Wednesday, December 16, 2009

L o v e

A Beautiful Story - Love

Author: John Powell

John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student named Tommy in his "Theology of Faith" class:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.

It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under 'S' for strange, very strange.

Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was, for me at times, a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door, then called out, "Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!"

He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report came. I heard Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy, but his eyes were bright, and his voice was firm for the first time, I believe.

"Tommy, I've thought about you so often. I hear you are sick," I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.

"Sure, what would you like to know?" he replied.

"What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals; like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real 'biggies' in life."

(I began to look through my mental file cabinet under 'S' where I had filed Tommy as strange. It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something you said to me on the last day of class."

(He remembered!)

He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God, and you said, 'No! ‘which surprised me. Then you said, 'But He will find you.' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time.

(My clever line... He thought about that a lot!)

"But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven, but God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try something for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted; fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class, and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.'

So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.


"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean it's really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that."

(Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.)

"The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.

We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.

It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying really nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.

I was only sorry about one thing - that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

Then, one day, I turned around and God was there!  He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him.  I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop; 'C'mon, jump through.  C'mon, I'll give You three days, three weeks.' Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour.  But the important thing is that He was there. He found me. You were right.  He found me even after I stopped looking for Him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize.  To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather to open up to love.  You know, the Apostle John said that.

He said: 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.'

Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now.  Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me?  If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Ooh .. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class." 

"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call."

In a few days, Tom called, said he was ready for the class that he wanted to do that for God and for me.  So we scheduled a date, but he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class.

Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard, or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time.

"I'm not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you...tell the whole world for me?" "I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening.  And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven - I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two. It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.

With thanks, John Powell, Professor Loyola University, Chicago

I verified this story on ; which stated the following: “This story was written by Father John Powell; a retired professor at Loyola University in Chicago.  Father Powell is advanced in years, but found him and talked with him.   The story was fresh in his mind and he confirmed that it is true and happened in the way that he described it.”

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” - John 15:9 

To subscribe please send an email to:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



Author: Nancy Turner

Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us. Sadhu Sundar Singh

Attitude: The longer one lives, the more one realizes the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude is more important than facts, more important than circumstances, failures or successes, and certainly more important than what other people think or say.  It's more important than appearance, talent or skill.  Attitude can make or break a man, a home, a family, or an organization; it can shatter dreams, ideas, relationships, and children's futures.

Every day, each one of us has a choice regarding not only the clothes we wear, but the attitude we present for that day.  It's the last thing we put on as we leave our home.

People should have a mirror by the door, just to make sure their attitude is on straight.

We cannot change, as God cannot change, the past, nor can we guarantee that those we smile at or say "Good Morning" to will be pleasant or even civil, since anger has a way of inserting its sharp words into pleasant as well as strained conversations.

The time we spend interacting with people may vary from a few seconds to hours, and happens under all circumstances, such as walking down the street or school hallway.

We may think that a head nod, or a brief "Hello" is insignificant, but think again.  As a clown, I have come to realize that those few moments are what children and people remember.

Two weeks ago, another clown and I were at a Friendly's restaurant in Concord.  We had just finished a parade and were still in costume.  We were tired, hot and hungry.

Since it was during that heat wave, many parents were there with their children, and you know how clowns react with children.  So we made balloons and passed them from table to table until all the kids had at least one.  Just as our food arrived, a small boy about nine years old came from somewhere and tugged at my sleeve and said, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you." We never did get to eat.

What I'm trying to say is that whether you interact with people in three minutes or three hours, you leave behind a feeling or attitude of caring or not caring, of sensitivity or insensitivity, and as one clown said, "You walk away leaving a legend or a nightmare."

Each one of us should realize that as we walk away, we leave something behind.  What we leave depends on us.

Submitted by BRIDGE TO THE WORLD to subscribe send an email to:

“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?” - Luke 14:34 


Wasting Precious Time
Author: Joseph Sica

I recently visited a friend in the hospice unit at one of our local   hospitals.

As I was talking with Bill, a gentleman walked into the room.  Bill   began to cry and so did the gentleman.  The gentleman leaned over the bed   to embrace Bill.  After a few moments the gentleman, Ken, said to me, “He’s my brother.  We haven’t spoken in over 25 years.”

Caught by surprise by his comment, I said, “You’re kidding me?”

“No,” replied Ken.  “We had an argument over a piece of property and have been estranged from each other.”

Bill said, “Ken, you haven’t met my children.”

Then Bill introduced his children to their uncle.  I left the hospice unit thinking, there’s something wrong when we can’t forgive.  Life is short and it’s difficult to make up for all the time that has been lost.

This experience caused me to think the power of forgiveness and the need for it in our lives.  Sure, when someone says something or does something to cause us harm, it hurts.  But we need to move beyond the hurt, to healing, which comes from forgiveness.

I like to think of forgiveness as the bold choice we make to clear out of our lives resentment, bitterness, anger, hatred, and revenge.  We need to ask ourselves, “Do I want to waste precious time and energy carrying around these nasty feelings?”

It’s the unfinished business we may have with a spouse, parent, child, brother or sister, or friend which we need to take care of before it’s too late.

Holding on to the past only weakens the relationship and keeps us from mending it and putting it back together.

When we refuse to forgive, the other person owns us.

Often forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for us -- to let it go and begin again.

Charlie came to see me about a problem he was having.  He was angry with his father for dying.  He said, “He died just when I was getting to know him as a buddy, a friend.  We’d fish, hunt, and golf together.  Now it’s all gone.”

I told him, “You have unfinished business with your father.  Go and tell him.”

“He’s dead,” Charlie said, “How can I?”

I said, “Get in your car and go to the cemetery and tell him how angry you are with him.”  He left me looking confused.

Two weeks later, Charlie came and told me, “I feel better.  I drove to the cemetery and stood over his grave and dumped my angry.  Then I closed my eyes and said to myself what I felt my dad would say.  Wow, I never realized how much energy keeping all that anger inside can do to a person.”

I agreed and applauded Charlie for what he did.

Forgiveness brings healing, freedom, and peace back into our lives. It opens our eyes to see what happened.  It calls us to break down the walls, stop the silent treatment and put an end to the cold war.  One day, the roles of wronged and wrongdoer may be reversed.

Use today as an opportunity to open a door that has been closed too long.  Forgive.  Let it go.  Put it behind you and see how much better you will feel.

Give it try.  It works.

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” -Matthew 18:21-22

To subscribe please send an email to:


Looking At The Heavens


I am finding myself looking at the heavens a lot more these days. I am trying to watch and enjoy as many sunrises and sunsets as I can, and I am letting their beauty fill my soul with happiness. I love seeing God paint the heavens with glorious reds, purples, pinks, oranges, and golds. I love gazing with wonder at these ever-changing masterpieces. Every sunrise feels like God is welcoming us to a new day full of wonder and delight. Every sunset feels like God is kissing us goodnight and wishing us sweet dreams. Every time I look at them I feel God’s peace and joy, and I know that I am loved by the greatest love imaginable.

Looking at the heavens helps me to feel the Heaven inside myself too. When I gaze at the sky and witness God’s glorious creation I want to thank God for my own life and all the wonderful blessings in it. When I stare at those beautiful sunrises and sunsets I happily remember that I am here to live a beautiful life full of peace and love. When I look at those bright heavens each day of my life I want to share the Heaven in my own soul as well.

Every day the sun rises again in the morning sky. It’s welcoming beauty and light is always there even if it is sometimes hidden by the clouds. Every evening the sun sets in the night sky but not without a promise of even more beauty and light the next day. Take some time today to look up at the heavens then. Take some time today to find the Heaven within yourself. Take some time today to make your own life a Heavenly light full of love, joy, peace, happiness, goodness, and delight. Take some time today to share that light with the world and show others that they can do the same. Take some time today to remember that God loves you and wants you to live a life as joyful as the sunrise and as beautiful as the setting sun.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible. 

Source ---

Genie In The Lamp


How many of us at one time or another have wished that those fairy tales were true and that we could somehow find a magic lamp with a genie in it? How many of us have wished that we could have those three wishes that would change our lives? How many of us have wished that we could finally get all that money and all that stuff so that we could finally be happy? I
hate to say it, but I was one of those genie wishers for a long time myself. I finally realized, however, that I didn’t need a genie in a lamp because I already had an angel in my mind.

That angel had always been there trying to get my attention and show me the truth about life and love, but for a long time I was too busy wishing for a genie to hear him. I was waiting to get all of that stuff so that I could finally be happy. One glorious day, though, I finally heard what my angel had been whispering all those years. “More stuff isn’t going to make you happy. Being happy is going to make you happy.” It was then that I realized that I wasn’t just taking the long way to joy, I was also taking the wrong way to joy.

We don’t need a genie in a lamp to bring us joy. We don’t need three magic wishes to bring us happiness. All we need to do is listen to the angel in our minds. That angel is telling us everyday just how much God loves us and wants us to be happy. That angel is telling us everyday that we can choose love, joy, and oneness with God as well. That angel is telling us everyday that we are here to do God’s will by sharing that love and joy with the world.

Shove the genie back in the lamp then. God didn’t bring you here to sit around waiting for your world to get better. God brought you here to make the world better yourself. Share your love, joy, talent, and energy with the world. Create your own happiness everyday with what you think, feel, and do. Listen to that angel in your mind and become an angel in your own

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Hebrews 13:5-6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Psalm 16:8-11 “I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at
Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Psalm 103:1-5 “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless
His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who
redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness
and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy
youth is renewed like the eagle's.”

Psalm 118:5-9 “I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me,
and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear:
what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me:
therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to
trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in
the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

Source ---

The Eyes That See


I have a blind friend who lives in New York City. Although we have never met face to face, we still write each other frequently. She is a remarkable lady and has become like a sister to me. Her optimistic and enthusiastic letters always lift my spirits and the inspiring poems she shares with the world always bring a smile to my face. She is all the more amazing due to
the fact that she lost her sight halfway through her life. She had to give up her career and relearn to do everything that most of us take for granted.

Many would have given up after such a loss, but not her. Instead she embarked on a glorious new life full of award winning volunteer work. Her days are full of teaching English to new immigrants, counseling hurting hearts, writing, serving her religious community and helping others in every way she can.

The light of my friend’s example is a beacon that I try to follow as well. Whenever I feel too challenged in my own life I look at the challenges that she has overcome in hers. She may have lost her sight, but she never lost her soul. She knows that the eyes that really see are the eyes of the heart, and she does her best everyday to follow the loving vision that they give to her. I am sure too that the eyes of the angels watching over her are always filled with tears of joy and that their faces are always full of shining smiles.

I hope then that when you go through your own life you are not distracted by the murky view that this world so often gives you. I hope that you see it for the illusion it is and instead look at life with the clear vision of your heart’s eyes. God wants us to see this world and our lives through the eyes of love. It is only then that our sight will be pure. It is only then that our path will shine brightly before us. It is only then that we will see how we were meant to live and how we can best bring Heaven to Earth.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Matthew 25:37-40 Jesus says, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

All scriptures can be found in the New King James Version. 

Source ---

The Gift


A story about an old Bendix washing machine helped one man get through the valley of loss.

His parents acquired the washer when John Claypool was a small boy. It happened during World War II. His family owned no washing machine and, since gasoline was rationed, they could ill afford trips to the laundry several miles away. Keeping clothes clean became a problem for young John's household.

A family friend was drafted into the service, and his wife prepared to go with him. John's family offered to store their furniture while they were away. To the family's surprise, the friends suggested they use their Bendix while they were gone. “It would be better for it to be running,” they said, “than sitting up rusting.” So this is how they acquired the washer.

Young John helped with the washing, and across the years he developed an affection for the old, green Bendix. But eventually the war ended. Their friends returned. In the meantime he had forgotten how the machine came to be in their basement in the first place. When the friends came to take it away, John grew terribly upset -- and let his feelings be known.

His wise mother sat him down and said, “Wait a minute, Son. You must remember, that machine never belonged to us in the first place. That we ever got to use it at all was a gift. So, instead of being mad at it being taken away, let's use this occasion to be grateful that we had it at all.”

The lesson proved invaluable. Years later, John watched his eight-year-old daughter die a slow and painful death of leukemia. Though he struggled for months with her death, John could not really begin healing from the loss until he remembered the old Bendix.

“I am here to testify,” he said, “that this is the only way down the mountain of loss...when I remember that Laura Lou was a gift, pure and simple, something I neither earned nor deserved nor had a right to. And when I remember that the appropriate response to a gift, even when it is taken away, is gratitude, then I am better able to try and thank God that
I was ever given her in the first place.”

His daughter was given to him to love and nurture. She never belonged to him, but he had the awesome privilege of sharing her life for a while. When he realized that simple fact, everything changed. He could now begin healing from the tragedy of her loss by focusing instead on the wonder of her life. He started to see Laura Lou as a marvelous gift that he was fortunate enough to enjoy for a time. He felt grateful. He found strength and healing. He finally knew he could get through the valley of loss.

We all experience loss -- loss of people, loss of jobs, loss of relationships, loss of independence, loss of esteem, loss of things. What if you view that which is lost as a gift you were given for a time? Perhaps that simple choice of trying to reframe your loss will change sad memories into thankful ones. And perhaps it will get you unstuck and back
on the road to healing and wholeness.

By Steve Goodier

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Psalm 139:1-6 “O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” 

Source ---


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Author: Joseph Frith

Story Editor: Joyce Schowalter

It was the Christmas season, and as I drove home from work I thought how this year was unlike any Christmas I'd ever experienced. Springfield, Illinois, is completely opposite from the Roanoke Valley of Virginia I'd always called home.

My wife and I met on the Internet, and shortly after we married I moved west to her home in Illinois. Two wonderful daughters, Jamie and Audrey, came with the marriage, and I was happy... but still, for the first time at Christmas, my family and friends were 800 miles away.

A few weeks earlier my wife, Betsy, had asked me about my Christmas traditions. I told her we always had ham for Christmas dinner. "What else?" I told her about Mom's applesauce cake; every year Mom baked at least six cakes, mostly for gifts. Each year she said they were too much trouble, yet she kept making them. The first Christmas after she died there was no applesauce cake -- then my sister started making them.

Talking about mom's cake reminded me of my grandmother, who lived with us while I grew up and was like a second mother to me. I told my wife about Grandma's boiled custard. If it had been any thicker you'd have had to eat it with a spoon, and it was so rich that a small cup was enough.

Long after she stopped "doing for the grandchildren," only getting presents for her great-grandkids, she still made custard for me, saying, "I know how much you love it and your Christmas wouldn't be the same without it." Sadly, she never wrote down the recipe, so when she passed away no one knew how to make it.

When I got home and walked into the house, an aroma and a flood of memories hit me: applesauce cake! My wife came from the kitchen. I started to ask how she knew the right recipe. "I got the recipe from your sister; I hope it turned out OK." I told her if it tasted as good as it smelled it would be perfect.

After dinner on Christmas day, Betsy asked, "Who wants cake?" Of course we all did. She asked me to go to the living room and the girls would bring the cake in. A minute later Jamie handed me a plate and Audrey set a cup on the tray next to me.

Inside the cup -- it couldn't be -- custard! It was golden yellow and almost too thick to pour. Looking up through tears I saw my wife standing in the doorway. She said, "I found the recipe on the Internet; I hope it tastes like your grandmother's". And it did, it tasted just like I remembered.

Late that night, after everyone else was in bed, I sat in the living room lit only by the Christmas tree. I realized that the greatest gift I'd gotten that day hadn't been under the tree: it had been in my wife's heart.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” –Proverbs 18:10

In His Service, <>< Sherry and Jim Heard
To subscribe please send an email to:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Just Any Bible


“Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can't see him, declares Yahweh. Am
I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” Jeremiah 23:24

In the 1930's Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In
Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance. Thousands
of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the
gulags (prison camps) where most died for being 'enemies of the state.'

We once sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history wasn't known at that
time. But when the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from
Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town
where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin's day.

After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go
to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there.
Sure enough, they were. Then they asked if the Bibles could be removed and
distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was, 'Yes!'

The next day the team returned with a truck, and several Russian people,
to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man - a skeptical, hostile
agnostic collegian who had come only for the day's wages. As they were
loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared.
Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he found shook
him to the core. The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the one belonging to his grandmother - a woman persecuted for her faith all her life.

No wonder he was weeping -- God was real -- and this was his introduction
to the sovereign El, the Creator of the universe!

As told by Andrea Wolfe

Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Psalm 119:10-16 “With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not
wander from Thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I
might not sin against Thee. Blessed art Thou, O LORD: teach me Thy
statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Thy mouth. I
have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I
will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will
delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy word.”


Pay Attention


God gave me another gentle reminder of what is essential this morning. I
was rushing around trying to get too many things done at once and not doing
any of them very well. As I was about to start my next chore, though, I
caught a glimpse of brilliant light shining through my living room window.
The sun had just risen over the mountains and was shining brightly down on
the Earth. It’s glorious, golden beams were joyfully waking the world.
Seeing this I walked out on my front porch to take a break from doing and
spend some time living.

The sky was the purest blue imaginable. The air was so fresh and cool that
I breathed in deeply with delight. I listened to the birds singing happily
in the nearby trees as they greeted the morning. I then stood for awhile
paying attention to this wonderful world God has given us. Before I went
back inside I told God just how much I loved Him and thanked Him again for
my life.

Life is so full of beauty, wonder, and delight. Life is so full of
kindness, peace, and happiness. Life is so full of love and joy. God has
given us a world overflowing with good things for us to rejoice in. It is
up to us, however, to pay attention to them. It is up to us to take them
into our hearts, souls, and minds. And it is up to us to share them with
the world.

Don’t go through life too busy to see that essential wonder and beauty
around you then. Pay attention to it. Pay attention to that golden
sunlight and brilliant blue sky. Pay attention to that first flower poking
its head through the dirt in the Spring. Pay attention to that smiling
child wanting to play and laugh with you. Pay attention to that beautiful,
old soul sharing stories about his life with you. Pay attention to those
people who are reaching out to you and offering to share their love and
joy with you. Pay attention to the glorious love that God freely offers
you every second of your life. Life is too short not to pay attention.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Psalm 34:1-4 “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall
continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the
humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and
let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and
delivered me from all my fears.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall
fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields
shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there
shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy
in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make
my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places...”

Source  ---

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moved By The Hand of God


American President John Quincy Adams once said, “Patience and perseverance
have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles
vanish.” It's true!

Look what happened once to a North Carolina church that wanted to purchase
some property. The church regularly suffered from high tide flooding. But
when the church was built over a hundred years ago, they couldn't afford
better property.

They finally decided to relocate to higher ground. An ideal piece of
property was empty - actually the highest ground in town. It belonged to a
man named Sam. Officials from the church went to see Sam about selling the
property. He politely told them it wasn't for sale; that he had other
plans for the land.

The church looked elsewhere, but nothing satisfactory could be found. So
they went back to Sam and made another offer. Again they were refused.
Then an unusual thing happened. One of the worst coastal floods in memory
struck the town. As water rose, the church began to float. It left its
coastal lot and started inward. It floated down the main street, turned a
corner and eventually landed right on Sam's empty property.

Sam gave in. He allowed the building to stay and, if you ask the members
of North Carolina's Swanquarter United Methodist Church how they came to
acquire their land, they may relate what Sam said about the transaction:
“I guess if the good Lord couldn't move me to give the land to the church,
he would move the church to the land.”

The member's persistence, combined with a little outside help paid off.
Persevere - you may be surprised at how your obstacles vanish!

By Steve Goodier

–> For details story, you could visit :

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

(King James Version Bible)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More Than Asking

More Than Asking
by Pastor Eric Gordon

Have you ever heard someone pray for favor? Have you ever prayed for favor? Asked God to open doors for you and bless you? What else have you done about it?

We often pray to God like He is some magical genie waiting to meet our every need and grant our wishes. We pray for "favor" so we can get what we want in every situation. But what do we do after we pray?

I love to hear people quote the story of Joseph in Genesis. Everywhere Joseph went he had favor. Do you know why he had favor? Yes, it is because God blessed him - but do you know why else? It's because Joseph worked hard in every situation he was in. He was sold into slavery, and he worked hard there (Genesis 39:1). He was thrown into prison, and he worked hard there too (Genesis 39:20). He was made second in command of all of Egypt, and he worked hard (Genesis 41:40). He did not just ask for blessings, he worked hard, doing what he was able to do while he waited on the Lord.

Asking for favor and blessings while doing nothing with the gifts and abilities God has already given us is like a farmer walking out in a field and shouting for corn to grow without first preparing the soil and planting the seed. Many times we use prayer for "favor" as an excuse to be lazy, when in reality we should be working hard on our situation using what God has already given us, instead of just making excuses and doing nothing while we wait for God to bless us with more.

When we ask God to move the mountains in our lives, He wants us to bring our shovels, not our easy chairs!

Genesis 49:26 (KJV):  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Menjadikan Tuhan Yang Terutama


Hukum pertama dan yang terutama di dalam kehidupan orang percaya adalah mengasihi Tuhan dengan segenap hati, jiwa dan kekuatan, dan mengasihi sesama seperti kita mengasihi diri kita sendiri.

Orang yang mengasihi pasti ingin memberi yang terbaik kepada yang dikasihinya, bukan hanya mengharapkan sesuatu dari yang dikasihi. Demikian pula dalam hubungan kita dengan Tuhan. Bahwa Tuhan mengasihi kita seharusnya tidak kita ragukan lagi. Tetapi apakah kita mengasihi Dia? Mungkin perlu dipertanyakan ujud kasih yang kita berikan kepadaNya.

Kita belajar dari Daud yang sudah mengalami kasih Tuhan yang besar sebab Tuhan sudah meluputkan dia dari cengkeraman semua musuhnya, dan dari tangan Saul. Daud menaikkan satu nyanyian pujian kepada Tuhan, seperti yang dia ucapkan dalam

Mzm 18:2,3

“Ia berkata: "Aku mengasihi Engkau, ya TUHAN, kekuatanku!

18:3 Ya TUHAN, bukit batuku, kubu pertahananku dan penyelamatku, Allahku, gunung batuku, tempat aku berlindung, perisaiku, tanduk keselamatanku, kota bentengku!”

Siapa Tuhan untuk Daud?

· Tuhan adalah kekuatannya.

· Tuhan adalah bukit batu baginya.

· Tuhan adalah kubu pertahanannya

· Tuhan adalah penyelamatnya.

· Dia Allahnya.

· Dia gunung batunya.

· Dia tempat untuknya berlindung.

· Tuhan adalah perisai baginya.

· Tuhan adalah tanduk keselamatannya.

· Tuhan kota bentengnya.

Bisakah kita mengungkapkan pengakuan ini seperti Daud mengakui Tuhan bagi dirinya? Mungkin ada di antara kita yang berkata: mana Tuhan sebagai penolong? Hidupku porak-poranda. Berapa lama sudah aku berdoa, tetapi keadaan makin memburuk, aku putus asa. Coba kita pelajari tentang kehidupan Daud dengan segala penderitaan dan pengkhianatan-pengkhianatan yang dia alami dalam hidupnya. Bukankah dia seorang yang dekat dengan Tuhan, yang hatinya mencari Tuhan? Mengapa banyak masalah dan pergumulan yang besar yang harus dihadapi?

Justru tetap melekat kepada Tuhan itulah rahasia kekuatan untuk beroleh kemenangan. Marah kepada Tuhan, kecewa, itu bukan jalan yang benar untuk mendapat perkenan Tuhan, namun sebaliknya akan menyulitkan diri kita sendiri.


Bisakah kita seperti Daud mengakui bahwa Tuhan kekuatan kita? Pada saat beban menekan, masalah bertambah, jalan keluar tak kunjung nampak, bisakah kita berkata: “TUHAN, ENGKAU KEKUATANKU.” Apa yang tidak sanggup kulakukan dengan kemampuan sendiri, sanggup kutanggung di dalam Engkau yang memberi kekuatan kepadaku.



KepadaNya kita berkata: Engkau bukit bagtu bagiku, yang kokoh dan kuat berdiri terhadap goncangan apapun.


Engkau adalah kubu pertahananku terhadap musuh apapun juga. Engkau bukit batu yang tak tembus hantaman.


Engkau yang menyelamatkan aku dari musuh yang mengejarku bahkan mengepungku.


Di dalam keterpurukan kita, kadang-kadang kesalahan dan dosa kita terbayang di depan pelupuk mata kita. Tetapi setelah kita merendahkan diri dan mohon ampun kepadaNya kita bisa berkata, “Engkau Tuhan Allahku yang panjang sabar, rahmani dan rahimi, pengampun dosa, dan Engkau mau menerimaku apa adanya. Engkau tak memperhitungkan dosaku lagi. Walau dosaku merah sekalipun, Kau sanggup menyucikanku seputih salju. Walau dosaku warna kirmizi atau seperti kain jingga sekalipun, Kau dapat membuatku lebih putih dari bulu domba, dan Engkaulah yang sanggup membasuh dan menyucikan, menghapuskan segala bentuk dan jenis dan sifat kejahatan dari dalam batinku, sehingga aku menjadi manusia baru. Aku yang berdosa, Kau beri kebenaranMu sebagai pakaianku.

Terima kasih Tuhan! Engkau Allahku, dan kepadaMu aku mau sujud tersungkur dan menyembah, dengan mempersembahkan seluruh keberadaanku. Roh, jiwa dan tubuhku, semua niat dalam batinku, kuserahkan kepadaMu. Engkau yang berdaulat atas hidupku sepenuhnya.

Betapa indahnya bila hidup ini menjadi milikNya, dan ada dalam kedaulatanNya sepenuhnya. Bisakah? Hanya bisa bila ada penyerahan dan penyangkalan diri, hidup dalam ketaan setiap hari, menyerah total kepadaNya, Tuhan dan Allah kita.


Daerah di mana Daud melarikan diri pada waktu dikejar-kejar musuh adalah daerah gunung-gunung batu, bukan gunung yang berbatu, tetapi gunung batu. Gunung itu benar-benar terbuat dari batu, kokoh, kuat, dan mereka membuat goa-goa dalam gunung batu itu, sehingga benar-benar bisa menjadi tempat perlindungan terhadap cuaca, binatang buas dan musuh. Demikianlah Daud mengumpamakan Tuhan.

Bagaimana dengan kita. Walau di luar sana tempat terbuka untuk bahaya, ancaman dan serangan, tetapi gunung batu merupakan tempat yang aman. Tinggi, terjal tak terhampiri. “Tuhan, Engkau Gunung Batuku yang melindungiku. Bagiku, asal aku ada di dalamMu, aku berada di tempat yang aman yang tak terhampiri oleh musuh-musuhku.” Taruh diri kita di sana, dalam lekukan hati atau tangan Gunung Batu Karang Yesus Kristus.


Di surga dan di bumi tiada yang lebih besar, lebih berkuasa, lebih mengasihi, lebih peduli, lebih bisa atau mampu daripada Dia, Tuhan kita. Jadikan Dia tempat pengungsian, tempat berlindung, tempat bernaung, tempat berlari, tempat mengadu dalam keadaan apapun. Pada saat orang tidak peduli, Dia peduli. Pada saat orang lain lelah untuk mendengar atau memahami kita, Dia tetap mau mendengar dan mengerti serta memahami kita. Di saat orang lain terlelap tidur, dan kita sendiri dengan keresahan dan kegelisahan kita, dengan isak tangis atau lelehan air mata kita, Dia tidak terlelap, Dia tidak mengantuk, Dia tidak tertidur, Dia peduli, Dia tidak diam, Dia mau menemani kita, bahkan menolong kita. Dia mau menjadi body guard kita. Luar biasa. Tapi sayang, banyak orang kecewa, marah dengan Tuhan, mengata-ngatai Tuhan pada saat mengalami pergumulan panjang atau pada saat menghadapi keadaan atau mengalami sesuatu tidak seperti yang diharapkan. Kalau kita kecewa atau marah kepada Tuhan, apalagi mengata-ngatai Dia, lalu siapa yang akan kita minta tolong dalam kesulitan kita. Apakah ada yang melebihi Dia? Kita perlu berhati-hati dalam menjaga sikap hati dan perkataan kita terhadap Tuhan.


Perisai adalah tameng untuk menangkis dan melindungi terhadap senjata yang dibidikkan atau diluncurkan musuh terhadap kita. Tuhan pribadi yang hidup dan bukan benda yang mati. Apabila seseorang berada di dalam medan pertempuran, dia memegang perisai itu untuk menangkis dan melindungi dirinya terhadap anak-anak panah. Tetapi karena Tuhan hidup, Dia yang aktif memposisikan diri sebagai tameng atau perisai kita, dengan demikian kita benar-benar terproteksi. Bagaimana musuh bisa mengenai kita? Tak mungkin, sebab tak ada yang lebih mahir daripada Tuhan. Dia maha segalanya.


Di dalam PL, seseorang yang berbuat salah dan harus dihukum mati, pada waktu dia berlari ke mezbah dan memegang tanduk pada sudut-sudut mezbah, maka ia tidak boleh dibunuh (1 Raj 1:50-53). Namun harus bertobat dan berlaku setia serta tidak berkhianat.

Demikian pula dengan kita. Tak ada di antara kita yang luput dari dosa dan kesalahan, namun demikian, pada saat kita berlari kepada Tuhan untuk memperoleh keselamatan, Dia bermurah hati untuk memberi keselamatan itu. Namun kita harus bertobat dan berlaku setia dan tidak mengkhianati Tuhan.

Tanduk juga bisa berarti otoritas, kuasa, kedaulatan, kedudukan, posisi, wewenang. Tuhan mempunyai wewenang yang tertinggi untuk membebaskan kita dari dosa dan kesalahan kita, dan menganugerahkan keselamatan bagi kita. Luar biasa kasih dan pengampunan serta pertolonganNya terhadap orang yang membutuhkanNya. Halleluya.


Daud mengalami kesulitan yang besar pada waktu berperang melawan orang-orang Filistin. Ia mengalami keletihan, sehingga Alkitab mengatakan ia letih lesu. Ia menghadapi raksasa yang tombaknya berat-berat sampai ratusan syikal terbuat dari tembaga dan menyandang pedang baru, mengira dapat menewaskan Daud. (1 syikal = 11,4 gram). Datang Abisai menolong Daud merobohkan dan membunuh orang-orang Filistin itu. Daud dilindungi oleh orang-orangnya dan diamankan.

Empat raksasa total dikalahkan dan tewas di tangan Daud dan orang-orangnya, raksasa-raksasa itu ada yang gagang tombaknya seperti pesa tukang tenun, ada yang tinggi perawakannya dan jari kaki dan tangannya semua masing-masing jumlah jari seluruhnya 24. Semua keturunan raksasa (2 Sam 21:15-22).

Betapa beratnya pertempuran tersebut di daerah pegunungan-pegunungan dan padang-padang gurun tandus. Tetapi Tuhan membela, mendatangkan pertolongan, melindungi, menewaskan musuh, dan memberi kemenangan.

Mungkin kita juga dalam peperangan atau pergumulan dalam kehidupan. Kita sedang melakukan perlawanan yang sengit terhadap raksasa-raksasa yang menyerang kehidupan kita:

- Raksasa hutang piutang yang menggunung, kemiskinan, perhambaan, dll.

- Raksasa sakit-penyakit yang menahun, HIV, stroke, diabet, gagal ginjal, dll.

- Raksasa perselingkuhan dan godaan seks yang berat, pusing, pening, patah semangat, dll.

- Raksasa keputusasaan menghadapi masa depan, kekerasan dalam rumah tangga, dll.

Seperti Daud, kita letih, lelah, terpojok, jadi incaran. Tetapi Tuhan sebagai kota benteng kita akan melindungi kita dari semua arah, asal kita tetap percaya berharap dan berserah kepadaNya, sehingga kita tidak murtad, tetapi tetap beriman.

Kapan, dan bagaimana caranya Dia menolong, kita tidak tahu. Tetapi bertahan, jangan menyerah, jangan putus asa. Dia tidak akan membiarkan kita terkapar diinjak lawan kita, asal kita punya ketetapan hati untuk menang. Utamakan Tuhan. Nomor satukan Dia. Kasihi dan puji Dia. Kita menang saat kita tetap percaya dan bisa bersyukur kepadaNya. Amin.

Oleh : Ibu Pdt. Mary Hartanti

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Next 40 Years


I was looking at the calendar the other day and noticed that my 40th
birthday is just a few months off now. I did a quick peek over each
shoulder to see if that dreaded mid-life crisis was trying to sneak up on
me. I didn’t see a sight of him anywhere, and I doubt that he will show up
at all. Yes, I have made more than my share of mistakes in my past that I
am sorry for. My past, though, got me to where I am today. It made me who
I am now. I can’t change it. I can only learn from it and use it to better
live the time I have left.

I am not sure how long I will have left on this world. None of us ever know
when our time here will end. Some of us get a century and some of us get
only a day. One thing I do know, however, is that if I get them: my next
40 years are going to be my best 40 years. I am going to love more, give
more, and live more. I am going to sing more, laugh more, and dance more.
I am going to smile more, hug more, and listen more. I am going to take in
more sunsets, pet more dogs, and thank God more for my life. I am going to
take more walks, watch more fireflies, and smell more flowers. I am going
to choose more love, more joy, and more oneness with God all day long,
everyday I am given. I am going to share it all with the whole world and
show everyone everywhere that they can do the same. I am going to spend
everyday I have left here bringing a little more Heaven to Earth before I
leave Earth for Heaven.

It doesn’t matter if you have 60 years, 40 years, 20 years, or 6 months
left. You can still make it the best, most glorious, and most loving time
of your life. The longest life here is still very short indeed. Do all you
can then to live it in laughter, love, happiness, joy, goodness, and
oneness with God. Then when you die and get to see God’s smiling face, you
will know that your next billion years will be your best billion years.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Psalm 103:2-5 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who
redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness
and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy
youth is renewed like the eagle's.”

Psalm 118:4-6 “Let them now that fear the LORD say, that His mercy endureth
for ever. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and
set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can
man do unto me?”

1 Peter 3:8-11 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of
another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for
evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye
are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will
love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his
lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him
seek peace, and ensue it.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

In Christ’s Service,
Dwayne Savaya
God’s Work Ministry

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Yoder the Amish Beagle
By Kenneth L. Pierpont

Beagles are great dogs.  They are bred to chase rabbits.  But if there aren't any rabbits around they will chase cats, cars, and boys.  And if they are really bored Beagles have even been known to chase girls.  Now the nice thing about beagles is that they are short and they stay short all their lives so they are just the right size for little boys.  They are brown and black and white and they have long ears that flop when they run.

We wanted one.  One day, driving the back roads in the Amish country of Ohio, we found one.  We bought him from a nice Amish farmer so we named him Yoder. Yoder loved to romp with the kids.  We took him with us on our full-moon walks and we even took him fishing once.  We had a day of it.  He ran and tumbled and hiked and played all day and then on the way home he fell asleep in the car on Kyle's lap, spent from his exploits.

The sad fact is, days like that were rare for Yoder.  Soon after the little dog came into our family, we moved to town and Yoder had to live on a chain in the back yard.  We didn't like the arrangement.  It was a beautiful house in a very nice part of town and the neighbors were delightful people, but we longed for the country.

We were grateful for our home but we began to pray regularly for a place in the country.  We recorded the request in a prayer journal we were keeping.  In a few weeks our prayer was answered in a wonderful way.  We were able to lease a nice old two-story farmhouse on a dead end road.  The house rested in a valley.  

Traffic was sparse.  Unless someone was lost or coming for a visit, we had only two cars a day on our road.  We had a daily visit from the mailman, which was an event.  And every day or two a man from the gas company would check the well.  

We let Yoder off his chain and let him run.  He climbed hills, chased rabbits, swam in the creek and followed the kids on their explorations.  He was in Beagle heaven.  If you had any imagination at all you could see the joy on his face.  But his happy days would be few.

One rainy Saturday morning I was working at the study in town and I got a sad call from home.  I came home right away.  When I got out to the house the entire family was still in tears.  Between sobs they told me what happened.  
The man had come as usual to check the gas well.  As he was leaving he looked over toward where the children were playing.  I assume he was checking to see where they were and when he was satisfied all was clear he gunned the engine of his truck toward his next stop and drove away fast. But Yoder was still in the lane.  The little dog was not visible over the hood of his truck.
He ran right over him in full view of the children.  Kyle who was about eleven at the time ran to the lane, fell to his knees and gathered his little dog to his chest.  Yoder looked up at Kyle, let out a weak yelp and died in his arms.  Kyle carried him over and laid him down in the straw of the corncrib where he usually slept.

When I got home I wrapped him in a blanked and gathered him up and we all walked back to the creek and buried him there.  The mint grows there and it smells sweet in the spring.  Yonder liked to roll in it.  

We all held hands and we each prayed and thanked God for bringing Yoder into our lives.  Before we left we made up our mind that from now on no matter what other people called the creek, we were going to call it Yoder Creek.  Then we walked back home.

We all sat in the house and hurt and remembered our little pet.  His life was so short.  It still hurts a little to think that Yoder lived most of his life confined to a little circle defined by the length of his chain and he really had only a few weeks of freedom his whole life.

This sad world is full of people running in circles.  Their ability to experience the joys of life is limited by the chains of their own sin.  I remember a man like that.  He had four beautiful children and a loyal wife who would have opened her heart to him. But he never tossed a ball with his son.  He never walked on the beach with one of his beautiful daughters on his arm.  He never held his grandchildren in his arms or watch them play ball or took them fishing because he was confined by the chains of drunkenness and pride. On the day of his funeral I looked at his body and thought he seemed weary from straining toward life on the end of a chain but never really living.

I guess I've been that way myself more than I like to admit.  Limited to a small circle defined by the length of my chain.  That's the way our adversary the Devil wants it. He delights in seeing us continually defeated by sin and burdened with guilt.  Jesus said he is a thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy.  He wants to limit us by the chains of our un-forgiveness, lust, greed, gluttony, impure speech or other sins and he is looking forward to our company in hell when we die.  

But Jesus came to set the captives free.  I don't know about you but I intend to enjoy my freedom.  Jesus paid for it with his life and I like to imagine He smiles when he sees me running free.

Ken Pierpont may be reached via email at or you may visit his web page at

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” - Proverbs 12:10 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watch Out For The Signs!

Watch Out For The Signs!
By Steve Popoola

The road was smooth and straight. Ben relaxed and pushed up the speed of the car a little. He was so engrossed in his driving that he did not notice the sign by the side of the road as it swept past. The sign indicated a diversion ahead but Ben was unaware of this.

Suddenly Ben saw a roadblock ahead. He instinctively slammed his foot on the breaks and the car skidded crazily across the road turning 180 degrees. Finally, the car stopped. Ben could feel his heart thumping as if it were going to burst right through his chest. He was still shaking all over when a man pulled up beside him. 

“Are you alright?” the stranger asked. Ben could not trust himself to speak, He just nodded his head in the affirmative.

“You didn’t see the sign as you drove past”? Ben tried to speak this time and said “No” in a very weak and shaky voice.

“You were really lucky there, someone crashed here a few days ago, he wasn’t as fortunate as you are. Sure you are okay?”

Ben answered that he was okay and thanked the man for taking time to check on him.  The stranger gave an understanding smile and walked towards his car. He looked back towards Ben and said, “Son, you watch those signs, okay?” Ben gave a weak smile and nodded.

Many of us are like Ben. We cruise through the Christian way without looking out for the signs God puts along the way to warn us of impending danger. Christ never said the road traveled by the believer will be smooth and uneventful rather, He said, “But the narrow gate and the road that lead to life are full of trouble. Only a few people find the narrow gate” (Matthew 7:14).  It is not a road for the faint-hearted. It is a road traveled by those who know their God, who are strong and do exploits.

It is so easy to make wrong turnings in life. The wide way is so easy to follow. It is smooth, attractive and full of enticing things. Do you notice how advertisements draw our attention? Sometimes you wonder whether person on television is talking about the same detergent you are using or the same toothpaste you have used all your life. The enemy of our soul has one agenda in mind and that is to distract us away from our God-given purpose in life. 

God on the other hand, has given us His word, which is like a billboard that you can hardly miss. He also set up road signs for us through the workings of the Holy Spirit. These road signs could be seen through discussion with other people, books, teachings and the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us. To ignore these signs could mean disaster and sometimes death.

You may have taken a couple of wrong turnings in your Christian journey up till now. I have Good news for you, you can get back on track. The psalmist tells us, “The Lord guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please Him. If they fall, they will not stay down because the Lord will help them up” (Psalm 37:23-24) All you need to do is make a u-turn by repenting from your sin and heading back in the direction where you veered off the road leading to life.

As we continue this journey through life to our eternal home, let us be sensitive and watchful. Let us not allow the things of this world which are temporary, to dull our spiritual senses. Let us remember that we have an enemy who will continue to put diversionary tactics along our way. We are however assured that the Lord will continue to guide us and lead us in the path that He has chosen for us since the beginning of creation.

(c) 2004, Biblepraise Fellowship Online

Steve Popoola was born in London but currently reside in Lagos, Nigeria with wife Maris and their two children, Praise and Stephanie. He works in the IT dept of a bank. Formerly an active singer, he still sings occasionally and speaks at invited forums. He is moderator of the Biblpraise Fellowship Online and editor of Biblepraise Newsletter, a weekly Christian e-zine.

To subscribe, send blank email to He can be reached through His email address,, or visit his website at

“Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” –Matthew 7:14

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Best Friends

Best Friends

Author: Unknown

Once in a small farming town in Oklahoma, there lived a poor fourth grade boy named Andy who would follow this route to school everyday: He had to cross the rugged plains and a dangerous highway where vehicles recklessly drove to and fro. Once past this highway, the boy would take a short cut by passing by the Church every morning just to say hi to Jesus, and faithfully say his morning prayers. He was being watched by the pastor who always found the boy’s sincerity and innocence so uplifting in the morning.

“Hello Andy, How are you today”, he would say greeting the child. “I’m fine Pastor Thompson, How are you” ...he would say flashing his innocent grin.

Seeing the way that Andy went to school the pastor was so concerned one day he talked to him. “From school...”, he advised “do not cross the highway alone, you can pass through the Church and then I will accompany you to the other side of the road that way I can see that you get home safe....”

“Thank you Pastor...”

“Why don’t you go straight home ... why do you stay in this church right after school?”

Andy replied, “I just want to say “Hi” to my friend, Jesus,” so the pastor would leave the boy to spend time praying by himself beside the altar, but one day out of curiosity he hid behind the altar to listen to what this boy had to say.

“You know my math exam was pretty bad today, but I did not cheat-although my seat mate was bullying me for notes ... you know, Dad’s had a bad farming season so far this year so we don’t have much food but I ate some bread and drank my water. Thank you for this! I saw a poor kitten who was hungry and I know how he feels so I gave some of my bread to him... funny but I am not that hungry... Look, this is my last pair of shoes... I may have to walk barefoot next week... you see this is about to be broken... but it is okay... at least I am still able to go to school... some say we will have a hard season this month, and some of my classmates have had to stop going to school to help with the farms ... please help them get to school again, please Jesus?... Oh, you know, Dad hit me again, it is painful, but I know this pain will pass away, at least I still have a Dad ... you want to see my bruises? I know you can heal them ... here... here and....oh ...blood. I guess you knew about this one, huh? Please don’t be mad at Dad, he is just tired and worries about putting food on our table and my schooling that is why he hits me... Oh, I think I am in love... there’s this pretty girl in my class, her name is Anita... do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least I know you will always like me, I don’t have to be anybody just to please you, you are my very best friend! Hey your birthday is just one week from now!!! Aren’t you excited? I am! Wait till you see, I have a gift for you.... but it is a surprise! I hope you will like it! Oooops, I have to go...”

Then he stood up and calls out, “Pastor, I am finished talking to my friend... can you accompany me to the other side of the road now”?

This routine happened everyday. Andy never failed to visit the church. Pastor Thompson shared this every Sunday to the people in his church because he had never before seen such pure faith and trust in God, and such a very positive outlook in such negative circumstances.

The day before Christmas, Pastor Thompson became very ill and was sent to the hospital. The Church was left to a substitute Pastor who had little patience for children or for any interruptions in his work. He would not smile and could always find fault in what other people were doing. On Christmas Day he was in the Pastor’s Study when Andy, coming from his Christmas party, playfully dashed into the church calling, “Hi Jesus!!!!!”

“Who are you child and what are you doing in here”, the pastor yelled out angrily. Poor Andy was so terrified.

“Where’s Pastor Thompson? He always helps me cross the street.... and not only that, I have to greet Jesus--it’s His birthday, I have a gift right here....” Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, the pastor grabbed Andy by the shoulder and pushed him out the door of the church. “I cannot be bothered right now I am preparing my sermon for the Christmas service tonight. Also, next time be more reverent when you come into the church”, the man yelled as he closed the door behind Andy.

So the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road in front of the church by himself. As he crossed a fast moving bus came in. There was a blind curve. The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt, so he was not looking. There was so little time.

Andy died on the spot. As people crowded around the body of the poor, lifeless, young boy... Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall man appeared in a pure white shirt and pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears... He came and carried the boy in His arms, He was crying.

Curious bystanders nudged the man in white, and asked, “Excuse me sir, are you related to the child? Do you know him?”

The man in white, His face mourning and in agony, answered, “He was my best friend ...” was all he said. He took the badly wrapped gift from the shirt of the lifeless boy, and placed it near his heart. He stood up and carried the boy away and they both disappeared from sight. The crowd was curious... On New Years Eve, when Pastor Thompson returned home from the hospital he learned of the shocking news. He went to visit Andy’s parents, and to ask them about the man in white he had been told about. He consulted the parents of Andy.

“How did you first learn of your son’s death?”

“A man in white brought him here,” sobbed the mother.

“What did he say?”

The father answered, “He did not say anything. He was mourning. We do not know him and yet he was very lonely at our son’s death, as if he knew our son very well. But there was something peaceful and unexplainable about him. He gave me my son, and then he smiled peacefully. He rubbed my son’s hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead, and then he whispered something...”

“What did he say?”

“He said to my boy...” the father began, “Thank you for the gift... I will see you soon... you will be with me...” and the father of the boy continued, “and you know for a while, it felt so wonderful... I cried, but I do not know why.... all I know is I cried tears of joy... I could not explain it, but when that man left, something peaceful came over me, I felt a deep sense of love inside... I could not explain the joy in my heart, I know my boy is in heaven now.. but... tell me, who was this man that my son talked to everyday in your church, you should know because you are always there... except at the time of his death...”

Pastor Thompson suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes, with trembling knees, he murmured, “He was talking to Jesus....”

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” -Psalm 3:3

To subscribe please send an email to:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Faith in Dad

Faith in Dad

Author: The Rev. Leonard Negrin, Houston

In 1965, when my son Robert was 4 years old, I was a traveling evangelist, conducting revivals all over Oklahoma, Texas and farther away, so a weekend at home was a rare treat.

We had a small house in a small town called Yukon, Okla. There was a sidewalk sale and an auction going on at the small business square. I needed something from the hardware store and took Rob, and we went downtown. We stopped to listen to the auctioneer, and as he auctioned off various items from the local merchants, he came to something called a “varoom motor.” It was something you could attach to the fender of a tricycle, and when the little metal stem was touched by the spokes of the wheel, it sounded like your tricycle was motorized.

I stood there as the bids were coming in -- 50 cents, a dollar, $1.25. “Who will give me $2?” You can imagine how I felt when I looked down and there was my 4-year-old son with his hand up, bidding on the motor. I don’t remember now what the final bid was, but I knew I had to buy it, for my son had raised his hand in faith, knowing whatever the outcome was, his dad could meet the price.

For some years after that incident, I used that little story in sermons when I spoke about faith that we have in our heavenly father.

Young Robert has grown up to be a fine young man and is a practicing attorney here in Houston. The other evening, he had taken us out to show us his new car. As we were stepping away, he looked at his mother and me and said how much he appreciated both of us and his upbringing. I thought of the little boy with his hand raised saying, “Daddy, I believe in you.”

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” - James 1:6 

To subscribe please send an email to:

Popular Posts