HOPE Author Unknown

If you can look at the sunset and smile, then you still have hope.

If you can find beauty in the colors of a small flower, then you still have hope.

If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, then you still have hope.

If the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still have hope.

If you can see the good in other people, then you still have hope.

If the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep, then you still have hope.

If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in wonder, then you still have hope.

If the soft fur of a favored pet still feels pleasant under your fingertips, then you still have hope.

If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and optimism, then you still have hope.

If you give people the benefit of a doubt, then you still have hope.

If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have touched your life, then you still have hope.

If receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant surprise, then you still have hope.

If the suffering of others still fills you with pain and frustration, then you still have hope.

If you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope.

If you look forward to a time or place of quiet and reflection, then you still have hope.

If you still buy the ornaments, put up the Christmas tree or cook the turkey, then you still have hope.

If you still watch love stories or want the endings to be happy, then you still have hope.

If you can look to the past and smile, then you still have hope.

If, when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile, you can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase... "yeah....BUT. ." then you still have hope.

Hope is such a marvelous thing. It bends, it twists, it sometimes hides, but rarely does it break. It sustains us when nothing else can.

It gives us reason to continue and courage to move ahead, when we tell ourselves we'd rather give in.

Hope puts a smile on our face when the heart cannot manage.

Hope puts our feet on the path when our eyes cannot see it.

Hope moves us to act when our souls are confused of the direction.

Hope is a wonderful thing, something to be cherished and nurtured, and something that will refresh us in return.

And it can be found in each of us, and it can bring light into the darkest of places.

Never lose hope.


"Everything you have done" is a reflection of all that you are.

Every step you have taken was necessary to get you to this point in time.

Even the times you felt lost and alone helped to build your integrity and bolster your self image.

If these times are a challenge and you're feeling down, remember the journey that took you to this place.

"Everything you have done" on this long and twisted road through life, had to have happened in order for you to be all you are today.

Do I believe in destiny, fate or choice?


It is by far the greatest gift, next to the ability to love and be loved, that God has given us.

Yes, He has plans for you. Greater plans than you could ever imagine, but He also has expectations. Thus the gift of choice.

"Everything you have done" or will do, either adds to your potential or delays the fulfillment of His desire for you.

If you could make a map of the journey of your life, it may appear to you that you have traveled a long distance and yet, not gotten very

Stop comparing the world's standards to your accomplishments and see what God sees.

"Everything you have done" has brought you here. It is, my friend, a good place to be. For if you are at the lowest point in your life, thus far, you can celebrate.

From here, this very day, you can do anything you believe you can do. Finish school, start a business, become an artist, become a doctor, a lawyer, a farmer, a teacher, first by understanding that believing is half the journey to becoming all you were created to be and thoughtful planning and action is the vehicle to get you there.

Excuses are the signs on a dead end road.

Finally accepting yourself, sometimes takes a lifetime. But know that, by doing so, you honor the God who created you.

Go now, with "everything you have done," and finish the work that was started at the moment you were conceived.

Please know, my friend... "I believe in you!"

A PERSONAL STORY by Carolyn Ng`ang`a

As I opened my eyes to the morning light streaming in through theb edroom curtains, my thoughts inevitably went to my current financial crisis. As my sweetie lay sleeping by my side, I wondered how I would make ends meet this month should my employer not pay me the long overdue pay raise. How would I pay my car insurance due at end month when I could barely afford the basic living necessities as it is andowed money left, right and center?. The feeling of failure and being a big disappointment to myself, my loved ones and all who knew me overwhelmed me and I felt an ice cold fear grip my heart. It was all I could do not to cry.

There was a stirring of the duvet and looking down I saw my 17 ½months old baby boy was awake. I struggled to put on a smile for him and he rewarded me with a hello; only it was an unintelligible string of words that only a mother could understand. Then he did it. It was as sweet as it was unexpected and yet it made me feel like I had won the big lottery. My baby leaned his head up and forward towards me andg ave me a kiss right on my lips mmuuaah! This from a toddler who was struggling to assert his independence and had recently started giving kisses discriminately and even then after much pleading and cajoling. I smiled back even more broadly after recovering from the initial surprise. He then muttered some more unintelligible words before kissing me twice more.

What were those depressing thoughts I was having a minute ago? In the face of such a pure show of love not to mention the simply adorable look from my son those gloomy thoughts flew out the window. It was aninspiring moment!

Did my baby have a sixth sense about his mama's financial woes or was it a kiss from an angel sent by God to calm and reassure Hisdaughter? ....Yes that would be me. In all my trials and tribulations I had all but forgotten that I was His child. I was reminded that Heis the one who had blessed me with my son. I realize now that Godwould not have blessed me with this beautiful child only to leave me struggling unable to provide for him the best life. It was a reminder that He was there present with me, that He did know of all my woes, that He did care and that I was to trust Him with the breakthrough. It was a life affirming moment.

It's not easy to just sit and wait on God in the face of impending"doom" but in subtle yet profound ways God lets us know that He understands and He is right there with us helping us through to the breakthrough. I just want to shout out to Him and say "Oh God I believe! Help my unbelief!"

REFLECTION By Marion Smith

The relentless waves pounded against the shoreline as I sipped my first cup of morning coffee. What a thrill it is to sit high above the Atlantic Ocean and absorb the beautiful scene before me. It was not the motion or sound of the waves that drew my attention this morning, but a small patch of ocean a short distance before me.

This area of the ocean was bright and shiny as could be, reflecting the sun above it. The surrounding areas, however, were dark and dismal, and very unappealing. Of course the clouds were the culprits… they were blocking the rays of the sun so the reflection was not possible. Before too long, the clouds began to disperse, and those golden rays began to shine upon all the water. It was a gradual procedure, but the sunlight finally took over the gloom, providing a more spectacular scene for me to enjoy.

Life is wonderful when we, like that patch of “sun reflecting water” are enjoying the sunshine days of our lives. All is well and running smoothly, and although there may be small problems we encounter, we still bask in these bright and cheerful days. However, the clouds of life may creep in our everyday existence before we know
it. Then, when all the joy and meaning of life is withheld from us, all seems hazy and gray.

We must persevere through the dismal times of life, and before too long, bits and pieces of sunlight will return to our lives. Then, slivers of joy will return, and, eventually, our lives again will receive a full dose of sunshine, reflecting all of God’s goodness in our lives. He is there when the grayness surrounds us, but the clouds of life may interfere with our reception.

We must remember to persevere. God will restore the sunshine to our lives, He promises it in His Word, the Holy Bible.

NO NAME TAGS By Sally I. Kennedy

I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:15-16

Saturday morning, and I decided to try and beat the crowd to the grocery store. I was in line to pay, and overheard a customer telling the cashier that she had just gotten back from a trip to her class reunion. She bubbled explaining how much fun it was to see people from “’way back then”. As she continued on about how much everyone had changed, etc., she said, “In fact, it’s a good thing we had name tags,
or we might not have known each other!”

Time does have a way of doing that. Isn’t it good to know that there’s someone who will always know us, even without name tags........no matter how life, or aging, may have changed our appearances?

We are told, in Jeremiah 1:5, that our wonderful heavenly Father has known us since before “’way back when”. He always recognizes us. And, He is filled with delight every time He looks at us! That’s good news.

Thank you, Lord, that you always have my name written on the palm of your hand. Thank you that I am continually on your mind, and that you will never ever forget me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

CAPTURED By Sally I. Kennedy

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 NLT

The rosy sunset began seeping across the sky. I quickly grabbed my new camera, all excited for an opportunity to capture and hold onto the glorious sight.

When I received the camera as a gift last Christmas, it came with an instruction manual. The section on how to best photograph subjects and landscapes, etc., was spelled out in great detail. The thick booklet described how to capture the moment.

Today, at the grocery store, I saw a pre-schooler in the parking lot. She was bent over, completely fascinated by something on the ground. Maybe a bug, or a leaf, or a rock, or a piece of paper. Whatever it was, she was trying, without success, to get her mother’s attention to come look at it.

The child was oblivious to the fact that Mom wanted to get in the store and get the grocery shopping done, back home, unpacked, and put away. She did not realize Mom had many other things to do today, She was totally captured by the moment.

God is in every moment we have. How awesome to be so enthralled with the moment. There used to be a phrase, “Stop and smell the roses.” Each moment is truly a gift from the Lord.

Today, may I be filled with gratitude, to my Creator, and see the beauty and awe of “the moment”.

RED ROVER By Marion Smith

We often played the game, “Red Rover” when I was a child. Do you remember it? First, the captains would choose people to be on their sides, and then the game began. The chant was “red rover, red rover, let so and so come over.” The object was to leave your team and break through the line of hand holding participants in the opposing team. If you were successful, you would take one of the opponents team members back to your side. If you could not break through, you had to join their team and try to help them win.

I never did like the selection process, for after the few strongest were chosen, the rest of us weaklings would wait our turn for a captain to call our name.

There is a captain who calls us all - the weak, equally with the strong and agile. He doesn’t pick a,b,c, and d- but says, “Come, my children…. All of you…come to my side and be on my team.” Of course this is God calling us. He invites us to be on His team and when we do so He declares us “not guilty” of sin. He fills us with Christ’s goodness and gives us right standing with Himself and promises us His
glory. This is told to us in the Bible- Romans 8:31.

Satan will try and break through the lines of defense, but he will not succeed, for the Bible also says- “With God on our side, how can we lose?” (Ro. 8:31) This is the team I want to be a part of, and just by accepting His invitation, that is a reality. Won’t you join me, as God calls you, also, to be on His team.?


Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13

Website: The Bible. Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus

Hello. My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.


* I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
* I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
* I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
* I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
* The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)

Occupational Background
* I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49).
* I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
* My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15-17)

Skills Work Experiences
* Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).
* I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33).
* Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)

Educational Background
* I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
* In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
* My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a lamp unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
* I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).

Major Accomplishments
* I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times,(See Genesis 1:26).
* I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15).
* I defeated the archenemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15).
* I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
* There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.

* Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance

In Summation
Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47). When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15).

Send this resume to everyone you know,! you never know who may have an opening! Thanks for your help and may God bless you!

HAVE YOU EVER? By Sally I. Kennedy

Matthew 11:28,29 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.. learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Traffic was picking up, with rush hour about thirty minutes away. As I drove along a street paralleling the railroad tracks, I noticed a truck off to my left.

It was parked on an empty lot which had overgrown scrub grass and tall weeds. The cab was jackknifed; I slowed down to look closer.

A man in the driver’s seat had his head back, obviously sleeping. It wasn’t a truck stop, or anything; I figured he probably had gotten so tired he just couldn’t go any farther.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you were too tired to go any farther? Like you just couldn’t give more; like you couldn’t do one more thing, go another mile?

The solution that’s given, in the wisest book ever written, says the answer is ‘rest’. Just as the truck driver was doing. And not only physically rest (sleep), but rest emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.

The Message says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life…Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Yes, there is an answer, in a Person, to feeling too tired to go any farther. That is good news.


If the Devil were to write his Beatitudes, they would probably go something like this:

Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians in Church - they are my best workers.

Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked - I can use them.

Blessed are the touchy, with a bit of luck they may stop going to church - they are my missionaries.

Blessed are those who are very religious but get on everyone's nerves - they are mine forever.

Blessed are the troublemakers ~ they shall be called my children.

Blessed are those who have no time to pray - they are easy prey for me.

Blessed are the gossipers - for they are my secret agents.

Blessed are those critical of church leadership - for they shall inherit a place with me in my fate.

Blessed are the complainers - I'm all ears for them.

Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other people and not yourself - I've got you.


Two people immediately come to mind when I think about preparing our kids to make courageous choices. Jerry and Cheryl are parents of three beautiful daughters. Their girls have been the beneficiaries of a loving and stable spiritual environment. But even with all this godly teaching and understanding, with all this love and security, Jerry and Cheryl knew that without courage their daughters could easily fall to outside pressures.

Just about the time their oldest daughter, Shelly, blossomed into a beautiful young woman, they decided to do something memorable to help her maintain courage. It was easy for them to develop a plan because they knew what character traits they were trying to encourage.

They took some of their own gold jewelry, had the jeweler form it into a key, strung the key on a chain, and made it into a necklace. They washed their car, dry-cleaned Jerry's suit, and bought a simple corsage.

Then Jerry took his daughter out on her first "adult" date. They enjoyed an elegant dinner in one of their town's finest restaurants.

During the meal Jerry talked to Shelly about the courage she would need to stay morally pure. When dessert was served, Jerry took out the gift-wrapped jewelry box containing the necklace. But before she put it on, he told her its significance.

The gold symbolized her purity and the key symbolized the key to her heart. She was to wear it as a reminder of the moral purity that God wanted her to bring to her honeymoon bed. Every time she went on a date, and anytime she might be tempted to compromise her purity, this gold key around her neck was to remind her of God's view of marriage. Then, on the night of her honeymoon, she could take it off and give it to her husband. With it she could let him know that she had preserved her purity as a gift for him.

Maybe that's why I like Jerry and Cheryl so much. They realize that courage doesn't come easy; but regardless of its cost, it must be transferred to their children.

IN A HURRY By Sally I. Kennedy

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Things can change in a hurry. The first week of September, the narrow white-trunked aspen trees were very green due to a long wet summer season. Three days later, they were tinged with yellow. In less than a week, they were solid gold. What a majestic sight!

The climate, the length of daylight hours, the temperature, all contributed to what seemed like a quick change. In reality, all these things took time for the leaf color change to occur.

Maybe you, or someone you know, is in a not-so-great place, and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to go on forever, like it’s never going to change.

Change it will, though. Everything has a season. Nothing is forever, except the love of God. The bible tells us, in the book of Psalms, the love of the Lord endures forever.

While waiting for things to change, reading the Psalms can give us comfort, and reassure us that there is a God who loves us and is very present with us.

Never give up! It’s true that it’s always darkest just before dawn. Hang in, and hold on to the Lord, and to His promises. Search the scriptures, and find verses that speak to you and your situation.

We sometimes get impatient for things to change. They will, in God’s perfect timing, and then it will seem as if it happened ‘in a hurry”.


The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible.

His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could. One day the grandson asked, "Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?"

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water." The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house.

The grandfather laughed and said, "You will have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was "impossible to carry water in a basket," and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather
that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather
the basket was again empty.

Out of breath, he said, "See Papa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket." The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean. "Son, that's what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.

That is the work of God in our lives.

To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

Take time to read a portion of God's word each day.


A boy was sitting in a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great! he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local University. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his Joy.

Hey, asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, Don't you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle.

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy and began to try to open his eyes to the realities of the miracles of the Bible. That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10 inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.

The boy was stumped. His eyes wandered from the man back to the Bible lying open in his lap. The man, content that he had enlightened a poor naive young person to the finer points of scientific insight turned to leave.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

Wow! Exclaimed the boy happily, God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!

TEACUP STORY Author Unknown

There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Don't do that. I don't like it! Let me alone.' But he only smiled, and gently said; 'Not yet!'" "Then. WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick,' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; 'Not yet.'

"He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then… Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. Help! Get me out of here! I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'."

"When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! Ah, this is much better, I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please; Stop it, Stop it!' I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'."

"Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited ------- and waited, wondering "What's he going to do to me next? An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself.'" "And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!'

Quietly he spoke: 'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I
brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."

The moral of this story is this: God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this....

Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest teacup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.


The Lord said ..get ready to cross..into the land…I will give you every place where you set your foot Joshua 1:1-3

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Grabbing a quick bite to eat before getting back in the car, I struck up a conversation with a cheery woman in the café. I commented on her nifty silver sneakers. She replied, “They are so comfortable, and I have to be on my feet all day. I used to work with horses, and you know what they always say (I didn’t), if you don’t take care of their feet then the horse won’t be worth anything.”

I wondered, “How important are good shoes for the wellbeing of our feet, and for us in general?” If shoes hurt my feet, it’s a miserable feeling. Plus it incapacitates me getting around.

Later that morning I was donning my spiritual clothing for the day, the armor of God (Eph 6). When I got to the feet part, it grabbed me – put on the sandals, the shoes, of peace.

Jesus Himself is our Peace (Eph. 2:14) when we are walking in His shoes we live a life of forgiveness, kindness, honesty, love, and peace.

Taking care of my feet is absolutely important! Not a problem, with the right kind of, right-fitting, one-size-fits-all shoes of Peace.

A LOT OF QUESTIONS By Sally I. Kennedy

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” John 16:33

If I live to be a hundred there are some things I will never understand. Why do some people live, and some die? Why do some people have debilitating diseases and others, perfect health? Why do some have loads of money and others struggle to survive? Why do some get caught and others go free? Why do some people recover and get well,
others don’t?

Don’t we all wonder about these questions? I do, from time to time, and my answer is always the same, “I don’t know.” I don’t know much, and even less the older I get. My list of questions I want to ask when I get to heaven is pretty long.

In this life, there are a lot of mysteries. We will not humanly understand many things. Yet underlying all the unknowns is the one great thing we do know: God is still on his throne. He is still sovereign, still in charge. He knows what is going on. He doesn’t just wake up one morning, look down, and say, “Oh my gosh! Look at that!!”

We may not be able to trust in the system, in people, in circumstances or luck. But we can trust in the Lord God. And the promise is that one day, every tear shall be wiped away. Every sickness, every injustice, every heartache.

Jesus said we will surely have troubles here on earth, but to be undaunted and confident because He has overcome the world’s power to harm us permanently.

Bottom-line, the answer to all these questions really is- hang onto the promise, and hold onto the the Lord.

PEN PALS By Sally I. Kennedy

A long time ago, in a far away land (elementary school), I recall somewhat vaguely a class project where we all had pen pals in another country. Summer vacations and trips, too, provided opportunities for pen pals for my sister and me. The letters would fly back and forth for a few months with our new best friends.

A few years ago, I received an email from one of my favorite pen pals. Deborah replied to an inspirational message I’d written that had been published. She wrote a lengthy, encouraging note. I was drawn to her, and to her spirit.

So I emailed her back. Thus began a special friendship with someone I know only through correspondence. Someday we will meet; meanwhile we write about our families, our work, and our faith. It never ceases to amaze me how she continually blesses me with her insightful comments and prayers. It is as though the Lord himself speaks through her at times.

There’s another person I’ve not yet met who also blesses me in measureless ways. His name used to be Saul. After some interesting experiences, God changed it to Paul. He wrote these epistles that are in the Bible. Sometimes I think he wrote the letters just for me.

The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Now there is my forever pen pal. That is good news.


As humor columnist Dave Berry would say, "I am not making this up." My mother-in-law sent me an article from her hometown newspaper titled, "'It sounds crazy': Monkeys pelt cars with fruit."

"Three monkeys pelted cars on Interstate 95 with bananas and crab apples before running across the highway and fleeing into the woods…

A woman flagged down a state trooper and told him a monkey had thrown a banana at her car. `I started laughing,' said the trooper but he drove back to the scene of the attack and found a van and a station wagon pulled off the highway. `I know this sounds crazy,' one driver said, `but a monkey threw an apple at our car.' At that moment a crab apple came out of nearby trees and hit the van. `Lo and behold there were three brown monkeys in an oak tree throwing crab apples,' the trooper continued. The primates jumped out of the trees and ran across the highway."

"A 6-year-old boy in the van had watched the movie `Planet of the Apes' before leaving home a half-hour earlier. As the monkeys ran across the highway, the trooper heard the boy say: `Look, Mama, we're living in the planet of the apes.'" (Edited from Associated Press Story)

Maybe we are living in the planet of the apes. Life can be strange and full of surprises at times. You're cruising the highway minding your own business when suddenly… SPLAT! A monkey throws a crab apple, smashing your windshield, squashing your routine, your day and possibly your life.

* There is a phone call from the doctor who wants to see you immediately!
* A letter from the Internal Revenue Service that can be condensed to one word: audit.
* An interoffice memo announcing that your company plans to downsize.
* Your child brings home a note from school: "Please come to the principal's office right away!"
* There is message on the answering machine from your spouse: "We have to talk…"

Squash! Abruptly, your peaceful journey is shattered. All resources must now be focused on this latest crisis. Do you resume your trip and pretend nothing happened? Do you immediately stop to investigate? Do you quietly wait and hope the crisis will go away? Should you call for help? Instead of being in control, you become a helpless target worrying over what the monkeys might throw next.

Is this why we must continually strengthen our relationship with God? Jesus once told a story about two builders. The foolish one built a house on a foundation of sand. The inevitable storms arrived, the rain came down, the winds blew and beat against the house and it collapsed. The wise builder used a foundation of rock. "The rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall." (Mat. 7:25) Both builders faced the same storms but only one house survived. The secret to survival has little to do with the storm but instead lies within the foundation.

When storm winds blow and fruit starts flying it's wise to remember that God is our foundation!

* Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom… (Psalm 111:10)
* But God's truth stands firm like a foundation stone… (2 Timothy 2:19)
* After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you and he will place you on a firm foundation… (1 Peter 5:10)
* But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit… (Jude 1:20)

Do you see the point? Reverence for the Lord is the foundation… God's truth stands firm… After you have suffered he will place you on a firm foundation… Continue to build your lives on the foundation… No empty promises to remove crises, rather a commitment to restore, support and strengthen.

Are storms clouds approaching? Feeling the sting of a monkey's crab apple attack? Has your journey been sidetracked by crisis? Maybe this is a good time to build on the foundation of your holy faith. How is your relationship with God? Does it need a little strengthening? When is the last time you attended a Bible study? Prayed with someone? Talked with your pastor? It's never too late, you know.

And another thing… watch out for flying fruit.


SPECIAL BEATTUTUDES for those who work with special people

BLESSED ARE YOU who take time to listen to difficult speech
FOR YOU help us know that if we persevere, we can be understood.

BLESSED ARE YOU who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of strangers,
FOR in your companionship, we find havens of relaxation.

BLESSED ARE YOU who never bid us "hurry up" and more blessed, you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us
FOR often we need time rather than help.

BLESSED ARE YOU who stand beside us as we enter new and untried ventures,
FOR our failures will be outweighed by times when we surprise ourselves and you.

BLESSED ARE YOU who ask for our help
FOR our greatest need is to be needed.

BLESSED ARE YOU who help us with the graciousness of Christ.
FOR oftentimes we need the help we cannot ask for.

BLESSED ARE YOU when, by all these things you assure us that the thing that makes us individuals is not in our peculiar muscles, not in our wounded nervous systems, nor in our difficulties in learning BUT in the God-given self which no infirmity can confine.

REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD, and know that you give us reassurances that could never be spoken in words, FOR you deal with us as Christ dealt with all His children.


A man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard.

Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker and the chrome-plated fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."


Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Across from our rental house on Skidaway Island is dense tropical island with a lagoon surrounding it. As I sat on the porch recently, I heard a variety of bird calls coming from the heart of this island. I then heard some other sounds which I was unable to identify, but were very clearly sounded. No animals scurried to the waters' edge, and only a few birds flew out of the dense overgrowth I was observing.
There were things in the heart of that island that I would never observe, even though I knew they were there. They were housed safely within the confines of the thicket, taking no chances to venture out of their safe harbor.

The Bible talks about something called the fruit of the spirit which is given to each believer when we accept Jesus as our Savior. It is placed in our hearts, and we must decide if we will allow it to surface to the outside of our life or if we will just harbor it in our hearts and minds. Sometimes it may be safer to keep it inside us, because people may not understand us when we exhibit these attributes. When we show love for other-even the unlovable, exuberance for life despite heartaches, serenity through turmoil, willingness to stick with something that has become soooo tiring, no grumbling ,generosity, sincere compassion, faithfulness and self control-others may not understand.This "fruit" is truly a gift from God. What we do with it
is our decision - will we hide these Godly attributes snug within ourselves, or faithfully exhibit them, as God intended?


A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully, and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom and also the thorns. And he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?" Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God-like qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.

Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them.

One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others. This is the characteristic of love, to look at a person, and knowing his faults, recognize the nobility in his soul, and help him realize that he can overcome his faults. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns.

Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for each other; only then can we bloom in our own garden.

WALTZ ON IN By Sally I. Kennedy

I was praying. Simple conversation with God. And found myself asking Him for something again. I thought, “I am constantly making requests. Wouldn’t you think He would get sick of that? I just waltz in, any time of the day or night I feel like it, and ask Him for something . And just assume He will listen, and do it. ”

Years ago, as a mom of young children, I would try to stop and listen to my kids when they would come to me to ask, or tell, me something. I usually did, but not always. Seemed that more often than not they wanted to talk when I was rushing to get dinner on the table, or bedtime, or another time that was less than convenient.

Our Father God made us for fellowship with Him. And yes, He is thrilled and delighted for us to come to Him, with requests, conversation, thanks, or just come to enjoy His presence. There’s never a time the Lord won’t stop and give us His full attention. In fact, He is just waiting for us to come.

So waltz on in…….

THE FOURTH FRUIT By Sally I. Kennedy

-the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Why wait? Do it, and do it now. Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Don’t procrastinate! Set your feet to your faith. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Just do it! I was taught by my parents to be an “action” person, and I have always believed that is part of a good value system. The Bible, however, tells us that patience is a virtue, a “fruit of the Spirit.”

Recently I had an experience that brought this home to me a little better. An idea kept circulating in my mind, and I was just itching to do it. I talked to the Lord about it, sort of. Then I pretty much went right on with my own plans.

The timing wasn’t good, and I blew it. I exercised no patience, just self-determination. Looking back, I believe that if I had waited on the Lord’s timing – with some patience, things would have gone smoothly.

Fruit is something that naturally grows on fruit trees. With good conditions, good fruit; with not-good conditions, not-so-good fruit. Patience is a virtue; it is‘fruit’ exhibited in believer’s lives as a result of Holy Spirit living in and with me. In other words, it’s all about Him, and not about me.

My Father is infinitely patient with me, unbelievably so. I pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the promise in the Bible for the fruit of patience, that I will grow increasingly more of the ‘fourth fruit’, patience. Thank you, Lord, for Your help in this area today.


Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39

It was morning, still early enough for there to be little traffic on our street. From the kitchen window, I spied a dramatic sight. A flock of ibis were touring for food. Our grass must have tasty bugs; they busily absorbed themselves with their meal.

Their slender stork-like legs are so graceful. One bird seemed to be balleting through breakfast; a leg was held out contually. Actually it was dangling, I then noticed, obviously broken or perhaps the ibis was lame, perhaps hurt. This didn’t deter him from hanging right in there with the group. He pretty much kept up with the rest of the company.

The straggler was out in the street, while the rest were diving and pecking into the lawn. Then he was off by himself toward the front, as they headed out to the next spot. He was with the crowd, yet he was on the fringes.

I don’t know much about bird behaviour, but perhaps these beautiful birds stick together for a reason. We need each other; no man’s an island.

We need each other, and we need God. The Bible says, “Love God, and love others.” (Matt.22) How simple; how perfect.

Lord, thank You for the thoughts and words You brought to mind today through your creations in nature. Help me be aware of You in everthing, Lord, and to have a grateful heart for loving You, and loving others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH Shared by Joe Gatuslao

One day, while I was driving my car down the highway to go to and serve in an out-of-town Christian Life Program sponsored by Couples for Christ, I encountered a signpost on the side of the road that reads: "Dangerous Curve Ahead." Instantly I was faced with making a decision.

One, I could observe the warning and decrease my speed. Two, I could ignore the sign and just cruise along. Or, three, I could defy the warning and speed up. Whatever response I had chosen to take, however, I would not have changed the truth of the sign. The truth is: the curve still remained dangerous. And it was for my own good that I should heed the warning and be guided accordingly.

Jesus promised to send us a Helper, a Guide. The One who is going to guide us in all truths. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit helps us to discern what is true and what is not, what is foolish and what is wise, what is safe and what is dangerous. Our day is full of decisions, big and small ones. But His holy prompting will be there to give us the wisdom we need to make righteous decisions. What is most important is for us to be sensitive to His holy guidance. After all, what He just wants from us is a listening heart and a renewed mind.

Have faith, therefore, that when you're inundated with difficulties and cares, and you know not where to go, the Holy Spirit will always be there sitting by your side to guide you as you drive along through life. The road may be winding or straight, rough or smooth, wet or dry, yet you can be certain that He is a trustworthy guide. Don't forget, He placed those signposts on the road of life.

LUCKY Author Unknown

Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you don't and may decide you need one.

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog, Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease...she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders.

The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully but the dog just drooped, whining and miserable. But finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't
even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. Panic soon gave way to laughter though when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed in every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement and back bringing his beloved mistress his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every night.

It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Live everyday to the fullest...because every day is a blessing from God! He covers you with His treasures and His love!


May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.


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.

GOLF LESSON By Marion Smith

Exodus 4:12 I will help you speak, and I will teach you what to say.

My golf game was in bad shape. No doubt about it, I needed a lesson from a professional, and I needed it pronto! I stood on the range, hitting a few balls to warm up as I waited for the golf pro. I could see him emerge from the pro shop with a smile on his face – ready to take the challenge of helping this sorry excuse of a golfer!

First he told me to address the ball – just stand comfortably however I thought I should. He told me that body position was so important in the game of golf – I would need to line up every shot.

Next he checked my grip, making sure my fingers were in the correct position on the club. Now he was ready to watch me swing and try to hit the ball. He watched and analyzed, watched and gave gentle corrections, watched and gave more instructions. He told me to go practice a lot and play a few rounds. Then I was to come back for another lesson to see if I was applying what I had learned.

I don't like to take lessons or practice, but I did as I had been instructed, because I knew this was a plan which would help me in my golf life.

In life, God is my pro. He meets me with a loving smile as I stand waiting for Him. He will ask me about my spiritual posture as I go to Him in prayer- am I ready to get quiet before Him? To be ready for whatever He has to tell me?To kneel, bow my head or lay prostate before Him? He will teach and guide me through life. He will give me tools to study and people to support me. He will then send me out to
practice and play, reminding me to check back in with Him to see if I was applying what I had learned.

Before I met the golf pro or God, I had to make the choice to do so. Neither my golf game nor my spiritual growth would happen unless I took that first step, and asked for help. I am so thankful I did seek God out, for He taught me the intimacy of prayer with Him, the delight derived as I praise Him, the awesomeness as I worship Him, and the unspeakable joy as I come into His holy presence. This is all available to each of you, too. Just sign up for that first lesson of love…. It is a lesson you will never regret having taken.

LET GO OF THE PAST Author Unknown

My child,

Give up! Give up those hurts of the past. It's time to move on. satan loves to have you live in the past because that renders you ineffective to live in the present-in the now.

Tell Me, child. What is it that has happened to you? Who hurt you? What mistakes have you made that you regret? Did what happen to you change the fact that Jesus loves you, and He died on the cross for you so you could live in heaven with Him for all eternity?

Can anything or anyone ever change that fact? You know that nothing can ever nullify what Jesus did for you on the cross. If that's true,and it is, then nothing else matters, does it?

There is nothing that can happen to you, nothing anyone can do to you that can ever change the fact that My Son, Jesus, loves you and died on the cross for you so you gain heaven for all eternity. No one can ever take that away from you. No One!

Hold on to that thought. Put things in their proper perspective. When you do that, you'll see that being loved unconditionally, attaining salvation and the right to go to heaven is your ultimate goal. Everything else pales in comparison to that.

Even physical death cannot take heaven away from you, for then the real you - your spirit - just changes abodes. Physical death for Christians is moving from living in the temple of the Holy Spirit, your body, to living in heaven.

I know, My child, I know. Your mind is often filled with hurtful things that happen to you. Sometimes you even say to people "You don't know how much it hurt Me when such and such happened." Well, I ask you again, does what happen to you in the past change the fact that Jesus loves you and died for you, and now you can spend eternity with Him in heaven? I don't have to wait for your answer, because I know immediately your mind said, "No!"

Then, child, nothing else matters! Compared to eternity, all problems are nothing. Loving Me, being in My family, gaining the right to live in heaven for eternity - that' s what's important in life. If you lose that, you've lost it all. Don't hold grudges. forgive! Nothing you can gain on earth can make up for that loss, and nothing can happen to you on earth that cantake that away from you - Nothing!


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