Friday, 30 March 2012

What is a Smile?

A smile costs nothing, but gives so much. 

It enriches those who receive it, without making poorer those who give. 

It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. 

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. 

A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business, and is the countersign of friendship. 

It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature's best antidote for trouble. 

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. 

Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

God's Embroidery

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side."

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Son, come and sit on my knee." This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, "My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing."

Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?" He has answered, "I am embroidering your life. " I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can't they all be bright?"

The Father seems to tell me, "'My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side."

Saturday, 24 March 2012

This too Shall Pass

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.

…Helen Steiner Rice

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Giving: A Pair of Pears

   There was a king who had a daughter who was very ill. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her. She just seemed miserable and cried often. One night the princess dreamed that if she ate a pair of very special pears she would get well. In order to learn what would make the pears so special, she would have to meet with each person who brought pears to her. Her mother the queen, decreed that whoever brought in the very special pears that healed the princess, would have the opportunity to marry the princess, if she wanted to marry him. Hundreds of young men brought baskets of pears to the princess. 

She talked for a long time to each of the young men, and ate their pears, but none of them made her feel better. One farmer who had very sweet and juicy pears as well as three sons told his eldest son, the most handsome of the three, to take a basket of pears to the princess.

On the way to the princess the handsome son met a dwarf who related how hungry he was. The dwarf saw the basket and said, "You must be taking pears to heal the princess. Please give me a few pears so I will not starve." The handsome son didn't want to give away even one pear, especially to a dwarf. He was afraid that any pear given away might turn out to be the special one of the pair that would heal the princess. Then he would lose the chance to marry her. So he said to the hungry man, "The only pears I have in this basket are pairs of pig's feet." The hungry man, who was really the prophet Elijah in disguise, replied, "Amen! So shall it be." Then he walked away. When the handsome son was brought to the princess, he opened his basket to show her his pears, and it was filled with pairs of pig's feet. The princess fainted. 

The king ordered the eldest son to be thrown out into the street. When the handsome son returned home he didn't want to tell anybody what had happened so he just said that the pears didn't work. The farmer then decided to send his middle son, the one who was tall, strong and had lovely blond hair, to bring the farmer's best pears to the princess. On the road to the castle the tall blond son also met Elijah, who was disguised this time as a poor beggar who was deaf in one ear. The blond son also didn't want to help the beggar, even though he seemed very hungry. The tall blond son said, "I can't help you. The only pears I have in this basket are pairs of pig's ears." "Amen!" said Elijah, "so shall it be." When the tall blond son was brought to the princess he opened his basket and it was filled to the top with pairs of pig's ears. The princess became nauseous and threw up. The king had the blond son thrown out the window into the street. 

When the middle son returned home he also didn't tell anybody what happened. The youngest son wasn't very handsome, and he wasn't tall or blond, but he was very kind and considerate. He begged his father to let him go because he wanted to help the princess, although he didn't think she would want to marry him. On the road to the princess he also met Elijah disguised as a beggar with ugly sores and scabs all over his face and arms. He felt sorry for the ugly beggar, and even before the beggar asked, he offered half of the pears in the basket to the man saying, "I pray these pears are good for you." Elijah took them and replied, "Amen! So shall it be good for you." 

 When the youngest son opened his basket before the princess she asked why it was only half filled with pears. He told her about offering half the basket of pears to the beggar who was covered with sores and scabs. The princess began to cry. The youngest son apologized for making her cry, but to his surprise she suddenly hugged him. They spent the whole day talking and the princess felt better and better. By the next day she was feeling great. A month later she told the youngest son she wanted to marry him, and that is what she did. The boy's father could never figure out what was special about the pears that the youngest son brought to the princess

Saturday, 17 March 2012

60 Seconds for Jesus - His Death

For the next 60 seconds, set aside whatever you're doing and read this. So powerful.

At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to the death penalty.

At the time crucifixion was the "worst" death. Only the worst criminals condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the cross by His hands and feet.

Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long.

The nails were driven into His wrist.
Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed.
There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder.
The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist, that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe.

Both of His feet were nailed together.
Thus He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross.
Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe.
Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.

Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours.

Yes, over 3 hours!
Can you imagine this kind of suffering?
A few minutes before He died,
Jesus stopped bleeding.
He was simply pouring water from his wounds.

From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side...
But do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body.
A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches,
then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear.
But before the nails and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten.
The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body.
The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face.
The crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp.
Most men would not have survived this torture.

He had no more blood to bleed out,
only water poured from His wounds.
The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood.

Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood;
He had three nails hammered into His members;
a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that,
a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His side.

All these without mentioning the humiliation
He passed after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers,
while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones
(the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part,
where His hands were nailed).

Jesus had to endure this experience, so that we can have free access to God.

So that our sins could be "washed" away. All of them, with no exception!


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I Found Jesus There

"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..." "You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted. 

The surgeon looked up, annoyed. "I'll cut your heart open," he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..." "But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there."

The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest back up and I'll plan what to do next."

"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart."

The surgeon had had enough. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well."

"You'll find Jesus there too. He lives there."

The surgeon left. The surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery, "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bedrest. Prognosis:, " here he paused, "death within one year." He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. "Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"

The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."

The surgeon's tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?"

The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."

The surgeon wept. The surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him.

The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" asked the boy. "I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Scary Storm

Children always see the best in everything. This story is cute :)

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trip to school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child. Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword would cut through the sky.

Full of concern, the mother quickly got in her car and drove along the route to her child's school.

As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile. Another and another were to follow quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking up and smiling.

Finally, the mother called over to her child and asked, "what are you doing?" The child answered, "smiling, God just keeps taking pictures of me."

Saturday, 3 March 2012

So Alone

If a house could remember, perhaps when we left it and moved away it would miss us and worry about its future with the new folks who might soon move in. That’s the premise of Norma Liles nostalgic whimsy in the article shown below.  Perhaps, however, the truth is that it is Norma who misses her old home. We wish both her and the old homestead much happiness in the future. –Editor

*So Alone*
Full of memories I sit here as a derelict; wondering what will happen next.  I can hear the voices of the loved ones who cared; their sweet voices ringing in song or the
weighty piano’s sounds echoing throughout the day.
 I hear the rocking chair squeak as a little one is lulled to sleep, the television emitting the soaps of the day. The phone rings often with a call from a loved one to share the
events of the day or possibly the year or an upcoming
 holiday.  Much laughter has been heard around as well as
tears of sadness , but altogether it rings with love of
family from young ones to the elderly.
 Some family members have been added over time plus
 other family members have gone to their reward.
 Just think of the days when they all walked through the
door; so much chatter that no one knows what the
other is trying to say but it is an excitement of being together and feeling loved.
 Now, my future appears to be uncertain as those who cared
 for my four walls are no longer available; but instincts tell me that I will secure a stronger future as loving
hands tend to my deficient state of disrepair.  I foresee my future being one of being renewed and rejuvenated
 as the hammers and nails seek the beauty within the home that until then feels; oh so alone.
Sharing my memories of our once upon a time home place 
that has passed on to new owners.  I pray they treat you
gently and enjoy the future that you have to offer.  You
were not just four walls that supported and protected us
over the years.  You hold a treasure of memories yet to
be shared.

Norma Liles

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