Monday, July 28, 2008

The Garden

Come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses...

FOR THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAILY LIVING PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND CULTIVATE WITH LOVE. THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Picnics...

A minister's six-year-old girl had been so naughty during the week that her mother decided to give her the worst kind of punishment: she couldn't go to the Sunday school picnic.

When the day came, her mother felt she had been too harsh and changed her mind. When she told the little girl she could go to the picnic, the child's reaction was one of gloom and unhappiness.

"What's the matter? I thought you'd be glad to go to the picnic," her mother said.

"It's too late!" the little girl said. "I've already prayed for rain."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Welcome to Holland . . .

I want to warn you right now that this is a tear jerker story. If you have, or know, a disabled child, this will most definitely make you cry.

Our preacher shared this story with us this morning. His youngest son, the 4th child, is 7 and is Down's Syndrome. A friend gave him this the day after he was born.

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I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kids Answer Questions About Mothers

Here's how several elementary school students answered the following questions about moms:

Why did God make mothers?

* She's the only one who knows where the Scotch tape is.
* Mostly to clean the house.
* To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

* He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
* Magic, plus superpowers and a lot of stirring.
* God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

* God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world … and one dab of mean.
* They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

* We're related.
* God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

I said a prayer for you today

I said a prayer for you today and I know God must have heard,
I felt the answer in my heart although He spoke no word.
I didn't ask for wealth or fame, I knew you wouldn't mind,
I asked Him to send you treasures of a far more lasting kind.
I asked that He'd be near you at the start of each new day,
To grant you health and blessings and friends to share the way.
I asked for happiness for you in all things great and small,
But it was for His loving care I asked for most of all.

-Frank Zamboni

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The House of 1000 Mirrors (Japanese folktale)

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit.

When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Are you Jesus?

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hi-Tech Gospel

These are great! Just thought I'd share...

Without sounding too idealistic, we are living in the most exciting time in history. Consider the following:

- Noah would have loved a chainsaw and nailgun
- Abraham and Moses needed a GPS
- Jacob would have loved a Temperpedic pillow, a black belt in Karate, and Match.com
- Joshua needed a boombox and bullhorn
- Gideon needed Scotch Guard for his fleece, and 300 Coleman lanterns for his army
- Hannah and Rachel would have loved invitro fertilization
- David could have used an M-16 with grenade launcher
- Solomon and Samson needed a 12-Step program for sex-aholics
- Elijah would have loved Dominos delivered twice a day by the Brook Cherith...in 30 minutes or less. He also needed a nice Armani suit.
- Elisha would have profited from a "bearable" anger management class
- Daniel could have used a 100-pound bag of catnip
- Eli needed Jennie Craig
- Hosea would have loved e-Harmony.com
- Job needed a good HMO plan, and AFLAC
- Esther needed the CIA, the FBI, a good security system, and (I hate to say it) the ACLU
- Caleb could have done TV commercials alongside of Jack LaLanne
- John the Baptist, Stephen and James needed defense attorney, Johnny Cochran ("if it does not fit, you must acquit")
- Nicodemus was lucky they didn't have papparazi and "The Enquirer" back then
- Paul would have loved a laptop, Blackberry, Lasik surgery, and a 4-pound polyfil REI sleeping bag
- and Timothy needed "Developing the Leader Within You," by John C. Maxwell

In spite of all the modern conveniences and excellent programs we have today, however, God used those Bible characters to bring about His purposes...in mighty ways. In fact, we are too heavily dependent on our own resources, and often miss the joy of walking by faith.

Today, may we turn it off, tune it out, power it down, and disarm it long enough to sit at the feet of Jesus, be filled with the Spirit and walk in the power of God.

- Kurt's Daily Muse http://www.bethesdadesigns.com/KurtMuse/

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

"Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."

1. Pray.

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and un clutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try to pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus."

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

36 ... Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
(Romans 8:31)