ANGEL TALK Author Unknown

Just inside the Pearly Gates
Underneath a gorgeous sky
Two angels hovered near a cloud
(They don't sit like you and I!)

"I just don't understand it,"
Said angel number one,
"I've watched and studied everything
Those foolish souls have done."

The second angel gave a shrug,
"Why do you even care?
It's no concern of ours at all
What they choose to do down there."

"Maybe not," the first one said,
"But still I'd like to know
With all the blessings they've received
What makes them quarrel so?"

The second angel stretched his wings
Then smoothed a ruffled feather,
"It's just about a hopeless cause
For men to live together."

"The Master's working very hard
Has been for generations. ....
And still they fight among themselves
causing death and devastation. "

The older angel softly sighed,
"You can't change things, little one,
The Master's tried everything
He even sacrificed His Son!!"

The young angel nodded slowly,
"That's what seems so bad!
He suffered, bled and died for them!
He gave them all he had!"

"Oh, He still has more to give,"
The other looked both sad and wise,
"For I've seen Jesus when souls are lost,
And I've held Him while He cries."

"For to Him each one is precious
With a value beyond measure.....
He wants them all up here with Him
To share in Heaven's treasure."

"And sometimes, someone down on Earth
Will kneel in fervent prayer
Crying out, 'Please help me, God!
Show me that You're there!'"

"And when that happens you will hear
All the bells of Heaven ring!
As the Master's love pours down like rain
And the Heart of Jesus sings!"

NOT TOO FAR by Anastasia Joseph

I called to him again, "Dario, slow down". He stopped, turned around, smiled, waited for me to get a little closer then turned around and continued walking. This happened about every three minutes as we made the walk to the nearby supermarket. How can he walk so fast? I pondered.

Doesn't he realize that we're on a pretty busy road and I need him to stay close to me so that I can guide him or grab his hand before something bad happens? Whenever I felt that he was too far away from me my heart beated a little faster. "He's getting too far away, he should be closer." Each time he heeded my call and looked back, his
little cute smile sent a message, "Ok, I guess I'm too far ahead, I'll wait for you." And as I got sufficiently closer to him, I'd smile back, "It's ok now, you can continue".

The moral of the story: God allows us to follow our course in life, walking behind of us, watching us to be sure we are on the right track and gently guiding us. Whenever it looks as if we're getting too distant from Him, he calls us to slow down. We should heed his voice, stop, wait for Him to get closer and then await his permission to go on again. If, per chance, we venture off in the wrong direction, then that is when we get lost and have to retrace our steps to find Him as he patiently, and lovingly looks for us also. It is not he who is lost, but us. He is still on the right track but we strayed, therefore causing him to attempt to find us.

The most important thing is to heed His voice. I, myself am still struggling with this. But, if we do not heed his call to us to slow down, then we stray too far away and soon, in looking back, we may not even see Him. And then we become frantic! "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,and they follow me" John 10:27

ALIGNMENT By Marion Smith

The tire bounded off the curb as I rounded the corner a little too fast, and I thought, "there goes the alignment!" Then, unable to avoid a couple of potholes in the road, I was sure the car would have to go in the shop.

When things are not in correct alignment, they are just "off kilter." They do not mesh well, give a smooth ride or get to their intended goal. Another example of this is teeth. Many children need braces to align their teeth into a proper biting position. Or, in the sports world, putting is an example. You have to line that golf ball up with the hole to sink the putt. If you are off the mark- another stroke (or more) is the price you pay.

Spiritual alignment is also important. We may profess Jesus as our savior and quote scripture, but do our actions line up with our words? Do we just admonish others to pray, attend worship, read the Bible and serve others, or do we put our theories into practice? We will be spiritually out of alignment if our actions don't reflect what God has placed in our hearts. Mouth service is not enough. God has called us to live the life of love, walking through each obstacle we face with patience and living our lives with a outstretched hand to those in need. Let's get in line with God's plan for us.... Being in correct alignment with God doesn't make Him love us more, but it sure makes our time on this earth more rewarding and fulfilling.

Marion Smith
comments and feedback welcome

HOSTA LILIES Author Unknown

Many years ago I bought and planted in my yard my first hostas. These hardy perennials grow in clumps and flower once a year. I knew when I bought them they could be divided by just cutting each clump apart and replanting it. I have many hostas now, and early spring is the time of the year I divide and share my hosta lilies.

As I divided these plants, boxed them up, delivered them to friends and helped replant them, I wondered if I shared important things just as freely.

When was the last time I verbally shared my joy in walking the Christian walk? Or what did it mean to me to have Christ to lean on while my husband went through cancer surgery? When did I tell a friend in the secular world how God has revealed spiritual understanding to me through all the Bible studies He has opened for me? What have I said that might make a difference in the life of someone for the cause of Christ? I must remember to be bold and speak about the wonderful way God has taken me, personally, by the hand, and led me down His magnificent path.

Probably more important than just talking about my faith to others is living it moment by moment, day by day. What do my actions reflect to my husband and children? To neighbors, relatives, members of my church, and prayer partners? Do I live my life as if I were indwelled by the Holy Spirit? Do I give generously as God has told me to do? What about praying for others, and putting their needs ahead of mine? Do I get so busy with the urgent, that I neglect the eternal important?

I want to divide and share all of the peace, beauty, assurance and love God has given me. These are gifts are just too good to keep to myself! I pray I will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in each of these matters and follow His directions as He places them on my heart.

All these questions are applicable to you also! Is it time to take inventory? Let's divide and share what we have experienced with God and learned through our daily walk in life.

COFFEE CUPS Author Unknown

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite. He told the group to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups....and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of the Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.

God brews the coffee, not the cups.....Enjoy your coffee!"

The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

You are the miracle, my friend, your life either shines a light - or casts a shadow.

TEMPTATION by Melanie Schurr

John A. Shedd, author of "Salt from My Attic," had this to say about temptation," Many men have too much will power. It's won't power they lack."

This sentiment of not giving in to one's desires seems to go against what society tends to support; the idea that man should not deprive himself of everything he craves.

Want a burger and fries even though the doctor said your cholesterol was too high? Go and get it at the local fast food restaurant! Getting tired of your spouse? Divorce them and find a new one! Bored? Go out and have a fling! Feeling down in the dumps? Let's get drunk and stoned! After all, everybody is doing it!

Not every urge, craving, and desire is a worthy one, for even the drug addict hungers for his next high, yet we all know drugs are bad for you!

Saying,"No," to temptations seems to not only go against the "Go for it" philosophy many people in our society promote, but even our body and mind seems to fight as we deprive it of the fuel it hungers for, regardless if this "fuel" is good or bad for our spiritual and emotional welfare.

Many people perceive temptation as a bad thing. The reality is that it is not a bad thing, but a human thing. Everyone has faced temptation of one form or another in their life.

Temptation shows us where our weaknesses lie, and it is the wise man who uses this information to his best advantage. These weaknesses that become revealed to us through temptation are areas in our life which the devil knows he may find either an open door, or even a tiny crack he can slip into.

The good news is, the more we say, "no" to temptation and ungodly desires, the more we actually strengthen those weak spots! God does not desire us to run and hide from temptation, but to face it head-on so that we may clearly see the potential pit before us. Our heavenly Father desires us to confess our sins, admit our weaknesses, and to ask Him for the strength and wisdom we need to stand against evil.

Today, thank God for loving you so much that He has allowed you to use temptation as a means of seeing, and thus overcoming, your sinfulness.


Oh, God, make me a better parent.
Help me to understand my children,
to listen patiently to what they have to say
and to answer all their questions kindly.

Keep me from interrupting them,
talking back to them and contradicting them.
Make me as courteous to them
as I would have them be to me.

Give me the courage to confess my sins
against my children and to ask of them forgiveness,
when I know that I have done them wrong.

May I not vainly hurt the feelings of my children.
Forbid that I should laugh at their mistakes or
resort to shame and ridicule as punishment.

Let me not tempt a child to lie and steal.
So guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate
by all I say and do that honestly produces happiness.

Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.
May I cease to nag:
and when I am out of sorts,
help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue.

Blind me to the little errors of my children
and help me to see the good things that they do.
Give me a ready word for honest praise.

Help to treat my children as those of their own age,
but let me not exact of them the judgments
and conventions of adults.

Allow me not to rob them of the opportunity
to wait upon themselves,
to think, to choose, and to make decisions.

Forbid that I should ever punish them
for my self satisfaction.
May I grant them all of their wishes
that are reasonable
and have the courage always to withhold
a privilege that I know will do them harm.


Grandmother Helen told a story about me when I was little. We were coloring together in a coloring book and I wanted her to draw me a rainbow. She took a brown crayon and made a half circle on the page. "Gasp!" said my three-year-old mind. I informed her that there was NO brown in rainbows and got so upset that I went and told my mom. When I came back, still upset, I wanted to rip the page out of the book. "No," said my grandmother. "We do not rip pages out of books. We turn the page and move on." So we did.

Has someone been drawing you brown rainbows recently: Maybe a parent, friend, teacher or even yourself? I know when I get brown rainbows like mistakes or disappointments, I want to rip out that page and throw it away, much like I did when I was three. I want to eliminate them from my life, so only the pretty, clean pages with the colorful rainbows remain. That would be nice but it's not very realistic. Now I see that my grandmother did not intend to upset me. She was only trying to please me and I can look back and appreciate her effort. Often brown rainbows look different with time and age. What offended me when I was three is now devotional material and a good lesson for me at sixteen.

In Genesis 9:15-16, God says: I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the water become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. God made rainbows as a promise to us that He would ever again destroy us.

Often brown rainbows can seem like they are breaking the promise but actually they are a fulfillment of it. God is saying, "Look, even though these rainbows are brown, they are still rainbows. One day, although probably not tomorrow, they will turn bright and colorful and will be a reminder to you of bad things you might have done and how you don't want to do them again."

Brown rainbows happen to everyone but ripping the page out isn't the way to handle them. It's best to take my grandmother' s advice: "turn the page and move on." One day these rainbows will be bright and colorful and God-inspired, giving you a better life and a stronger faith. Dear God, please help me deal with my brown rainbows, turn the page and move on. Amen.

BREITLING Contributed by George Prins

Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard had the hardest decision of their life to make as they entered the final leg of their journey with Orbiter 3. Bertrand was on the phone with his wife, his "weather eye," pondering if they should attempt crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Fuel was low for the 180 foot high Breitling Orbiter 3 after it had begun its historic journey sailing into the sky 2 weeks before from Chateau
d'Oex, Switzerland. At the rate they were going, they would never be able to complete the journey.

But his wife was trying to reassure him saying, "If you allow Orbiter 3 to go a few hundred feet higher, you will catch another jet stream. Just a few hundred feet," she had pleaded. In desperation, he fired up the burners, obeying her suggestions. With grandeur, the ship rose to 36,000 feet and into this new jet stream where the winds were 2-3 times faster, topping 230 miles per hour. They crossed the Atlantic quickly and soon were over the deserts of the Sahara landing near Mut, in southwestern Egypt. On March 21, 1999, they landed, having covered 29,055 miles.

With their fuel nearly spent and after riding the winds for 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes, the two pilots--Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist whose grandfather invented the pressurized capsule for high-altitude ballooning, and Jones, a veteran British balloonist-- took title to being the first balloonist to circumnavigate the globe, claiming the $1 million prize.

"Did you sense something spiritual, an awakening or force in your trip?" they were asked.

"Yes," they responded, but somehow, they could not put their finger on exactly what it was. They did see Mother Earth releasing her dew and fragrance to nurture and sustain earth's creatures. Yes, they were overwhelmed and captivated by the closing scenes of the sand dunes in the desolate Sahara Desert. Yes, they were in awe that
something symmetric, sovereign and stupendous had to design this creation. Yet, they could not put their finger on exactly what it was. St. Augustine agreed when he wrote: "If something cannot be explained, it most likely is God-designed. "

Just a few hundred feet higher. That's what did it! That's what could make it for you as well when you decide to sail past your limits and see a new life in God. Just a little higher and you may sense the finger of God working within your life, your capsule. If you step out in faith, spend just a little more fuel and reach just a little higher, you can reach that jet stream.

You may be in the closing scenes of your desolate Sahara Desert but God can do a great wonder within you if you but ask Him into your life and take charge or control. It may be the hardest decision in your life but the prize is well worth it. This quote may be yours: If something cannot be explained, it most likely is God-designed. He is symmetric, sovereign and stupendous!

ISLE OF LATER by Marion Smith

Sometimes we isolate ourselves on our own personal island, doing what we deem necessary to fulfill our lives. We get caught up with meal preparations, household chores, driving the children here and there, or spending extra hours pursuing our careers.

Recently I heard a sermon titled "The Isle of Later". As we sit on our island of what we think is important, many ships of opportunity come by, beckoning us to jump aboard and participate in their endeavor. We usually have good intentions. Saying" Oh, yes, that's a good cause... I'll do it later." I'll sing glorious songs to the Lord in the choir... later, when the issues in my life are not as demanding ; I'll teach Sunday school, minister to the elderly, be a coach, cook a meal for the needy, write a note of thanks to my minister or a friend, be a good listener to someone in need, or share the gospel story to someone... yes, I'll do it later ! When I have more time to give to these things.

Well, my husband and I have been to five funerals in the last month, and for these folks there was no later. Each died suddenly, not having time to "do" things of great importance which were probably on their "to do" list. These funerals have made me take a second look at what I deem meaningful. The first and foremost important thing is my relationship with God. Then, I want to spend my time wisely - using it in matters of eternal value. I want to show my love and respect to my husband, nurture my children and grandson with God's love, extend grace and mercy to those I encounter, pray for myself and others as I am led by the Lord, and invest my time here on earth sharing God's love and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to shed the superficial, let go of the non essential, and discard the selfish. From this day
on, my desire is to live each day as God directs me. If I do that, I know I will be on the right path.

How about you? I hope it doesn't take a funeral to jar you into the reality of the brevity of our time here, and the opportunity we have to use our time wisely - according to God's will. It may be time for all of us to reevaluate the priorities in our lives. Ask God today for direction. He will keep you off the Isle of Later.... Living each day for Him now!

WHAT YOU WILL BE Author Unknown

As I gazed up at the mountains, I was awed by their majesty; I bowed my head and asked myself, "Why should He care for me? I am not great like the mountains that tower so high above, What is there about me that God can find to love?"

"Father, I am not strong like the wind that makes your tall trees sway, I cannot sing sweetly like your birds; will you love me anyway? But most of all, I am simply me, and often have cause to fear, In spite of all my weaknesses, do you promise to be near?"

With eyes closed tight against my tears, I wished He could hear me pray. Then I felt His Spirit tell me, "Child, look up, I have something to say. "You are simply you, the spirit I love, a part of my great plan. I put you here to learn of life and to return to me again."

"You are more beautiful to me than the loveliest mountain I made, And your strength exceeds that of the wind's, so do not be afraid. I love you not for what you are, but for what I know you will be. I am always beside you watching you grow, you are very special to me."

A smile touched my lips - I knew it was true, my Father had always been there. Giving me comfort and blessings and love and my own special talents to share. So I do my best to make Him proud. I am not afraid, for you see, He loves me not for what I am, but for what He knows I will be.


Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.

Green said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."

Blue interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."

Yellow chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."

Orange started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out: "I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."

Purple rose up to his full height: He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but
without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own
superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there
was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed.
Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in
fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, God began to speak: "You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.

God continued: "From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky
in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

THE RIVER Author Unknown

Walking through the forest, a seasoned hiker came upon a broad, slowly moving river. He stopped to gaze over the waters, appreciating the beauty, when suddenly he heard a faint cry coming from upstream.

Looking in the direction of the noise, he saw an obviously drowning man floundering in the river and drifting slowly toward him.

The hiker was stunned momentarily, but he sprang into action when he saw the man disappear beneath the waters. Throwing off all of his cumbersome gear, he dove into the river and swam like a madman toward the spot where the man went under.

Upon reaching the spot he plunged below the surface and frantically hauled up the helpless man. He then laboriously towed the victim to shore. Heaving the lifeless body up on the riverbank, the hiker attempted to revive the man, who eventually spit up water and began to breathe.

Relieved, the hiker paused to catch his breath. But no sooner had he done so than he heard another voice out on the water. Another drowning person!

Once again he swam out and pulled the person to shore, a little more slowly this time. As the hiker-turned-lifeguard revived the second victim, he heard yet another cry for help.

All day long the hiker worked, rescuing one person after another as they came drifting down the river. There seemed to be no end of drowning victims, and the hiker didn't think he could keep it up.

Just when he was about to collapse from exhaustion, he spotted another man walking rapidly beside the river, headed upstream. "Hey mister!" he cried out. "Please help me! These poor people are drowning!"

Amazingly, the man kept walking upstream. The astonished hiker called out again. Without even acknowledging the cry, the man kept going.

Indignant and angry, the hiker leapt to his feet, ran toward the uncompassionate man, stood directly in his path, and in a loud voice demanded, "Sir! How can you possibly walk past all these drowning people? Have you no conscience? Must I force you to help me save these people?"

The stranger stopped, looked at him for the first time and said with a calm, focused voice, "Sir, please get out of my way. I am headed upstream to stop the guy who is pushing all these people in."

Each of us has a role to play in rescuing those who are drowning in sin. Some of us pull people from the water and resuscitate them with counseling, food and shelter, a rehabilitation program, a support group, or financial aid. Affirm those doing these important ministries.

Others of us find our place of ministry upstream, opposing the one pushing people into the river. We do this by introducing those people to Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ sets a person free from sin and releases them from Satan's power over them.

By itself, pulling people from the water isn't enough. We need to help people deal with the problem of sin at its source.


"It is getting so red and swollen. Itches like crazy! What should I do?" The caller was frantic. An ant bite on her hand hours earlier had caused terrible suffering.

All of us have experienced the unexpected irritation and pain of insect bites. Yet, far worse than bug stings are the inconsiderate words from the loose tongue of another Christian; that pain lasts a lot longer.

Casual and unintentional remarks do great damages long after they are said and forgotten. I have committed my fair share.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. Prov 12:18-20

Excuses like "I didn't mean it," "I was just trying to be funny," "But, that's me," and "People can't be so sensitive," are not good for us who are Christians.

Am I one who needs frequent reminder of the need of tongue control? Is it to say less or not say it at all? How do I deliberately choose my words to bring healing to someone? Are my words genuine, praising and encouraging?

"Try not to scratch it! You will only make it worse!" I told my friend. But, what should I do with injuries from the tongue of a Christian?


If you want your dreams to come true, don't oversleep.

The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

The best vitamin for making friends....B1.

The 10 commandments are not multiple choice.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

Minds are like parachutes.. .they function only when open.

Ideas won't work unless YOU do.

One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.

One who lacks the courage to start has already finished.

The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge.

Don't learn safety rules by accident.

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.

Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise.

A turtle makes progress when it sticks it's head out.

One thing you can give and still your word.

A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.


The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!!!

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