VOICE MAIL Author Unknown

Most of us have now learned to live with voice mail as a necessary part of our lives. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if God decided to install voice mail? Imagine praying and hearing the following:

Thank you for calling heaven.
For English press 1
For Spanish press 2
For all other languages, press 3

Please select one of the following options:
Press 1 for request
Press 2 for thanksgiving
Press 3 for complaints
Press 4 for all others

I am sorry, all our Angels and Saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line.

If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1
Jesus, press 2
Holy spirit, press 3
To find a loved one that has been assigned to heaven press 5, then enter his social security # followed by the pound sign.(If you receive a negative response, please hang up and dial area code (666)

For reservations to heaven, please enter JOHN followed by the numbers, 3 16.

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, life and other planets, please wait until you arrive in heaven for the specifics.

Our computers show that you have already been prayed for today, please hang up and call again tomorrow.

The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday.

If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor.

Thank you and have a heavenly day.

20/20 VISION By Sally I. Kennedy

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 1 Corinthians 13:1

There it was, all shiny and new, attached to the wall by the bathroom counter. My husband had kindly put up the oversize magnifying mirror I’d bought. There it was, all shiny and new, attached to the wall by the bathroom counter. Now I could actually see to apply my make-up. Wonderful!

My eyesight has never been very good. At seven years, I started wearing glasses. Not too many kids that age wear glasses, and I got teased about them. After I turned forty, well, suffice it to say my vision didn’t improve any. I sought laser surgery so I wouldn’t have to wear tri-focal lenses, but wasn’t a candidate.

Then one day I discovered a local shop selling magnifying mirrors. What a great invention. It doesn’t make my vision 20/20, even with glasses. But it’s way better than it was.

In Genesis it says They made man in Their image and it was VERY good. Not just “good”. When God looks at us He sees us as we are, with 20/20 vision. At the same time He sees us as we will be, with 100/100 vision. That’s perfect. And very good news.


Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Working for God on earth doesn't pay much......but His retirement plan is out of this world..

PERSPECTIVE By Sally I. Kennedy

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Sorting through fifty years of stuff was an incredible journey back in time through our parents' earthly sojourn. My sister and I were sitting on the living room sofa, which still had the arm covers on it. Boxes of photos and letters and saved treasures were mounded up around us. We always joked about there being a lot to go through after Dad died, especially that attic!

We talked and cried, and it was evident how my sister sees and remembers things about our Dad one way, while I remember another. We were kids who grew up in the same family, yet viewed and related to our mom and dad in different ways.

Our dad was the same person always. Whether with my sister or with me, he was still "Daddy". Our different views of him did not change who he was at all. It was just our perspective.

That may be how God's klds, brothers and sisters in the church, view and relate to God. Individually. Perhaps the views and relationships to God are from very different perspectives.

Yet God is ALWAYS the same, unswerving and unchanging. Faithful. El Shaddai. El Elyon Adonai. The much loved hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, says there is no shadow of turning with Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Isn't it SO wonderful that in our lives, where everything is constantly changing, there is something/Someone who is not? It is a great comfort to me; a foundation on which to safely build and live.

Yes, that is good news.

Sally I. Kennedy is the author of "Irish Thursdays", "Words from the
Heart", and "52 Little Parables from Ireland" . She lives in south
Florida, with her husband Ben.

BELT OF TRUTH By Marion Smith

Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm, with the buckle of truth buckled around your waist.

Recently God gave me a story when I put on tight shoes. Tight shoes are no fun! Today, however, I I put on a belt that was too tight ! Ouch! That is a worse feeling than tight shoes, I do believe! I had to wear the belt, because it went with the outfit… so suffer through it I did! I let it out to the last notch, and it was tolerable as long as I stood up. If I sat down, however, something happened and it almost took my breath away. Boy, was that ever uncomfortable.

One part of the Armor of God is the belt of truth. Have you ever compromised it?? For instance, you're ready to have a day filled with truth and good news and then-something happens. Perhaps a friend asks you a question and the truthful answer would hurt her. You may reason… a little slanting of this one answer won't hurt, Lord, will it? A situation may arise when telling the truth puts you in an awkward
position… what do you do? Or perhaps your child asks you a question about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. How can you answer these questions without compromising your promise to God about not lying? Each time you fudge a little or slant the exactness, your belt of truth gets a little tighter. You feel uneasy in your spirit, and know you have not spoken accurately. Telling one white lie and then another builds a foundation for lies to roll off your tongue more easily each time. It is not a good habit to succumb to.

I do not have the answer about how you should speak to your friends in truth, or discuss delicate issues with your children. I do know, however, that God calls us to speak the truth, and we are to do so each and every day. That is why He told us about this "belt of truth" that we should wear every day- it is part of His armor to combat Satan. I know I need this piece of Holy armor, and pray I will never stretch or bend the truth in such a manner that it cuts of my breath, the way my belt did on my outfit today.


To make it possible for everyone to attend church next Sunday, we are going to have a special "No Excuse Sunday".

Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in."

There will be a special section with lounge chairs who feel that our pews are too hard.

Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching T.V. late Saturday night.

We will have steel helmets for those who say " The roof would cave in if I ever came to church."

Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold and fans for those who say it is too hot.

Score cards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.

Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can't go to church and cook dinner, too.

We will distribute "Stamp Out Stewardship" buttons for those who feel that church is always asking for money.

One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.

Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.

The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them.

We will provide hearing aids for those who can't hear the preacher and cotton for those who say he is to loud.

WHAT IT IS IN MY LIFE By Michael McDonald

Dear Joe, I recently was sent this message from a friend. It is not a new story, but it touched me when I needed my heart softened. I often look at all the "What it's" in my life, as many people do, and I vow to think twice before I act and to love my neighbor as myself. Unfortunately, the sinful nature of apathy and anger often overcome the peaceful grace of forgiveness and selflessness in our lives. I hope that this message can reach others who are in need of a reminder of why Jesus died for our sins. -- Oz Mcdonald

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

"Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice". I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing," I said. "You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware -- beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Shared By Michael McDonald
Aboard the USS George Washington

LORD, PROP US UP Author Unknown

Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who always prayed, Lord, prop us up on our leanin' side.'

After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, 'Well sir, you see, it's like this....I got an old barn out back. It's been there a long time, it's withstood a lot of weather, it's gone through a lot of storms, and it's stood for many years. It's still standing, but one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall.

Then I got to thinking 'bout that and how much I was like that old barn. I been around a long time, I've withstood a lot of life's storms, I've withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I've withstood a lot of hard times, and I'm still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, 'cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times.'

Sometime we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn't, so we need to pray, 'Lord, prop us up on our leaning side,' so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.

DOUBLE WINDOWS By Sally I. Kennedy

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

We were on our way to a business meeting. The morning was dismally gray and rush hour traffic was still bumper-to-bumper on the interstate. Christy was despondent. She shared with me how it seemed that her life was falling apart around her even as she was living it. I was listening, yet in my mind, I was trying to formulate words of encouragement for her.

Then we saw it! Right there in front of us. Double rainbows. Stretching all the way from far left to far right in the sky, one directly over the other. What a sight! Not just one, but two, with a messages proclaiming the gift of comfort and hope that God gives us because of His presence and His word.

Rainbows speak of a promise God gave a long time ago. After the flood that destroyed nearly all life (chapters 6-9 in the book of Genesis), God made a covenant, with Noah and his descendants, for all generations to come. The Lord said, `Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. This is the sign of the covenant.... I have set my rainbow in the clouds....whenever it appears...I will remember the everlasting covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.'

Rainbows are the colors of God's love. God is light, and it's like His love and light are beautifully magnified and reflected, through the cloud moisture, into a visible arc of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Do rainbows talk to us today? They did the talking for me that day my friend needed a good word! And each time we see one - or two! - we can be reminded of the faithfulness of God towards us. That is good news.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the visible signs You give us to help recall Your word and Your faithfulness. I praise you, Lord, for Your unending glory and goodness. Amen.


I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read,

"I Will work for food."

My heart sank.

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them.

I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half-heartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him.

I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square."

Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the church`s store front, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park.

I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked.

"Not really," he replied, "just resting."

"Have you eaten today?"

"Oh, I ate something early this morning."

"Would you like to have lunch with me?"

"Do you have some work I could do for you?"

"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."

"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions.

"Where you headed?"

"St. Louis"

"Where you from?"

"Oh, all over; mostly Florida "

"How long you been walking?"

"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling.

He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to be hired by some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.

"Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."

"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked:

"What's it like?"


"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"

"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground.

"Could you use another Bible?" I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite.

"I've read through it 14 times," he said.

"I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see" I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

"Where are you headed from here?" I asked.

"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park's coupon."

"Are you hoping to be hired there for awhile?"

"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next."

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

"Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from folks I meet."

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11)

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."

"I know," I said, "I love you, too." "The Lord is good!"

"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.

"A long time," he replied

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."

"I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

"You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."

"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the hand-brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.

Then I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.

"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said.

Yes, Daniel, I know I will...

"I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again."


1. I love you! There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.

2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one!

3. It's all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do.

4. You've made a mistake. That was wrong. People make mistakes. I do. Is it something we can fix? What can we do? It's all over. You can start fresh. I know you are sorry. I forgive you.

5. You did the right thing. That was scary or hard. Even though it wasn't easy, you did it. I am proud of you; you should be too.

6. I'm sorry. Forgive me. I made a mistake.

7. You can change your mind. It's good to decide, but it is also fine to change.

8. What a great idea! You were really thinking! How did you come up with that? Tell me more. Your mind is clever!

9. That was kind. You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person. That must make you feel good inside. Thank you!

10. I have a surprise for you. It's not your birthday. It's for no reason at all. Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.

11. I can wait. We have time. You don't have to hurry this time.

12. What would you like to do? It's your turn to pick. You have great ideas. It's important to follow your special interests.

13. Tell me about it. I'd like to hear more. And then what happened? I'll listen.

14. I'm right here. I won't leave without saying good-bye. I am watching you. I am listening to you.

15. Please and Thank You. These are important words. If I forget to use them, will you remind me?

16. I missed you. I think about you when we are not together!

17. Just try. A little bit. One taste, one step. You might like it. Let's see. I'll help you if you need it. I think you can do it.

18. I'll help you. I heard you call me, here I am. How can I help you? If we both work together, we can get this done. I know you can do it by yourself, but I'm glad to help since you asked.

19. What do you wish for? Even if it's not yet time for birthday candles and we don't have a wishbone, it's still fun to hear about what you wish for, hope for, and dream about.


I lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? (Psalm 121:1)

Sooner or later, everyone finds himself in a place where all hope is gone. Illness, often, or unemployment that stretches on and on through month after discouragement month. Divorce, maybe, or the terrifying waywardness of a beloved child. You've tried everything you or anyone else can think of, many times, but you've finally reached the end of your rope.

God is at the end of that rope, as God has been at every point along it. When you've done all you can, all that remains is to turn it over to God. Does this mean that you'll get your heart's desire? No -- if that were so, the millions of people whose families prayed with everything that was in them for a healing and didn't get one would still be alive. You don't know in advance what your help will be, or from which direction it will come. But in unexpected deliverances and in anguished defeat, that which comforts and stays with us is God. Perhaps God will join your rejoicing. Perhaps God will share your sorrow. In your life, you will surely know both of these ways of feeling God's presence.

I think the question we can best explore with God is not so much "What will happen?" as it is "What can happen in this situation?" God is not an appropriate subject for fortune-telling; God is a God of prophecy, of discerning meaning and the potential for good in everything that happens, the good and the bad. Viewing life's ups and downs in this way opens my eyes to possibilities I would never see if I located God only in the those moments in which I got my way.

MOVE CLOSER Author Unknown

Not long ago I heard a story about a young man and an old preacher.

The young man had lost his job and didn't know which way to turn. So he went to see the old preacher.

Pacing about the preacher's study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, "I've begged God to say something to help me, preacher, why doesn't God answer?"

The old preacher, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply, something so hushed it was undistinguishable. The young man stepped across the room. "What did you say?" he asked. The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher's chair.

"Sorry," he said. "I still didn't hear you." With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. "God sometimes whispers," he said, "So we will move closer to hear him." This time the young man heard and he understood.

We all want God's voice to thunder through the air with the answer to our problem. But God's is the still, small voice... the gentle whisper. Perhaps there's a reason.

Nothing draws human focus quite like a whisper. God's whisper means I must stop my ranting and move close to Him, until my head is bent together with His. And then, as I listen, I will find my answer. Better still, I find myself closer to God.


Psalm 16:7 I will praise the Lord, who councils me

When I was young we attended the circus every year. The high wire act always captured my undivided attention. I would marvel as the performers would walk on that thin wire, backwards and forwards, performing tricks such as jump rope and forward rolls , and all the time not fall off the wire. Their only aid was a long pole which would help them keep their balance, and perhaps the special ballet looking shoes they wore.

Last week I saw a squirrel nest that looked like a marvel of a balancing act. Usually the nests are in a crook of a tree, or in a V somewhere in the branches. This lends support to the structure as the squirrels build their nest. However, this particular nest seemed to be suspended in what looked to be thin air. The branches of the tree were so small, it was unbelievable that the nest could balance there. It
must have taken a very crafty squirrel family to perform that balancing act!

There are things which we must balance in life- our checkbook, the tires on our car, and most importantly. . the way we spend our time. God has given us 24 hours in a day, and freewill to do with them whatever we wish. We have physical, emotional and spiritual needs which we should keep in balance. The truth is, however, many of us are way out of kilter in this balancing act of life. We may be caught up in the physical- job demands, health issues or just being overboard on physical fitness. We many be overindulgent in the pursuit of happiness, or unduly involved with activities that rob us of healthy emotional growth. Very seldom are we overboard in spiritual pursuits, allow the other two areas to dominate our lives. God tells us we should have a healthy balance in our lives. We should give equal attention to physical, emotional and spiritual growth. We should not allow one area to be overbearing and tilt us off kilter, tumbling us to a fall. Balance in these 3 areas is healthy and right. It is God's plan, and He wouldn't have given it to us if it weren't beneficial. God always has His best plan for our life.


The boy walked along the ocean shore . . . trying not to stray.
He looked up to his father saying, "Dad, I want to play."

His father looked upon him, with love showing in his eyes.
"Do what you want to, my son . . . but do not leave my side."

"I would never leave you Daddy, I love you way too much."
But the boy took a step away, out of his father's range of touch.

He walked through the surf, the waves tickling one toe.
"If I take one more step in . . ." he thought, "Father will never

His father called out to him, "Son, to me remain true!"
The boy thought with glee . . . "At the moment I don't need you!"

His father felt a sadness, but he held his tongue.
Sometimes lessons need to be learned . . . even when so young.

The boy stepped out a little further . . . the water covering his
His father spoke with urgency . . . his father spoke with haste.

"My son, come back to me," he said, "The day is almost done!"
"Not yet, Dad," the boy yelled, "I'm having too much fun!"

But the boy did not have his father's insight so he could not yet
The tide was coming in fast . . . there would be no time to yell.

"Father!" he tried to scream, as the water covered his head.
"I need you now, Daddy!" was what the boy had said.

And in a single instant his father was by his side.
"I thought you left me, Daddy . . . I thought you went to hide."

The father looked upon his son . . . a tear streaming down his cheek.
The boy looked upon his father . . . and cried the sobs of the meek.

"I would never leave you son . . . for I love you just the same."
"I was only waiting . . . for you to call upon my name."

WE ARE A TEAM Author Unknown

There is an old hymn that speaks contrary to our human nature. The songwriter penned these words long ago:

"Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done."

When was the last time you paused in the midst of a hectic, frantic day and counted your blessings?

We are far more prone to complain, to labor over our trials, to worry over our predicaments and to sulk over our misfortunes. Counting blessings in times of trouble is not a natural thing. Perhaps this is why we have too many melancholy Christians today filled with despair, disappointment and depression.

Well, if truth be told, I was there once. I lost track of God's goodness and mercy; I failed to take notice of the daily bread and blessings He brought my way. Thus, I allowed struggles to crowd God out and to cloud over His everlasting kindness.

While I was in this frame of mind and spirit, a person in my church invited me to join him at a high school soccer game. Since the school was just a few blocks down the road, I decided to walk to the game and take my five-year-old daughter, Clairees, and my two-year-old son, JD, along.

The kids really enjoyed the game (even more so the refreshments from the concession stand), but I was so caught up in the clutches of depression that, although physically at the game, I was mentally somewhere else.

After the game, my kids and I began to walk back home. Both youngsters had a bounce to their step, and their conversation was upbeat, filled with excitement. I, on the other hand, walked slowly, still wrestling with the depression within. Then a God-sent miracle took place. Clairees made her way to my side and slippe dher tiny hand into mine. She began to swing her hand (still tightly clasped in mine) back and forth; then looking up at me she said, "Hey, Daddy, you know what? You and I, why we're a team!"

There was so much life in her eyes and so much confidence in her voice. She believed at that moment that she could face the world as long as Daddy was holding her hand! At that same moment another hand slipped into mine. It was God's hand (it had been there all along, but I hadn't noticed). Then His Spirit spoke to me: "My child, you know what? You and I, why, we're a team!" I felt every care and burden lifted. A bounce returned to my step, a tear of rejoicing swelled in my eyes, and life returned to my soul. I realized that God had never left me nor forsaken me. I also realized that with my Father--God- -by my side, there were no problems too big for me to handle.

We need to turn our complaints into praise. Every Christian should have this kind of Ph.D. degree.

WHY? by Maria Hanna

US: "God, why did you do that to me? Why did you take the one I most love? Why did you permit such illness to conquer my life? Why am I sterile while others have children? Why? Why?"

STEVEN: Before blaming God, let me tell you my story. Many years ago, I thought richness to meant the ownership of the most precious diamond. So, I kept petitioning God to make me rich by granting me this diamond. One day, God let me stumble upon a very precious diamond on my way to work. Delighted, I scooped it up and swiftly tried to hide it in my suit. At that moment, an angel blocked my way, fiercely took the diamond and threw it far away. Shocked, I kept yelling and screaming at God, "Why did you do that to me? Why? Why?" A few minutes later, I found the King's soldiers approaching me. They started searching me thoroughly. When they finished, I angrily asked reason for their act. To my astonishment, they told me that the King has lost his dearest diamond and ordered them to search for it and instantly kill whomever they found with it. Alleluia. God did that to save my life and help me enlarge my vision scope to other means of richness like good health and happy family.

GOD: my dearest son and daughter, I'd love you all to be always satisfied. But, I select the kind of satisfaction I see suiting my purpose in each one of you. I grant some good health, others wealth, others children. I sometimes permit the loss of beloved ones or certain illnesses to enrich your souls and draw you closer to my heart. My dear children, your "whys" are bitter to my soul. They reflect your lack of love, trust and submission to me. Why do not you just lean your heads on my shoulder and trust my love and care for you? Remember, it was written, "For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole." (Job 5:18). "Yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49: 15-16).

US: Dear God, I am sorry for any complaint we have raised against you. Let it be Your Will in my life. Please help me feel your healing hands during my toughest times. Thank you. Amen.

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