BEFORE I WAS A MOM Author Unknown

Before I was a Mom - I made and ate hot meals. I had unstained clothing. I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom - I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on, wet on, spit on, chewed on, or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom - I had complete control over my thoughts, my body, my mind. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom - I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests, or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom - I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I could not stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a Mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up every ten minutes, in the middle of the night, to make sure that all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderfulness, or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

DON'T WE ALL Author Unknown

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.

He didn't.

He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke.

"That's a very pretty car," he said.

He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm.

I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?" I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Don't we all?

HOLDING ON Author Unknown

There is a story of a cliffhanger determined to reach the summit of a high mountain. After years of preparation, he began his adventure. Only he journeyed alone, because he wanted all the glory.

He began his ascent, and as daylight faded he decided to continue climbing. Night fell. The night fell heavy as he was overcome by total darkness. The moonlight and starlight were hidden within the clouds. There was zero visibility.

He was only a few meters away from the summit when he slipped climbing a ridge and fell off, falling at frightening speed. While falling he could only see shadow like figures in the darkness and felt the tug of gravity sucking him down. In those anguishing moments he saw his life before his eyes.

He thought death was near when suddenly he felt the tighting of the rope around his waist that tied him to a nail embedded in the rock wall of the mountain. In desperation, suspended in mid-air, he screams "God, please help me!"

Then unexpectedly, a deep voice from heaven responds: "What would you have me do?"

"Save me."

"Do you really think I can save you?"

"Of course, my Lord."

"Well then, cut the rope."

There was a moment of silence, then the man tightens the rope around his waist.

The mountain rescue team tells a story of a man they found frozen to death, his hands wrapped firmly around a rope tied to his wait... HANGING TWO FEET FROM THE GROUND.

So... how tight are your ropes? Would you let go?

"I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you 'don't be afraid. I will help you.'" (Isaiah 41:13)

EYE OPENER Author Unknown

I saw him in the church building for the first time on Wednesday. He was in his mid-70's, with thinning silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past I had invited him to come. Several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the good news with him.

He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have, but he had never put on Christ, nor entered the doors of the church.

"Have you ever been to a church service in your life?" I had asked him a few years ago. We had just finished a pleasant day of visiting and talking.

He hesitated. Then with a bitter smile he told me of his childhood experience some fifty years ago. He was one of many children in a large impoverished family. His parents had struggled to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing. When he was about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them.

The Sunday School class had been very exciting! He had never heard such songs and stories before!

He had never heard anyone read from the Bible! After class was over, the teacher took him aside and said, "Son, please don't come again dressed as you are now. We want to look our best when we come into God's house."

He stood in his ragged, unpatched overalls. Then looking at his dirty bare feet, he answered softly, "No, ma'am, I won't ever."

"And I never did," he said, abruptly ending our conversation.

There must have been other factors to have hardened him so, but this experience formed a significant part of the bitterness in his heart.

I'm sure that Sunday School teacher meant well. But did she really understand the love of Christ? Had she studied and accepted the teachings found in the second chapter of James?

What if she had put her arms around the dirty, ragged little boy and said, "Son, I am so glad you are here, and I hope you will come every chance you get to hear more about Jesus."

I reflected on the awesome responsibility a teacher or pastor or a parent has to welcome little ones in His name. How far reaching her influence was!

I prayed that I might be ever open to the tenderness of a child's heart, and that I might never fail to see beyond the appearance and behavior of a child to the eternal possibilities within.

Yes, I saw him in the church house for the first time on Wednesday. As I looked at that immaculately dressed old gentleman lying in his casket, I thought of the little boy of long ago. I could almost hear him say, "No, ma'am, I won't ever."

And I wept.

LOST AGAIN By Sally I. Kennedy

..the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 NKJV

The baby Jesus was lost again. I began searching and scouring the house.

The miniature wood carvings of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wisemen, had lived in Grandma's living room for well over a decade. Little silver-colored cups held the tiny crèche figures. They'd been a big attraction for every grandchild who ever toddled through the family.

After the kids' visits, I never knew where I'd find one or more of the figures, The baby Jesus was every child's favorite. Usually it was the baby Jesus who would be missing. Could be shoved under a sofa cushion, stuffed down the side of a potted plant, or even safely tucked into a drawer. Definitely somewhere they thought would be a safe place.

I always thought it amazing when I'd find them. So tiny, only about an inch and a half tall. This time, though, I was coming to a dead-end. I figured baby Jesus might be lost for good.

And then, there it was. Hidden just behind a photo frame.

Just as the miniature baby Jesus carving has never really been lost at our house, so are we never really lost once we confess our belief in Jesus as Lord. That is good news!


YES, HIS love has no bounds. If you have full faith in HIM, nothing can separate you from his abundant LOVE !!!

It was 8.30 AM on Saturday, 10th April, 1999. I and my wife were sitting on the hospital bed in Room No.1 in the Intensive Care Unit of the Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala. I was holding our daughter Jamie in my arms - her legs were in her Mummy's lap. My right hand held her left hand wrist and I was feeling her pulse. I could feel the pulse - tick....tick....tick.. I was repeatedly telling her "don't be scared , Father Jesus is with you" and my inside was saying "Praise the Lord"...."Praise the Lord"....... Mummy was sobing, but no sound came out. A smile appeared on her face and it was gleaming. The pulse rate started lowering. Slowly and slowly it reduced ... slowing down ...and down ...and down ... and it stopped.

It was 8.40 AM. The smile was still there on her lips. Her face looked fresh as if nothing happened. From then on she was in the arms of her Heavenly Father. Tears rolled down our faces. We did'nt scream or shout. We knew where our "little angel" was. I called the Nurse and asked her to check our daughter's pulse. She checked and said it was over.

Our dreams and hopes were shattered. Everything we were holding on to collapsed. Our precious one was snatched away. Nine months' of pains and prayers!!? We consoled each other. We knew that God will not harm us and had full faith in Him. We had witnessed His love during the past nine months. His love strengthened us.

On 12th April on the funeral day, His powerful hands were holding us. People were surprised at the cool on our face. They, including those of my own blood, expected us to be hysterical, and few of them said that we could have lost our mental balance. After the funeral they asked me, how could I keep my composure and be so cool. I told them that "it was because I met my Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ and that the abundant flow of His love and strength is holding us."

But, after few months when I told them more about the Jesus I met, they abused us. They talked about our old life, the life before we met with our Saviour. They asked us to go and preach to the sinners, not to them because they are not sinners like us. We know that when we become true christians, we will face problems, accusations, perils and swords more from our own people than others, because a Christians life is the life of Cross. We find a lot of happines in that and we still pray for those of "my own blood" to experience the true and abundant love which our Lord Jesus Christ wants to shower on them.


1. Faith is the ability to not panic.

2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you pray, don't worry.

3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.

4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.

6. Do the math. Count your blessings.

7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

8. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.

9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.

10. Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging.

11. The most important things in your home are the people.

12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.

13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.

14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

16. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.

17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it, otherwise it's just hearsay.

18. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.

19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle -- it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.

20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

BE..STILL. KNOW By Sally I. Kennedy

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. Psalm 62:1 (NLT)

For everything there is a season.......A time to be quiet and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1-7

First it looked sort of foggy. After the sun burned away the mist, we could see the beautiful hot air balloon. I wondered if it was quiet up there in the basket, under the balloon.

I've not ever been up in one of those, but when I tried paragliding, the noise of the wind currents surprised me. I had totally expected silence.

Quiet. Not an easy thing. A prayer I find myself saying often (maybe too often!) is for my mouth to stay closed at the right times, and not say anything, as well as prayers to say the right thing.

It's difficult for me to be still. Period. I'm a fairly active person. If I'm not up and doing something, I am thinking of what I will do when I do get up and going.

I was reminded, about two weeks after seeing the hot air balloon, about this 'being quiet' thing. We were visiting friends who have a retreat in the North Carolina mountains. As we sat in the very, very silent chapel of Quiet Reflections, the verse from Psalms 46 came into my mind: 'Be still, and know that I am God.'

Be. Be still. Then know. Hmmmmmmm

Sometimes God speaks loud and clear. This was one of those times.

Thank you Lord, that you care enough about us to get our attention, and speak to us in ways that we can hear you. Help us to hear You today, with the ears of our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.


I run a profitable business. There are no tax problems, no accusations of fraud. I have nothing to be ashamed of so why am I so upset and confused? Maybe it's because something has changed.

It all started on a cold, dark night. My little hotel-restaurant was packed with out-of-town customers. The mood of the crowd at first was dark with talk of rebellion. After all, no one likes being forced to travel just for a census... a head count. Yet time, a few drinks and the opportunity to renew friendships lifted traveler's spirits and the atmosphere soon became more festive.

Business was good -- almost too good. All my rooms were filled, so people were forced to sleep in the streets. With so many people eating, our supplies of food and drink were critically low.

Later that night, two travelers approached my gate: a young man and his obviously pregnant wife astride a donkey. They both looked exhausted. The young man was polite enough. "Please sir, we have come a long way and need a room. Can you please help us?"

I turned away many others without a thought but the look of panic in the man's eyes and the young girl's condition made me pause. "There must be somewhere I can put them." But sadly, there was not and I was forced to tell them so. "I'm sorry. There is no room in the inn."

But something about the young woman's face made me pause... she looked so calm and serene. "Wait a minute..." I blurted out. "There's a stable around back with an empty stall. I can add a little fresh straw and you will at least have shelter." Why was I so concerned about the welfare of this young couple? After preparing their area, I left without even asking them for money.

"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn." (Luke 2:6-7)

The frantic banging on the front door began just as I was finally falling asleep. One of the shepherds in a nearby field said, "You must come at once to see the child. She has sent for you."

"It's just a baby." I shouted. "I've seen babies before." But I was so wrong. Only the shepherds and a few animals surrounded Mary and Joseph.

"Where did the shepherds come from?" I wondered. Then I noticed the child.

He wasn't crying... just quietly smiling and looking... at me. His eyes seemed able to see clear through to my very soul. How could this baby effect me so?

Something happened that night. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a businessman, not a preacher but seeing that child has changed me, forever. Over the last few weeks I've done a lot of thinking and praying about where my life is going. With God's help, this is what I plan to do:
· Become more generous in my giving and look for opportunities to help others.
· Treat my employees with more respect and pay what they earn, not what I can get by with.
· Maintain a stricter accounting of the books and with my customers.
· Spend more time at home with my wife and children.
· Go back to church and look for ways that I can become involved in ministry.
· Be in prayer for my family, for business, for others, for my pastor.

What about you? How will seeing the Christ-child effect you this year? Peter said: "As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!" (2 Peter 1:3)

Seeing the Christ-child in a manger surrounded by animals and shepherds changed this innkeeper forever. How will seeing Christ change you? I pray that you will see the Christ-child and be transformed! May God richly bless your journey of faith.

MUST I FORGIVE? Contributed by Melanie Schurr

"Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back." Luke 6:36-38

"That witch! I will never forgive her!" blurted Norma as tears streamed down her face.

The person who Norma regarded as best friend had betrayed their friendship, and this caused Norma enormous heart-break.

Years later, Norma was not only holding on to the same anger and bitterness, but the refusal to forgive her former friend had also begun to take a negative toll on her physical and emotional health, causing Norma to suffer from depression, heart-palpatations and ulcers. More importantly, however, Norma's pastor had warned her about the spiritual consequences of her refusal to forgive. "Norma," he said, "If you will not forgive others, God will not forgive you. If you want God to be merciful with you, then you must be willing to show mercy to others."

Norma was slow to accept this truth because she believed that people can only forgive those who directly ask for forgiveness, and Norma's former friend had never approached her or ever indicated she wished for such mercy to be shown to her. As such, the pain and hurt which Norma carried with her, and which expressed itself in anger and bitterness continued to grow with each passing year of her life.

My dear friends, forgiveness is not something we only do for others, or even because it is the right thing to do according to God's sight. Forgiveness is also a gift of love to ourselves.

Contrary to what Norma believed, forgiveness does not necessarily have to mean a relationship with those who our forgiveness is directed toward. One mother of a murdered child told her daughter's attacker on the day of his trial and conviction that she forgave him, and that she will trust God to deal with Him justly, for she refused to allow his act of murderous aggression destroy her as well.

This mother understood that issuing forgiveness does not suggest the act is somehow okay or not severe. Issuing forgiveness is like saying, "Yes, you have sinned, but I am also aware that I too have sinned within my life. Yes, what happened was very hurtful, but carrying that pain with me for the rest of my life will hurt me even more." In other words, forgiveness is a positive step forward, and whose message is, "I want to move forward and not be stuck in the destructive mire."

Has someone hurt you?

Love yourself and God enough to say good-bye to past pain, anger, hurt and bitterness, and hello to the peace and serenity only forgiveness can provide.

"Heavenly Father, please help me to be strong enough to see through my pain so that I can forgive others the way you have forgiven me with my own transgressions. Help me to be merciful to others, the way you, dear God, have been with me. Come in to my heart, God, and show me your love and grace. This I ask in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen."


There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by. She never tried to speak. She never said a word. Many people passed by her, but no one would stop.

The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the little girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot where she was yesterday, and still with the same sad look in her eyes.

Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone. As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress was grotesquely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to speak to her.

As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the shape of her back more clearly. She was grotesquely shaped in a humped-over form.

I smiled to let her know it was OK; I was there to help, to talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple, "Hello." The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a "hi," after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back.

We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me with a sad face said, "Because I'm different." I immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, "I know."

"Little girl," I said, "you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent." She looked at me and smiled, then slowly she got to her feet and said, "Really?"

"Yes, you're like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by." She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she opened the back of her pink dress and allowed her wings to spread, then she said "I am. I'm your Guardian Angel," with a twinkle in her eye. I was speechless -- sure I was seeing things.

She said, "For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done."

I got to my feet and said, "Wait, why did no one stop to help an angel?" She looked at me, smiled, and said, "You are the only one that could see me," and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically. So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.


Lately things have been a little chaotic. My elderly mother is failing, my father-in-law is at death's door, and my aunt fell and broke her arm, ending up in a nursing home. All at once, everything was falling apart. difficult situations don't always bring out the best in me. I've been cranky and worried, hating the place in which
I find myself.

Yesterday was my birthday and until the last few years, Mom was always on top of everyone's birthdays. It's sad that she doesn't remember them anymore and so yesterday I phoned to remind her it was my birthday and to chat about how she was doing. She lives more than a hundred miles away and I don't visit her as much as I should. Instead of birthday wishes, we ended up arguing about her need for home care (my opinion) and her refusal of home care (her opinion). She threatened to run away if I arranged such care; end of discussion. It hurt my feelings and ruined my whole day.

This morning's Scripture puts things into perspective: "This is how the lamp stand was made: it was made of hammered goldfrom its base to its blossoms. The lamp stand was made exactly like the pattern the Lord had shown Moses." Numbers 8:4 NIV

It's not my imagination! I feel the pounding blows of a hammer; a big hammer. I feel blows that leave bruises and shake my foundation; blows that hurt; blows that knock me out of my complacency and force me to focus on what really matters. But at the same time, these blows are carefully aimed to create an object of beauty; a work of
art. They are not cruelly delivered without purpose. Every blow is measured against the template of His loving plan for my life.

I want to be that golden lamp that reflects His light. I want to be better than I am and more beautiful than I think possible. I wish to be useful and lovely. I want to be such a reflection of Jesus that people take notice. If it takes more hammering, I'm willing. I'll endure the process that makes me more like Him. I'll not fight the
hammer that transforms my life into the pattern the Lord has chosen - that breathtaking work of art that speaks to my world.

How about you? Are you fighting the hammer?


11th. Thou shalt not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.

12th. Thou shalt not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.

13th. Thou shalt not cross bridges before you come to them, for no one has yet succeeded in accomplishing this.

14th. Thou shalt handle only one problem at a time, and leave the others to the Lord until their turn comes up.

15th. Thou shalt not take troubles to bed with you, for they make very poor bedfellows.

16th. Thou shalt not try to carry the problems of the world on your shoulders, for nobody (except for One) has a back that is broad enough.

17th. Thou shalt be a good listener, for God often speaks to us through the mouths of others.

18th. Thou shall not try to relive yesterday; for good or ill, it is forever gone. Live in the now and rejoice in it.

19th. Thou shalt firmly dismiss feelings of frustration, for 90% of it is rooted in self-pity and will interfere with positive action.

20th. Thou shalt count thy blessings, never overlooking the smallest, for our biggest blessings are composed of many small ones.


The burly miner blinked as he left the dark interior of the coal mine. Stopping at a faucet near the mine entrance, he washed the worst of the grime from his face and hands, then headed towards his home on the outskirts of the village. As he trudged along the dusty lane, he passed the open door of a little church. Inside, a small crowd listened intently as an energetic man gesticulated from the pulpit. Interested, the miner stepped to the door.

"Absolute surrender is what we must have," the minister was saying. "Are you willing to surrender yourself absolutely into His hand? If not, you are not ready to meet your God." The minister paced back and forth on the platform. "We do not know how much longer our earthly probation will last. Tonight you are living; tomorrow may be too late. Ask yourself, I beg of you, 'Am I ready to meet the Lord?'"

The miner, touched to the quick, slipped into the back pew. I am not ready to meet God, he thought. I have lived a careless, godless life. How can I make peace with Him? The meeting ended, and the people filed out. Still the miner remained in the pew, his head in his hands.

Finally, the minister touched him on the shoulder. "Brother, are you ready to meet the Lord?"

Blindly, the miner shook his head. "I know I am not. Oh, help me find peace!"

An hour passed as the minister shared the plan of salvation; yet something held the miner back from full surrender.

"It's getting late," the minister finally said. "Go home, and continue to seek the Lord."

The miner shook his head. "Stay with me a little longer; it must be settled tonight."

Once again the minister explained the way of salvation and prayed, but in vain. Another hour passed.

"You must go home," the minister told him. "It's late, and I cannot make it any clearer."

"It must be settled tonight," the miner repeated, his eyes burning with earnestness.

"Then we shall stay here together," the minister agreed. Once more he spoke of Jesus, and shared promise after promise. Once more he prayed, but in vain. "I must go," the minister finally said. "It will soon be morning. Go home, and return tomorrow night. Maybe then you will find peace."

"Sir, I cannot leave this place until I find peace."

The poor man's voice trembled. "Tomorrow may be too late. It must be settled tonight."

The minister could not resist his appeal. "By the help of God." he said,"it shall be settled tonight."

Again he explained the steps of conversion; again he prayed. As he spoke, the miner broke into sobs and tears, and at last the light pierced his darkness.

"I see it!" he cried. "I give myself absolutely to God, to His will, to do only what He wants. It is settled.

Praise His name, it is settled!" The two men knelt again, but this time to thank God for bringing light to a sinner's soul.

The next morning the miner went to work as usual. During the day he was sent to a distant part of the mine to fetch some tools. When he did not return, his fellow workers went to look for him. They found that the mine walls had caved in on him, and he was buried in the debris. Working with pick and shovel, they began to dig. Finally, from the fragments of rock and rubbish and stone which hid him from sight, came a faint sound:"Tonight ---- would have been ---- too late. Thank God ---- it was settled ---- last night!"

-Am I ready to meet the Lord?-


One day an elderly man entered into a hospital. He was grumpy from being on medication and the nurses thought him to be insane, as he yelled for his wife to get the apple basket. By the time they had checked him into his room the nurses were exhausted from the fight he was putting up.

"Sir you have to calm down we are doing everything we can for you" they would try to explain.

"I don't need your help" the grumpy man would yell "I want my apple basket". He finally slept. The nurses sighed with relief and talked among themselves whether they should call the hospital psychologist about the old man and his obsession with the apple basket.

As they talked and laughed about the situation the wife came in carrying the basket of apples. They looked kind of stunned as she asked if she could see her husband and deliver his basket. Sure, they agreed as they watched her slip past into his room.

Curiosity consumed them over the next few weeks as they tended to the elderly man. He was eaten with cancer and the doctors had given him no hope of survival. He turned out to be a very calm, happy man once he had his basket. His wife, they noticed, would come in with apples and go out with apples and the curiosity grew even more till one nurse couldn't stand the suspense.

One night as he was nearing the end, the nurse sat down in a chair by the wife." May I ask why do you have that apple basket? I just don't understand the significance."

"I am an apple farmer by trade he sighed. From the time I was 20 till the day I do die I will forever have my apples." The nurse nodded thinking she understood. He just likes his work, she thought, assured now he was a little bit crazy.

As she started to leave, the old man asked her to sit down. "At age 20 I was saved, I accepted the Lord as my Savior." Oh no, the nurse thought. Here comes the lecture on religion. The old man continued. "The day I accepted the Lord as my Savior I got this basket, and each time I had a problem or concern that I could not handle, I put an apple in the basket un-shined."

"Why?" the nurse said shaking her head.

"Because it reminded me to give those problems to the Lord for him to shine. See my basket now, he stated. As my problems disappear so do the apples. As I get new problems, ones I cannot handle alone, I put an apple in."

The humble nurse looked into the basket...only one apple was there.

With that, he took a big breath and grabbed his wife by the hand and faded into eternal sleep. The wife paused for a moment and got up from her place to take from the basket the last remaining apple. She whispered in his ear that his reward awaits him in heaven.

The nurse stayed still and asked with tears in her eyes, "what do you think his riches will be?"

The wife knew what they were, eternal life with Jesus Christ. But she could see the concern and sadness upon the young nurses' face and handed her the apple and said "the biggest apple pie you can imagine!"

That was the day the young nurse was saved, and from that day on she always had a basket by her bed.


Has there ever been a day in your life when the rain was pouring, but with your own two eyes you saw the sun shining brightly and there wasn't a cloud in the sky? These days seem to drag on with no end in sight. I know; I've had plenty of them before. It's rather confusing because on the outside everything appears to be striking and
beautiful, but on the inside you feel the storm; you can feel the rain, and I'm pretty sure you wish you could retreat from the busy activity of the world and maybe drop off the face of the planet for a second or two. I've often heard people who suggest that when you feel this way, you should pull yourself out of it. Well, what if you can't seem to do that? I believe this represents a time when you should wait
on the Lord.

If you've ever read any of the Psalms, they are loaded with songs from people who had ups and downs. One second they were up, and the next they were down. These songs consist of cries to the Lord; they contain people's fears, doubts, concerns, gnawing agitations, and a host of other anxieties that I'm sure many of us have encountered in our lives. These songs arose out of their seeming despair, however they believed that God would somehow intervene. So, given these songs, I think it's okay to feel down at times. Sometimes it gets tough to follow God with all of your heart in a world that insists on walking in the opposite direction. However, God has promised to never forsake you. And I know He doesn't seem to be very close when you're feeling
down, but rest assured that He is.

So, how can we get the "Son" to shine in us as brilliantly as the "Sun" is shining outside of us?

Well, helping oneself is not the method that God has prescribed for the Christian. Our life in Christ is a life of dependency. We are like new born babies who need their parents to help them with everything. And in these times of "inner rain", let me suggest that you do as the scripture above declares, and wait on the Lord. Does that mean you should sit around and get lazy? Not by any means! You can sing, praise, read the scriptures, pray, or do whatever else the scriptures deem appropriate, but fix your purpose throughout it all on this one thing: waiting on God. Your actions, whatever they are, are worthless if your primary purpose is not to wait on the Lord. God sees us when we're down, and He desires to strengthen us and restore our joy! But, we must wait until He brings it! When God brings the promise, the clouds disappear, the rain stops, and the "Son" appears, turning our
gloom into joy!

Today, wait on the Lord! You don't have to stop the rain on your own. He never disappoints those who wait for Him!

FLAME OF LOVE Author Unknown

"I can master it," said the Ax. His blows fell heavy on the hard, strong steel. But each blow only made his edge more blunt until he ceased to strike.

"Leave it to me," said the Saw. With his relentless teeth, he worked back and forth. But to his dismay, all of his teeth were worn out or broken off.

"Ha!" said the Hammer. "I knew you could not do this. Let me show you how." But with the very first blow, his head flew off, and the steel was unchanged.

"Shall I try?" asked the Flame. And it curled itself gently around the strong, hard steel, embraced it, and would not let it go. And the tough steel melted.

There are hearts that are hard enough to resist the forces of wrath and the fury of pride. But hard is the heart that can resist the warm flame of Love.

"'For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.'" Matthew 13:15-17

PSALM 23 Author Unknown

The Lord is my boss, and I shall not want. He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me. He reminds me to pray, before I speak in anger. He restores my sanity. He guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mail, system failures, copier jams, back-ordered supplies, unrealistic deadlines, staff shortages, budget cutbacks, red tape, downsizing, gossiping co-workers and whining customers, I won't give up, for You are with me.

Your presence, peace and power will see me through. You raise me up, even when the boss fails to promote me. You claim me as your own, even when the company threatens to let me go.

Your loyalty and love are better than a bonus check. Your retirement plan beats any 401K, and when it's all said and done, I'll be working for you a whole lot longer!

Thanks be to God!


There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ... perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize?

The King chose the second picture.

Do you know why?

"Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

-- A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46


I stopped to watch my little girl
busy playing in her room.
In one hand was a plastic phone;
in the other a toy broom.

I listened as she was speaking
to her make believe little friend
and I'll never forget the words she said,
even though it was pretend.

She said "Suzie's in the corner
cuz she's not been very good.
She didn't listen to a word I said
or do the things she should."

In the corner I saw her baby doll
all dressed in lace and pink.
It was obvious she'd been put there
to sit alone and think.

My daughter continued her "conversation,"
as I sat down on the floor.
She said, "I'm all fed up I just don't know
what to do with her anymore.

She whines whenever I have to work
and wants to play games, too;
and never lets me do the things
that I just have to do.

She tries to help me with the dishes,
but her arms just cannot reach
and she doesn't know how to fold the towels
and I don't have time to teach.

I have a lot of work to do
and a big house to keep clean.
I don't have time to sit and play--
don't you know what I mean?"

And that day I thought a lot about
making some changes in my life;
as I listened to her innocent words
that cut me like a knife.

I hadn't been paying enough attention
to what I hold most dear.
I'd been caught up in responsibilities
that increased throughout the year.

But now my attitude has changed
because, in my heart, I realize
I've seen the world in a different light
through my little darling's eyes.

So, let the cobwebs have the corners
and the dust bunnies rule the floor,
I'm not going to worry about
keeping up with them any more.

I'm going to fill the house with memories
of a child and her mother
for God grants us only ONE childhood,
and we will never get another.

BEAUTY FOR ASHES by Lauren Beyenhof

And to provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. --Isaiah 61:3

The Christmas ornament was beautiful. Each one of the dozens of indentations on its globed surface acted as a prism, displaying hundreds of tiny rainbows, but overall, it was deeply purple in color. The other ladies from the church and I "oohed and aaahed" as it was held up for the entire group to see. Several women inquired where the item was purchased, most likely so they could go find one to add to their Christmas trees this year. The item truly was one-of-a-kind. We were shocked to learn that such a beautiful item had once been ashes, spewed forth during Mt. Saint Helens' most recent eruption.

To turn something as unappealing as volcanic ash into a beautiful Christmas ornament takes a lot of work, and a lot of time. The right amount of ashen debris must be accumulated for the task. The ashes then undergo a great deal of pressure, and are subjected to extremely high temperatures. When the ashes have become a liquid mixture, they are molded into the desired shape. The beautiful colors were there naturally, very similar to the swirling rainbows that can be observed in a thin film of oil on the pavement.

God has the ability to turn the ashes in our lives into something beautiful. Every heartache, every painful loss, every discouraging or devastating situation is an opportunity to let God's work change us into something lovely. In my own life I have collected more than a few handfuls of ashes. My recurring health battles due to cystic fibrosis have a tendency to generate quite a few cinders, yet God is still working to turn them into something that will reflect His glory. Throughout this process, God is teaching me to rely on Him fully, and trust Him to work things out in my life so that others can look at me and see His splendor.

I am not yet an oak of righteousness; perhaps I'm only a sapling. As I root my life firmly in Christ, and stand on the promises of eternal hope that He has given me, I become stronger. God's work is far from complete in my life, but every day I'm learning that in order to reflect Him, I'm going to have to endure some pain--if only for awhile.

Like that beautiful ornament, we are all one-of-a-kind. God's plan is unique for each of us, and the circumstances of our lives are too. No matter what hardships or difficulties we face here on earth, God is continually creating beauty from our ashes, and clothing us with a garment of praise.


"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." Ephesians 5:8

The only telltale sign anything was wrong with the wallpaper in the bathroom, was that it was curling up at the bottom corner. It looked pretty good, but underneath, we discovered black mold. The yucky stuff had to have been growing there a long time in order to get that bad. We finally determined that it had come from a hairline crack in the wall- a small water leak that had gone undetected until the paper was
in this state.

Underneath the wallpaper, the damage was so extensive that even some of the plaster was chunking off. The diagnosis was bad; the cure, worse: we had to take all the paper off, sand the wall, replaster, sand some more, and paint. Amazing how it could look so good on the outside and be so disintegrated and deteriorated on the inside.

That is true of us, too. There have been times in my life when I looked pretty good on the outside, but what was going on under the exterior was far different.

Sometimes things have to grow and fester for a long time. Eventually, when they get bad enough, things begin to change on the outside. Little habits, a little unforgiveness held onto, or a little dishonesty here or there. Small things build and grow, when they're not cleared up and being resolved.

Often this can lead to attitude, people, or business problems, to say nothing of what isn't happening in the relationship with our Father God who desperately desires intimacy with us.

I have been examining the wall paper in other spots. I'm also checking the paper in another room of the house. I was reminded, through all of this, that it would be a good idea to check under the "wallpaper" of my skin, to look into my heart and see if there are any little moldy things growing there. Better to take care of problems early on before the repair is major.

ONE WAY by Melanie Schurr

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" Acts 4:12

A man was driving in a town he was not familiar with. When he turned left down a narrow street, a young woman walking along the sidewalk waved her arms and pointed to a sign which read "one way." Disregarding the woman's caution, the driver proceeded on, only to find himself being shouted at by another passer by. "There is only one way down this street!" an elderly man bellowed. "You are going the wrong way!"

The driver continued on as he ignored the warnings.

From a spiritual perspective, many of us do exactly the same thing.

In the Bible we are clearly told that there is only one way, and that way to our salvation is through Christ Jesus. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14:6 Sadly, despite this truth, many people turn away, refuse to hear, and prefer to believe that there are many doors and numerous ways. Such people may claim to believe in a "higher power," yet when they explain what this force is, it has nothing to do with God and His son, Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

My dear friends, your heavenly Father, God, loves you very much, and wants to have a relationship with you. There is but one door, and it is up to you to go through it.

WAS IT WORTH? by Diane Check

As I watched the XX Winter Olympics, I couldn't help but wonder about some of the athletes and the pain and suffering they have endured over the years. Most longed just to have one slight chance to stand upon a podium surrounded by others like them, adorned with a precious medal and having the world proclaim that they are "Number One!"

I think of the many snowboarders, skiers, ice skaters and lugers and the interviews conducted with each of them. A typical competitor might reveal that they've had several broken bones, nine surgeries, two concussions and a whole lot of "minor" injuries over the years of hard work, training and competing. For many, these injuries have been enormous and the physical pain and rehabilitation necessary to come back and perform again, almost inconceivable.

Why would these athletes risk their lives, in some respect, just for a split second where they can step into the spotlight of glory? Is it really worth it? As I thought about this question, I remembered recently watching a snowboard cross race where American Seth Wescott gritted out a dramatic finish and won by the nose of his board. When the mile-long smile crossed his beaming face and he lifted an American flag high above his head, in that very special moment, he knew he was the best. All of the endless hours of preparation, the brokenness of his body, and the hurt from critical words of those who criticized him, led up to that moment in the sun. And, YES, it was worth it.

Now, think back more than two thousand years ago to a lonely cross on a hill called Golgotha. It wasn't an athlete that day, but a sinless and perfect man whose body was being beaten beyond recognition. His beard was savagely pulled out of His face and the pain from the nine-inch nails being slammed into His wrists musthave been unbearable. Many surrounded Him and called Him terrible, degrading and unspeakable names. He was "adorned" with a disfiguring crown of thorns as they continued to hurl insult after insult at Him. He courageously endured the pain and the suffering intended for Him before the beginning of time.

As He fought to breathe His last breath and felt the fading sunshine against His brow, He called out to His Father in heaven and said "It is Finished." Then, His loving Father, as He looked into the eyes of the many souls that would be saved, and with tears streaming down His Holy face agreed, "yes, my beloved Son, it is finished."

And, at that moment in time, we now know that Jesus did what He had to do because WE were worth it! And, that very special "We" includes You!


Here's how the story goes: Jesus had just gotten word that his cousin, who'd been in prison, had been killed. He got into a small rowboat they used for fishing, with some of the guys, and quietly set out for a spot off the beaten path.

The paparazzi were right on top of this, however. Literally thousands from the entire area walked to the place where the boat was going to land. When Jesus saw all these people who had come because they were sick in some way, He had compassion for them. Even though He'd planned this to be a private getaway, Jesus began to heal them.

When it started getting late, one of the disciples said, "Hey, there's nowhere to get food around here. Let's take a break, and people can go buy something to eat in the town nearby."

Jesus answered, "They don't have to leave; you give them something to eat." It was af He had said, "It's their problem, but now it's yours since you're concerned about it."

They were able to get a couple of dried fish and a few flat bread loaves. Jesus asked them to bring the food over to Him. He told all the people to sit down on the grass. He gave thanks to the Lord and broke the bread into pieces, then gave it back to them, who in turn gave it to the people. Everybody got to eat, plus they had left-overs.

Here's the cool part. Jesus had compassion on the people, and what followed was a miracle. The miracle of 'more' happened in the distribution, and not before.

When something touches my heart, and there's a need of some kind, whose problem is it? A federal agency? The church? Some organization? Or mine? Jesus always has compassion. That is His nature. We ((today's disciples) are His hands and feet.

Today I hope to remember that whenever I am moved with compassion, a miracle can follow. If I give what little bit I might have to the Lord, He will bless it and give it back, so I can give it away, and He can work a miracle of more.


"Are you Brother Bo?" asked the nervous fiftyish woman. I was peacefully seated, waiting for the prayer meeting to start when this frenzied lady appeared before me.

"Uh...gee...,"I stammered, "I don't know. What will you do to me if I say yes?"

"Oh my gosh! You are him!" she cried aloud. She started jumping up and down, her hands shaking.

"Ma'am, whatever you're accusing me of, I didn't do it!"

"Brother Bo, I'm Liza, and ever since I read KERYGMA, I've always dreamt of seeing you face-to-face...and here you are! Oh my goodness..." her breath caught in her throat, "I think I'm going to die!"

"No please, don't! Not here! They'll think I did it."

"Brother Bo, can I just touch you?"


"Just one slight tiny touch, "she pleaded, "perhaps your holiness will rub off on me.." Her trembling forefinger was now poised aloft, ready to touch me on my right shoulder.

Believe me, I had never felt so creepy in my entire life. Suddenly, I felt like an ancient relic being venerated.

I stood up abruptly. "I'm afraid that's not possible, Liza."

"But..." Her face turned pale and totally devastated.

I opened my arms wide and smiled my best smile. "But can I give you a warm hug instead?"

It felt good giving her the hug.

When Liza left, I sat down and the truth hit me in a fresh way: God's Love. All we needed was a touch. But He decided to give us much more. On the First Good Friday ever, He opened His arms on the Cross.

And that was the greatest embrace of all time.


Peggy and Bill invested their lives in others. They worked tirelessly defending children in the court system, kids who had no one to help them.

One clear, sunny day around noon, their small plane took off from the local airport. Within five minutes, as they were still flying low, the plane took a dive and crashed right onto a major downtown city street. It was a miracle the plane didn't land on any cars. Yet it was so very sad this wonderful couple's life was so suddenly and prematurely snuffed out.

Many years ago, at a lay renewal retreat weekend, Peggy had left a gift on my pillow. A small unfinished wooden heart, like you'd buy in craft stores. Printed in a black marker was "SK + JC". Sally Kennedy plus Jesus Christ. Our initials in a heart, signifying we love each other.

That miniature wooden heart is still on a shelf in my room. I look at if often, and think of the love Peggy had for Jesus, and for others. I think of how my initials and Jesus' are carved in eternity.

Carving initials in a tree scars the outer bark, but the tree survives and the initials are there for the life of the tree. Likewise when we have cuts, our skin heals; our body is made by God in such a way that it heals.

Wounds of the heart, are more difficult, though. When our memories are scarred, only Jesus can heal them. We may keep growing, yet the scar remains, until the Lord heals us.

The good news is that not only is Jesus able to heal, He is more than willing. Praise God for His goodness! He is the one to remember, when it comes to initials being carved on our hearts.


With a houseful of teens, it would totally frighten you to know how much milk I have to buy in a week. Let's just say that sometimes it takes two or three of us to push the cart. When you buy so many gallons at a time, one of them is bound to get missed somewhere along the way. That "somewhere along the way" happened at exactly the wrong
time of the year. A few months ago we had loaded about eight gallons of milk into the car, but never noticed that only seven made it into the house. That lost gallon was in the floor of the minivan under the last seat, lurking and plotting its evil attack.

It was in the hottest days of summer and, of all times for the minivan to need a repair or two, that happened to be the week we had to put it in the shop. Three days in the shop. Three days of temperatures over a hundred degrees. The milk swelled up and- horror of horrors- exploded all over the car! Oh, the humanity. It lobbed milk shrapnel all over the entire back seat. Milk? No, maybe it was closer to CHEESE. And the smell! It was something like a barf-and-old-socks combo, with cabbage. It made its way into every single nook and cranny of the vehicle. The milk/cheese cleanup was nothing compared to the stench fallout we had to deal with for weeks. My eyes are watering just thinking about it. Oh well, there's no use in crying over spilled cheese.

There's a certain cool driving look. All the windows are down, the left elbow edges just outside the window; the right hand hangs casually over the steering wheel. Of course, it's not nearly as cool when you're in a MINIVAN. But we still got plenty of chances to get the cool look down. We're talking about a lot of time riding with the
windows down.

Taking care of sin issues in our lives is even more important than taking every gallon of milk inside the house. When left to simmer, they can explode all kinds of ugliness in our lives, and it can spill right over into the lives of those around us.

God is so gracious and forgiving when we confess even the biggest sin detonation in our lives. Psalm 51:1-2 says, "Generous in love- God, give grace! Huge in mercy- wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry." (TM) Nope, holding onto sin is definitely not cool. Letting Him scrub away that stench is
glorious- it's better even than that new car smell! Now that's cool!

As for us, we're still exercising a lot of "coolness" riding with the windows down. It's still cold out. We're a little too cool.

FAITH OF A CHILD Author Unknown

The father, a well digger,
strong was he,
And as loving and kind
as a father could be.

And Mary his daughter,
Just five years old,
Was very much dearer
than millions in gold.

To Mary her father
was big, grand and nice,
So each had a treasure,
beyond any price.

One day to the well,
little Mary was sent
To take daddy's lunch,
how gladly she went.

But when she looked down,
not a thing could be seen.
The well, like a pocket,
was dark as could be.

The father saw Mary
and heard her voice, too,
But made not a sound,
just to see what she'd do.

She dropped to her knees,
the dear little soul,
And called down, "Oh, Daddy,
are you down this hole?"

"Why, yes Mary darling,
I'm here at your feet,
Just drop my lunch
for I'm ready to eat.

Just let it go easy,
I'll catch it all right."
She did and she saw
it fall out of sight.

"Why Mary," said father,
"There's enough here for two,
Now this is the thing
I would like you to do.

You jump down here to me
and we'll eat it together,
Down here in the cool
and away from the weather."

"Oh, daddy, I'm afraid,
I can't see you at all,
Be sure now you catch me
and don't let me fall."

'Twas just for a moment
she wavered in doubt,
Then closing her dear
little eyes she jumped out.

In the darkness, yes,
that was the test,
She trusted in faith
At her father's request.

And both were so happy
he kissed her and smiled
Because of the sweet
trusting faith of his child.

"Oh, sweet little Mary,
you put me to shame,
How often my Father
Has called me the same,

But because it was dark
I turned back in doubt.
Refusing the call,
though his arms were stretched out."


Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines. They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you." All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - ever makes it alone!


A lways put God first in your life.

B e a true friend and you will have many friends.

C ount and thank God for your many blessings daily.

D iscipline yourself. Decide to make your life count.

E dify and encourage others consistently.

F ollow great leaders and then become one.

G ive liberally and joyfully of your time, talents and means.

H ave an attitude of gratitude.

I nvert any negatives thrown your way. Turn them into positives.

J ourney through life one step and one day at a time.

K eep written goals set ahead. Make specific plans to accomplish them.

L ove and forgive everybody.

M aximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

N ever, never, never give up!

O pen the door wide when opportunity knocks.

P ractice patience. Promote peace.

Q uit bad habits by replacing them with good habits.

R ead God's Word and other profitable material every chance you get.

S hare the Gospel whenever and wherever possible.

T ake time to appreciate everything and everyone God has given to you.

U se your God given common sense.

V isualize your dreams and stretch to reach for them.

W atch, listen and pray without ceasing.

X amine your motives on a regular basis.

Y ield to the Holy Spirit when He prompts you.

Z oom in on God's real purpose for your life.

PSALM 23 Author Unknown

There once was a Shakespearean actor who was known everywhere for his one-man shows of readings and recitations from the classics. He would always end his performance with a reading of Psalm 23.

Each night, without exception, as the actor began his recitation "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"... the crowd would listen attentively. And then, at the conclusion of the psalm, they would rise in thunderous applause in appreciation of the actor's incredible ability to bring the verse to life.

But one night, just before the actor was to offer his customary recital of Psalm 23, a young man from the audience spoke up. "Sir, do you mind if tonight I recite Psalm 23"?

The actor was quite taken aback by this unusual request, but he allowed the young man to come forward and stand front and center on the stage to recite the Psalm, knowing that the ability of this unskilled youth would be no match for his own talent.

With a soft voice, the young man began to recite the words of the Psalm. When he was finished, there was no applause. There was no standing ovation as on other nights. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping. The audience had been so moved by the young man's recitation that every eye was full of tears.

Amazed by what he had heard, the actor said to the youth, "I don't understand. I have been performing Psalm 23 for years. I have a lifetime of experience and training, but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight. Tell me, what is your secret?"

The young man quietly replied, "Well sir, you know the Psalm. I know the Shepherd."

  © Blogger Template by Emporium Digital 2008

Back to TOP