, I thought as I got ready for bed on Saturday night. Should I have been so confident the children would see chicks on Easter? It took 21 days for a bantam hen egg to hatch, and in the interest of timing, I’d taken the eggs from under Penney so that she’d miss a day of brooding. But what if I’d miscounted, or addled the eggs when moving them? What if Penny’s temperature wasn’t just right? The hatching of a chicken was God’s work, not mine. God, I prayed after I switched off the light, please let at least one egg hatch for them.

The church parking lot was crowded the next morning. Everyone came for the Easter service. But why were so many people gathered around the Sunday school wing? I made my way through the crowd with my cardboard box.

“Is that Penney?” a woman asked me.

“Did the eggs hatch yet?” a man said.

They were all here to see Penney and her eggs! Along with every child from every Sunday school class, not just my own. Even the pastor came over to see what was going on. “It’s an expectant hen,” I told him, blushing. “I thought the children would like to see the eggs hatch.”

“What a perfect way to illustrate today’s sermon!” he said. “Would you bring Penney into the church?”

So much for keeping Penney under wraps, I thought as a pack of children cheered and followed me into the sanctuary. They plunked themselves on the stage at the front of the church. Okay, God, I thought as I lifted the lid. Time for an Easter miracle!

A gasp went up. There was Penney with not one but six wobbly chicks. Three were already dried and fluffy as dandelion down. The other three were still wet from their shells. Two more eggs were nearly cracked in half, the babies just emerging. The last four eggshells showed tiny holes where miniature beaks were pecking.

I looked up, beaming, from Penney’s new family—right into the face of that straitlaced parishioner I’d dreaded. She was gazing down at the chicks as happy and amazed as the little girl in front of her who asked, “How did you get the eggs to hatch right on Easter?”

“God decides when the eggs hatch,” I said. “He knew this was the right time!”

And just the right place—right in his own house, where all new life begins.
——————
Credit: Isabel Wolseley as it appeared on “Angels on Earth” via Guideposts.org

What I learned from the Easter Bunny…

 

Photo Credit: Ethan Hickerson via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Ethan Hickerson via CC Flickr

Throughout my life, I have been blessed to listen to many inspiring, motivational, and heartwarming speakers. I have met a lot of famous people and rubbed elbows with the “rich and famous.” But of all the people that I have ever met and listened to, none of them were more inspirational  than one of the most well known entities of all-time…that’s right…the Easter Bunny,

It is my hope that these great words of wisdom will touch your heart as much as they do mine 🙂

——————-

What I learned from the Easter Bunny……

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There’s no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people’s jelly beans.

Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket.

To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.
———–
Remember: “A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg
even though they know you are slightly cracked.” 🙂

An Unimaginable Love: The Pain and Suffering of Jesus

Photo Credit: Waiting For The World via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Waiting For The World via CC Flickr

It is a sad reality in today’s world but more and more people have decided that having a relationship with God isn’t worth it. It is a waste of time and that there are other things in their lives that are more important. In addition, a good number of individuals don’t think too highly of God’s son, Jesus. They believe he was just a soft-spoken, wimpy-type man who didn’t have the guts to stand up to anyone and just had an easy life here on earth.

Most people know that Jesus was crucified on a cross but not many people REALLY know the unimaginable amount of pain and suffering that he endured before He died.

He following account is a vivid description of what it was like to be whipped / scourged then crucified on a cross…much in the same ways that Jesus experienced. The descriptions of these procedures are pretty graphic, so read on with caution…but I want you to remember this: Jesus went through all of this because HE LOVES YOU. If you were the only person to ever have inhabited the earth…He would have still have gone through this…for you!!
———————-
The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering – the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”
Though very rare, the phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by; they spat on Him and struck Him in the face.

Condemned to Crucifixion
In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Flogging First
Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached to the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with fill force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.

At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.

Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.

Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas in the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from his back. This had already become adherent to the colts of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, cause excruciating pain – almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.

The Walk to Crucifixion
The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey, The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

The Nails of Crucifixion
At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep inot the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The Pain of Crucifixion
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through the feet.

Crucifixion – The Medical Effects
As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues – the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”

Crucifixion – The Last Gasp
He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Out Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Condensed from “The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” by C. Truman Davis, M.S. March, 1965. Source: ethoughts.org
——————
The GREAT NEWS about this story is that three days after Jesus died, HE ROSE AGAIN and was seen by more than 500 people. THAT is what makes a relationship with God and Jesus so special…We worship a LIVING God!! and we can communicate with Him at anytime.

THAT is the real story of Easter…and the story of the God that I love and serve.

”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him WILL NOT PERISH but WILL HAVE…ETERNAL LIFE! ~ John 3:16

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