Friday, 17 May 2013

A Pastor's Business Card

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out a business card that he had printed "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it for just such an occasion, and stuck it in the door. When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned.

Added to it was this cryptic message, "Genesis 3:10." Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter. Revelation 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."

Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked."

Friday, 3 May 2013

A Ballast for My Soul

Life is like a stormy sea 

That tosses to and fro, 

But God's Word will ever be 

A ballast for my soul. 

By its truth I'll be held fast 

Till I reach heaven's shore 

Where I will be home at last 

And sail life's sea no more!

- Perry Boardman

Monday, 22 April 2013

Remember Love

My Italian Grandmother was a wonderful woman. "Nanny" had a loving, vibrant soul that she carried around in a short, heavyset body. She had a passion for life that expressed itself in so many ways. It was in the hugs she gave, the meals she cooked, and the flowers she grew. It was even in the temper she lost from time to time. I think one of the reasons I was never taught Italian by my Dad was he was afraid I might learn the meaning of some of those words Nanny said when she was upset.

Nanny raised four sons and then helped my Mom and Dad raise me and my two brothers as well. I always felt blessed growing up in her home as a boy. She worked hard, laughed loud, and was never afraid of what life threw at her. Life wasn't that easy on her either. She suffered from health problems all her life and even survived an operation for a brain tumor. When she fell and broke her hip in her eighties, my Dad was forced to admit that he could no longer take care of her at home.

It was with a heavy heart that Dad moved Nanny into a nursing home. She lost weight and was confined to a wheelchair. Yet, even as her body shrunk and withered her spirit stayed strong. The nurses there loved her and her zest for life. Even her Italian temper brought smiles to them as they learned a few "choice" words of Italian from her as well. Our whole family gathered together for her 90th birthday in the nursing home dining room. It was a wonderful celebration of her life and the love we all had for her.

Shortly after that birthday, however, life gave her the toughest challenge of all as age and illness started to take her mind from her too. The Dementia grew worse and worse over the last few years of her life. At times when I visited her she didn't know who I was. It was heartbreaking to see her this way. She spoke less and less and stayed in her bed more and more. Sometimes all I could do was just sit by her bed and hold her hand.

During one of these visits I was holding her hand while she slept and remembering the person she used to be. My soul was in mourning that life could take everything from her like this. At that moment she awoke. Her eyes gazed up at me and I could tell she didn't recognize me. She looked down at my hand holding hers and instead of pulling hers away, she smiled at me. Then she closed her eyes and went peacefully back to sleep. I could see then that even though her mind didn't remember me, her spirit still remembered love and that was enough.

In the end this life takes away everything we have except our love. Our love can never be taken away. It can never be destroyed. It can never be forgotten. Our love is eternal. It makes us one with God. It lives in us all through this life and it lives on into the next. It was my Nanny's love that made her the special soul she was. And it is your love that makes you the special soul you are. Always remember to love then. It is who you are. It is what you are meant for. It is what life is all about.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Please Revive Us

Dear Lord, I'm sure you must be tired
Of the wickedness of man,
Those you created for your pleasure,
To enjoy and tend your beautiful land.

Please forgive us, Heavenly Father,
For indulging sinful, lustful thoughts,
Flashed through our minds by Satan,
As he slanders our Savior on the Cross.

Please show us each and every one
Sins that we entertain and indulge;
Help us to confess and reject them all
And turn to you at the Spirit's Holy nudge.

We seek your forgiveness, Lord,
That we have failed to display your light,
To shine your love to others
Who wander in earth's dark night.

That we have not been salty
And on your Word stood tall
To cause the lost among us
To seek and answer salvation's call.

Clothe your children in the sacrifice of Christ,
Please revive us, correct our hearts anew;
Fill us with joy and Godly love
That we may please and glorify You.
~ Joyce Guy

Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Humble Servant

One day a humble servant of the Lord lost a very dear friend to the scourge cancer. The humble servant felt great sorrow and prayed that he would someday see his friend again. After much time in prayer, the humble servant was confronted by a demon. The demon said to him, "Why do you waste your time in prayer? There is no proof that God exists."

The humble servant answered him, "I have faith and that is why I pray."

The demon then said to him with disdain, "Faith is no more than superstition. On what do you base this 'faith?'"

The humble servant answered, "I base this faith on trust."

"Trust in whom?" the demon retorted. "In whom do you have such trust that you would ignore the laws of probability and the laws of science?"

"I trust in Christ," the humble servant replied.

"In Christ!" the demon exclaimed. "In Christ! Name one thing Christ has done to earn your trust. Tell me please, what has He ever done to earn your prayers? I dare you to name one miracle He has ever performed that has been proven by science to be true. Name it! Name it!" he taunted with glee.

The humble servant stood with patience, and then answered with three simple words: "The Church exists."

"What?" the demon declared in confusion. "What!" he said again with vexation. "What do you mean 'the Church exists?' Please tell me how this relates to trust. Please tell me how this justifies your wasted time in prayer?"

The humble servant calmly explained his answer. "Jesus Christ made a promise--the simple promise 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' And now after 2000 years the Church still endures. It endures despite a history of heresies and persecutions. It endures despite the tyranny of despots. It endures despite the laws of probability and the laws of science. What greater miracle is there than this—that the son of a simple carpenter, who lived a life of poverty, and dwelled with the lowly, who never ventured more than a hundred miles from the town of his birth, and who died a criminal's death on a cross, would establish a great and holy Church, and that the teachings of this Church would be spread throughout the world by twelve simple men--men who hid in fear after the crucifixion? Yet in a mere three days after this lowly criminal's death, these twelve sprang forth and proclaimed His word and gave up their lives so that His promise would ring true. And over the centuries thousands of others gave their lives also, so that the Church would go on. The most powerful kings and most menacing armies stood against her, but the Church did not falter. For 2000 years this Church has withstood the test of time, overcoming the greatest of odds again and again. It surmounted the insurmountable. It beat the unbeatable foe. It prevailed through the harshest of storms. I say to you, this Church has shattered the very laws that you exalt. It defied that laws of probability, and it humbled the laws of science."

The humble servant continued on, "The existence of this Church is not a myth. The existence of this Church is not a legend. That this Church exists is an undeniable fact. That Christ's promise was kept is an undeniable fact. And if He kept this promise, then how can there be any doubt that He will keep His greatest promise—the promise that was central to His ministry, the promise that said 'If you believe in me, and eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, you shall live forever.' So when you ask 'why do I have faith,' I tell you, it is because I have trust, and nothing that your fair science can offer can break that trust. This is why I pray, so that someday I will enjoy that most sacred covenant of all"--the humble servant paused briefly and then added with solemnity and conviction--"together with my friend!" He then looked the demon right in the eye. "What good can your science and probability offer that is greater than this?"

With those words, the demon turned away, never to bother the humble servant again.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Planting Potatoes

When I was a boy growing up we had several gardens around our old house. The largest one of all was used just for growing potatoes. I can still remember those potato planting days. The whole family helped. After my Dad had tilled the soil, my Mom, brothers, and I went to work. It was my job to drop the little seed potatoes in the rows while my Mom dropped handfuls of fertilizer beside them. My brothers then covered them all with the freshly turned earth. 

For months afterward I would glance over at the garden while I played outside and wonder what was going on underneath the ground. When the harvest time came I was amazed at the huge size of the potatoes my Dad pulled out of the soil. Those little seedlings had grown into bushels and bushels of sweet sustenance. They would be turned into meal after meal of baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, and my personal favorite: potatoes slowed cooked in spaghetti sauce. They would keep the entire family well fed throughout the whole year. It truly was a miracle to behold.

Thinking back on those special times makes me wonder how many other seeds I have planted in this life that have grown unseen in the hearts and minds of others. How many times has God used some little thing that I said or did to grow something beautiful? How many times has Heaven used these little seedlings to provide another's soul with sweet sustenance?

Every single day of our lives we step out into the garden of this world. Every single day we plant seeds that can grow into something wonderful. We may never see the growth that comes from the kind words or loving acts we share but God does. I hope then that you always tend the garden around you with care. I hope that you plant only goodness, peace, and compassion in the lives of everyone you meet. I hope that everyday you help miracles to grow.
~ Joseph J. Mazzella

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Take Me As Is

On her 50th wedding anniversary, a woman revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. She said, "On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband's faults which, for the sake of the marriage, I would overlook." 

One of her guests asked her what some of the faults she chose to overlook were. "To tell you the truth," she replied, "I never did get around to making that list. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, 'Lucky for him that's one of the ten!'"

It's nice to decide what to overlook. In relationships, I get plenty of practice overlooking the foibles of other people. And I suspect they get plenty of practice with me, too.

As they hung wallpaper together, one husband became frustrated with his wife. She seemed, to him, to be indifferent about the quality of her work. He felt she was doing a poor job. He finally put it into words this way: "The problem is that I'm a perfectionist and you're not."

"Exactly!" she replied. "That's why you married me and I married you!"

Miss Perfect certainly did one thing well. She knew how to overlook annoying observations from her perfectionist husband.

We human beings are nothing if not flawed and imperfect. But, the point is, people are not meant to without blemish. We're scraped and scarred, flawed on the inside and marred on outside. It's just the way we are. (Sometimes I think it's one of our more endearing qualities.) I never want to forget that "perfect" is only found in the dictionary.

All of us sport an invisible sign around our necks -- "AS IS." It means, take me as I am. I may not become what you want me to be. And I'm far, far from perfect. But I have some great qualities, too, as well as my share of faults. You will have to take me "AS IS" and I'll take you that way, too.

AS IS will be the best guarantee any of us can offer. But quite frankly, most of the time we're getting a pretty good deal.

~Steve Goodier

Saturday, 9 March 2013

You Are My Comfort

As I look out on to the ocean
My heart basks in your devotion
Your love and blessings are vast as the sea
Dear Lord you do hear the plea
Of the sorrowful, and the down trodden
A repenting heart's sins are long forgotten
The raging sea can not sink the ship
That's held in your grip
You are my anchor that holds
As the bad times unfold
My fountain of joy and peace
Where life's storms will cease.
You walk on water, calm the sea with your hand
Guide me as I go through this land.

~ Veronica Eudy

Friday, 8 March 2013

Make the Devil Take His Bags

You got out of a bad relationship because it was bad, but you are still resentful, and angry.

(you let the devil leave his bags)

You got out of financial debt, but you still can't control the desire to spend on frivolous things.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You got out of a bad habit or addiction, but you still long to try it just one more time.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You said, I forgive you, but you can't seem to let it go and have peace with that person.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You got out of that horribly oppressive job, but you're still trying to sabotage the company after you've left.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You cut off the affair with that married man/woman, but you still lust after him/her.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You broke off your relationship with that hurtful, abusive person, but you are suspicious and distrusting of every new person you meet.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

You decided to let go of the past hurts from growing up in an unstable family environment, yet you believe you are unworthy of love from others and you refuse to get attached to anyone.
(you let the devil leave his bags)

When you put the devil out, make sure he takes his bags, too!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Help Me, Lord

As I awake help me dear Lord I pray,
It's time to battle another day.
The pain is already rushing in,
I don't know where I should begin.

Sometimes it gets hard to keep doing what's right,
People are filled with malice and strife.
Time grows short and the path gets longer,
Lord only you can make me stronger.

My desire is to be in the center of your will.
All your desires help me fulfill.
Lord sweep my heart clean and purify,
Help me live a Christ filled life.

I want to be more open to receiving your help,
Help me depend on you not myself.
Your wisdom and strength are much greater than mine,
What a privilege to depend on your guidance strength and comfort all the time.

Thank you Lord for loving and promising to be with me,
Now the path ahead is clear and I can see.
I thank you I don't have to face this life alone,
Lord with your guidance and strength I will march on.

~ Patty Faye Locklear

Friday, 1 March 2013

Shake It Off!

There have been more good things happening in my life than bad. Sometimes, however, we choose to focus only on the bad. The good we take for granted. 


Today my car wouldn't start. Then my computer.

It's the second time in about a week that the car wouldn't start. I had to call AAA for service. It took less than a minute for the service man to get me running. He assured me that the battery was fine.

I guess it was until today.

My computer, the one I rely on totally for all of my work has had issues for more than a year. Each time it was corrected. Each time something went wrong I felt like someone cut my arm off. But I was told it was fine.

I guess it was until today.

Marianne stopped me to tell me her printer wouldn't work. It had issues when we first connected it, but then they were resolved.

I guess it was fine until today.

I am normally not a patient man. God has given me many gifts and talents. Patience was not one of them.

With all of this happening in one morning you would think I would be crazed. I'm not.

My car still sits outside and I am praying that it will start a little later and it won't cost me much to correct the problem.

My computer cannot be used, but I am told by the manufacturer that a service person will call me in 2-3 days to schedule a time to fix it.

My wife's printer is now working.

So, what's my point?

Stuff happens. That's it. I could easily see all of this as my life falling apart or accept that sometimes a number of things happen all in one space of time. Sometimes they are conveniently spread out so that I can handle them as they come.

It happens both ways. But what I choose to see at any given moment is my reality. As they say, "your perception is my reality." So, in essence I create my reality.

When I woke up this morning the title of my message to you was clear. I heard, "Shake it off!" I didn't understand it. I just accepted it and knew from experience that God would fill in the rest.

He did.

If you are having a bad day today, tomorrow or any future date, here's what I want you to do.

I want you to stand up, extend your arms slightly away from your body and shake. You know, like a dog does when he's wet. You heard me, "Shake it off!"

Do it as many times as needed until you feel completely foolish. I do believe it will bring a smile to your face, perhaps even a little laughter, but it will feel good.

Your challenges won't go away, but you will break the bond they have on you at that moment. When things go wrong they feel like they have a grip on you both mentally and physically. Ask God to help you let go of them and then stand up, sit where you are and "shake it off!"

I promise you it will work.

Then begin to put things in perspective, thank God that you are alive and yes, thank Him for the things you will learn from all of these challenges.

Things don't happen to you, they happen for you! 

~Bob Perks

Friday, 15 February 2013

A Rose for Rose

Red roses were her favorites; her name was also Rose,

And every year her husband sent them tied with pretty bows.
The year he died the roses were delivered to her door,
The card said "Be My Valentine" like all the years before.

Each year he sent her roses and the note would always say,
"I love you even more this year than last year on this day,
My love for you will always grow with every passing year,"
She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear.

She thought he ordered roses in advance before this day,
Her loving husband did not know that he would pass away.
He always liked to do things early way before the time,
Then if he got too busy everything would work out fine.

She trimmed the stems and placed them in a very special vase,
Then sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face.
She would sit for hours in her husband's favorite chair,
While staring at his picture and the roses sitting there.

A year went by and it was hard to live without her mate,
With loneliness and solitude that had become her fate.
Then the very hour as on Valentines before,
The doorbell rang and there were roses sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in and then just looked at them in shock,
Then went to get the telephone to call the florist shop.
The owner answered and she asked him if he would explain,
Why would someone do this to her causing her such pain?

"I know your husband passed away more than a year ago,"
The owner said, "I knew you'd call and you would want to know."
"The flowers you received today were paid for in advance,
Your husband always planned ahead he left nothing to chance."

"There is a standing order that I have on file down here,
And he has paid well in advance you'll get them every year."
"There also is another thing that I think you should know,
He wrote a special little card he did this years ago."

"Then should ever I find out that he's no longer here,
That's the card that should be sent to you the following year."
She thanked him and hung up the phone her tears now flowing hard,
Her fingers shaking as she slowly reached to get the card.

Inside the card she saw that he had written her a note,
Then as she stared in total silence this is what he wrote.
Hello my love I know it's been a year since I've been gone,
I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome.

I know it must be lonely and the pain is very real,
For if it was the other way I know how I would feel.
The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life,
I loved you more than words can say you were the perfect wife.

You were my friend and lover you fulfilled my every need,
I know it's only been a year but please try not to grieve.
I want you to be happy even when you shed your tears,
That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.

When you get these roses think of all the happiness,
That we had together and how both of us were blessed.
I have always loved you and I know I always will,
But my love you must go on you have some living still.

Please try to find happiness while living out your days,
I know it is not easy but I hope you find some ways.
The roses will come every year and they will only stop,
When your door's not answered when the florist stops to knock.

He will come five times that day in case you have gone out,
But after his last visit he will know without a doubt,
To take the roses to the place where I've instructed him,
And place the roses where we are together once again.
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