Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
By Maya Angelou
'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean livin''
I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain..
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I spent the week before my daughter's June wedding running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away.
As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man, I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle . .
So many details, so many bills, and so little time. My son Jack was away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying he'd wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!
To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the church.
After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft with magnolias. As we left just before midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding any bride had ever had! The music, the ceremony, the reception - and especially the flowers - would be remembered for years.
The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiance Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautifu l white flowers were black. Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.
I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.
Tim turned to me. 'Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away these dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements.'
I mumbled, 'Sure,' as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.
Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling. 'Lord,' I prayed, 'please help me. I don't know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a hurry!' I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut his tree to shreds.
As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance. I approached a house...No dog in sight. I knocked on the door and an older man answered. So far so good . .No shotgun.. When I stated my plea the man beamed, 'I'd be happy to!'
He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me. Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, 'Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today.'
'No, Ma'am,' he said. 'You don't understand what's happening here.'
'What?' I asked.
'You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday.. On Tuesday I received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday . . . He paused. I saw tears welling up in his eyes. 'On Wednesday I buried her.' He looked away. 'On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday - yesterday - my children left.'
'This morning,' he continued, 'I was sitting in my den crying out loud. I miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry louder. 'Nobody needs me!' About that time, you knocked, and said, 'Sir, I need you.'
I stood with my mouth open.
He asked, 'Are you an angel? The way the light shone around your head into my dark living room...'
I assured him I was no angel.
He smiled. 'Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those magnolias?'
'I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a flower ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of them. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!'
I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have said, 'Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness' sake! There is no way I can minister to anyone today.'
But God found a way. Through dead flowers.
'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.'
If you have missed knowing me, you have missed nothing.
But, if you have missed knowing my LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, you have missed everything in the world.
May God's blessings be upon you.
THIS IS SO TRUE, BEING NEEDED IS SO UPLIFTING TO EACH OF US..
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he later told his father, Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever wrote." It also was the last.
Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while cleaning out the teenager's locker at Teary Valley High School . Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them-notes from classmates and teachers, his homework.
Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's life. But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven. "It makes such an impact that people want to share it. You feel like you are there." Mr. Moore said
Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.
The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it," Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I knowI'll see him."
Brian's Essay: The Room...
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched", I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so m uch by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content.
I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the
floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."
The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the
tears, I saw Him.
No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.
He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxe s. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes But this was a pity that didn't anger me.
I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard H im close the last file and walk back to my side.
He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"-Phil. 4:13
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Sharon here: After I read Brian's essay I thought about my file cabinet. More than anything I want Christ to help me clean it up.