Tag Archives: protection

God Gives Directions

 

Leave Room for God

From: My Utmost for HIs HIghest

When it pleased God . . . —Galatians 1:15

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly—God meets our life “. . . when it pleased God . . . .”

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

 

God Gives Us Direction

Acts 9:1-25 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Acts 9:1-25: Today’s reading introduces us to Saul, who is transformed from persecutor to apostle. He is a faithful follower of the Law of Moses and is on his way to Damascus, intending to arrest followers of “the Way of the Lord.” But Jesus appears to him and chooses him to preach the Good News. The title for Jesus as “Son of God” appears here in the book of Acts for the first time.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 9:20

He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.

Today’s Reading

1 In the meantime Saul kept up his violent threats of murder against the followers of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2 and asked for letters of introduction to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way of the Lord, he would be able to arrest them, both men and women, and bring them back to Jerusalem. 3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” he asked. “I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said. 6 “But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything.10 There was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, “Ananias!” “Here I am, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord said to him, “Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again. ” 13 Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you. ” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. 16 And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake. ” 17 So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”18 At once something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; 19 and after he had eaten, his strength came back. Saul stayed for a few days with the believers in Damascus. 20 He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed and asked, “Isn’t he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn’t he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul’s preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him. 23 After many days had gone by, the Jews met together and made plans to kill Saul,24 but he was told of their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But one night Saul’s followers took him and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Reflect

Why was Saul going to Damascus? What did Jesus say to him? What role did Ananias play in Saul’s conversion? Why was his life in danger once he began preaching that Jesus was the Messiah? In what ways have you experienced the presence of Christ in your life?

Pray

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Teach me to listen for and heed your voice. Help me to experience your presence anew, that I may bear witness to you and proclaim your message of love and salvation. Amen.

Choice

From: getmorestrength.org.

“Wherever you go, I will go; and . . . your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

A friend once told me: “Joe, I’ve come to realize that my life is not made by the dreams that I dream but by the choices that I make.”

Count on it: You will have plenty of choices in life. And usually they boil down to a choice between “What do I want?” and “What’s best for others?”

After their husbands died, Ruth and Orpah were faced with a strategic choice (Ruth 1:11). Their mother-in-law Naomi told them they should go home. She didn’t want them to feel any obligation to her, in spite of the fact that her loss was far greater. She had lost her own husband and both of her sons.

Orpah and Ruth could either go home and start a new life, or stay with Naomi to help her in a time of great need. They knew very well that the latter choice would probably mean living in a foreign land as widows for the rest of their lives, since few Jewish men would want to marry a foreign woman.

Ruth chose to serve the needs of Naomi rather than to serve herself. Orpah chose to leave Naomi for what she thought would be a better life. Ruth went on to play a significant role in Jewish history and became an ancestor of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).

Make the best choice. Choose to serve others.

When we’re involved in serving
And meeting others’ needs,
We’re imitating Jesus
In thoughts and words and deeds.  —Fitzhugh

 

 

When gods die

From: Our Daily Journey

Ezekiel 28:1-19 
You are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god (Ezekiel 28:2).

Read Isaiah 14:1-23 to learn how God will always topple the proud.

How can you tell whether your trust is in God or someone or something else? What can you do right now to recommit yourself to the one true God?

France Nouvelle, the newspaper of the French Communist party, stated this after Stalin died: “The heart of Stalin . . . has ceased beating. But Stalinism lives on, and is immortal. . . . To Stalin we shall remain faithful for evermore. Communists everywhere will endeavor to deserve, by their untiring devotion to the sacred cause of the working class . . . the honorary title of Stalinists. Eternal glory to the great Stalin.”

This panegyric demonstrates that even communists must worship something. If they won’t serve God, they will make a god out of whatever lies at hand. But their god had died, so their predicament seemed hopeless. For people who proudly proclaimed their trust in science, they were slow to notice the evidence.

History is littered with people who were too easily impressed with their own success. The king of Tyre was so rich and wise that he declared, “I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea” (Ezekiel 28:2). God replied that his throne would be the place of his demise. A foreign army would come and “bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you?” (Ezekiel 28:8-9).

Likewise, when the king of Babylon boasted of his military might, God declared that his army would “be completely destroyed” (Jeremiah 51:3). God will topple every god until people realize that “idols are worthless” and that “the God of Israel is no idol! . . . The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!” (Jeremiah 51:18-19).

You will worship someone. Don’t settle for yourself or any mortal. There is only One who is worthy of your worship, and you already know His name.

God Is There

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GOD WAS THERE!

Last December 20th I had a experience that changed my life and nearly ended it. I had personal questions that were answered also that I had in my mind for a while. I had been feeling a little under the weather on the 16th of December and decided not to work that following Monday or Tuesday. I thought since I had a lot of sick days built up I may as well take advantage of them since I didnt really feel well. I had very little appetite and was just not energetic at all. That Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I stood up and with the remote in my hand I turned the television off and at that point the world stopped and life ended. The next thing I knew I was in Barnes hospital in an ICU unit. I thought I was in a dream because everything looked wrong to me. I could not see very well or very clearly. I could see maybe ten feet and it was very very murky and cloudy looking. Giving it a dreamlike appearance. I saw people that I worked with and thought “hmmm I Ive never dreamed of them before! After about a few times of going in and out of consciousness, I came to my senses and realized that I was not dreaming! I really was here in the hospital! “How did I get here?” I thought. I wondered did I have wreck or what. I noticed that the television had the date as the 23rd of December on it. I was completely baffled about the whole thing. I noticed I was hooked to all kinds of electronic things. There was a red light on my finger and a wire that went into my chest to my heart. My legs were attached to a massage machine and my arm to a blood pressure machine that took readings every 15 minutes it seemed. “What happened to me?” My legs hurt really bad and I was weak.

When I realized that I was REALLY in a hospital I thought “How did I get here? Did I have a wreck? I was lost. About 15 minutes after I had regained consciousness, a doctor came in and explained to me how I had been in a coma and how a lucky young man I was to be here. His words were very serious words, but the only thing I thought was what I was going to do when I get out. Later on during my hospital stay I learned from friends what had happened the four days that I was missing in my mind. I thought about God. God, in my view, did not let me die. He did an amazing thing in my book by saving my life. Here is what I am thnkful for. Life? Of course! But I am glad that God saw me when I was dying in my bed and before anyone had prayed a prayer about me, He acted! God, I now know, really loves me a lot! I didnt know that I was about to die that Tuesday night, but He did! He did NOT allow it. For whatever reason. Maybe He was just being Himself…nice! I loved Him and admired Him long before any of this thing happended to me. What a Great Person He is! He defies logic to me. A Person Who can not only be smart and ever in control of things but He can be, and is, NICE!! He has been my Friend Who I have talked to for years and this is not the only time He has saved my life but that is for another time. I may not know who the beast is or false prophet or whatever. But I will go to my grave knowing that the God that I know really is a friend and that I am crazy about Him. By the way…He does love you deeply too. He will do for you what He has done for anyone. He really is No respecter of persons or any of the stuff we hold is high esteem. Thank Him that He is not. God…You are amazing!

THE HAND

Author Unknown

My daughter, Kathleen, was 15… too young to seriously date but she had a boyfriend. One evening, when I was leaving to pick up my son, Paul, from baseball practice, she asked if she could just go with her boyfriend to pick up his little brother at a friend’s house. She said they would come right back. I said, “All right, just make sure you wear your seat belt, and come right home.”

It was my father’s birthday and my 3 yr. old daughter, Therese, was already at my father’s house waiting for us to come over with the cake I had yet to pick up at the store. I left to pick Paul up at school, but decided to take the highway, rather than the shortcut along the back roads.

After leaving the school, Paul and I ran in the store for the cake and some last minute goodies. As we were getting into the car, we heard and saw paramedics, fire trucks, three ambulances and of course a multitude of police cars. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and said to Paul, “Somebody needs our prayers, quick.” I wondered if there was a fire or a bad car accident. At one of the intersections I had to stop to let more emergency vehicles through, and prayed, “Lord, those people need you right now, go to them and place your protective hand over them.”

We stopped at my parents to drop off the food, before going home to pick up Kathleen, but my father met me at the car and told us to not to rush, the party could wait a bit, because Therese had fallen asleep. “Which way did you go to the school?” he asked, “Because there was a bad accident on the back road, I heard someone was killed. It happened just about the time you had to pick up Paul at the school and I know you always go that way. I was so happy to see you pull in, where’s Kathleen?” I explained I was going back home to get her.

As I drove the short distance home, I couldn’t help but worry what if she was involved in the accident? I ran in the house and called out her name, dead silence. Then, the phone rang. It was her friend’s mother, who worked in the emergency room of our local hospital. She only told me that the three of
them were in an accident and were being transported to the hospital. I didn’t call my husband at work, nor my parents, I just ran out the door fast.

At the hospital emergency room, I could hear one of the paramedics softly talking to another parent there, saying “I’m so sorry, so very sorry”. I rushed by him and found the doctor in the hallway. He looked at me and asked if I believed in God, and with that my knees gave way.

I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that Kathleen might be…”Oh please, not my girl”. “No,” he said, “you don’t understand, do you believe in divine intervention?” I sammered, a weak, “Yes.” Not having a clue what he was talking about. He smiled at me and asked, “Do you know what shirt your daughter is wearing tonight?” Nodding no, he told me to go down the hall and look. “Your daughter is blessed with angels and so are you.

From what the emergency personnel told me, there is no way that your daughter should be alive, let alone only have a few scratches.” Kathleen was laying on a cart, waiting for more x-rays. When I got to her, we both sobbed. As I was hugging her I had the urge to check her shirt, unzipping her jacket. I read the words, “Jesus Saves.”

I knew then, what the doctor had meant. All three were treated and released. On the way home that night, Kathleen told this story: “It was really weird, about a quarter of a mile before the accident, I said, ‘Wait, we forgot to put our seat belts on, my Mother will kill me.’ Then a car was coming towards us in our lane, he swerved, and I knew we got hit in the passenger side of the car, where I was sitting. We got hit a total of three times because the car kept spinning in a circle. I felt his little brother’s hand on my shoulder, holding me tightly in place. “But Mom, after it was all over, I could still feel the hand on my shoulder. I looked and his little brother had flown out the back window of the car, as we later found out, on the first spin. “It was an angel, Mom, I know it!”

I knew it too, especially when we went the next day to look at the car, it had been split in half, right underneath my daughter’s seat. The driver of the other car, witnesses said, must have been traveling between 90-95 miles per hour and the point of impact was directly at Kathleen’s door. The police report stated that the car door was found fifty feet away from the accident scene,with the seat belt attached. So when the door broke loose, “the hand” was the only thing that saved my daughter’s life.

God knew, long before I did that my child was in trouble, and I will always thank Him for saving her life and restoring mine.

I have been meaning to write this story for the past couple of years. Kathleen just turned 21. While I was writing this I smiled and cried, but it’s all true.

True Stories – #4

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

by Susan Rule

My name is Susan Rule. I am thirty-two years old and from New Jersey. I would just like to start out by giving God all the glory and praise for letting me be here to share this with you.

I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and two wonderful sisters. I was very involved in church up till about the age of seventeen, then my friends came first. My addiction started out by smoking and drinking alcohol. By the age of twenty-one I lived in the bars day and night. I started lying and stealing from my own family. I met my boyfriend who I loved very much and we moved in together. My boyfriend was involved in drugs and we started selling them out of our apartment.

At first I was able to just sell the drugs and not use them. After a while of watching people come into my home and get high I started getting very courious, and I started using. Heroin became my best friend I always had to have it to get through my day. Heroin is a drug that if you don’t have it, you will do anything for it.

I remember the last time my boyfriend and I went to pick up our package, we saw someone on the side of the road being searched. I remember us looking at each other and saying that will never happen to us, we have been doing this to for to long. Well, on the way home it did happen to us, I remember being on the side of the road and just being so humiliated and embarrassed. By that evening I was being booked and entered the county jail, they had taken my boyfriend to an another jail because of outstanding warrants. I remember just feeling so alone at that point. For the first week I just basically stayed to myself, I was very sick and weak, from coming off the heroin.

I decided to call my parents after I started feeling better. My father came immediately to see me, my mother just couldn’t bare to see me. I could just see the hurt in my fathers eyes as he asked me what my plans were if I got out of jail. I didn’t know at that point in my life, I was tired and ready to just die.

A few weeks later I finally called my mother and told her I was ready to get some help, she told me of the Walter Hoving Home which is a sixteen month Christian residential program for women. My parents bailed me out and took me to New York to the program.

Since then I have dedicated my life to the Lord. God has helped me reconcile with my family, God has help me build up and my self-esteem, and God has even given me a hope and a future. I complete the program on July 31st, and I am already working as a staff member here. I thank god for forgiving my sins and making me his child.

If anyone knows any women with a drug or alcohol problem, please tell them to call the Walter Hoving Home at (845) 424-3674.

For Nothing is Impossible with God. Luke 1:37

From: gatewaytojesus.com

He’s There All The Time

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He’s There All The Time

I did not say . . . , “Seek Me in vain.” —Isaiah 45:19

I’ll never forget my frustrating experience when I went to Chicago’s Union Station early one morning to pick up an elderly relative who was arriving by train. When I got there, she wasn’t where I thought she would be. With increasing anxiety I scoured the place—to no avail. Thinking she had missed her train, I was about to leave when I glanced down a hallway toward the baggage area. There she was, luggage at her feet, patiently waiting for me to arrive. She had been there all the time. And, to my chagrin, she was right where she was supposed to be.

It’s that way with God. He’s there, patiently waiting for us. He assures us, “I did not say . . . , ‘Seek Me in vain’” (Isa. 45:19). Why, then, do we often have trouble finding Him? Probably because we are looking in all the wrong places.

You’ll find Him right where He is supposed to be—in His Word, in prayer, and in the voice of the Holy Spirit who lives within you. The God who says “seek, and you will find” (Matt. 7:7) also promises that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). So, you can rejoice that God is right where He is supposed to be, and He’s waiting for you right now.

The Lord is near to all who call;
He promised in His holy Word
That if we will draw near to Him,
Our faintest heartcry will be heard. —Hess

Have we been looking for God in all the wrong places?

From: Our Daily Journey

Remembering Our Father’s Words

 

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Remembering Our Father’s Words

 — by Marvin Williams
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. —Psalm 119:93
Bible in a Year:
Jeremiah 48-49; Hebrews 7

Jim Davidson was climbing down Mount Rainier when he fell through a snow bridge and into a crevasse (a pitch-black, ice-walled crack in a glacier). As Jim stood bloodied and bruised in that dark ice cave, he reflected on his childhood and recalled how his father had repeatedly reminded him that he could accomplish great things if he pressed through adversity. Those words helped to sustain Jim as he spent the next 5 hours climbing out of that dark ice cave to safety with very little gear and under extremely difficult circumstances.

The psalmist seemed to climb out of his own crevasse of affliction and pain by recalling his heavenly Father’s words. He admitted that if God and His Word had not sustained him with joy, he would have died in his misery (Ps. 119:92). He expressed full confidence in the Lord’s eternal Word (v.89) and in the faithfulness of His character (v.90). As a result of God’s faithfulness, the psalmist made a commitment never to forget God’s words to him because they had a central part in rescuing his life and bringing him strength.

In our darkest caves and moments of affliction, our souls can be revived by our Father in heaven when we recall and fill our minds with His encouraging words.

Thinking It Over
What crevasse of discouragement are you currently in?
How can you use this time as an occasion to revive your
soul by filling your mind and heart with God’s Word?
Remembering God’s words revives our soul.

Boundaries

 

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Re-Establishing Our Boundaries

by DIONNA SANCHEZ

What do we partake in, in this life that is not wholesome and good? What things do we allow into our hearts, homes, and lives that is impure?

It’s so easy to make concessions in life. We rationalize that that movie won’t hurt to watch just one time or that “hit” music has a good beat so we can ignore the words. But instead, we are letting our guard down and starting to desensitize ourselves to right and wrong.

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.”  Psalm 101:3

If God does not or cannot approve anything that is vile and He will have no part in it – what does that mean for us if we choose to let it into our lives? We are supposed to stand out from the rest of the world. Be different. Set apart. If we listen to the same music, read the same books, wear the same clothes….how are we setting a standard? How are we setting boundaries for our lives that God would want for us?

I know it’s hard. I have to reevaluate where I stand…often.  I’ve felt uneasy about certain decisions and then had to go back and tell my children that we were making a change and that I was doing it based on my morals and values.  It’s so easy to go off the path that God has in mind for us.

I want God to look on me with approval. I want Him to take part in all that I do in my life. In order for that to happen, I have to let my faith not just take up a section in my heart, but invade it and flow out to every area of my life. It has to be the scope of which I filter everything that I take in.

We can rationalize and give in all we want to the things of this world. But God has clearly set the standard for our lives.  It’s time to start regaining the territory we’ve allowed to be lost and realize that we are better off without listening to that music, wearing those outfits, or watching those things. It’s time we start feeling better about who we are as people; knowing that we are regaining a purity that has been so easily given away.

Vile is a strong word. Let’s not let anything into our homes or hearts that God could ever construe as vile. For if we do, we can’t expect Him to be a part of it….or of us.

From: DevotionalChristian.com

 

 

 

 

 

19 Horses

 

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19 HorsesFunzug.com

“One rich man owned 19 horses when he died. In his last will and testament he had written that upon his death, half the horses he owned should go to his only son; one fourth to the village temple and one fifth to the faithful servant.

The village elders could not stop scratching their heads. How can they give half of the 19 horses to the son? You cannot cut up a horse. They puzzled over this dilemma for more than two weeks and then decided to send for a wise man who was living in a neighboring village.

The wise man came riding on his horse and asked the villagers if he can be of any help to them. The village elders told him about the rich man’s last will and testament which stated that half of the (19) horses must be given to his only son, one fourth must go to the temple and one fifth to the faithful servant.

The wise man said he will immediately solve their problem without any delay whatsoever. He had the 19 horses placed in a row standing next to one another. Then he added his own horse as the 20 th horse. Now he went about giving half of the 20 horses – that is ten horses to the son. One fourth of 20- that is 5 horses were given to the temple committee. One fifth of twenty- that is 4 horses were given to the faithful servant. Ten plus five plus four made 19 horses. The remaining 20  horse was his own which he promptly mounted, spoke a few inspiring words, and rode back home.

The villagers were simply dumbfounded, full of disbelief and filled with admiration. And the parting words of the wise man were inscribed in their hearts and minds which they greatly cherished and passed on to their succeeding generations till today.

The wise man said: In our daily lives, in our daily affairs, simply add God’s name and then go about facing the day’s happenings. Ever come across problems in life that are seemingly insurmountable? (Like the villagers, do we feel that such problems cannot be solved?).

The wise man continued: Add the God Principle in our daily lives and the problems will become lighter and eventually will disappear. In the manner of the ice which, with the addition of the heat principle will turn into water, and that will eventually evaporate as steam and disappear. And how do we add God’s name in our daily lives? Through prayers, filled with true love and devotion with sincerity of purpose and dedication that only total faith can bring about. Meditation is a powerful means of directing the mind God ward.

But without true love and devotion entering into it, it remains like a boat without water. It is not difficult to push a boat that is floating in water, but extremely hard to drag the same boat on dry land.

In the same way, if our life’s boat floats on the waters of true love and devotion, we can sail easily in it. The principle of love of God and devotion with total faith, (like water) makes easy the voyage of our lives. When the mind is pure and the heart full of simplicity and holiness, such a devotee becomes an instrument in the service of the Lord. ”

19 Horses By: Funzug.com

Read more at http://www.funzug.com/index.php/stories/19-horses-inspirational-story.html#kMAtIvWxhsK2dXoe.99

Our Jacaranda Tree

 

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Our Jacaranda Tree

Our Jacaranda Tree

By Olehile Thataone

“As children we spent our holidays on the farm, both summer and winter. Being farm boys, we helped around with farm chores, like working the cattle and goats. We spent our time during hot summer afternoons, swimming in the water pans or in the farm dam. It was a typical life of boys on the farm. At the time, our parents were hard at work creating a homely feel, building a garden that would grace the surrounding of the farm homestead. But, one particular activity was left entirely up to us, to care for particular trees. These young trees were susceptible to cold environments, as they are not endemic in this part of our country.

We could only care for these trees during our winter holidays, when the cold was unforgiving. Every morning, right after breakfast, we would climb on ladders and cover them with bags, used for keeping coarse salt, to fend off the winter cold and frost. The task was a very monotonous, we had to cut the bags open, and strung them together. As brothers we had our differences, we fought around these young trees, we played around these young trees, while our parents intervened when they had to. These young trees, were no good to us at the time, as they did not provide any significant shade or protection of any sort. We saw them grow taller and bigger, year after year, from strength to strength. Until such time we did not have to care for them anymore. Until, they could care for themselves.

A Jacaranda tree, even in lone appearance, stands out, during the summer, when in full blossom. It can stand 30m tall when fully grown, and is a true sight to behold.

Today, we bask in the shades of these trees as a family and sometimes friends, during special occassions. Our retired Mother, spends her summer afternoons under these trees, reading, crocheting or just taking an afternoon rest from the day’s hard work. Somehow, for some reason, the presence of these trees are taken for granted or not, as they stand tall and strong, and they graces us with their presence.

But, there is a lesson to be taught and learned here. This lesson tells a story of parents who taught their children that, there are certain things that unfortunately can only be done when it is hard, to enjoy the benefits later, when the times are less demanding. A very common lesson indeed, I hope. This tale teaches a lesson of adults who today can reap the benefits of their labour, no matter how small, and forget the relentless cold winters, as that was only temporary. The summer joys will forever overwhelm that brief moment of caring for young Jacaranda trees during the winter. Anyway, with caring comes appreciation for what you care for.

We literally grew up with these trees, they are almost as old as we are, in tree years. They are our soul mates, because we lived with them, we cared for them when they were young, vulnerable and cold. Now, they care for us when we are growing old and would eventually surrender, when the summer days are hot, because they can now withstand nature’s elements, when a mere mortal cannot.

I hope that not soon, the morose song, The Linden Tree, does not play. And I say this in protest to the lyric. We will play under these trees, and it will never end. Our eyes won’t be misty, we will always be there, our children will soon play under these trees. The trumpet won’t sound and love will always be there. The call of death or glory won’t take anyone away from us, we will live forever, and we will always meet beneath the linden tree. And I hope that we will never have to lay flowers under these trees, in remembrance of yesterday.”

As Thabo Mbeki once said, “…we should never become despondent because the weather is bad, nor should we turn triumphalist because the sun shine

Our Jacaranda Tree, By: Olehile Thataone

Father and Daughter

 

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A True Story — by Ronda Rich

“Funny, the things you learn when you tuck manners away and allow yourself to eavesdrop.

Mary Noble and I slid into the ancient red leather and steel booth of a diner in Birmingham and placed our breakfast order.

As we poured cream into steaming black coffee, we heard the shrilling ring of the telephone at the cash register.

“Diner,” answered the aging man with silver hair and loose skin that hung in folds around his neck.

He answered briskly but quicker than you could say “eggs over easy,” his voice melted like marshmallows dropped into hot chocolate. “Oh, hey honey.”

That’s what caught our attention. We hushed, raised our eyebrows and leaned closer to eavesdrop better.

“Where are you?” He waited. “You didn’t forget your camera, did you?” Another pause. “Be sure to put it in the basket at airport security. Don’t walk through the detector with it. Then, don’t forget it. You’ve got your money, right?” Another pause. “OK, sweetheart. Call me first thing so I’ll know you’re all right.”

He smiled. “I love you. Be careful. Bye, sweetheart.”

Really, I don’t know how we knew, but somehow we reckoned it was his daughter. Women’s intuition, I guess. Though, he did seem too old to have a young daughter that he would be talking to like that. He hung up the phone. We smiled sentimentally like women will do because conversations like that touch our hearts.

“Isn’t that sweet?” I asked.

Mary Noble nodded. She turned around, craning her neck to look at the man who was returning to the morning newspaper in the first booth. Then, she sold us out.

“That must have been your daughter. It was so sweet.”

He chuckled slightly and blushed. “Yeah, that was my girl.”

“It’s wonderful to hear a father talk like that,” I remarked.

He put the newspaper down. “She’s 50 years old.” Before that comment could stun us, he continued. “She’s got MS (multiple sclerosis). It hasn’t progressed much in the past five years. She’s going to Washington, D.C.” He looked out the large plate glass window, studying the morning sunlight that dappled the trees and cars parked along the street. He waited a long moment before speaking again.

“I love that girl so. She’s her mama made over.” He shook his head slowly.

That scene hangs with me. In a little Alabama diner on a quiet, tree-lined street, we discovered a father unashamed to say “I love you” to a daughter who was half a century old. And, not embarrassed to say it loud enough for the eager ears of strangers.

Funny, the things that will warm your heart when you tuck your manners away long enough to eavesdrop.” A True Story by: Donna Rich. Inspire 21.com.

The Miracle of Love

 

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The miracle of love, true story!

by STEPHEN

“Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

The new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy’s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the the Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee, USA.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there was very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.

Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”

The mother rose up strong in Karen and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s eyes, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister.”

Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.”

Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and became steady.

“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

“You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”.

Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. “Keep singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”

The next day,…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home.”

Author Unknown
Story submitted by Cindy.

From: Academic Tips.org, Moral Stories.

 

The Old Man and The Dog

 

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  • The Old Man and the Dog 

By Catherine Moore

“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me.   “Can’t you do anything right?”

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

“I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.”

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington  and  Oregon  He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often.

The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his powers.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived… But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue..

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s
troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.”

I listened as she read.. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog  in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed..

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention.. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog “Can you tell me about him?”

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow..” He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.”

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said..

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!”

Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne.  Together he and Cheyenne  explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and  Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and  Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne  made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel  Cheyenne’s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed.. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.

The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

“I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article….

Cheyenne ‘s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. .. ..his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

The Old Man and The Dog, By: Catherine Moore.