Illustrations

Jesus was a master at using illustrations in his teaching. Those who seek to be effective in teaching God's word will do well to follow his example. This section contains illustrations that have been gathered and/or submitted from many sources. Some are complete stories, some are instances, some allegories, parallels, or poems and even if there is some fact in some of them, they should all be considered illustrations, not statements of fact. Where we are certian of the factual nature of a story, references will be added at the end. Where the illustration is a poem or other identifiable intellectual property, the author is listed if we know who it is, otherwise, to us it is "unknown". If there is any illustration here that should be removed for any reason, please feel free to contact the administrators of this site.

Attitude is everything!

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
Looked in the mirror,
And noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today."
So she did And She Had A Wonderful Day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror
And saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said,
"I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."
So she did And She Had A Grand Day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
"Well," she said,
"today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did And She Had A Fun, Fun Day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
"YEA!" she exclaimed,
"I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Bank Account

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

 

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

 

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.

 

"It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

 

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

 

Remember these five 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.

 

Christians


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

 - By Maya Angelou

 

Coffee and Cups

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee. 

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. 

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups.

And then you began eyeing each other's cups. Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. God brews the coffee, not the cups.

Enjoy your coffee! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything."

Daddy's Empty Chair


A man's daughter had asked an elder from the local congregation to come and pray with her father.


When the elder arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed.  The elderassumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.


"I guess you were expecting me, he said. 'No, who are you?" said the father.  The elderbtold him his name and then remarked, I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up," Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. Would you mind closing the door?"

 

Puzzled, the elder shut the door. I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the preachers talk about prayer, but it went right over my head." I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.


Here is what I suggest, "Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'. Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now."

So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The elder was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey.  Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.  Two nights later the daughter called to tell the elder that her daddy had died that afternoon.  Did he die in peace?" he asked. Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead.

But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The elder wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

Does God Dance on your Potato Chips

Recently, I had "one of those days".  I was feeling pressure from a writing deadline.  I had company arriving in a couple days and the toilet was clogged.  I went to the bank, and the trainee teller processing my deposit had to start over three times.  I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine.  By the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for dinner. 

 

Deciding on Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten to buy milk at the store.  Nix the soup idea.  Setting the can aside, I went to plan B, which was leftover baked beans.  I grabbed a Tupperware from the fridge, popped the seal, took a Look and groaned. .

 

My husband isn't a picky eater, but even HE won't eat baked beans that look like caterpillars.  Really frustrated, now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition-free: hot dogs and potato chips.  Retrieving a brand new bag of chips from the cupboard, I grabbed the cellophane and gave a hearty pull.  The bad didn't open.  I tried again.  Nothing happened.  I took a breath, doubled my muscle, and gave the bag a hearty wrestle.  With a loud pop, the cellophane suddenly gave way, ripping wide from top to bottom. . .Chips flew sky high.  I was left holding the bag, and it was empty.  It was The final straw.  I let out a blood curdling scream.  "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!"

 

My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help.  Within minutes he was standing a the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips.  My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment.  He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips.  And then he began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips Into my linoleum in the process! 

 

I stared.  I fumed.  Pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile.  Eventually I had to laugh. And finally I decided to join him.  I, too, took a leap onto the chips.  And then I danced.

 

Now I'll be the first to admit that my husband's response wasn't the one I was looking for.  But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed.  I didn't need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.

 

So now I have a question for you, and it's simply this:  Has God ever stomped on your chips?  I know that, in my life, there have been plenty of times when I've gotten myself into frustrating situations and I've cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess I've made of things.

 

What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my prayer in a completely different manner than I had expected, but in the manner that is best for me after all.  Sometimes I can see right away that God's response was the best one after all.

 

Sometimes I have to wait weeks or months before I begin to understand how and why God answered a particular prayer the way He did.  There are even some situations that, years later, I'm still trying to understand.  I figure God will fill me in sooner or later, either this side of Heaven or beyond.

 

Do I trust Him?  Even when he's answering my prayers in a way that is completely different from my expectations?  Even when he's dancing and stomping, instead of sweeping and mopping?  Can I embrace what He's offering?  Can I let His joy adjust my attitude?  Am I going to stand on the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the steps of the dance He's dancing' with my needs in mind?

 

I'll be honest with you:  Sometimes I sulk.  Sometimes I dance.  I'm working on doing more of the latter than the former.  I guess the older I get the more I realize that He really does know what He's doing.  He loves me and I can trust Him.  Even when the chips are down.

Dogs

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year- old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

 

Excuse me. Are you Jesus?

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church.

It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day. You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

God and the Geese

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion  and religious holidays.    
His wife, however, did believe in God, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. 


One snowy Eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm community in which they lived. They were to talk about Jesus' birth. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!"   So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
 

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening  Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and  aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.   The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them.The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked  over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. 
 

 The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.


Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.
 

 "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"  He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn -- and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety.He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"  

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"    Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done.   We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing..    God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. 


As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:  "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!  I am ready to do what you wish for me to do" .

 


 Heb 4:14-16, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.   Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need".

Green Peas and Red Marbles

Babs Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me at the farmers market. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"Hello, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. Sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not zackley. But almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble."
"Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.

Several years went by, each more rapid that the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.


Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts.. all very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt."

"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho "

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Mat 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

 

 

Jesus Loves Me - Senior Citizen Version

 

Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow.
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.

(CHORUS)

YES, JESUS LOVES ME... YES, JESUS LOVES ME...
YES, JESUS LOVES ME FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go
On through life, let come what may,
He'll be there to lead the way.

(CHORUS)

Though I am no longer young,
I have much which He's begun.
Let me serve Christ with a smile,
Go with others the extra mile.

(CHORUS)

When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
"Have no fear, for I am near."

(CHORUS)

When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand His love

(CHORUS)

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.

 

Just Push

A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might...

 

So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might!   Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, Feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: (He will do it every time)!

 

He said, "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't moved." Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

 

 

Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough."


That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of Prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to The Lord. He prayed   "Lord, I have labored long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"


The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done.  Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.  And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed.  But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, you're back shiny and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your Faith and trust in My Wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock."

 

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect   to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him.  By all means, exercise the Faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God Who moves The Mountains ! 

 

 

When everything seems to go wrong....................................  Just P.U.S.H.

 

When the job gets you down.................................................. Just P.U.S.H.

 

When people don't do as you think they should.......................Just P.U.S.H.

When your money is "gone" and the bills are due.................. Just P.U.S.H.

When people just don't understand you.................................. Just P.U.S.H.

P = Pray 

U = Until
S = Something
H = Happens  


Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness" 2  Cor.9:10.


AND:  "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase". 1 Cor. 3:6.

Making a difference

I read about an old man who was walking on the beach very early in
the morning when he saw a young feller up ahead of him picking up
starfish and throwing them into the sea.  When he finally caught up
with the young feller, he asked him why he was doing this.  The young
feller answered him, "Because the stranded starfish would die if left
until the bright morning sun hits them."

"But the beach goes on for miles and miles and there are millions of
starfish," said the old man.  The young feller looked at the starfish
in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves.  He then said,
"it makes a BIG difference to that one!"

My Secret Advantage

A lesson in "heart" is my little, 10 year old daughter, Sarah, who was born with a muscle missing in her foot and wears a brace all the time.

She came home one beautiful spring day to tell me she had competed in "field day" - that's where they have lots of races and other competitive events.  Because of her leg support, my mind raced as I tried to think of encouragement for my Sarah, things I could say to her about not letting this get her down - but before I could get a word out, she said "Daddy, I won two of the races!"

I couldn't believe it! And then Sarah said, "I had an advantage." Ah. I knew it. I thought she must have been given a head start...some kind of physical advantage. But again, before I could say anything, she said, "Daddy, I didn't get a head start... My advantage was I had to try harder!"

Prayer on an Island

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agree that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing the first man prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that his wife and he could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from Heaven booming,

"Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"

"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered.

"His prayers were all unanswered, and so he does not deserve anything."

"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."

"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"

"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."

For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us.

When Jesus died on the cross he was thinking of you!

The Carpenter's Glasses

My grandfather worked as a carpenter. On one particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China.

On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this."

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago.

The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. "But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this."

"Then your crates arrived. When we removed the covers, we found a pair of glasses lying on top." The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to Thank you for being a part of that."

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas.

But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking him!

Rom. 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose".

The Concert

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star."

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit.""Keep playing."  Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato.

Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.

The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic, " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

Perhaps that's the way it is with God.  What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.  We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful.

The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit" "Keep playing"

May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.

Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.'
Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire. So touch someone by passing this little message along.

May God bless you and be with you always! and remember, "Don't Quit, Keep Playing"


 

 

 

 

The Decision

AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS,

THE CHURCH'S PREACHER SLOWLY STOOD UP,

WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND,

BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE EVENING,

BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER

WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.

IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PREACHER TOLD THE CONGREGATION

THAT THE GUEST MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A

FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE

WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE

SERVICE. WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE

PULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.

"A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE

SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC COAST." HE BEGAN.

"WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO

GET BACK TO THE SHORE. THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT

EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE

COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE

SWEPT INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED."

THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT,

MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE,

FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN,

LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.

THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY,

"GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE

MOST EXCRUCIATING DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY

WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE.

HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION.

THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HE,

ALSO, KNEW THAT HIS SON'S FRIEND WAS NOT.

THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE

TORRENT OF WAVES.

AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!'

HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON'S FRIEND.

BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO

THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE

RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT.

HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.

BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP

STRAIGHT IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT

WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER'S MOUTH.

"THE FATHER," HE CONTINUED, "KNEW HIS SON WOULD STEP

INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT BEAR THE

THOUGHT OF HIS SON'S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY

"WITHOUT JESUS.. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO

SAVE THE SON'S FRIEND. "

HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE

SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY

BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO

ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE

LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE."

WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS

; CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.

THE PREACHR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND

DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE
END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL. WITHIN

MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS

WERE AT THE OLD MAN'S SIDE.

"THAT WAS A NICE STORY," POLITELY STATED ONE OF T! HEM,

"BUT I DON'T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER

TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON'S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER

BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN."

"WELL, YOU 'VE GOT A POINT THERE," THE OLD MAN REPLIED

GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE B! ROADENED

HIS NARROW FACE. HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS

AND SAID, "IT SURE ISN'T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT

I'M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES

ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO

GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME. YOU SEE...

I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PREACHER IS MY SON'S FRIEND."

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"

The Legend of the Cherokee Indian Youth

 

 "We Are Never Alone"

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His dad takes him into the forrest..blindfolded...and leaves him....alone.

He is required to sit on a stump the whole night...and not take off the
blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He
cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night..he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of
this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood.

The boy was terrified...could hear all kinds of noise...Beasts were all around him.
Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and
earth... and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically..never removing the blindfold.
It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night..the sun appeared and he removed his
blindfold. It was then that he saw his father..sitting on the stump next to
him...at watch... the entire night.

We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Father is protecting
us...He is sitting on the stump beside us.

 

Unfold the Rose


A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice. The older preacher walked up to a rose bush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing any of the petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try and unfold the rosebud while keeping every petal intact.  It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the young preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem:    
It is only a tiny rosebud
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
Then, in my hands, they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
The flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So, I'll trust in Him for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the Pilgrim's way
The pathway that lies before me
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust him to unfold the moments,

Just as He unfolds the rose. 


Psa 73:28   "But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."

Wasted Years - Poem

I looked upon a farm one day,

That once I used to own;

The barn had fallen to the ground

The fields were overgrown

The house in which my children grew,

Where we had lived for years--

I turned to see it broken down,

And brushed aside the tears.

I looked upon my soul one day,

To find it too, had grown

With thorns and thistles everywhere

The seeds neglect had sown.

The years had passed while I had cared

For things of lesser worth;

The things of heaven I let go

While minding things on earth.

To Christ I turned with bitter tears,

And cried, "O Lord, forgive!

I haven't much time left for tee,

Not many years to live."

The wasted years forever gone,

The days I can't recall;

If I could live those days again,

I'd make him Lord of all.

   (Unknown)