1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still work.

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross

9. Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost.

God whispers in your soul and speaks to your mind. Sometimes when you don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at you. It's your choice: Listen to the whisper, or wait for the brick.


The red headed woodpecker was perched on the tree, intently pecking away. He was a large bird and the colors on his head and back were very vivid. It was a lovely vision; one I didn’t think could be improved upon. Then he took off in flight. When he spread his wings I knew the sight was more beautiful to behold. In the moments I was able to watch him before he flew out of sight, I saw a pattern to his wing span that was remarkable. This woodpecker was definitely more beautiful with his wings opened up. The same is true of an oriental fan. When the fan is closed you are unable to see the beauty of it. You know it is there, but until that fan is unfolded, you are not able to have a visually enjoyable experience. But just shake that fan out,.. let it unfold, and they beauty of the design or picture appears.

This is also true in the life of a Christian. If we stay all folded up, into our selves, and never fan ourselves out, the beauty of God in our lives will not be shared.

It is good and wonderful to have the love of Christ within ourselves, but even as we do, God calls us to open our wing of love – serving others and sharing with them what He has given to us.

Let’s start today and unfold our wings, taking off in flight in whatever direction God sends us.


The red headed woodpecker was perched on the tree, intently pecking away. He was a large bird and the colors on his head and back were very vivid. It was a lovely vision; one I didn’t think could be improved upon. Then he took off in flight. When he spread his wings I knew the sight was more beautiful to behold. In the moments I was able to watch him before he flew out of sight, I saw a pattern to his wing span that was remarkable. This woodpecker was definitely more beautiful with his wings opened up. The same is true of an oriental fan. When the fan is closed you are unable to see the beauty of it. You know it is there, but until that fan is unfolded, you are not able to have a visually enjoyable experience. But just shake that fan out,.. let it unfold, and they beauty of the design or picture appears.

This is also true in the life of a Christian. If we stay all folded up, into our selves, and never fan ourselves out, the beauty of God in our lives will not be shared.

It is good and wonderful to have the love of Christ within ourselves, but even as we do, God calls us to open our wing of love – serving others and sharing with them what He has given to us.

Let’s start today and unfold our wings, taking off in flight in whatever direction God sends us.

THE ONION Author Unknown

I was an onion before Christ set me free.
Layers upon layers of iniquity.
An ugly old onion whose fragrance was strong;
That my Jesus bought and loved all along.

Unknown to me what He was going to do.
Of what He was planning, I had not a clue.
Pulling each layer off one by one.
In order to make me more like Jesus the Son.

The first layer wasn't so bad.
I saw all the sins that I knew I had.
They were easy to fix, just change the way I talk.
And learn more of how He wanted me to walk.

Reading His Word, and learning again;
How to put aside my life of sin.
But the next layer was pulled which hurt more.
He was getting closer to the core.

Unknown what He would find there.
I simply gave it to Him in prayer.
As another layer was removed, He started to cry;
Pulling this layer brought pain to my Father on High.

And I was crying over the sadness I felt;
The brokenness and all of the guilt.
Past memories that I thought were gone;
They were buried under layers disguised in a fragrance so strong.

As onions peel more and more;
And they put tears in our eyes as we get close to the core;
So my Father wept over my pain;
Giving me a balm of comfort and strength to sustain.

"No More Layers." I would scream.
As He continued to peel them off of me.
"I'll have nothing left my Lord, what will I do?
I'll be nothing but a worthless core to you. "

But He just said "Trust me," and continued to peel
I was sure He was blinded to my pain that was so real.
Year after year I shrunk more and more;
Until all that was left of this onion was a core.

It was then that I began to understand;
As the Lord embraced me in His loving hand.
He said, now and only now can you be;
The creation that will minister before me.

Clothed with the righteousness only from above;
Gone are your layers of self so you can be filled with my love.
He took my layers of sin, hurt and pain;
And clothed me with love, truth and mercy in His name.

Yes, we are all onions, learning with each day;
How to overcome as each layer is taken away.
Some layers tear and pull at our heart;
While others grieve us to our innermost part.

But we are nothing but an ugly onion without Christ.
Layers upon layers of pride, sin and strife.
Only God can take those layers away.
And clothe us with His righteousness in that final day.


She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. Luke 2:5-7

After Christmas, a couple years ago, I received an email from a family friend, a young mom who was commenting on her toddler's take on Christmas.

"I think my son will really look forward to Christmas next year - now that he gets it - on the kid level anyway. He knows it is Jesus' Birthday and I think he's pretty impressed that on someone else's birthday - he gets all the gifts!"

Short and sweet. Profound truth. The "kid level" is where I hope I'm at now this time of year has rolled around. For a lot of reasons, particularly because it's Someone else's birthday.

Happy birthday, Jesus!

45 LESSONS OF LIFE By Regina Brett

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion, Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."


A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job.

"That depends," replied the foreman. "Let's see you fell this tree." The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, "You can start Monday."

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by. Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, "You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today."

Startled, the young man replied, "I thought you paid on Friday."

"Normally we do," said the foreman. "But we're letting you go today because you've fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you've dropped from first place on Monday to last place today."

"But I'm a hard worker," the young man objected. "I arrive first, leave last and even have worked through my coffee breaks!"

The foreman, sensing the young man's integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, "Have you been sharpening your axe?"

The young man replied, "No sir, I've been working too hard to take time for that!"

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don't take time to "sharpen the axe" In today's world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever but less happy than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?

There's nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But God doesn't want us to get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like taking time to pray, to read and study scripture or to listen to "the still small voice of God."

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don't take time to sharpen the axe, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. Take time today to sharpen your axe!

FAMILY TREES By Sally Ireland Kennedy

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ... Ephesians 1:4-5

This month our family, like many others, plan to gather for family reunions. A special time for members of the same family tree to get together,catch up, share past stories, and see how the kids have grown. Some folks don’t have other opportunities to visit in between the reunions, except perhaps at weddings or funerals. It’s an wonderful time for families, and the memories priceless.

A few friends of mine are deep in the branches of their family trees.
I’ve heard of people doing this in preparation for a family reunion,
too. Thanks to my mom and a relative of my dad’s, we have family tree records going back many generations on one side and the early 1800’s on the other. I treasure the information and have passed it on to my children.

Discovering our earthly geneologies can be interesting. Yet nothing can compare to our spiritual heritage. As believers, we share the same family tree and are all children of the patriarch, Abraham. (Romans 11:17 And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in)

Not only are we children of Abraham, in Christ we are children of our Father God. As believers, we are adopted by Him, making us members of His glorious, redemptive family tree. (John 1:12 to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God) (Romans 8:15-17 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs.)

We may never learn our family tree here, yet the amazing thing is we know we are a part of, and have, the most amazing family tree that could ever be - all recorded in God’s word.

That is good news.


We arrived at the 5 story Embassy Suite in Detroit, Mich., ready to unpack and settle in. “May I see which room we will be in?”, I asked. The receptionist showed me the floor plan of the hotel, and I proceeded to pick the perfect room for us. Only a few had balconies - fresh air was a must for me ! And, I had noticed when we walk in, there were a lot of birds in two trees out front. . perfect.. I want to hear those birds chirping their cheerful morning songs! As I opened the sliding glass doors to allow the refreshing cool breeze into our room, I was assaulted with the unrelenting drone of cars traveling on the freeway nearby. “Well,” I thought” that is o.k., the fresh air and balcony is worth the noise.” As we closed the door for the night, we were unable to shut out the freeway noise. The next morning we awoke and I could hardly wait to open those sliding doors and listen for the birds chirping their sweet songs from the trees. Instead I heard a raucous racket of angry mother birds protecting their nests in the eve above our balcony. As other variety of birds would sweep toward their nests, they would holler and squawk unmercifully. The sounds they made grated my nerves and I finally closed the door, trying to shut out some of the noise.

I was so disappointed- I had received exactly what I had asked for, and it turned out to be.. ”not so good”- to say the least!

This scenario reminded me how cautious I should be when I go to God with a request. Answers which I think may be “perfect” are not always so. Actually, my plans are very often quite bad, and always short sighted. God tells us in the Bible that –He has plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future( Jeremiah 29:11).-. I really need to be careful, as I pray, to seek God’s wisdom (looking in His Word) and praying for His guidance as I place my requests at the foot of His throne. I must always remember that He sees the big picture- not just a short term solution or a quick fix for something which I think needs immediate attention. When prayers are not answered in the way I had hoped, I need to return to that scripture which reminds me that God has a wonderful plan for my life and that of each person I pray for. Then I need to thank Him for being, and staying, in control.

I BELIEVE Author Unknown

A Birth Certificate shows we were born. A Death Certificate shows we died. Pictures show we lived!

I Believe...
That just because two people argue,doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue,doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...
That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe...
That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...
That true friendship continues to grow, even the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I Believe....
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...
That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...
That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe...
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...
That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I Believe...
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...
That it isn't always enough,to be forgiven by others.Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...
That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are,but, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...
That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe...
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...
That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...
That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe...
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything :) we just make the most of everything.

FOOTINGS Author Unknown

The beautifully decorated home was only two years old when we purchased it. It seemed ideal for us at this stage of our life that we bought it after the second viewing. As per standard procedure, we hired an inspector to assure all was well.

When we read the report , we were quite astonished. There was a problem with 2 of the footings. Footings are the support base, or ground work of a structure, and are extremely important in the support of the house. It seems construction code had been met, for cement pads had been poured every 8 feet and a support beam placed thereupon. The problem surfaced when we realized the beams did not line up with the main support beams for the first and second floor and also the roof. As time would elapse, the floor would sag and buckle, the walls would crack, and the weight of house would be too much to bear without proper support. Something would give. Those support beams in the crawl space of the house were just in the wrong place, even though they made code. We have hired someone to correct this situation, but it was an unforeseen expense and headache.

Just like those beams, our life can appear to be "in code" when we do good deeds, act charitable and go to church. But the truth is, we can be off center, just like those support beams were. If our footings of life are not grounded in God, the eventual weight of living in this world can cause us to crumble and fall.

Proper support starts with correct foundation. There is an old hymn that says " the church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. She is his new creation by water and the word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride, with his own blood he bought her and for her life he died." We must allow Jesus to be the "footings" in our life. With him, we will celebrate the joys of life and we will be able to face the adversities which come our way.

Have you allowed Jesus to be the "footings" in your life? If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, King, Redeemer and Lord you can start the year right by doing so now. Or, if you have lost loved ones - commit to continue to pray for their salvation. Don't give up hope!


In the days before self-operating elevators, there was a lady who was an elevator operator in a large university in Japan.

She could think of no more monotonous work than operating an elevator all day long. She was miserable and grumbled every time someone spoke to her.

One day it occurred to her that she could influence young students to a brighter way of seeing life. But to do that she will have to change her own attitude towards life!

The next day she started with a smile on her face. It was extremely difficult for her, but by sheer will power she was determined to cheer up whoever rode in her elevator.

As the years went by, people sought her advice more and more. Many were helped by her bright attitude and her optimistic view of life. She became a "Solver of Problems!".

When she finally died, a few thousand people attended her funeral. She gained her fame because she changed her attitude about life and desired the bright side to life for her and for those with whom she came in contact.

The Bible encourages us to change our mental and spiritual attitude because it dictates our lifestyle.

"See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all." 1 Thessalonians 5:15

My attitude determines my actions for good or for bad.


You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Although the calendar was barely registering December, my son-in-law got the train down from the attic. To the delight of their two young children, he assembled all the cars, the track, the motor parts. Now it would be ready to circle ‘round the Christmas tree once the tree was put up.

Mom and Dad were getting ready to go out that evening, and from the bedroom they heard a little voice, “But I want to watch the video......”“, followed by a quick comeback, “No; you can’t watch the video. You have to be the tree!”

When the adults rounded the corner, they could see Tommy. He was standing stock-still as the train churg-chugged and circled its way around him. His arms were raised straight overhead with palms touching, trying hard to be ‘a Christmas tree’, as he tried to turn his head to view the video playing.

Sometimes I feel like Tommy. The world tells me to do this, that, and the other thing; buy this, that, and the other thing; be this, that, and the other thing. Sometimes I even forget I have a choice!

The chorus and partial verse of a wonderful worship song, called Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns) goes like this: But the voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth …..I will soar with the wings of eagles When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus Singing over me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

Yes, I do have a choice. I can choose to listen to a higher authority. The world will squeeze us into its mold, if we let it. But the wonderful Holy Spirit, living inside all believers, will guide and instruct us day by day, and moment by moment, and all we have to do is listen and obey. Nope, we don’t have to “be a tree.”

That’s good news.

J.E.S.U.S. C.H.R.I.S.T. Author Unknown

J esus, Son of God Eternal
E verlasting Lord is He,
S avior of a world of sinners,
U niversal King to be,
S ought us, brought us victory.

C hrist is due all adoration,
H umbly born to save our race,
R uler of the whole creation
I ntercedes and gives us grace,
S aves us from sin's condemnation,
T ruly worthy of all praise!


What colour is God,
Asked the child with skin so fair
Is he white like me,
Does he have light hair?

Is God dark like me,
Asked the child with skin of golden hue,
Has he hair that's dark and curly,
Are his eyes black or blue?

I think God is red like me,
The Indian boy is heard to say --
He wears a crown of feathers,
And turns our nights to day

Each one of us knows that God is there
In ALL the colours above
But be sure of this, the one colour he is,
Is the beautiful colour of love

So when your soul goes to Heaven,
When your life comes to its end --
He will be waiting, and his hand to you
Will he extend.

There will be no colours in Heaven,
Everyone will be the same.
You will only be judged by your earthly deeds,
Not your colour or your name

So when your time comes,
And you see God in his Heaven above,
Then you will see the only colour that counts,
The beautiful colour of LOVE.


If tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all that we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss some tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you."
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day is the same way,
There's no longing for the past.

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart "

GRANDMA'S HANDS Author Unknown

This is good; I'll never look at my hands the same!

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story: "Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

"They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

"They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

NEVER GIVE UP Author Unknown

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. So he invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping ... never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Remember these six simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
6. Believe in God.

WHO IS YOUR GUIDE by Joe Gatuslao

An elderly woman stood on the busy street corner, hesitant to cross because theres no traffic signal. As she waited, a gentleman came up beside her and asked, "May I cross over with you?" Relieved, she thanked him and took his arm.

The path they took was anything but safe. The man seemed confused as they dodged traffic and walked in a zigzag pattern across the street. "You almost got us killed !" the woman exclaimed with anger when they finally reached the curb. "You walked like youre blind !" Ïam," he replied. "That's why I asked if I could cross with you."

Jesus said to the pharisees, "They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch"(Matt. 15:14). We have to be careful not to entrust our spiritual direction to someone who cannot see the clear teachings of God's word. Life is too dangerous, eternity too long, and our spititual destiny too important to take any chances with the leaders we follow.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"(Psalms 119:105). We should trust only those who themselves walk in the light of that lamp and use it to guide others through the dark maze of this present world.


There are many times when we begin a certain task that God lays on our hearts and because we think our efforts are minimal and not making a difference, we quit the job that God told us to pursue.

The enemy loves to plant seeds of doubt and lure us into thinking that we are not capable of making a difference in this world, but with God's help we can overcome and fulfill the destiny that God has for every believer.

If you are going through a situation of doubting your task unto the Lord, then I hope this story will bless and encourage you to never quit what God has laid on your heart because you may never know of the lives that you are touching.

I read of a man who was involved in a tragic accident. He lost both legs and his left arm and only a finger and thumb remained on the right hand.

But he still possessed a brilliant mind, enriched with a good education and broadened with world travel. At first he thought there was nothing he could do but remain a helpless sufferer.

A thought came to him. It was always nice to receive letters, but why not write them--he could still use his right hand with some difficulty. But to whom could be right?

Was there anyone shut-in and incapacitated like he was who could be encouraged by his letters? He thought of men in prison--they did have some hope of release, whereas he had none--but it was worth a try.

He wrote to a Christian organization concerned with prison ministry. He was told that his letters could not be answered because it was against prison rules, but he still decided to commence this one-sided correspondence.

He wrote twice a week, and it taxed his strength to the limit. But into the letters he put his whole soul, all his experience, all his faith, all his wit, and all his Christian optimism.

Frequently he felt discouraged and was tempted to give it all up. But it was his one remaining activity, and he resolved to continue as long as he could.

At last he got a letter. It was very short, written on prison stationery by the officer whose duty it was to censor the mail.

All it said was: "Please write on the best paper you can afford. Your letters are passed from cell to cell till they literally fall to pieces."

No matter what your situation may be like, you still have the ability to encourage someone who is discouraged and lift up someone who is feeling low.

Take this story as an encouragement to give your all for someone else and do not worry about the results. No good work will go unseen and only God knows of the impact that your life can have on someone else.

Let us not do our good works so that we may be praised, but let us do good works so that others may be lifted up and God be praised because of our intervention.

The only thing that we can take with us into eternity is what we have done for the Lord. There are no bank accounts in heaven to show how much your net worth was on the earth, but there will be accounts in heaven of what you did to show your life as an example in leading others to Him.


While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground. "That's my son over there," she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide.

"He's a fine looking boy" the man said. "That's my daughter on the bike in the white dress." Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter.

"What do you say we go, Melissa?"

Melissa pleaded, "Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes."

The man nodded and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart's content.

Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his daughter. "Time to go now?"

Again Melissa pleaded, "Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes."

The man smiled and said, "O.K."

"My, you certainly are a patient father," the woman responded.

The man smiled and then said, "Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I'd give anything for just five more minutes with him. I've vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa. She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike. The truth is, I get Five more minutes to watch her play."

Life is all about making priorities, what are your priorities? Give someone you love 5 more minutes of your time today.

THE RISK OF LOVE by Kris Hydmore

There is a risk involved in everything
Every time you share a smile
Every time you shed a tear
You are opening yourself up to hurt.

Some people tread slowly through life,
Avoiding the risk closeness brings,
Side-stepping the things they can't understand
Turning away from those who care too much,
Those who care stay too long,
Those who hold too tightly.

There is never an easy way to love
You can not approach it cautiously
It will not wait for you to arm yourself.
It does not care if you turn away
It is everywhere, it is everything.

Love is the greatest of all risks.
It is not reliable, it is not cautious,
It is not sympathetic
It is unprejudiced and unmerciliess.
It strikes the strongest of mind,
And brings them to their knees in one blow.

Even in the best of times, love hurts.
It hurts to need, it hurts to belong,
It hurts to be the other part of someone else,
Without either of your consent.
But, from the moment it overtakes you,
It hurts worse to be all alone.

The risk of love never depletes;
It grows stronger and more dangerous with time.
But, it's in the total surrender of all defense,
That we, no matter weak or strong,
No matter willing or captive,
No matter what, we truly experience love.

Despite the many things love is not,
Outweighing it all are the things that love is.
Love is surrender without a loss.
It is a gift without the cost.
It consumes your every thought & desire,
Every breath you take.
It is the fire that fuels you
To do more than pass through life;
It urges you, instead, to live.

No matter the outcome, having felt love,
You will never be the same.
It may scar your heart & soul
And Leave you only memories of forever.
Or, it may cause every day of your life
To feel like there is no need for tomorrow.
But, love is worth it. It is worth the risk...

For in all of life,
Love is truly the only risk worth taking.

CALL TO ME By Sally I. Kennedy

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3,

We could hear it before we could see it. One lone goose, honking loudly on his way in. If any other geese had been on the small lake this beautiful autumn mo rning, they would have answered the call.

"Hunters know this", my husband explained. "That's the reason for the turkey callers that they use; they can learn where the birds are."

The goose paddled around, near the water's muddy edge by the lily pads, all alone. No answer. No geese were on this lake. Perhaps they had all flown south for the winter. It was well into fall, and there'd been one chilly frost already.

I thought, good thing we can call to God ANY time at all, and He is never gone. Isn't it amazing? This almighty God of the universe, who is unchanging, sovereign, steadfast, and ever-faithful, is the same God who keeps a listening ear out for those calling out- for companions, for help, for whatever. And, He will answer. It's a promise.

That is good news.

NOT YET Author Unknown

Sometimes I ask the question, "My Lord, is this your will?" It's then I hear you answer me, "My Precious Child ... be still."

Sometimes I feel frustrated, cause I think I know what's best. It's then I hear you say to me, "My Busy Child ... just rest"

Sometimes I feel so lonely and I think I'd like a mate. Your still small voice gets oh so clear and says, "My Child ... please wait"

"I know the plans I have for you, the wondrous things you'll see; If you can just be patient, Child, and put your trust in me.

I've plans to draw you closer. I've plans to help you grow. There's much I do you cannot see and much you do not know.

But know This, Child ..... I LOVE YOU. You are Precious unto Me. Before I formed you in the womb, I planned your destiny.

I've something very special I hope for you to learn. The gifts I wish to give to you are gifts you cannot earn.

They come without a price tag, but not without a cost; at Calvary, I gave My Son, so You would not be lost.

Rest Child, and do not weary of doing what is good. I promise I'll come back for you just like I said I would.

Your name is written on my palm, I never could forget; Therefore, do not be discouraged when my answer is... "Not Yet"

BLACKBIRDS By Marion Smith

This morning, as I sat on my back porch, I noticed a large flock of blackbirds in the backyard. They were flying from the trees to the ground and back again. While on the ground, they scurried around looking for food. They would hunt and peck, hunt and peck, hunt and peck. Finally one of them noticed the birdfeeder filled with delicious sunflower seeds. This particular bird flew to the feeder, taking his fill, and didn't move for a very long time. Soon,others joined him. They filled each available perch on the feeder while twenty or more sat on the fence, looking as if they were waiting their turn. It is this way for many people.

They flit here and there, looking for something to satisfy them. They think they've discovered it, so they perch for awhile and digest the activity they've pursued. Hopefully, someone they know or encounter will have found the true source of satisfaction- God, through His Word. They will draw others who are spiritually hungry,inviting them to "the feast." The Bible is just like that full birdfeeder - it is waiting for people to come and feast.When this occurs, they will no longer be satisfied to hunt and peck, and hunt and peck for fulfillment. God's Word will fill them, and they will want to will share the good news with their friends.

THE "LAYERED" LOOK By Marion Smith

Fall is here, and it is time for me to rearrange my closet. Put all the summer shorts and tees in the back and place slacks, jackets and the clothes of heavier material and "fall colors" to the front. It is a fact of life for those of us who live in areas where we experience the change of seasons that we must have a variety of clothes appropriate for each type of weather conditions.

God has given us two types of clothing. There is clothing appropriate for living, and that which we need for war. Actually, it is a layered look we have with our heavenly wardrobe, for we need both kinds of clothing to live our lives as God has planned for us to do. The battle wardrobe is used to fight spiritual warfare, for we are always in an unseen struggle with Satan. God told us to put on the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, and shoes of peace . We must also carry the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith. These items will keep Satan at bay as he tries to invade our thoughts and lives. He also tells us in the Bible, in Colossians, 3:12,13 that we should be ever ready to donn tenderhearted mercies and kindness to others. We must wear gentleness ,forgiveness and humbleness. Theses beautiful garments of love are for us to wear today, just as God gave beautiful garments for Arron, the priest, in the Old Testament of the Bible. His clothes were sacred garments and they indicated he was separated to God, and so are ours.

Now, each morning when I mentally put on my armor of God, I will also remember the 2nd layer of clothing God wants me to wear… the one that will radiate Christ's love through us when we dress as He has instructed us to. We will shine for HIM, all day long.

CLOSINGS By Sally I. Kennedy

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I was feeling like life is just one big series of closings. Dissolution of the corporation earlier this year was now playing out. Each letter that came, each call seemed one more loose end to tie up with the goodbye package. I felt sad.

"Is it true?" I mused. Is it all about endings?

In a flash, the now, as well as near future, popped into mind. Aha. Yes. Big sigh. This is OK. This is good. This is just how it is supposed to be.

Things move out, make way for something else. It is a fact of physics that two things cannot inhabit one space simultaneously. So closings happen. And good they do, for how else could openings happen? In the oft-quoted scripture verse from Jeremiah, God really does have a plan for me, for us, and it is good. So today I'll gratefully go with it, and go with God.


"Poor little butterfly," the young girl said. "Poor little butterfly."

Then reaching down slowly so as to not scare it away, she slid her tiny fingers underneath, urging it to step upon her hand.

It would appear to anyone that this delicate creature was lifeless leaving behind remains of what once was.

But not her. She sensed something. She knew right away that there was indeed some life left in this most fragile example of God's work.

The butterfly nearly tumbled onto her hand, wings folded straight up, apparently unable to fly.

Then, perhaps it was the warmth of her hands or the welcoming response to the attention it was given, but the butterfly began to walk slowly up to her palm.

"Poor little butterfly," she repeated again as she brought it closer to her face.

"If I could kiss you I would, " she said.

The butterfly, appearing to respond, slowly opened its wings, to reveal its beautiful designand colors. Now open fully, the child brought it closer and gave an angel's kiss of love.

Just off in the distance watching this precious moment, her grandmother walked toward them.

"Oh, you have found it," she said. "I was waiting for it and wondered where it was."

The child looked a bit surprised and said. "You were waiting for this butterfly? Why?"

"It is sent to remind us," grandmother said.

"But it is dying. I feel sorry for it. Don't they fly away when it gets cold?"

"Yes, they do. But one is always chosen to remain behind," she said.

Maybe this was just grandmother' s way of softening the the truth so that the child would not be saddened by the thought of the butterfly dying. But what unfolded here was an incredible moment, an opportunity seen and taken to teach a lesson of love.

"Why would they choose to be left behind?" the child asked as she gently stroked the butterfly.

"They don't choose to be, they are chosen," she told her.

The child looked down again and held it closer.

"It is a great honor to be chosen. The story goes that God realized that when winter comes color disappears. The color of the flowers fade into the earth and all the delicate butterflies leave for warmer places. So, God decided that one should remain to remind us of the beautiful world He has created and the promise of Spring's return."

The child looked down and then lifting her head slowly, she whispered, "And I found it, grandmother. "

"Yes, and with that you have a great responsibility, " she said as she held the young girl's face in her hands.


"You must now take time to see God's colors in the darkness of winter. You must be the sunshine. You must help those who have forgotten how beautiful life is, to see the color of God's love for them."

"Oh, grandmother. I don't know how to," she said.

"It is simple. Be yourself. People believe only what they see. Like the flowers and butterflies. But God makes people beautiful inside. It is up to us to bring that beauty out by loving each other, helping each other and when we find someone who has fallen, just like that butterfly, it is up to us to pick them up, carress them and care for them. For one day it may very well be His Chosen One left behind."

The child moved closer to her grandmother as they sat admiring God's messenger.

Take time to see the beauty, the colors of God in the people around you.

You, too may find the "Poor little butterfly!"

"I believe in you!"

I encourage you to share my stories but I do ask tha t you keep my name and contact information with my work. If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational stories, please visit http://www.IWishYou and submit your email address.

************ *****

"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

Bob Perks, P.O. Box 1702, Shavertown, PA 18708-1702, USA

WHAT'S IN A NAME By Sally I. Kennedy

God gave him the name above all other names. Philippians 2:9

"Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but names can never hurt me."

Or can they? And if names can be hurtful, can they be helpful? Healing?

In some countries, people were named after their parents. For example, if you were Ben's son, you might be called Benson. Or Martin's son, Martinson. One of Jesus' names was Jesus Bar Joseph, Jesus son of Joseph.

The names used in the Bible often have spiritual significance and are descriptive of those persons. The name Isaac meant 'laughter', Moses drawn out of water, Sarah - 'princess', Eve 'life', David beloved. God has many names. A couple are Jehovah Jireh (the Lord who provides, Gen.22:14), and Jehovah Rohi (the Lord is my Shepherd, Ps. 23:1)

Do our names define us?

As believers, we can claim the names: redeemed, adopted, saved, set free, holy, set aside, healed, whole, chosen, sent, and Christian, follower of Christ.

I am thankful today, that whatever my given name, or how others have defined me, I am a child of the King!


Gal. 5:22,23 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control and gentleness.

Many things in life are contagious, and the first I think of are childhood diseases . Measles, mumps and chicken pox are illnesses which usually run through a family, affecting one child after another. Head lice are very transmittable, and when they enter a classroom, great pains must be taken to eliminate their rampant spread. Emotions are also catching - fear can spread easily, along with joy, laughter and even anger.

A while ago, when I attended the Outrageous Joy Conference, here in Atlanta Ga., I witnessed a most beautiful contagious epidemic! Babbie Mason was the singer/ speaker of the moment, and her voice reverberated from the depths of her being with love and honor for the Lord. During a portion of the song when the entire audience joined in, I noticed one section of ladies waving white hankies above their head. This delightful and spontaneous gesture traveled from the small nucleus to the entire auditorium . The white luncheon napkins were torn apart and shared all around- and with each tear came the contagious, exuberant joy and love for the Lord. It reminded me of the time Jesus fed the 5,000 with just a loaf of bread and a fish. There was plenty for all, with some left over.

By the last stanza of the song I believe every hand was raised with their little white napkin piece, giving glory to God and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to really move in this body of women believers. It was a very special moment, and I praise God that I was able to participate in it. Our love for the Lord can be contagious, also. If we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, others will want to know how we can do this, and we will have an opportunity to share The Good News!


Learn To Say No… So You Can Say A Bigger Yes To Life!
Difficult People Will Teach You How To Build Your Boundaries

If you’re an approval addict or people-pleaser like me, I’m writing this especially to you.

You see, I’m a person who didn’t like saying “No”.

For the longest time, that word wasn’t even in my vocabulary.

For years, I never showed my anger to anyone. After years of smiling even if I was offended, there came a point when I didn’t even feel anger anymore. I simply shut it out of my life. (Believe me, I thought I was very holy because of this. Not realizing I was emotionally a mess deep within.)

I had an approval addiction so powerful, it ruled every decision I made.

Why? Because I was desperate for people to like me.

When someone didn’t like me, I died within.

I didn’t love myself.

I had an abysmal low-self worth.

So I tried to please everyone in everyway.

I abhorred any kind of conflict.

Oh yes, I was a mess.

And one of the ways of making them love me was to always say “Yes.”

I never knew that saying “Yes” all the time was actually saying “No” to an abundant life.

So I tolerated all the difficult people and emotional vampires on the planet: Control-Freaks. Drama-Queens. Nut-Cases. Rage-aholics. Irresponsible Jerks. Hyper-sensitive people. Possessive Parasites. You name the difficult person, I pleased each one of them—just to keep the peace. But the false peace came with a price: I was throwing away myinner peace. My self-respect. My self-worth.

Let me tell you one story…

Build Your Boundaries—

So You Could Welcome People As Guests Through The Gate,

Not Thieves That Run Amok Through Your Life

Billy (not his real name) was a friend who invited me to become a business partner in one of his ventures.

But he had a weakness: He was a controller. He wanted to control me. He wanted to control everyone. The sun and moon and stars included.

For a while, I lived with it. I chalked it up as one of those inconveniences of life, lumped up with Manila traffic, the humidity of the Philippines, and my allergies to shrimp.

But it was incredibly stressful working with Billy.

I didn’t want to admit it. “But he’s my friend,” I told myself every time I felt stressed out. I was in denial. My approval addiction was blinding me to the fact that working with him was driving me nuts.

But one day, I had to say “No” and build my personal boundaries. I allowed him to stomp over my fences many times. I had to repair my boundaries and protect myself.

It was painful, but I knew there was only one way out. So one day, I told Billy that though I wanted to remain friends, I wanted to get out of our business partnership.

That wasn’t acceptable to him. So ever since that day, he never spoke to me again. It was painful because our friendship ended.

But I immediately knew I did the right thing because of the inner peace I felt that day. My approval addiction was defanged. For the first time in a long while, I created a conflict. By respecting myself and my boundary lines, I was growing in self-power.

That day, I finally loved myself.

Today, my relationships are richer.

Because my boundaries are whole, people who come into my life are welcomed guests who pass through the gate (I deliberately opened it for them), not thieves that run amok through my life.

When you say “No” at the right situations, you’re saying a bigger “Yes” to life.

Truth: People Will Do What You Tolerate

So let me ask you this question: Are there people in your life who you should be saying “No” to? Are there difficult people in your life who have been gate-crashing and running amok in your life?

Remember: You teach people how to treat you.

If that person is abusing you, or breaking your boundaries, that means you taught that person that it was okay to do so. You tolerated it. And people will do what you tolerate.

The solution may not be to end the relationship (though sometimes, it is the solution), but to simply say “No” at the specific situations where the person is crossing your boundary lines.

Reclaim your self.

Don’t allow people to trash you.

God loves you. God created you as His child. God wants you to be happy.

So be happy.

May your dreams come true,

Bo Sanchez


A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.

Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind. The summer sun's beat down on that old barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful.

That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn. The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too and lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing. And as the years pass He's busy using the hard wealth of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons, to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks holler because they want life

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house. And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us on the Great Sky Ranch.

And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here ... and just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house.

May today there be peace within you.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

OCEAN By Melanie Schurr

While on vacation in Florida, I walked along the ocean shore collecting shells and enjoying the early morning coolness. As the clear surf rhythmically crashed over the rocks and sand, I looked into the distance to the seemingly never-ending blanket of water. I knew there was an end to the ocean, the other side of it, but from where I stood, no end was in sight.

Isn't this exactly how troubles in our life often appear as we tend to focus on the expanse of our inevitable problems, ignoring the end in sight?

Like the ocean, in all earthly things, there is a beginning and an end. So, too, with every sadness, conflict, or hardship, there will follow a resolution and an end. With every storm comes the sun afterwards.

In the Bible, God tells us that, although we may feel alone, we are not. Our Heavenly Father is there to hold our hand, to comfort and offer peace to a hurting world.

If you are going through a difficult period in your life, now is the time to call on Christ. The end to your problem will not be so far off and it will be the beginning of a new relationship with Christ!

BENT DOWN By Sally I. Kennedy

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 12:20

Packing up the decorations from Christmas and the holidays, I began to feel a bit weary, and bent down. Not really tired, although there had been a lot of extra things going on during the month of December. A warm, grateful feeling, yet still a bit weary.

I was wondering what was going on, why I would feel overwhelmed all of a sudden, when the thought occurred to me that I might be stepping into the future.

Thinking and planning can absolutely get me feeling overwhelmed. One day at a time is definitely the ticket for me. The bible says to not worry about the future, because each day has enough “troubles” of its own! (Matthew 6:34)

Just as snow can fall on an evergreen tree, and a sturdy branch can become bent down with the weight of the snow, the branch doesn’t break. Things do, and will, come into our lives, but we can bear up as we give them to the Lord.

Lord, whenever I feel a bit weary, and bent down, please help me to remember that You died to carry our burdens….burdens, cares, and concerns of all kinds. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, amen.


There was a little boy who lived by the sea and the one thing he loved best was to carve out little boats from the pieces of driftwood that came from that sea. One day he found washed up on the shore a solid block of wood so perfect for sculpting that he told himself, "This is going to be the best boat I'll make!" and so he proceeded to carve it, making sure that the details were perfect. After sculpting it, he sanded it and painted and lacquered it. He'd then take it wherever he went, always showing it off to his friends.

One day, he waded into the sea, put his little boat on the water, and watched it bob up and down on the water. He was very proud of his boat. But suddenly, a great wave descended on him and the little boat, and the wave engulfed the little boat until it drifted far, far away from the boy and disappeared. The boy ran to his father, crying, and his father tried to comfort him, to no avail.

The days went past, and became weeks, then months, but the boy still missed his little boat. One day, while he was accompanying his father to town, he wandered into a store, and there, among the other souvenirs and merchandise the store was selling, was his little boat! He then approached the owner, and asked him where he got the little boat over there by the shelf.

"Well now," said the owner, "someone came into the store just last week and sold me that little boat, and since it's a fine piece of craftmanship, I thought it was a good deal."

"Sir, you see, I was the one who made that little boat." the boy said. "I carved it, sanded it, painted and lacquered it. It's the best little boat I ever made, and it got lost at sea and I've searched and searched for it and now I'm so happy to have found it. Can I have it back please?"

The owner looked at the boy, shook his head, and said, "I'm sorry son, but I paid for that little boat, and if you want to get it back, then you'd have to buy it ."

The boy, who didn't have any money on him at the time, said, "Okay. I'll be back soon. Just keep it in reserve for me, okay?" Then he took one last look at his little boat, and ran to join his father.

As soon as they came home, he went to his room, took his piggy bank, broke it, and counted the money in it. Alas, he came up short! He sat there, tears rolling down his face, and his father came in the room. "Son, what's the matter?," his father asked. So the boy told him what happened, and his father said, "Son, why do love that little boat so much? There are so many pieces of wood that wash up daily from the sea. You could make another little boat, or even more if you wished."

The boy replied, "Father, I loved that little boat so much. I couldn't eat nor sleep, wondering what had happened to it all these months. And to have found it after all this time! Father, I don't care how much it costs, I'm going to work hard so I can save up to buy back my little boat." His father lovingly looked at his son's sad face, and said, "Okay, my son, I understand. Here, I'll give you the money to buy back your boat," and handed him the money. The boy hugged his father tightly, whispering, "Thank you, father." and ran off towards the store, and bought back his little boat. He took it home, cradling it in his arms, and showed it off to his father, his mother, and the rest of his family. From then on, he never let it drift too far at sea, and always kept it at his side.

Jesus is that boy, and you and I are that little boat. He molded us, polished us, cherished us so much, and when we drifted off where he couldn't find us or reach us, he became so sad. And, after having found us again, he did not hesitate to pay whatever price in order to redeem us. With Jesus, he paid for us by giving up his life. When you have someone who loves you that much, and you sometimes feel that nobody in this world really cares whether you come and go, take heart; somebody cares, and will never, ever let you out of his sight ever again.


The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, "Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Sounds like the two dwarfs who didn’t make the cut for the snow white movie. Drippy and drizzly, precisely how it was for several days. When you’re on vacation, rain’s the last thing you want. But you know what they say, can’t do much about the weather.

As I sat watching the clouds drip onto the water, making hypnotic little circles that merged into other circles, how the years melted away, and in my memory I was transported to an earlier time .

At a remote spot, at the end of a long dirt road, was the clearing with a pretty spring-fed lake. A sprinkling of cottages; one where my parents honeymooned, then later purchased. I spent summers there, as a child. Rustic hardly describes it. Today, I believe camping would be more sophisticated than life at our cottage was, back then. And it was the best time of my life. Well, one of the very best, for sure. Life was so simple. We enjoyed reading stories and books, did lots of puzzles. Outdoors there were limitless opportunities for creative play. And sunny afternoons, we could swim.

Every summer we would borrow a farm dog, and he’d be our friend for the months we were there. He, my sister, and I had many an adventure in the old rowboat, scouting bullfrogs on lily pads.

Today I am thankful for time to be still, like this. To just ‘be’, and not ‘do’. I am too often guilty of operating as a ‘human doing’ and not a ‘human being’.

God can really use our drippy, drizzly days, to quiet our minds, minister to our souls, and settle our spirits.

That is good news.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV) Be still, and know that I am God

Psalm 55: 6-8 (MSG) Get me out of here on dove wings; I want some peace and quiet. I want a walk in the country. I want a cabin in the woods. I'm desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather.

Psalm 4:4 (ASV) Stand in awe, and sin not: Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

Ps 131:2 (NKJV) Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul


I found a penny today
just laying on the ground
But it's not just a penny
this little coin I've found

"Found" pennies come from heaven
that's what my Grandpa told me
He said angels toss them down
oh, how I loved that story

He said when an angel misses you
they toss a penny down
Sometimes just to cheer you up
make a smile out of your frown

So don't pass by that penny
when you're feeling blue
It may be a penny from heaven
that an angels tossed to you


"If you lie down with dogs, you will rise with fleas." That saying holds much truth, and so does this story.

The modern jet on the runway was a beauty. It was equipped with the latest technology and weaponry. The jet could fly at supersonic speeds, and quickly race to great heights. If an enemy plane were in the vicinity, the jet's pilot could destroy that plane miles away, before the plane's pilot could even see him. An Air Force pilot climbed into the jet and off he flew, leaving the earth far behind as he soared above the clouds. Although no one was looking, the pilot straightened himself in his seat. He was naturally proud of his jet, and of himself for qualifying to fly such a sophisticated mode of transportation.

After he reached cruising altitude, the pilot heard a strange noise. He took off his helmet, and recognized the noise--it sounded like someone gnawing on rubber or plastic. Peering down below the instrument panel, to his horror the pilot saw a rat, out of his reach and gnawing on the main electrical wire between the jet's controls and its engine. If the rat were to cut through that line, the jet would careen out of control, and crash immediately.

The pilot's first instinct was to descend--an emergency landing. But he had flown so far that there was not enough time to land. So he decided to ascend--maybe the rat couldn't survive at a higher altitude. The pilot put on his oxygen mask, boosted power to the jet's engine, and quickly climbed as high as he could go. Soon the gnawing sound ended. When the pilot landed safely, he found the rat--dead.

How Does This Apply to Our Lives?

The pilot was highly trained, at the top of his profession. His equipment was the best that technology could provide. But his safety was threatened by the appetite of one of the most primitive of animals--a rat.

Like the jet pilot, we live in a world of high technology. Robots make our clothes, microwave ovens cook our food, cordless telephones carry our voices, and computers analyze our cars. And yet our lives are also affected by many things people faced centuries ago. Hate, jealousy, and dishonesty continue to exist. We are still plagued by temptations to strike out in anger, cut corners to get ahead, and toy with the truth.

And something else has not changed: most people say they want to be delivered from temptations, but really would like to keep in touch with them. You see, we know certain things are wrong, yet we still flirt with them. As our power of resistance weakens, we think that one small compromise of our principles won't matter. But it does. Lying down with dogs has unhealthy results, and so does compromising with wrong.

Take care to avoid being lured into moral and ethical trouble. Build a wall of protection around your life by shunning anything that promotes or gives credibility to unwholesome attitudes. Read Scripture, meditate upon its truths, and do your best to live by them.

Those steps will lead you to new spiritual altitudes. Just as the hungry rat could not survive at high altitudes, sinful appetites cannot survive at such spiritual heights.

"The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." Job 17:9

SANDBOX ROCK Author Unknown

A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, his plastic pail, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox. The lad dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With no little bit of struggle, he pushed and nudged the rock across the sandbox by using his feet. (He was a very small boy and the rock was very huge.)

When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, however, he found that he couldn't roll it up and over the little wall. Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, shoved -- but his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his chubby fingers. Finally he burst into tears of frustration.

All this time the boy's father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. At the moment the tears fell, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy's father. Gently but firmly he said, "Son, why didn't you use all the strength that you had available?"

Defeated, the boy sobbed back, "But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had!"

"No, son," corrected the father kindly. "You didn't use all the strength you had. You didn't ask me."

With that the father reached down, picked up the rock, and removed it from the sandbox.

Do you have "rocks" in your life that need to be removed? Are you discovering that you don't have what it takes to lift them? There is One who is always available to us and willing to give us the strength we need. When the apostle Paul faced times of a broken spirit and sapped strength, he proclaimed to the Corinthian church, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, then my power is made perfect in you" (2 Corinthians 12:9b NCV). When we are broken in spirit and our strength is spent, we can turn to our Savior Jesus.


A number of years ago, in a mental institution just outside Boston, Mass., a young girl known as "Little Annie" was locked in the dungeon. This institution was one of the more enlightened ones for the treatment of the mentally disturbed. However, the doctors felt that a dungeon was the only place for those who were "hopelessly" insane. In Little Annie's case, they saw no hope for her, so she was confined to a small cage which received little light and even less hope.

About that time, an elderly nurse in the institution was nearing retirement. She felt there was hope for all of God's creatures,so she started taking her lunch into the dungeon and eating outside Little Annie's cage. When the nurse started visiting her, Little Annie gave no indication that she was even aware of her presence. One day, the nurse brought some brownies to the dungeon and left them outside the cage. Little Annie gave no hint she knew they were there, but when the nurse returned the next day, the brownies were gone.

From that time on, the nurse would bring brownies when she made her Thursday visit. Soon, the doctors in the institution noticed a change was taking place. After a period of time, they decided to move Little Annie upstairs. Finally, the day came when this "hopeless case" was told she could return home. But Little Annie did not wish to leave. The place had meant so much to her she felt she could make a contribution if she stayed and worked with the other patients. The elderly nurse had seen and brought out so much in her life that Little Annie felt she could see and help develop something in others. In years, she devoted her life to helping a blind and deaf child, named Helen Keller, to develop her full potential.

Many years later, Queen Victoria of England, while pinning England's highest award on a foreigner, asked Helen Keller, "How do you account for your remarkable accomplishments in life? How do you explain the fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to accomplish so much?"

Without a moment's hesitation, Helen Keller said that had it not been for Anne Sullivan (Little Annie), the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown.

In whom have you invested your life? Someone is waiting to receive the encouragement you have to offer.

THE BEST PURSUIT From God's Little Lessons On Life

In 1947 Dr. Chandrasekhar was asked to teach an advance seminar in astrophysics at the University of Chicago. At the time, he was living in Wisconsin, doing research at the Yerkes astronomical observatory. He faced a 100-mile commute twice a week in the dead of winter to teach the class, but he nonetheless agreed.

However, registration for the advanced seminar was far below expectations. In fact, only two students signed up for the class. Other faculty members expected Dr. Chandrasekhar to cancel the course, so as not to waste his valuable time. He determined, however, to continue with the course and give his very best to the two students registered. Those students, Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-dao Lee, made his efforts worthwhile. Ten years later, in 1957, they both won the Nobel prize for physics. In 1983, Dr. Chandrasekhar won that same award.

Ends and means are not meant to exist in conflict. Good means to good ends are what challenges us to find and to do, regardless of the personal cost, the effort required, or the lack of resulting public acclaim. The best pursuit of the best ideals -- that's what it means to have integrity.

"I know, my God that you test men to see if they are good; for you enjoy good men. I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. (1 Chronicles 29: 17)


As I walked along Ponte Verde beach recently had a bizarre desire to tramp directly upon the shells and pulverize them. Some would crushed and turned to powder under my feet, but some of them survived the onslaught. The tough ones pushed down into the sand as I applied force to them and others just seemed to withstand the pressure, not cracking or crumbling. The actual size of the shell didn't’t seem to make much difference - it was the thickness that determined its “crush ability” ..The shells which remained intact reminded me of the Christian, clothed in the armor of God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13-17 that God has given the Christian an armor to don. This armor gives us extra protection and makes us “less easy to crush”, just like those dense shells.

For years I have tried to memorize this passage of scripture from Ephesians, as I wanted to clothe myself in Gods armor each day. I was unable to do so until recently when my friend, Donna, told me her method. Now I have it down pat, and put the armor of God on each morning before I even get out of bed. I not only dress myself in it, but my husband, daughters, son in laws and grandchildren! I place the helmet of salvation on our heads- it protects my mind and all my thoughts. It allows us to rest in the reality of who we am in Christ. Next is our breastplate of righteousness(protecting our hearts), belt of truth, shoes of peace(so we may spread the true peace, which is available in God). I pick up our shields of faith to protect us from Satan’s attacks and the sword of the spirit (God’s Word.) Now we are ready to face the day- dressed in the armor of God. Satan will not crack our faith or crush our spirit with insults, temptations, or setbacks, for we are dressed- head to foot: plus some extras- to face him head on! For He that lives within us is grater than he who is in the world. I hope you will consider dressing yourself and perhaps your loved ones each morning, also! It’s a GOOD thing to do!

Thank you, Lord, for your Word and also for a special friend who taught me how to memorize it.


Our house was directly across the street from the clinic Entrance Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, therewas a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.

"Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old, " I thought as I stared atthe stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face--lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning." He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face...I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments.. ."

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning." I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.

I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us "No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.

On his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us. In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.

Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!" Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!" My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."


On several occasions I have seen houses moved on land, but never before have I seen one moved across the water. I observed this awhile ago, and it was surely a strange sight for me to behold. The house was a two story wooden structure, balancing precisely on two large pontoons. It was being moved through the water by a small tug boat. As I watched its excursion through the water, it became stuck on a sandbar. The little tugboat did all it could to move or maneuver it, but to no avail. Before long, two more boats arrived on the scene to assist the stranded vessel. They succeeded in their endeavor, and the house on pontoons moved along. I wondered where it was going, and how it would be anchored when it got there.

Like the boat-afloat, people can be moving along in life at a comfortable pace. Before we know it, we too, can become stuck on a sandbar of life. It can happen in a flash- and then we may be completely immobilized, unable to move in any direction. Someone may come along and help push or pull us off this uncomfortable spot, or it may take a joint effort of people, circumstances, and mostly time to get us back into the waters of life.

The question is,¼ where do we go and how are we anchored when we are finally jarred loose from the sandbar? Do we just float here and there, taking our chances to drift out to sea? Or, do we set our anchor deep and secure; knowing it will hold us steady, even if the going gets rough? We need to anchor to the Word of God, which is active and alive (Hebrews 4:12), to the throne of God, where mercy and grace abound (Hebrews 4:16), to the cross of God, where Jesus blood was shed, to the body of Christ, who encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24,25), working for God, which gives meaning, purpose and direction (Hebrews 13:16) and to Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. He is as strong and reliable as they come, and His truths will carry us through the good times and bad. I claim Jesus as my anchor today and each day of my life. Won’t you do the same?

LOVE NOTES By Francis J. Kong

A mother named Antoinette Kuritz shared this idea of hers and we sure can pick this up and apply it to our own kids. Antoinette says:

From the time each of my children started school, I packed their lunches. And in each lunch I packed, I included a note. Often written on a napkin, the note might be a thank you for a special moment, a reminder of something we were happily anticipating, or a bit of encouragement for
an upcoming test or sporting event.

In early grade school, they loved their notes. They commented on them after school, and when I went back to teaching, they even put notes in my lunches. But as kids grow older, they become self-conscious, and by the time he reached high school, my older son, Marc, informed me he
no longer needed my daily missives. Informing him that they had been written as much for me as for him, and that he no longer needed to read them, but I still needed to write them, I continued the tradition until the day he graduated.

Six years after high school graduation, Marc called and asked if he could move home for a couple of months. He had spent those years well, graduating Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from college, completing two congressional internships in Washington, D.C., winning the Jesse Marvin Unruh Fellowship to the California State Legislature, and finally, becoming a legislative assistant in Sacramento. Other than short vacation visits, however, he had lived away from home. With his younger sister leaving for college, I was especially thrilled to have Marc coming home.

A couple weeks after Marc arrived home to rest, regroup and write for a while, he was back at work. He had been recruited to do campaign work. Since I was still making lunch every day for his younger brother, I packed one for Marc, too. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from my 24-year-old son, complaining about his lunch.

"Did I do something wrong? Aren't I still your kid? Don't you love me anymore, Mom?" were just a few of the queries he threw at me as I laughingly asked him what was wrong.

"My note, Mom," he answered. "Where's my note?"

This year, my youngest son will be a senior in high school. He, too, has now announced that he is too old for notes. But like his older brother and sister before him, he will receive those notes till the day he graduates, and in whatever lunches I pack for him afterwards.

What a great idea from a great mother who knows how to communicate her love to her children. Wish that all mothers would do the same.

The question I would like to ask you is as a mother, are you positive with your kids?

There is a great need for being creative with the way we treat our kids. And while the whole world wallows in negativity, the best thing we can do for our kids is to offer them an option that the family is a place for peace, joy and security. Your children will grow up with confidence, joy and optimism if you first display that in the way you deal with them.

Love notes? Corny? Some of you are probably thinking but not for kids who are reassured that no matter what happens, their parents will love them unconditionally.

This is why God leaves us with His "Love Notes" through the Holy Scriptures reminding us all the time that even when we have messed up, His love for us will never change.

You might want to pick up on this idea and leave love notes to your kids. But better still, you may want to practice being loving and joyful first. And do you know why? Because the best inheritance you can leave your children is a good example.

STAIRS NO WHERE By Sally I. Kennedy

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. 2 Samuel 22:31 Psalm 18

The wooden stairs appeared to lead up off the decking to something beyond, but what? Thick brushy mangroves bulged around the edges of the planking. As far as I could see from where I was standing, however, the stairs led to nowhere.

I’ve been there….. on rabbit trails that take you to a dead end. On stairs that lead to nowhere. It just seemed I was getting somewhere, somewhere meaningful at that. In the end it was no more than like running on a hamster wheel. Maybe you can relate.

One of the best examples of intentionally mapping a route and following it is reading the Bible. It is the best roadmap for living there is. There are thousands, probably millions, of books that purport the same, yet none has stood the test of time like the Word of God.

I’ve heard it said that if you have no where in particular you’re going that you’ll probably get there. The Bible, not stairs to nowhere.

That’s good news.


A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters which read, "Who I Am Makes a Difference." Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community.

She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened.

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people.

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I'm a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says 'Who I Am Makes A Difference' on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are really hectic and when I come ome I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me. Now I know you care. This is the happiest day I've known."

The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference it his being the bosses son. And the young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson.

Who you are DOES make a difference.

Remember that!

I give you a blue ribbon.

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