Motivation

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A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door

Long but worth it all! Don't miss the last 15 admonitions. ~Sumner

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture.... Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was...my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked. "I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

5. You mean the world to someone.

6. If not for you, someone may not be living.

7. You are special and unique.

8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

13 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy.

14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great..

15. Sumner's addition. That one you took time to lead to Christ will be eternally grateful to you. I know. I am so grateful, every day, to Gene Gaskins for his part in my salvation

Send this letter to all the people you care about, if you do so, you will certainly brighten someone's day and might change their perspective on life...for the better. To everyone I sent this to "Thanks for your time".
 


You DO Make A Difference!

"A New York teacher decided to honor each of her high school seniors by telling them the difference they each made. Using a process developed by Helice Bridges of Del Mar, California, she called each student to the front of the class, one at a time.

"First she told the class how each student made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with the words 'Who I Am Makes a Difference.'

"Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact such recognition would have on the community. She gave each student three ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgement.

"One of the boys went to a junior executive in a company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave the man a blue ribbon and pinned it on his shirt.

"Then he gave that businessman two extra ribbons, and said: 'We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to find someone to honor, give him or her a blue ribbon, and give that person an extra ribbon so he or she could acknowledge a third person to pass on this acknowledge ceremony.'

"Later that day that junior executive went in to see his boss, who was known as a real grouch. He told his boss he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss looked very surprised--especially when asked if he also would accept a blue ribbon as recognition. 'Well, sure,' the surprised boss responded, and let the junior executive pin the blue ribbon on his jacket. "Then the junior executive gave his boss another ribbon and asked if he would pass it on by honoring someone else.

"So that night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down, and told him: 'The most incredible thing happened to me today! One of my junior executives came into my office and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine, he thinks I'm a creative genius!'

"'Then on my jacket he pinned this blue ribbon that says "Who I Am Makes A Difference," and gave me an extra ribbon to honor someone else. As I was driving home tonight, I started to think about whom I would honor with this ribbon, and I thought about you. I want to honor you, my son.

"'My days are really hectic, and when I come home I don't pay much attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades and for making a mess of your room. But somehow tonight, I just want to sit here and just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you.'

"The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he just couldn't stop crying. He cried so hard that his whole body shook. Finally, he looked up at his father and said through his tears, 'Dad, I was planning to commit suicide tomorrow, because I didn't think you loved me. Now I don't need to.'"
 


Prelude to the Main Event

A woman in Florida had a malignant tumor in the facial area. Her physician told her that the
only available treatments would cause much pain and some disfigurement. The treatments did not
offer a cure, but they would probably buy her more time. She listened and then said, 'No thanks,
doctor, I'm not going to take the treatments.' Somewhat alarmed, he said, 'Look, if you don't
take the treatments you are going to die.' With an angelic smile and a steady faith she replied,
'Doctor, I didn't come here to stay.'

All of us are transients on this earth - some here for 90 years, some for 50, and some for less
than a year. This life is just a prelude to the main event. That does not mean that this life is
unimportant. It just means that the most important thing one can do on this earth is to make
reservations for eternity.

"Christ died for our sins, (paid our debt in full) rose again, and was seen by hundreds."
Believe Him and receive Him as your Savior too. Jn 1:12. Dear God, I have sinned too and
believe Jesus suffered and died for my sins and rose again. I want to receive the Lord Jesus as
my Savior too and invite Him to come into my heart and give me the new birth so I can and go to
heaven and live for You now. . In Jesus name. Let me know it you do this!
 


Are You Building Your Eternal Mansion?

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.

The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career. When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently. But we cannot go back. You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. "Life is a do-it-yourself project," someone has said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the "house" you live in tomorrow. Always do the best you can. Build wisely!!!! The mansion you will live in for eternity!
 


Who are you Following Today?

I am reminded of an American tourist who was traveling in the Mid East. He came upon several shepherds whose flocks had intermingled while drinking water from a brook. After an exchange of greetings, one of the shepherds turned toward the sheep and called out, "Manah. Manah. Manah." (Manah means "follow me" in Arabic.) Immediately his sheep separated themselves from the rest and followed him.

Then one of the two remaining shepherds called out, "Manah. Manah." and his sheep left the common flock to follow him. The traveler then said to the third shepherd, "I would like to try that. Let me put on your cloak and turban and see if I can get the rest of the sheep to follow me."

The shepherd smiled knowingly as the traveler wrapped himself in the cloak, put the turban on his head and called out, "Manah. Manah." The sheep did not respond to the stranger's voice. Not one of them moved toward him. "A stranger will they not follow." "Will the sheep ever follow someone other than you?" The traveler asked. "Oh yes," the shepherd replied, "sometimes a sheep gets sick, and then it will follow anyone."

We have seen it, haven't we? Sheep, young and old, who are "sick." Leaving their first love and polluted by loving the world and the things of the world. Infected with the sins of the flesh. Wandering in the wilderness. Even murmuring at God like Israel did, with no appetite for the Word of God, (the Manna) and the things of God.

But the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. He suffered and died for their sins, paid their debt in full, rose again and was seen by hundreds. "The thief cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly." Who are you following today?
 


My Reality is Virtual!

Someone once quipped, "A lot of my reality is virtual!" Whether or not you can say the same thing, I find it is true that a lot of my reality is the way I perceive it. Let me explain what I mean with a true story.

In the "Journal of the American Medical Association," Dr. Paul Ruskin demonstrated how our perception of reality (not actually what is going on, but how we perceive it) determines how we feel about it. While teaching a class on the psychological aspects of aging, he read the following case to his students:

"The patient neither speaks nor comprehends the spoken word. Sometimes she babbles incoherently for hours on end. She is disoriented about person, place, and time. She does, however, respond to her name. I have worked with her for the past six months, but she still shows complete disregard for her physical appearance and makes no effort to assist her own care. She must be fed, bathed, and clothed by others. Because she has no teeth, her food must be pureed. Her shirt is usually soiled from almost incessant drooling. She does not walk. Her sleep pattern is erratic. Often she wakes in the middle of the night, and her screaming awakens others. Most of the time she is friendly and happy, but several times a day she gets quite agitated without apparent cause. Then she wails until someone comes to comfort her."

After presenting the case, Dr. Ruskin asked his students how they would like caring for this person. Most of them said they would not like it at all. He then said that he believed he would especially enjoy it and thought that they might, also. He passed a picture of the patient around for his puzzled students to see. It was his six-month-old daughter!

Most of the students had already made up their minds that they would not like caring for such a patient. But the age of the patient, rather than the actual duties, made the task seem fun and enjoyable! When they thought the task might be fun, they were positive about it, though their reaction just moments before was quite negative.

You and I have numerous tasks ahead. How will you look at them today? As pleasant or unpleasant? As chores or as fun? When you think you may actually enjoy them - you probably will!
 


Attitude is Everything

"This is the day which the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" Ps 118:24

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

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing." Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
 


Taking Life Seriously

To realize how short life really is, think of a life span of seventy years as a single day- from 7:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night. If your age is:

15, the time is 10:25 a.m.
20, the time is 11:34 a.m.
25, the time is 12:42 p.m.
30, the time is 1:51 p.m.
35, the time is 3:00 p.m.
40, the time is 4:08 p.m.
45, the time is 5:16 p.m.
50, the time is 6:25 p.m.
55, the time is 7:34 p.m.
60, the time is 8:42 p.m.
65, the time is 9:51 p.m.
70, the time is 11:00 p.m.

Being 83 makes this a real wake up call for me. May it have an impact on you to get more serious about laying up treasures in heaven and pleasing God more every day, being a blessing to others and sharing the gospel with everyone.
 


Fire in the Heart

The teacher quizzed her class: "He drove straight to his goal. He looked neither to the right nor to the left, but pressed forward, moved by a definite purpose. Neither friend nor foe could delay him, nor turn him from his course. All who crossed his path did so at their own peril. What would you call such a man?"

A student replied, "A truck driver!"

If he is a truck driver, he is likely a successful truck driver, for anyone who pursues a vision with such passion is sure to be a success.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel got it right when he said:

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."

Nothing will kill a dream or douse the fire of a good idea more quickly than indifference. To whatever endeavor you commit yourself, be on guard primarily against that spirit-quenching attitude of apathy.

At what do you wish to succeed? A project? A job? A relationship? A personal mission? A financial goal? A life purpose? "Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something," says Mary Lou Retton. "It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit."

In order to succeed greatly, one must care greatly. For indifference is no match against a well-attended fire in the heart.


The Person God Uses

1. God uses people who realize they are weak.  Gideon, "I am least" "go in this thy might" Judges 6:14. Josh "be strong" Three times inadequate-"My strength Perfect in weakness" 2 Cor. 12:9. "Chose the weak to confound mighty, that no flesh glory" 1:29

2. God uses people who are faithful.  Moses' minister, born in Egypt, survive the wilderness, a worthy successor to Moses. Required of stewards 1Cor.4:2, be steadfast always abounding 15:58,

3. God uses people who live by His Word.  1:8 "Meditate" to have authority to be used by God. study 2 Tim 2:15 a work-man not ashamed, Josh 1:8 "success, prosper" Luke 5:5, Is 40:28ff

4. God uses people who are patient and wait on His timing.  Is. wander 40 years, and finally. "In fullness of time" Gal 4:4

5. God uses the person who cares about lost souls.  Rahab. saved first. Matt 4:19 Acts 1:8, do the work of evangelist 2 T 5:4, 5

6. God uses the person who is set apart.  "Sanctify yourselves," Josh. 3:5, 2 Tim 2:21 Not perfect but "Purge himself...sanctified, meet for the master's use" "Exercise unto godliness" 1 T. 4:7.

7. God uses the person who knows how to work with others.  "Not as lords, examples" 1 Pet. 5:2,3. "Humble self" 5:5,6 communicate, encourage, leading, Josh 1:10, 13 led people, "remember what Moses said"

The Bible says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). Will you be that person He can use?


Do Not Mock God

It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7): " Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Here are some men and women who mocked God:

John Lennon:
Some years before during his interview with an American Magazine, he said: "Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, today we are more famous than Him" (1966)". Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves:
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency. Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

Cazuza:
During a show in Caneco ( Rio de Janeiro), whilst smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: God, that's for you. I can't even explain how he died.

The Man Who Built Titanic:
After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: "Not even God can sink it" The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic.

Marilyn Monroe:
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He is a preacher and Evangelist and the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: "I don't need your Jesus" A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.

Bon Scott:
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang: "Dont stop me, Im going down all the way, wow the highway to hell". On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his vomit.

Campinas in 2005:
In Campinas, a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter - holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: "My daughter, go wtih God and may he protect you", She responded: "Only if He (God) travels in the trunk, 'cause inside here it's already full!" Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken.


A Baby's Hug; Long but Worth It

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a highchair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking.

Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi." He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose
it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

"Hi there, baby. Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?"

Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi."

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo."

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

"Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed.

As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position.

Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck.

The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, "You take care of this baby." Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift." I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me."

I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking, "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" When He shared His for all eternity.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children."


Principles

You and I have principles. And we also have opinions. I have opinions about what I think is right or wrong or good or bad. But they're only opinions - I COULD be wrong! I won't try to build my life around my opinions, but I WILL endeavor to stand by my principles.

A 15-year-old boy learned a valuable lesson about life principles. He wrote a letter to "Dear Abby" about finding a woman's wallet that contained $127 as well as the woman's identification. He hopped onto his bicycle and peddled over to her house - about a mile away. He told her he found her wallet and she gave him a big hug. She also gave him twenty dollars.

That evening the boy told his parents about the event and his father said, "I don't think you should have accepted $20 for doing what you should have done. A person shouldn't be rewarded for being honest."

He pondered his father's statement and decided he would return the money. He biked to the lady's home and gave her back the twenty dollars. She didn't want to take it, but he told her she had to - that his father pointed out something to him that he had never realized before. Her eyes filled with tears as she said, "This is one for Ripley."

The boy's question to Abby? "Abby, who is Ripley?"

Is a life built around principles so unusual that Robert Ripley should mention it in his column "Believe It or Not"? When ideals such as honesty and a personal standard of always doing the right thing guide our every action and decision, we actually change. These great principles shape our lives and make us into persons of character. They build self esteem and teach confidence. That boy is fortunate to be raised by a wise father who had the wisdom to say, "Those are my principles."


What Teachers Make

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.

He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers:

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." To stress his point he said to another guest, "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?"

Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.  You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English. I make them understand that, if you have the brains and follow your heart, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn't learn."

Susan paused and then continued. "You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"

Oh, dear people, you and I must make a difference in this world. God left you here to do that or else He would have already taken you to heaven.


Some people understand life better, and they call some of these people "retarded"...

At the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.

As the gun fired, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back... everyone of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story... Why? Because, deep down, we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.


God Hasn't Forgotten You

This is a big time tear jerker but a fantastic message for us.

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 7 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

He often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

He knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since he had passed on.

Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how he had loved his steak.

Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large package of T-bones, dropped them in her basket hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know."

I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

"My husband passed away eight days ago," I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. "Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together."

She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, and then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.

As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. "These are for you," she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. "When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again. I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.

I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone.

Oh, you haven't forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.


Unfold the Rose

A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice. The older preacher walked up to a rose bush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing any of the petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try and unfold the rosebud while keeping every petal intact. . It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the young preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem:

It is only a tiny rosebud
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
Then, in my hands, they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
The flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So, I'll trust in Him for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the Pilgrim's way
The pathway that lies before me
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, and an entire lifetime to forget them.

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