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~Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Not one person can truly say he has experienced true peace, rest and freedom from life’s burdens until they have been born again and entered into a genuine Father/child relationship with the Heavenly Father. This comes only through salvation.

Do you have this kind of true peace and rest? If not, I challenge you to question the path you are on and read the Gospel of John through three times. Please contact me when you are finished 🙂

No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

On a cool, quiet January morning, Corporal Rick Garrett was shaving in the shower trailer at Camp Victory, Iraq. Wrapped in a towel and enjoying the energy he felt from a good night’s sleep, he began thinking about the months he had left overseas. Many questions filled his mind: Would the war get even bloodier? Would any of his buddies be killed? Would he do his duty well? In fact, would he even survive?

Then another question – it was a prayer, really – formed itself in his mind: “God, are you able to protect me over here?”

The words had just become a conscious thought when Corporal Garrett heard a deafening crash. It was the sound of the trailer door shattering. An RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) had pierced the door and was now flying through the middle of the trailer. In an instant, the projectile flew past Corporal Garrett, lightly creasing his stomach en route, and embedded itself in the trailer wall opposite the door.

For a moment, Garrett was frozen in shock, expecting the RPG to explode. But it did not. Realizing he might have a moment to escape, the Corporal ran to the gaping hole where the door had been and hurled himself through it to the ground several feet below. Jumping up as quickly as he could, he sprinted from the trailer while shouting a warning to those in the nearby trailers. Dozens of soldiers braced themselves for an explosion.

Yet nothing happened. The RPG never exploded. It was a dud. Garrett picked himself up from the ground and began laughing with relief. As a crowd gathered and began congratulating him for his luck, he remembered the question he had been asking God: “Can you protect me over here?” It seemed that God had answered.

In case the message hadn’t been clear enough, though, there was something more. When the ordinance specialists examined the unexploded RPG, they found a message had been scratched onto it. This was not uncommon. Insurgents often painted or scratched some message on the missiles they fired as an added insult to their American enemy. But the message on this particular missile had a special meaning to Corporal Garrett.

It read simply, “From the God of the American Soldiers.”

Apparently, an insurgent had intended the message as a cruel insult. Corporal Garrett knew better. Whatever the insurgents meant to say, he knew that his God was saying in dramatic terms, “Yes, I can protect you over here. For I am indeed, ‘the God of the American Soldiers.'”

Taken from ‘American Heroes’ by Stephen Mansfield.

~John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

~Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

~John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Let God’s Word speak for itself. If you go to church and follow the church rules, yet you disregard what the Word of God, the Bible, teaches, you must question if you are a child of God.  The Bible teaches that it is not following rules or man’s teachings that will get you to Heaven.  One must be born again!  The Holy Spirit enters one’s heart at that point and lives within him.  One is then born of the spirit and the water of the Word, the Water of Life!

~Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Bro. Nicholas Cardot once had this on his blog and I thought it was excellent! Enjoy 🙂

Some Things To Remember

  • Faith is the ability to not panic.
  • If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you prayed, don’t worry.
  • As a child of God, prayer is kinda like calling home every day.
  • Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
  • When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
  • Do the math. Count your blessings.
  • God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
  • Dear God: I have a problem. It’s me.
  • Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
  • Laugh every day – it’s like inner jogging.
  • The most important things in your home are the people.
  • Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.(Preach it!)
  • There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.
  • A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
  • He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
  • We do not remember days but moments. Life moves too fast so enjoy your precious moments.
  • Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it’s just hearsay.
  • It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
  • Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you’re seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting. Leave gentle fingerprints on the soul of another for the angels to read. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it I want to have lived the width of it as well.

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The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s relationship!

I shall not want
That’s supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That’s rest!

He leadeth me beside still waters
That’s refreshment!

He restoreth my soul
That’s healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
That’s guidance!

For His name sake
That’s purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That’s testing!

I will fear no evil
That’s protection!

For thou art with me
That’s faithfulness!

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
That’s discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That’s hope!

Thou anointest my head with oil
That’s consecration!

My cup runneth over
That’s abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That’s blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That’s security!

Forever
That’s eternity!!

Author Unknown

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We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair 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 arms of the old man.

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.’

Author Unknown

1. Faith is the ability to not panic. (Isaiah 26:3) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

2. If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you prayed, don’t worry. (John 14:14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

3. As a child of God, prayer is kinda like calling home every day. (Psalm 119:76) Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. (Romans 5:3-5) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (3) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (4) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (5)

5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot. (Psalm 46:10) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

6. Do the math. Count your blessings. (James 5:11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts. (Galatians 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (22) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (23)

8. Dear God: I have a problem. It’s me. (James 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted. (Proverbs 25:11) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

10. Laugh every day – it’s like inner jogging. (Proverbs 17:22) A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

11. The most important things in your home are the people. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. (18 ) And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (19) And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: (20)

12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional. (Preach it!) (Hebrews 5:13-14) For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (13) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (14)

13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in. (Revelation 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry. (James 5:8-9) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (8 ) Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. (9)

15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead. (Hebrews 9:27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

16. We do not remember days but moments. Life moves too fast so enjoy your precious moments. (Psalm 90:12) So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it’s just hearsay. (I Corinthians 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done. (Psalm 9:10) And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you’re seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck. (Psalm 31:24) Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. (Psalm 90:8 ) Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

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A Soldier’s Prayer

Written by an anonymous confederate soldier during the civil war of the United States

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things….

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise….

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God….

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things….

I got nothing that I asked for – but everything that I had hoped for,

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed

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As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times.

I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only somehow mustering the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, ‘Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.’

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

~Author Unknown~

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…
God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…
God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…
God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…
God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…
God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…
God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…
God has whispered to you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…
God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…
God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…
God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…
GOD KNOWS!!

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deut 31:6 (KJV)

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When in sorrow, call John 14.
When men fail you, call Psalm 27.
If you want to be fruitful, call John 15.
When you have sinned, call Psalm 51.
When you worry, call Matthew 6:19-34.
When you are in danger, call Psalm 91.
When God seems far away, call Psalm 139.
When your faith needs stirring, call Hebrews 11.
When you are lonely and fearful, call Psalm 23.
When you grow bitter and critical, call 1 Cor. 13.
For Paul’s secret to happiness, call Col.3:12-17.
For idea of Christianity, call 11 Cor. 5:15-19.
When you feel down and out, call Romans 8:31.
When you want peace and rest, call Matt.11:25-30.
When the world seems bigger than God, call Psalm 90.
When you leave home for labor or travel, call Psalm 121.
Your prayers growth narrow and selfish, call Psalm 67.
For a great invention/opportunity, call Isaiah 55.
When you want courage for a task, call Joshua 1.
How to get along with fellow men, call Romans 12.
When you think of investments/returns, call Mark 10.
If you are depressed, call Psalm 27.
If your pocketbook is empty, call Psalm 37.
If you’re losing confidence in people, call 1 Cor. 13.
If people seem unkind, call John 15.
If discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126.
If you find the world growing small and yourself great, call Psalm 19.

NOTE: EMERGENCY NUMBERS may be DIALED DIRECT. No operator assistance is necessary. ALL LINES ARE OPEN TO HEAVEN 24 HOURS A DAY! Feel free to pass this on to others.

A dear brother in Christ sent this in an email and I found it to be so profound. Richard Baxter lived over a hundred years ago!!! If these signs were true back then, how they hold true even more so for today!

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The Ten Marks of a Flesh-Pleaser
by Richard Baxter

The signs of a flesh-pleaser or sensualist are these:

1. When a man in his desire to please his appetite, does not do it with a view to a higher end, that is to say to the preparing himself for the service of God; but does it only for the delight itself. (Of course no one does every action consciously with a view to the service of God. Nevertheless, the general manner or habit of a life spent in the service of God is absent for the flesh-pleaser.)

2. When he looks more eagerly and industriously after the prosperity of his body than of his soul.

3. When he will not refrain from his pleasures, when God forbids them, or when they hurt his soul, or when the necessities of his soul call him away from them. But he must have his delight whatever it costs him, and is so set upon it, that he cannot deny it to himself.

4. When the pleasures of his flesh exceed his delights in God, and his holy word and ways, and the expectations of endless pleasure. And this not only in the passion, but in the estimation, choice, and action. When he had rather be at a play, or feast, or other entertainment, or getting good bargains or profits in the world, than to live in the life of faith and love, which would be a holy and heavenly way of living.

5. When men set their minds to scheme and study to make provision for the pleasures of the flesh; and this is first and sweetest in their thoughts.

6. When they had rather talk, or hear, or read of fleshly pleasures, than of spiritual and heavenly delights.

7. When they love the company of merry sensualists, better than the communion of saints, in which they may be exercised in the praises of their Maker.

8. When they consider that the best place to live and work is where they have the pleasure of the flesh. They would rather be where they have things easy, and lack nothing for the body, rather than where they have far better help and provision for the soul, though the flesh be pinched for it.

9. When he will be more eager to spend money to please his flesh than to please God.

10. When he will believe or like no doctrine but “easy-believism,” and hate mortification as too strict “legalism.” By these, and similar signs, sensuality may easily be known; indeed, by the main bent of the life.

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I am unsure of the origin of this but it is an excellent read!

WHAT TWO HYMNS, ONE BIBLE, AND TWO MEN CAN DO WALKING WITH GOD

[NOTE: What follows is a first hand account of an encounter during the heat of battle on Okinawa over a half century ago. But truly the story is timeless and powerful. We hope it blesses you.]

It was early in 1945 when as a war correspondent on Okinawa I first came upon Shimabuku, the strangest and most inspiring community I ever saw. Huddled beneath its groves of banyan and twisted pine trees this remote village of some 1000 souls was in the path of the “American” advance and so received a severe shelling. But when an advance patrol swept up to the village compound the GI’s stopped dead in their tracks. Barring their way were two little old men; they bowed low and began to speak. The battle hardened sergeant wary of tricks held up his hand and summoned an interpreter. The interpreter shook his head. “I don’t get it. Seems we’re being welcomed as “fellow Christians.” One says he’s the mayor of the village and the other’s the schoolmaster. That’s a Bible the older one has in his hand…

Guided by the two old men – Mojun Nakamura, the mayor, and Shosei Kina, the schoolmaster – we cautiously toured the compound. We’d seen other Okinawan villages uniformly down-at-the-heels and despairing; by contrast this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the two old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields fertile and neat, their storehouses and granaries, and their prized sugar mill.

Gravely the old men talked on and the interpreter said, “They’ve met only one American before long ago. Because he was a Christian they assume we are too – though they can’t quite understand why we came in shooting.”

Piecemeal, the incredible story came out.

Thirty years before an American missionary on his way to Japan had paused at Shimabuku. He’d stayed only long enough to make a pair of converts, teach them a couple of hymns, leave them a Japanese translation of the Bible and exhort them to live by it. They’d had no contact with any Christian since. Yet during those 30 years, guided by the Bible, they had managed to create a Christian democracy at its purest. How had it happened?

Picking their way through the Bible, the two converts had found not only an inspiring “Person” on whom to pattern a life but sound precepts on which to base their society. They’d adopted the Ten Commandments as Shimabuku’s legal code; the Sermon on the Mount as their guide to social conduct.

In Kina’s school, the Bible was the chief literature; it was read daily by all students and major passages were memorized. In Nakamura’s village government, the precepts of the Bible were law. Nurtured on this Book a whole generation of Shimabukans had drawn from it their ideas of human dignity and of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The result was plain to see.

Shimabuku for years had had no jail, no brothel, no drunkenness, no divorce; there was a high level of health and happiness.

Next day the tide of battle swept us on. But a few days later, during a lull, I requisitioned a jeep and a Japanese speaking driver and went back to Shimabuku. Over the winding roads outside the village huge truck convoys and endless lines of American troops moved dustily; behind them lumbered armored tanks and heavy artillery. But inside Shimabuku was an oasis of serenity.

Once again I strolled through the quiet village streets soaking up Shimabuku’s calm. There was a sound of singing. We followed it and came to Nakamura’s house where a curious religious service was under way. Having no knowledge of churchly forms or ritual the Shimabukans had developed their own. There was much Bible reading by Kina, repeated in singsong fashion by the worshipers. Then came hymn singing. The tunes of the two hymns the missionary had taught – “Fairest Lord Jesus” and “All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name” – had naturally suffered some changes, but they were recognizable.

Swept up in the spirit of “All Hail the Power” we joined in. After many prayers voiced spontaneously by people in the crowd, there was a discussion of community problems. With each question Kina turned quickly to some Bible passage to find the answer. The book’s imitation leather cover was cracked and worn, its pages stained and dog-eared from 30 years’ constant use. Kina held it with the reverent care one would use in handling the original Magna Carta.

The service over, we waited as the crowd moved out and my driver whispered hoarsely, “So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus!” Then, with a glance at a shell hole, he murmured, “Maybe we’re using the wrong kind of
weapons.”

Time had dimmed the Shimabukans’ memory of the missionary; neither Kina nor Nakamura could recall his name. They did remember his parting statement. As expressed by Nakamura, it was: “Study this Book well. It will give you strong faith. And when faith is strong, everything is strong!”

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~Malachi 3:3a And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy – when I see my image in it.”

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Author Unknown

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Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, the elderly man received a telegram that his beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season-a season that he and his son had so looked forward to in the past-would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.

The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told every one of his-and his father’s-love of fine art work. “I’m also an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man began to unwrap the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man’s son. Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the portrait above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings. And then the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, as he realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy’s life would live on because of those he had touched. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the priceless pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, since, with the old man’s passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the way he had received his greatest gift.

The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams could be fulfilled this day; greatness could be achieved as some could say,” I have the greatest collection.” The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum list… It was the painting of the old man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.

“Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Moments passed as no one spoke.

From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and get on to the good ones.”

More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one-first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now who will take the son?”

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “Will you take $10 for the painting? That’s all I have.

“Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer. After more silence he said, “Going once, going twice… Gone!”

The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, “Now we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!”

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a portrait of some old man’s son! What about all of the other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art work here. We demand an explanation!”

The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

Just as the art collectors discovered on that day…The message is still the same…the love of the Father….a Father whose son gave his life for others…And because of that Father’s love… Whoever takes the Son gets it all.

Author Unknown

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You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’ ‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’ Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!

~Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not;

The same God who created the heavens and the earth is the same God who will judge mankind at the end. The sins of the Old Testament are still considered sin in the New Testament. As well, they are still sin today. Don’t deceive yourself.

~Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

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~Proverbs 4:14-15  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

~Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

~2 Timothy 2:23  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

~Titus 3:9  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

If you do not want to get in trouble with the law, you do not hang out with law breakers. If you do not want to be counted amongst those co-workers who are lazy, you do not mimic their actions. By avoiding trouble makers, one stays out of trouble. By avoiding those who can cause us to stray from what God’s Word teaches, we “keep” ourselves separated.

~James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

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The Psalmist had a special relationship with his God.  It seems that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would hear him when he cried out to Him.

~Psalm 3:4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Can you say this of your relationship with God? Do you absolutely know for certain that God is hearing you when you cry? If you cannot, then you are practicing religion rather than nurturing a relationship with your Heavenly Father. Think on this for a bit. A child never questions whether his father hears his cries.  So stop and meditate on your relationship with God.  Do you have one?

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~1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

George Pickett, who had known Lincoln in Illinois, years before, joined the Southern army, and by his conspicuous bravery and ability had become one of the great generals of the Confederacy. Toward the close of the war, when a large part of Virginia had fallen into the possession of the Union army, the President called at General Pickett’s Virginia home.

The general’s wife, with her baby on her arm, met him at the door. She herself has told the story for us.

” ‘Is this George Pickett’s home?’ he asked.

“With all the courage and dignity I could muster, I replied: ‘Yes, and I am his wife, and this is his baby.’

” ‘I am Abraham Lincoln.’

” ‘The President!’ I gasped. I had never seen him, but I knew the intense love and reverence with which my soldier always spoke of him.

“The stranger shook his head and replied: ‘No; Abraham Lincoln, George’s old friend.’

“The baby pushed away from me and reached out his hands to Mr. Lincoln, who took him in his arms. As he did so an expression of rapt, almost divine tenderness and love lighted up the sad face. It was a look that I have never seen on any other face. The baby opened his mouth wide and insisted upon giving his father’s friend a dewy kiss.

“As Mr. Lincoln gave the little one back to me he said: ‘Tell your father, the rascal, that I forgive him for the sake of your bright eyes.’ ”

~by: Charles W. Moores, Good Stories for Great Holidays

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