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
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