An elderly carpenter was ready
to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the
house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife
enjoying his extended family.
He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The
contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build
just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time
it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy
workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his
the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house,
the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he
said, "my gift to you."
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house,
he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he
had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than
acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not
give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we
have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If
we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer
a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you
will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves
to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life
is a do-it-yourself project." Your life tomorrow will be the result of your
attitudes and the choices you make today.
of 8 - "We'll See"
Once upon a time,
there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn't have a
lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow
afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone
in the village said, "Oh, what a horrible thing to happen." The farmer
said simply, "We'll see." He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone
in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him
a new horse as a gift.
Everyone's reaction now was, "What a lucky man." And the farmer said, "We'll
A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in
the village shook their heads and said, "What a poor fellow!"
The farmer smiled and said, "We'll see."
Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, "What a
The farmer said, "We'll see."
Later in the year, the farmer's young boy went out riding on the horse and
fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, "What a shame for the
The farmer said, "We'll see."
Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When
they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit
Everyone said, "What a fortunate young man."
The farmer smiled again - and said "We'll see."
Moral of the story: There's no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances
of our everyday lives. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be
a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events
and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.
As Fra Giovanni once said, "Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty,
believe me... the gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence."
- author unknown
Lesson of Getting Up When You Fall Down
Bringing a giraffe
into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its
mother's womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls
over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers
the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the
birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces
its offspring to the reality of life. In his book, A View from the
Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first
lesson. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick
look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits
for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing.
She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that
it is sent sprawling head over heels. When it doesn't get up, the violent
process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous.
As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate
its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly
the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off
its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the
wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to
stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards,
and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they'd get it too,
if the mother didn't teach her calf to get up quickly and get with
it. The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying
greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo,
Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin. Stone was once
asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these
exceptional people. He said, "I write about people who sometime
in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished
and they go to work. "They are beaten over the head, knocked down,
vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they're knocked
down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end
of their lives they've accomplished some modest part of what they set
out to do." ~ Craig B. Larson Adapted from "Illustrations
for Preaching & Teaching from Leadership Journal Baker Books
of 8 - "Acres of Diamonds"
A sobbing little girl
stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because
it was too crowded. "I can't go to Sunday School," she
sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.
Seeing her shabby,
unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and taking her
by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday
school class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that
night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings
and the parents called for the kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their
daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor body was being moved,
a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged
from some trash dump. Inside
was found 57cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting, which read, "This
is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday
For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully
read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and
the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish
love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money
for the larger building.
But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published
it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.
When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within
five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00--a huge sum
for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with
a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of students
are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday
school building which houses hundreds of Sunday Scholars, so that no child
in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face
of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable
history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr.Russell H. Conwell,
author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds". A true story, which
goes to show what God can do with 57 cents.
is a picture from
an article called, "The Rescuing Hug." The article details the first
week of life of a set of twins. Apparently, each were in their respective incubators,
and one was not expected to live. A hospital nurse fought against the hospital
rules and placed the babies in one incubator. When they were placed together,
the healthier of the two had an arm over her sister in an endearing embrace.
The smaller baby's heart rate stabilized and her temperature rose to
of 8- "The Rescuing Hug"
They both survived, and are
thriving! In fact, now that the two girls are home, they still sleep
together, and still snuggle. The hospital changed their policy
after they saw the effect of putting the two girls together, and
now they bed multiples together.
May '98 pg. 94
Adapted from the Readers Digest article "A Sister's
Helping Hand" May 1996 Pp. 155-56
you hugged someone today?
A DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION FOR HUGGING:
by Mark Katz, M.D., "How
important are hugging and physical and emotional contact for people
affected by life - threatening illnesses? In my work, I have found
that people who receive nurturing maintain a better outlook on their
situation -- and historically, positive attitude is an important
factor in long-term survival. Hugging and physical contact make a
difference in a person's frame of mind, and may help their medical
condition. Best of all, hugging has no side effects and does not
require a trip to the doctor.
recommend at least one hug a day."
took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55
zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so
often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over,
but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard.
Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The
cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob
from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse
than the coming ticket.
A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be
a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about
to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he
saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.
"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."
"Hello, Jack." No smile.
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
"Yeah, I guess."
Bob seemed uncertain. Good.
"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a
bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something
about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"
"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."
Ouch! This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What'd
you clock me at?"
"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?"
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging
65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. "Please, Jack, get in the
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming
it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.
The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for
a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before
Jack ever sat near this cop again.
A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper
in hand. Jack rolled down the window with just enough room for Bob to pass
him the slip.
Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to
his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. He unfolded
the sheet of paper.
How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute.
What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket.
Jack began to read:
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when
killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A
fine and three months in jail, and the man was free.
Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only
had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven
before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've
tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought
I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me.
And be careful.
My son is all I have left. - Bob"
Jack...twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down
the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes
later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness
and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. Life is precious. Handle
with care. ~ Author Unknown
("Be a patient
and sober driver. The number of loved ones killed by impaired
or drunk drivers is alarming. I am an advocate for the mission
of Mothers Against Drunk Driving." to increase awareness and improve
policies." - Jewel Diamond Taylor)
Story #7 of
time ago God had a great many burdens that He wished to have carried
from one place to another on Earth. He asked the animals to
lend a hand, but all of them had excuses for not helping: the elephant
was too dignified; the lion, too proud; and so on...
the birds came to God and said, "If you will tie the burdens
into small bundles, we'll be glad to carry them for you. We
are small, but we would like to help."
fastened upon the back of each bird a small bundle, and they all
set out walking across the plain to their destination. They sang
as they went, not minding the weight of their burdens at all. Every
day the burdens seemed lighter and lighter, until the loads seemed
to be lifting the birds, instead of the birds carrying the burdens.
arrived at their destination, they discovered that when they removed
their loads, there were beautiful wings in their place. Wings
that enabled them to fly to the tree tops and soar through the sky,
closer and closer to God.
we carry for others, as well as ourselves, become wings of the spirit,
lifting us to new places and bringing us closer and closer to God.
in spite of your Burdens!
Story #8 of
was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm.
He was given a slingshot to play with in the woods.
He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target.
Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.
As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.
Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly,
hit the duck square in the head, and killed it.
He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck
in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching.
Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."
Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen."
Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?"
So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing
and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."
Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny
told me he wanted to help.
She whispered again, "Remember the duck?"
So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and
Sally's he finally couldn't stand it any longer.
He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.
Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said,
"Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window
and I saw the whole thing.
But because I love you, I forgave you.
I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."
Thought for the day and everyday thereafter:
Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done --
and the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, debt, fear, hatred,
anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.) --
whatever it is, you need to know that God was standing at the window
and He saw the whole thing.
He has seen your whole life.
He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven.
He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.
The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness,
He not only forgives you, but He forgets -
It is by God's Grace and Mercy that we are saved.
Go ahead and make the difference in someone's life today.
Share this with a friend and always remember...
God is at the window!
submitted by Sharon Coles, White Dove Ministries
by Jewel Diamond Taylor
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