THE RECKONING ROOM

April 22, 2010
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except the one wall covered with small index cards files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different readings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then, without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have Betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At," Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I Have Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done In My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath At My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I'd hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting and was signed with my own signature. When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of the music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them." In an insane frenzy, I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I couldn't dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I have Shared The Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as he began opening the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over to me and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was, "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 _______________ AUTHOR UNKNOWN

TELL THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW

April 21, 2010
The story is told of a Christian college where the preacher students took turns speaking in chapel every Thursday. There was one freshman preacher student, though, who had avoided the dreaded task of preaching at chapel long enough that it came to the attention of the Chapel Master. The following conversation ensued:

"I'm scheduling you to preach at chapel next Thursday."

"Oh, please. I'll do anything. I'll write a paper, do extra homework assignments, even clean the toilets. Just please don't make me speak in public yet."

"You are not getting out of this, and there will be no excuses."

Thursday rolled around and, with desperately quaking knees, the young student stood up to preach, and asked, "Do you know what I'm going to say?" Everyone shook their heads no. "Neither do I. Go in peace."

The Chapel Master was really angry. "That is not acceptable. You are right back on the schedule for next Thursday, and this time you will preach, and it will be an example of diligent preparation, and there will be no excuses."

Thursday rolled around and, with yet more quaking, the young man stood up to preach and asked, "Do you know what I'm going to say?" Everybody nodded their heads yes. "Good. Go in peace."

The Chapel Master was absolutely outraged. "There will be no more of these shenanigans. You will preach the word of God next Thursday. You will not fail, or you will be removed from school immediately."

Thursday rolled around and, barely able to stand, the student got up to preach and asked, "Do you know what I'm going to say?"

Some shook their heads no; others nodded their heads yes.

"Good. Those who know, please tell those who don't. Go in peace."

Not a bad summary of the Great Commission and our task of evangelism. Those who know ought to tell those who don't.

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' " (Matthew 28:18-20).

If you are among those who know about the gospel, share it today with someone who doesn't.

THE ROAD OF LIFE

April 21, 2010
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, But I really didn't know Him.  

But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. 
  
I don't know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable... It was the shortest distance between two points.  
 
But when He took the lead, He knows the delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" 
                                                                                      
I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He 
laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. 

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. 

And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.


I did not trust him at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. 

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.  

And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says.... 
"Pedal."

THE THIEF WHO WAS ROBBED

April 21, 2010
"Be sure your sin will find you out." — Moses (Numbers 32:23)

Zig Zigler, a well-known motivational speaker, tells the story about a thief who was robbed. The incident took place back in 1887 in a small neighborhood grocery store when a middle-aged gentleman, Emanuel Nenger, gave the assistant a $20 note to pay for the turnip greens he was purchasing. When the assistant placed the note in the cash drawer she noticed that some of the ink from the $20 came off on her hands which were wet from wrapping the turnip greens.

She'd known Mr. Nenger for years and was shocked. She pondered, "Is this man giving me a counterfeit $20 note?" She dismissed the thought immediately and gave him his change. But $20 was a lot of money in those days so she notified the police who, after procuring a search warrant, went to Emanuel Nenger's home where they found in his attic the tools he was using to reproduce the counterfeit $20 notes. They found an artist's easel, paint brushes, and paints which Nenger was using to meticulously paint the counterfeit money. He was a master artist.

The police also found three portraits that Nenger had painted, paintings that sold at public auction for a little over $16,000! The irony was that it took him almost as much time to paint a $20 note as it did to paint those portraits which sold for more than $5,000 each.

The man who robbed Emanuel Nenger was himself. We do the same whenever we cheat or break the law, including God's law for illegitimate gain. And while most of us wouldn't rob another person of his or her material possessions, it is very easy to rob a person's reputation through idle gossip.

We also rob and cheat ourselves when we don't give to God and to others in need; whether it is of our time, talents, resources, or love.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me never to rob from any person in any way and help me never to rob from You. Help me, too, to be a giver and not a taker. In Jesus' name. Amen"
______________
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

THE LORD'S PRAYER

April 21, 2010
Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
YES?

Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
BUT -- YOU CALLED ME!!

Called you? No, I didn't call you. I'm praying. Our Father who art in
heaven.
THERE -- YOU DID IT AGAIN.

Did what?
CALLED ME. YOU SAID, "OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN." WELL, HERE I AM. WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?

But, I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.
WELL, ALL RIGHT. GO ON.

Okay, Hallowed be Thy name.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

By what?
BY "HALLOWED BE THY NAME?"

It means, it means... good grief, I don't know what it means. How in the world should I know? It's just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?
IT MEANS HONORED, HOLY, WONDERFUL.

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before. Thanks. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
DO YOU REALLY MEAN THAT?

Sure, why not?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
YES, I KNOW... BUT, HAVE I GOT CONTROL OF YOU?

Well, I go to church.
THAT ISN'T WHAT I ASKED YOU. WHAT ABOUT YOUR BAD TEMPER? YOU'VE REALLY GOT A PROBLEM THERE, YOU KNOW. AND THEN THERE'S THE WAY YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY -- ALL ON YOURSELF. AND WHAT ABOUT THE KIND OF BOOKS YOU READ?

Now hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!
EXCUSE ME. I THOUGHT YOU WERE PRAYING FOR MY WILL TO BE DONE. IF THAT IS TO HAPPEN, IT WILL HAVE TO START WITH THE ONES WHO ARE PRAYING FOR IT. LIKE YOU, FOR EXAMPLE.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.
SO COULD I.

I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.
GOOD. NOW WE'RE GETTING SOMEWHERE. WE'LL WORK TOGETHER -- YOU AND ME. I'M PROUD OF YOU.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. Give us this day, our daily bread.
YOU NEED TO CUT OUT THE BREAD. YOU'RE OVERWEIGHT AS IT IS.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.
PRAYING IS A DANGEROUS THING. YOU JUST MIGHT GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR. REMEMBER, YOU CALLED ME -- AND HERE I AM. IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW. KEEP PRAYING.

... pause ...

WELL, GO ON.
I'm scared to.

SCARED? OF WHAT?
I know what you'll say.

TRY ME.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

WHAT ABOUT CAROL?
See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories. She never paid back the money she owes me. I've sworn to get even with her!

BUT -- YOUR PRAYER -- WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRAYER?
I didn't -- mean it.

WELL, AT LEAST YOU'RE HONEST. BUT, IT'S QUITE A LOAD CARRYING AROUND ALL THAT BITTERNESS AND RESENTMENT ISN'T IT?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her. Boy, have I got some plans for her. She'll wish she had never been born.

NO, YOU WON'T FEEL ANY BETTER. YOU'LL FEEL WORSE. REVENGE ISN'T SWEET. YOU KNOW HOW UNHAPPY YOU ARE -- WELL, I CAN CHANGE THAT.
You can? How?

FORGIVE CAROL. THEN, I'LL FORGIVE YOU; AND THE HATE AND SIN WILL BE CAROL'S PROBLEM -- NOT YOURS. YOU WILL HAVE SETTLED THE PROBLEM AS FAR AS YOU ARE CONCERNED.
Oh, you know, you're right. You always are. And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with You... (sigh). All right... all right... I forgive her.

THERE NOW! WONDERFUL! HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all! In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight. I haven't been getting much rest, you know.

YEAH, I KNOW. BUT, YOU'RE NOT THROUGH WITH YOUR PRAYER ARE YOU? GO ON.
Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

GOOD! GOOD! I'LL DO THAT. JUST DON'T PUT YOURSELF IN A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE TEMPTED.
What do you mean by that?

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
Yeah. I know.

OKAY. GO AHEAD. FINISH YOUR PRAYER.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BRING ME GLORY -- WHAT WOULD REALLY MAKE ME HAPPY?
No, but I'd like to know. I want to please you now. I've really made a mess of things. I want to truly follow you. I can see now how great that would be. So, tell me... how do I make you happy?

YOU JUST DID!
__________________
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

A WALK WITH THE LORD

April 19, 2010
I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food." My heart sank.

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them.

I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront church, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.

"Looking for the pastor?" I asked.

"Not really," he replied, "just resting."

"Have you eaten today?"

"Oh, I ate something early this morning."

"Would you like to have lunch with me?"

"Do you have some work I could do for you?"

"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."

"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions.

"Where you headed?"

"St. Louis."

"Where you from?"

"Oh, all over; mostly Florida."

"How long you been walking?"

"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.

"Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."

"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.

"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"

"What?"

"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?"


"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you use another Bible?" I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see." I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
"Where are you headed from here?"

"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."

"Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"

"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next."

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining.We parked and unloaded his things.

"Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from folks I meet."

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched My life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you, "declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a Future and a hope."

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you."

"I know," I said, "I love you, too."

"The Lord is good!"

"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.

"A long time," he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem."
"I'll be there!" was my reply.
He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

"You bet," I shouted back, "God bless."

"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.

Then I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.

"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will...

WHY IT IS DIFFICULT TO LEARN ENGLISH

April 19, 2010

Learning English is very confusing. If you don't believe, just check out:
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

THE TREASURE

April 19, 2010

 

 

 The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.  "Oh please,  Mommy. Can I have them?  Please, Mommy, please!" 
       Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five.  That's almost $2.00! If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.  Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp  dollar bill from Grandma." 
      As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.  On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.  
       Jenny loved her pearls.  They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed.  
The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath.  Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.  
      Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.  
     One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"  
     "Oh yes, Daddy.  You know that I love you."  
     "Then give me your pearls."  
     "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls.  But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail.  Remember, Daddy?  The one you gave me. She's my favorite."  
     "That's okay, Honey.  Daddy loves you.  Good night."  And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. 
     About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked  again, 
     "Do you love me?"  
     "Daddy, you know I love you."  
     "Then give me your pearls."  
     "Oh Daddy, not my pearls.   But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday.  She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."  
     "That's okay.  Sleep well.  God bless you, little one.  Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.  
     A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style.  As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.  
     "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"  
     Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy.  And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy.  It's for you."  
     With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.  
     He had had them al the time.  He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.  
     So like our Heavenly Father. 
     What are you hanging on to?

THE GOSSIPER

April 19, 2010
A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days the
whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and
offended. Later, the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it
was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find
out what she could do to repair the damage.

Go to the marketplace," he said, "and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road." Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told.

The next day the wise man said, "Now, go and collect all those feathers
you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me."

The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay the wind had blown all
the feathers away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in
her hand.

You see," said the old sage, "it's easy to drop them, but it
is impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn't take much to
spread a rumor, but once you do you can never completely undo the wrong."

THE SWAN & THE CRANE

April 18, 2010
Many years back, may be at least two decades ago, I read this simple story of a swan and a crane and their conversation about heaven. The story goes something like this:

One day a beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails.

For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:
"Where do you come from?"

"I come from heaven!" replied the swan.

"And where is heaven?" asked the crane.

"Heaven!" said the swan, "Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?"

And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.

Finally the crane asked: "Are there any snails there?"

"Snails!" repeated the swan; "No! Of course, there are not."

"Then," said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, "You can have your heaven. I want my snails!"

Many of us are like the crane. We fail to understand the grandeur and beauty of heaven so as to long for it intensely. Heaven and the things in it are much better than our best possessions and the riches of this world. Yet, we love this world so much. We often talk about heaven but lacks sincerity. We are so used to the vanities of the world. We treasure our “snails” and are even willing to trade the joy and happiness of heaven for it.

Why are we so stubborn? Why do we hate to give up our “snails”?

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

If only we can truly understand the things which God has prepared for!

Lord, teach us to understand and desire the things of heaven. Help us to disregard worldly materials and seek only things of you. 
________________________
KHAMNEITHANG VAIPHEI

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