Two psychiatrists met at their 20th college reunion.
One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. "So what's
your secret?" the older looking psychiatrist asked. "Listening to
other people's problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has
made an old man of me."
"So," replies the younger-looking one, "who listens?"
Unfortunately, that is too often a problem -- who listens? REALLY
I received a letter from a woman who lives in New York. She explained
that her 22-year-old electrician son went to Manhattan a few days
after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He wanted to volunteer
his time, but discovered that his skills were not needed.
Joe may have helped in a way he never anticipated, for on the train
home, he sat across from a weary firefighter covered in what appeared
to be "ground zero" dirt and debris. Though he could see bits of rock
in the man's hair and noticed that his hands were bloody, what shocked
the young man most was the look in the firefighter's eyes. They
appeared lifeless and dull.
Then the man began to talk and Joe listened. He talked about
retrieving a shoe with a foot inside. Joe listened. He talked about
cleaning debris from a face, then discovering that this person's body
was gone. Joe listened. And as his listened, he did not flinch. He did
not react in disgust. He did not judge. He did not interrupt. He just
He listened as the firefighter lamented about the carnage everywhere
and about shoes...there were so many shoes, he said.
Through it all Joe quietly held the man's attention and listened,
which is exactly what the rescue worker needed at that moment. And
because he listened, the man continued to speak. He talked his pain
out, as much as possible. And Joe, for that time at least, helped him
carry his unbelievably heavy burden.
That day Joe did not give blood, nor did he use his electrical skills
to help with the relief effort. But he did one of the most important
things a human can do for another. He gave a stunned and disheartened
man his whole attention, and thereby immeasurably assisted in the work
of setting the world right.
Mary Lou Casey says, "What people really need is a good listening-to."
Now more than ever.
- By Steve Goodier
On the Other Side
A dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an
eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice that dog? He
had never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He
knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door
opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the
other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is
there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I'll pass through
with no fear, but gladness."
Six -year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to
fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a
chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy
flour canister, spilling it on the floor.
He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in
most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on
the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.
Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this
to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very
He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or
on the stove and he didn't know how the stove worked! Suddenly he saw
his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away,
knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up
this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas
white and sticky.
And just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears
welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good,
but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming,
maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.
Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged
him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the
Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend, or we can't stand
our job, or our health goes sour.
Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of
anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and
But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying to "make
pancakes" for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right,
and then they'll be glad we tried.
Eight Ways to Encourage Your Pastor
by Victor Parachin
Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the
church. Often their hours are long, the pay minimal, the criticism
considerable and constant. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement,
and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.
Paul's admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal.
5:13 ) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight
ways to make their Lives better.
1. Cut the criticism
Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television's
"Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," gave an address describing the time he was
a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different
church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.
One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted sermon (he) had
ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him,
he found her in tears.
"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.
"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that the space
between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is
holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for
her--and as it turned out, for me too."
Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a year, clergy are
often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It's not unusual to
hear people say "the music was poor," "the hymn selection was awful,"
or "the sermon was boring." We would do well to remember that most
spiritual leaders work hard to make worship a unique celebration each
2. Pray regularly
Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, hope, joy,
faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual
maturity and growth in the faith. As you pray keep in mind this wisdom
from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "If you treat a person
as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were
what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."
3. Express appreciation in writing
A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one can be read
over and over again for years. So, when you hear or see something you
like from your minister, write an appreciative note.
4. Use your skills to bless
Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor master the
church's new computer. Are you a mechanic? Offer to service the car
free of charge or at a reduced fee.
One pastor I know recalls: "I was pastoring my first church -- a small
congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed a series
of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was
when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting
my dental problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me
carefully and cheerfully each time. I have thought of that dentist
many times since then and the memories of his kindness continue to
bless my life."
5. Squelch gossip
If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If
misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate
information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. Remember the
Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless speech. James 1:26 says,
"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight
rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is
worthless." And Psalm 34:13 reads, "Keep your tongue from evil and
your lips from speaking lies."
6. Offer to meet a need
Some people make their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by
saying, "You need to _" That approach is seldom welcome and almost
always counter- productive. If you see a need, approach your spiritual
leader by saying, "I'd like to help by _" If you see an area that can
be improved, take responsibility for working on it. Be an active
participant in your church. Get involved by teaching a class, leading
a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry. Ask your
spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.
7. Be openly responsive
Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as seeing people
respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and
delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a
visitor to his church, found she came because of the kindness of a
church member who was her neighbor.
"I'm recently divorced, a single parent and new to this community,"
she told the pastor. "To keep up with rent and provide for my three
children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for
yard work. I was relieved when the weeds didn't overrun my yard as I
had feared they might. However, when I made an unscheduled trip home
in the middle of my workday, I discovered the reason why the weeds had
not taken over my yard.
"My 86-year-old neighbor -- a member of your church -- was on his
hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was
embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He
explained that he heard you preach a sermon on the importance of
living a life of compassion and kindness and decided to put that
sermon into practice by weeding my lawn."
One pastor's heart filled with joy when a group of women in
Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of
Jesus--"Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matt. 7:1 NIV).
After hearing the sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for
the young woman who provided childcare while they met for Bible study.
She was unmarried, close to going on welfare, and without support from
her family or the father-to-be. The young woman was moved to tears by
the surprise baby shower.
Later, the women explained to the pastor, "Your sermon taught us that
it's possible to reach out to someone in need -- in this case, an
unwed mother -- without judging or condoning the situation."
8. Throw away the measuring stick
Don't expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the
same way their predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and
preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being used by God to
do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will ensure
that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and
continue to minister with enthusiasm.
What Matters Most
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the
things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to
someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal Power will shrivel to
irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally
disappear. So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It
won't matter where they came from, or on what side of the tracks you
lived, at the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or
brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What
will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you
got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or
sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will
feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in
those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a
matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans
~Thomas La Mance~
The Empty Egg
Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of
12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His
teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would
squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times,
he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated
the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just
irritated his teacher.
One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a
consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris
said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't
fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning
problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of
the other students."
Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke.
"Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It
would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this
school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time
after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its
coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with
the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness.
But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other
youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he
would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?
As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am
complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family,
she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From
that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank
stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg
"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole
class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned
red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please
take your seat."
Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of
Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the
idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a
large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this
home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new
life. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically-all except
for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did
not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said
about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment?
Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.
That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord
and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she
still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a
vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as
they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's
desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the
eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is
certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the
ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row
waved her arm. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next
egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held
it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a
beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled
proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next, Doris found a
rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy
spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he
Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty.
Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not
understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone
his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly
set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up.
"Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris
replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and
said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too."
Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you
know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was
killed and put in there. Then His Father
raised Him up."
The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the
school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.
Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the
mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of
In Whose Hands Are You?
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million
It depends whose hands it's in
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6
A baseball in Mark Mcquire's hands is worth $19 million
It depends whose hands it's in
A tennis racket is useless in my hands
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship
It depends whose hands it's in
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea
It depends whose hands it's in
A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy
A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands
It depends whose hands it's in
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire
It depends whose hands it's in
As you see now, it depends whose hands it's in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your
dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because,
you see, it depends whose hands it's in.
I read that an insurance company survey revealed that
spouses who kiss their mates in the morning will probably live five
years longer than those who don't. It also showed that the kissing
mate will have fewer auto accidents and up to 50% less time lost from
work due to illness. I won't begin to interpret what all this means,
except that it seems that those people in intimate relationships seem
to be happier and healthier.
But what about that "touching moment" -- that kiss? Is touching also
I once was asked to give some emotional support to a prisoner who was
awaiting trial. We visited for a while in a prison conference room,
talking about nothing more important than how long he may be
incarcerated and whether or not he was guilty of the crime with which
he was charged. He shared nothing of his deepest fears and yearnings.
I felt as if we had not "connected" in any meaningful way.
Before I left, I took his hands. He held on tightly and dropped his
head. No words were spoken -- we just held onto each other. After a
moment, he began to cry. As he sobbed, he held tightly to my hands.
Somehow, the touch melted a dam of ice and now all his emotions gushed
When his sobbing subsided, he began to talk once more. Only this time
he spoke of his fear and loneliness and he told me of his concern for
his family while he was imprisoned. All the while, he never let go of
my hands, and I hung onto his. Because of the touch, he felt safe
enough to share deeply.
People are crying out to be touched in caring and appropriate ways. (I
know a woman who goes to a massage therapist once a week, even when
she feels fine, just because she needs that dose of physical contact.)
The lack of touch is one of the greatest impediments to
emotional intimacy and happiness.
When film star Marilyn Monroe was asked if she ever felt loved by any
of the foster families with whom she lived, she replied, "Once, when I
was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on
makeup, and I was watching her. She was in a happy mood, so she
reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge puff... For that
moment, I felt loved by her."
Maybe you are in need of more closeness. And perhaps you know of those
who are hungry for some assurance that they are indeed loved; they are
not alone. Your touch may accomplish what your words cannot -- for
those touching moments can change a life.
Faith to Move Mountains
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great
Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a
church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local
building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was
inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the
size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new
sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with its undersized lot had used
every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had
In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the
mountain out of the back yard. Undaunted, the pastor announced the
next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members
who had "mountain moving faith." They would hold a prayer session
asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow
provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled
opening dedication service the following week.
At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled
for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock the
pastor said the final "Amen." "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled,"
he assured everyone. "God has never let us down before, and I believe
He will be faithful this time too."
The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud
knock at his door. When he called "come in," a rough looking
construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.
"Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over in the
next county. We're building a huge shopping mall. We need some fill
dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind
the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the
exposed area free of charge if we can have it right away. We can't do
anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle
The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned
and there were far more members with "mountain moving faith" on
opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!
"But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son." Gal.
1:4 "Wait on the Lord, be of
good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart" Ps. 27:14
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to
their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived
in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw
their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a
goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and
on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a
terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm - hit the area and lasted for
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when
he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about
20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just
behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up
the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone
the Christmas Eve service, headed home.
On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market
type sale for charity so he stopped in.
One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted
tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered
right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole
in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the
opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The
pastor invited her to wait in the warm church
for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no
attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put
up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.
The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered
up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was
like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth"
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right
corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They
were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this
tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just
gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and
her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came,
she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next
week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or
her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she
made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving
her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side
of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was
almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the
service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many
said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized
from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the
pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall
because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when
they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two
tablecloths so much alike He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how
he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to
follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his
wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a
little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house
where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the
man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment,
knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could
True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
"Life's Tug Of War"
Life can seem ungrateful ~ and not always kind.
Life can pull at your heartstrings ~ and play with your mind.
Life can be blissful ~ and happy and free.
Life can put beauty ~ in the things that you see.
Life can place challenges ~ right at your feet.
Life can make good ~ of the hardships that we meet.
Life can overwhelm you ~ and make your head spin.
Life can reward those ~ determined to win.
Life can be hurtful ~ and not always fair.
Life can surround you ~ with people who care.
Life clearly does offer ~ its ups and its downs.
Life's days can bring you ~ both smiles and frowns.
Life teaches us to take ~ the good with the bad.
Life is a mixture ~ of happy and sad.
Take the life that you have ~ and give it your best.
Think positive, be happy ~ let God do the rest.
Take the challenges ~ that life has laid at your feet.
Take pride and be thankful ~ for each one you meet.
To yourself give forgiveness ~ if you stumble and fall.
Take each day that is dealt you ~ and give it your all.
Take the love that you're given ~ and return it with care.
Have faith that when needed ~ it will always be there.
Take time to find the beauty ~ in the things that you see.
Take life's simple pleasures ~ let them set your heart free.
The idea here is simply ~ to even the score.
As you are met and faced with ~ Life's Tug Of War.
The Woodpecker Might Have to Go!
Everything I need to know about life, I learned from
Noah's Ark... One: Don't miss the boat. Two: Remember that we are all
in the same boat. Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built
the Ark. Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask
you to do something really big. Five: Don't listen to critics; just
get on with the job that needs to be done. Six: Build your future on
high ground. Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs. Eight: Speed
isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine: When you're stressed, float a while. Ten: Remember, the Ark was
built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals. Eleven: No matter the
storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.
Why is God Letting
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?"
or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful
explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going
wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her
best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and
asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says,
"Absolutely Mom, I love your cake." "Here, have some cooking oil," her
Mother offers. "Yuck" says her daughter. "How about a couple raw
eggs?" "Gross, Mom!" "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking
soda?" "Mom, those are all yucky!" To which the mother replies: "Yes,
all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put
together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God
works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go
through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts
these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have
to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a
sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can
live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart and will live
there if you will only ask Jesus into your heart. I hope your day is a
"piece of cake!" Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we
are here we might as well dance.
Preach the Bible
I heard about a young preacher just out of seminary
who had been called to pastor a church in a college town. Almost all
the college professors were members of that church. He was preparing
his very first sermon, and he got to thinking about that very cultured
congregation, all those Ph.D.s who would be there, and it intimidated
him. He called his dad, who was also a very wise and godly pastor and
said "Dad, I'm really having a hard time preparing my sermon." "What's
the problem?" his dad asked. "Well, if I talked about geology, I'll be
looking at a Ph.D. in geology. If I talk about sociology, I'll be
staring at a Ph.D. in sociology. If I talk about philosophy, I'll be
facing a Ph.D. in philosophy. What do you think I ought to do?" His
dad answered, "Son, why don't you just preach the Bible? They probably
know very little about that."
Take a Flight to "Starting Again"
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of
year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was
going to be unpleasant, and I knew in advance that no real good would
come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely
I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself
all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what
might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the
Regret City International Airport. I say international because people
from all over the world come to this dismal town.
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be
hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I
wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the town's
leading citizens would be there.
First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would
Have and Could Have.
Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan.
Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The
biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of
them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their
Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had
failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't
Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party
knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as
usual, I became very depressed.
But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back
from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent
"pity party" could be canceled by ME!
I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't
have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T
CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL
I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging.
Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no
Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no
physical way to undo them.
So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please
cancel all your reservations now.
Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so
much that I have now taken up permanent residence there.
My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very
helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage
because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.
God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it, it's in
your own heart.
Please look me up. I live on I Can Do It street.