The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people
who count the votes decide everything. -- Joe Stalin
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power
to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a
crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be
observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt.
Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
"Atlas Shrugged," by Ayn Rand
Socialism is great until you run out of someone elses
money. -- -- Margaret Thatcher
In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy,
struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life. -- Albert Bandura, Canadian
I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people. Their basic characteristic is their desire to
remember. No other people has such an obsession with memory. -- Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986
a million rubber banks in his resilience. -- Alan K. Simpson
I don't want to read about what is going
to slide down easily; there has to be some crunch, a certain amount of resilience. -- John Ashbery
strongest oak in the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands
in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun. --
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun it out,
but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. -- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
All the wonders you seek are within yourself. -- Sir Thomas Brown
Fall seven times, stand
up eight. -- Japanese proverb
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300
games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot -- and I missed. I have failed over and over and
over again in my life. And that's precisely why I succeed. -- Michael Jordan
Nothing in the world can
take the place of persistence.
Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
will not. Unrewarded genius is almost legendary.
Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts.
and determination along are omnipotent.
-- President Calvin Coolidge
Grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. -- Reinhold
The first step to becoming a more peaceful person is to have the humility to admit that, in most cases,
you're creating your own emergencies. Life will usually go on if things don't go according to plan. It's helpful to keep reminding
yourself and repeating the sentence, "Life isn't an emergency." -- Richard Carlson, PhD, from the book "Don't
Sweat the Small Stuff"
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what
lies within us. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly
I can!" and get busy and find out how to do it. -- Theodore Roosevelt
If you think education is expensive,
try ignorance. -- Derek Bok
My policy is to learn from the past, focus on the present, and dream about
the future. I'm a firm believer in learning from adversity. Often the worst of times can turn to your advantage -- my life
is a study of that. -- Donald Trump
Humor is a great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops us,
all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. -- Mark Twain
the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. -- Helen Keller
A man can be
destroyed but not defeated. -- Ernest Hemingway
My dear friend, Joyce, shares this quote of Leo Buscaglia:
Every moment spent in unhappiness is a moment of happiness lost.
From George Burns: I look to the future
because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life.
From H. L. Mencken:
A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings
A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and
yet keep both ears to the ground.
All government, of course, is
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses
smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
Archbishop -- a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And
I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
I never lecture,
not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want
to meet them.
I write in order to attain that feeling of tension
relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk.
is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This
makes me forever ineligible for public office.
Temptation is a
woman's weapon and a man's excuse.
The most dangerous man
to any government is the man who is able to think things out...without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.
Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the governmen he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/857545/posts (making Lent meaningful for children
-- really excellent posts)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/854294/posts (lots of information about Lent)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1081754/posts (Stations of the Cross)
http://www.goaway-letmepaint.com/cwwj_frame.htm (beautiful artwork for "A Child Walks With Jesus: A Lenten Pilgrimage)
"Anyway" ~~ Mother
People are often unreasonable, illogical or self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are successful, you will be sure to make some false friends and some true enemies.
Be successful anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be good enough.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them .. anyway.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German poet -- quotations
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. -- Albert Camus
"If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism
is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution,
so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire
for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description
also of what libertarianism is. Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call
themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades,
and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are
legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom
or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure
that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think
that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path". -- http://www.reason.com/news/show/29318.html
FOREVER FRIEND -- author unknown
Sometimes in life,
a special friend;
Someone who changes your life
just by being part of it.
Someone who makes
until you can't stop;
Someone who makes you believe
that there really is good in the
Someone who convinces you
that there really is an unlocked door
just waiting for you to open
This is Forever Friendship.
And I got this from Annabelle D. It tells you what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Chicago:
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May,
you live in Chicago.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you
live in Chicago.
If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in Chicago.
had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in Chicago.
means going somewhere south of I-80 for the weekend, you live in Chicago.
If you measure distance in hours, you
live in Chicago.
If you have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again,
you live in Chicago.
If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching,
you live in Chicago.
If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in Chicago.
If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in Chicago.
If the speed
limit on the interstate is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in Chicago.
driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in Chicago.
If you know all
4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in Chicago.
If you have more miles
on your snow blower than your car, you live in Chicago.
If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly," you
live in Chicago.
DON'T MESS WITH THE CHILDREN -- from
A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing.
She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was
working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."
The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking
up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."
A Sunday School teacher
was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honor"
thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without hesitating, one little boy -- the oldest in a family -- answered, "Thou shalt not kill."
A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said,
"Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary
position, the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted, "'Cause your feet ain't
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a parochial elementary school for lunch.
At the head of the table ws a large pile of juicy apples. The teacher made a note, and posted on the apple tray:
"Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table
was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching
A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said
it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human being because even though it is a very large mammal, its throat
is very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated
that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, "When I get to
heaven, I will ask Jonah."
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
girl replied, "Then you ask him."
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher
was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look
at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, he's
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, she's
Favorite Ronald Reagan quotes:
Here's my strategy
on the Cold War: We win, they lose.
The most terrifying words in the English language: I'm for the government
and I'm here to help you.
The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just
that they know so much that isn't so.
Of the four wars in my lifetime, none of them came about because the
U.S. was too strong.
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would look like if Moses had run them through
The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the U.S. government but doesn't have to take the Civil
Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense
of responsibility at the other end.
The nearest thing to eternal life we will see on this earth is a government
I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what
times it is, wake me, even it's the middle of a Cabinet meeting.
It has been said that politics is the second
oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.
Government's view of the
economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving,
Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards. If you are disgraced, you
can write a book.
No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral
courage of free men and women.
If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we'll be a nation
Update: October 27, 2007
Actual statements from claim forms about
how accidents happened:
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
The other car collided
with mine without giving warning of its intention.
I had been learned to drive with power steering. I turned the
wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.
I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have.
I thought my window was down, but found
it was up when I put my hand through it.
No one was to blame for the accident, but it never would have happened
if the other driver had been alert.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
I saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.
I was taking my canary to
the hospital. It got loose in the car and flew out the window. The next thing I saw was his rear end, and there was a crash.
The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
I was thrown from
my car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.
I was sure the old fellow would never
make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck
The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the
I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.
In my attempt to kill a fly,
I drove into a telephone pole.
My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.
pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.
A truck backed
through my windshield and into my wife's face.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law,
and headed over the embankment.
The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and vanished.
Update: October 9, 2007
Imagination is more important
than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
If music be the food of love, play on. -- Shakespeare
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. -- Walt Disney
Obstacles are those frightful
things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. -- Henry Ford
I skate where the puck is going to
be, not where it has been. -- Wayne Gretzky
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. -- Yogi
Life as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -- M. K. Gandhi
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. -- Zig Ziglar
Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
-- Zig Ziglar
Let the wife make the husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
-- Martin Luther
Husbands are like fires. They go out if unattended. -- Zsa Zsa Gabor
secret of a happy marriage remains a secret. -- Henry Youngman
I know you've been married to the same
woman for 69 years. That is marvelous. It must be very inexpensive. -- Johnny Carson
Update: October 4, 2007
My favorite Yogi Berra quotes:
This is like deja vu all over again.
You can observe a lot by just watching.
I'd find the
fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it. -- when asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.
You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.
If you don't know where you are going,
you will wind up somewhere else.
If you can't imitate him, don't copy him.
You better cut the
pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six pieces.
Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half
Nobody goes there anymore -- it's too crowded.
If you come to a fork in the road, take
90% of the putts that are short don't go in.
It aint' the heat -- it's the humility.
The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.
Update: October 2, 2007
Temptation almost always
assails us at the point where we thought no defense necessary. -- Elizabeth Elton Smith (Three Eras of Woman's Life)
The trouble with people who have broken a habit is that they usually have the pieces mounted and framed. -- Ivern
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or teh mirror that reflects it. -- Edith
Wharton, novelist (1862-1937)
In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive
long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interesting
in big things, and happy in small ways. -- Edith Wharton
The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers,
but for the wide world's job. -- Henry Ward Beecher
Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
never to himself has said
This is my own, my native land.
-- Walter Scott
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary
only to separae them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every
human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate
A schedule defnds from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching
days. It is scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up
of reason and order -- willed, fakes, and so brought into being. -- Anne Dillard (The Writing Life)
is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself while looking out for your country. -- Calvin Coolidge
Update: October 1, 2007
Success seems to be largely a
matter of hanging on after others have let go.
We become successful by helping others become successful.
Integrity is when what you say, what you think and what you do -- are the same. When all 3 mirror each other.
eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. -- 1 Cor. 2:9
The game of life is the game fo boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with outstanding
The best bridge between hope and despair is often a good night's sleep. "It is vain for you
to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows, for he giveth his beloved sleep." -- Psalm 127:2
A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark. -- Chinese proverb
It is better to fail with honor than to win by deceit.
Success happens when opportunity meets preparation.
Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.
Part of preparation is learning how
to accept defeat and rejection and move on.
It is nice to be important but it more important to be nice.
You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who who will never be able to repay you.
you are patient in one moment of anger, you will esape a hundred days of sorrow.
Although the tongue weighs very
little, few people are able to hold it.
UPDATE: September 28, 2007
The first rule is to
keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are. -- Marcus Aurelius
In order to live free and happily you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. -- Richard
It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to
sanity and faith and security. -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The future will belong not only to the educated
man, but to the man who is educated to use his leisure wisely. -- C. K. Brightbill
Don't worry that
your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. -- Robert Fulghum
you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt. And dance like no one's watching. -- Leroy Satchel
Paige (1906 - 1982)
I don't need time. What I need is a deadline. -- Duke Ellington, jazz pianist,
composer and conductor (1899 - 1974)
When Momofuku Ando passed away recently, he left behind one of the great modern
inventions: ramen noodles. According to The New York Times, he also left us a great motto to live by: "Teach
a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don't have to teach him anything."
Two eskimo newlyweds spent the night together. The next morning, the bride found out she was six months pregnant.
During a revival meeting, the evangelist invited people in need to the stage.
"Brother," he said to
the first respondent, "what is your need?"
"My hearing," the man answered.
The evangelist stuck
his finger in the man's ear and prayed.
"How's your hearing now?" he asked.
know," the man replied. "It's not till next Tuesday."
-- Dalton Roberts in the Joyful Noiseletter
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become
Keep your words positive because your words become your actions.
Keep your actions positive because
your actions become your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values
positive because your values become your destiny.
When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. -- unknown
When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure,
our health and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us,
and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our days and nights into a hellish
turmoil. -- Dale Carnegie
Spiritual progress is like detoxification. Things have to come up in order to
be released. Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface. -- Marianne Williamson
If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent
the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself. -- Barbara deAngelis
We gain the strength of the temptation we resist. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can't wake a person
who is pretending to be asleep. -- Navajo Proverb
Update: September 26, 2007
To a disciple who was forever
complaining about others, the Master said, "If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is
easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth." -- Anthony de Mello
the fury of the patient man. -- John Dryden, poet and dramatist (1631-1700)
No one is useless who has
a friend, and if we are loved we are indispensable. -- Robert Louis Stevenson
Chance is always powerful.
Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. -- Ovid
our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races,
even alone in genders. -- Maya Angeou, poet (1928 - )
Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A
farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes is certain for those who are
friends. -- Richard Bach, Illusions
He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything.
-- Samuel Johnson
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Let a person
overcome anger by love. -- Buddha
Update: September 25, 2007 -- thank you, Jill, for sharing these from
the Readers Digest
Have your seen the deer heads on the walls of bars, the ones wearing party hats, sunglasses
and streamers? I feel sorry for them because obviously they were at a party having a good time. -- Ellen DeGeneres
Do you know that babies are nauseated by the smell of a clean shirt? -- Jeff Foxworthy
I tried to walk into Target,
but I missed. -- Mitch Hedberg
You know, marriage is making a big comeback. I know personally that in Hollywood
people are marrying people they never married before. -- Bob Hope
When I was a little kid, we had a quicksand box.
I was an only child -- eventually. -- Steven Wright
In high school, my sister went out with the captain of the
chess team. My parents loved him. They figured that any guy who took hours to make a move was okay with them. -- Brian Kiley
Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think -- in a deeper voice. -- Bill Cosby
Batman never fights crime in neighborhoods that need it. I'd like to see Batman fight crime in my neighborhood.
"Robin?" -- "Yes, Batman?" -- "Didn't we park the car right here, man? -- Dave Chappelle
So they're showing me, on television, the detergents getting out bloodstains. I mean, come on, you got a t-shirt with
a bloodstain all over it. Maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem right now. -- Jerry Seinfeld
is in trouble if your wife says, "You're only interested in one thing," and you can't remember what it is.
-- Milton Berle
You know you're getting old when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work. -- Joan
I asked my brother-in-law why he was wearing my raincoat. He answered, "You wouldn't want me to
get your suit wet, would you?" -- Henry Youngman
Men can read maps better than women. 'Cause only the
male mind could conceive of one inch equalling a hundred miles. -- Roseanne
Update: September 24, 2007
Most men pursue pleasure
with such breathless haste they hurry past it. -- Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher (1813-1855)
anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. -- Buddha
(c. 566-480 BCE)
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept
life and you must accept regret. -- Henri Frederic Amiel
On the whole, age comes more gently to those
who have some doorway into an abstract world -- art or philosophy or learning -- regions where the years are scarcely noticed
and the young and old can meet in a pale truthful light. -- Freya Stark
It's a shallow life that doesn't
give a person a few scars. -- Garrison Keillor, radio hose and author (1942- )
to be a beginner every single morning. -- Meister Eckhart
Those who love deeply never grow old; they may
die of old age, but they die young. -- Sir Arthur Wing Pinero
Ordering a man to write a poem is like commanding
a pregnant woman to give birth to a red-headed child. -- Carl Sandburg, poet and biographer (1878 - 1967)
poem begins with a lump in the throat. (Robert Forst, poet (1874-1963)
Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer (1917 - )
are born great, some achieve greatness and some hire PR officers. -- Daniel J. Boorstin, Librarian of Congress from 1975-1987,
historian, attorney, writer (1914-2004)
A simple way to take the measure of a country is to look at how many
want in -- and how many want out. -- Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom (1953 - )
Q: How do you decide who to marry:
A: No one really decides before they grow up. God decides
it all the way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. -- Kristen, age 10
Q: What do you
think your mom and dad have in common?
A: Both don't want any more kids. -- Gracie, age 8
Q: What do most
people do on a date?
A: On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough
to go for a second date. -- Jim, age 10
Update: September 22, 2007
Bless a thing and it
will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you. If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you; even if it is troublesome
for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it. -- Emmet Fox
Nick, it is what it is,
it's not what it should have been, not what it could have been, it is what it is. -- Nicole Kidman's dad
Never fear shadows. They simply mean that there's a light somewhere nearby. -- Ruth E. Renkei
just think the best way to stay clear of something until you're totally delivered from it is to stay away from it. I'm
just staying away from everything that I'm trying to be delivered form. -- Mary J. Blige
write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. -- Cyril Connolly, critic and editor
God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until his life is over. Why should you and I?
-- Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)
There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe
everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking. -- Theodore Rubin
Treat people as
if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosohy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not
bow before children. -- Kahlil Gibran, mystic, poet and artist (1883-1931)
Never confuse motion with action.
-- Benjamin Franklin (statesman, author and inventor -- 1706-1790)
People travel to wonder at the height
of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular
motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. -- Saint Augustine
Out of suffering
comes creativity. You cannot spell painting without pain. -- John Lithgow
I will not let anyone walk through
my mind with their dirty feet. -- Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -- Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875 - 1961)
There is no such
thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. -- Richard Bach
Life does not accommodate you. It shatters you ... Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no
fruition. -- Florida Scott-Maxwell
We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. -- Max
There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go. -- Tennessee Williams
Update: Sept 19, 2007
No matter how far you have
gone on the wrong road, turn back. -- Turkish proverb
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart
people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it. -- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Forget not that the
earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -- Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
mother gave me a bumblebee pin when I started work. She sid: "Aerodynamically, bees shouldn't be able to fly. But
they do. Remember that." -- Jill E. Barad
That man is truly good who knows his own dark places. -- Beowulf
The past is a guide post, not a hitching post. -- L. Thomas Holdcroft
The only difference between a rut
and a grave is their dimensions. -- Ellen Glasgow
Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is something
filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks,
unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry adn even whittle statues. The story of
civilization is what happened on the banks. -- Will Durant
Education is what you get when you read the fine print;
experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger
Don't be misled; no one makes a fool of God.
What a person plants, he will harvest. Galatians 6:7
There is no such thing as a "self-made" man. We
are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one work of encouragement to
us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts. -- George Matthew Adams
Be aware that a
halo has to fall only a few inches to be a noose. -- Dan McKinnon
Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world
knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad. -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. --Norman Cousins
bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds -- all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect
to have. -- Edward Everett Hale, author (1822-1909)
I have more than a zillion handwritten quotes
that I've come across in my readings for more than forty years. I'm going to start collecting them here just so that
I have them all in one place, as I find them. They're stuffed in books, desk drawers, and other places. So it will be
part of my cleanup campaign.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
The soul would have no rainbow if
the eyes had no tears. -- Indian proverb
There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard
You can safely assume that yo've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates
all the same people you do. -- Anne Lamott, writer
But if in your fear you wold seek only love's peace and
love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into
the seasonless world where yous hall laugh, but not all of your laugher, and weep, but not all of your tears. -- Khalil Gibran:
Under the Sun
Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The
dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. -- Sarah Ban Breathnach
It is forbidden to kill;
therefore all murderers are punished, unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. -- Voltaire
Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is just out of grasp...But if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. --
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards. -- Spanish proverb
man is an island, entire of itself. Every many is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by
the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friends or of thine own were.
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee. -- John Donne
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty
that none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It's laughter and loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don't talk of love
But I've heard the word before
It's sleeping in my memory
I won't disturb the slumber of the feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried.
a rock, I am an island.
I believe in miracles. I believe that the same God who had messages for the Israelites
back in days of Abraham yore is the same God who witnessed his son's death on the cross. I believe that same God speaks
to me when I pray.
A 17-year-old young man experienced a miracle first hand. His name is Daniel Walker. He collapsed
while running a final lap around the gym the other day.
In an article offered by Associated Press, was that
his heart was at a standstill when he was brought into New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia. He was hooked up to a bypass
Then, miraculously, his heart started beating again.
Now he's fine. His father said, "God
turned around, put His hand on my son, and recharged him."
Walker was in and out of two emergency rooms before
he finally found himself at Columbia. He was waiting for a heart transplant.
His recovery is, well, a miracle.
Do you believe in miracles? I do. I also believe that God is watching us. All day. Every day. This means we ought
to be good.
That's exercising free will. Making the choice of being naughty or doing what God wants us to
do makes Him smile at us.
"Good job," he probably says. "I hoped you'd choose that way."
1 Peter 5:6-8 -- Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty
hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.
God answers prayer. He hears me
and he listens to me. I must sound like a nagging child to him, begging and pleading for things I pray for.
I want to do, but can't without his help and permission.
Places I want to go, but can't without his approval.
So I keep asking, but not moving until I get what I figure is a sign. Then I pray that I haven't misinterpreted
what he may have thought was a pretty clear signal to me.
Oh, my Lord, you have the patience of the universe
in your heart. Thank you for loving me.
Then there are times in my quiet prayers when other people's thoughts
meander through my consciousness. They're the ones who says to me, "God doesn't answer my prayers. You're
To which I counter, "No, I'm not. You just need to be more specific -- more visual.
Give God a picture of what you're visualizing. Draw God an image of what you're hoping for. He's waiting for a
really clear idea from you. That way he can be sure of what it is you're praying for. Give him something he can act on."
And the conversation continues, "But God can read my mind. If he knows what I'm thinking, why doesn't
he just figure out what I want?"
Then I counter, again, "So your idea is that God should do all the work
and you just have to sit by and wait for something wonderful to happen? And why do you suppose God give you the ability to
create beautiful and clear images? And why do you suppose God gave you the amazing ability to solve problems through the gift
of intelligence? And why do you suppose God made us all active beings, not passive whispers that move hither and thither in
whatever direction the breezes blow?"
Oh Lord, I thank you for the gift of courage that tells me it's
okay to bring my wants and needs to you. I pray that you will bless me, just as you did Jabez, thousands of years ago.
I pray that you will give me the power of insight and discernment so that I can help the anguished people
you have sent to my door.
I pray that you will protect me from Satan and all that is evil, so that I will
not bring pain to anyone.
I pray that you will continue to bless Quint and me with good health. Thank
you so much for relatively minor physical ailments that are merely nuisances, not life threatening disease. I pray that you
bless all our children with peace and good jobs and prosperity for all the days of their lives. I pray that you will bless
all our grandchildren so that they continue to learn and do well in school -- especially if they are having tests today. Getting
good grades means so much to them and their fragile little identities that are just starting to bloom.
thank you for the opportunities you have given Quint and me so that we can do your work for in doing your work, we have enjoyed
the prosperities that you have so richly blessed us with.
We thank you for keeping our homes warm and
dry and for bringing us the necessary money to pay all our bills.
We pray for each and every person who
comes across our threshold in the weeks and days and months that we serve them and you. Keep us all strong in our faith.
For those who are struggling with forgiving others, please send them the gift of your Holy Spirit to counsel
them and intercede with the struggles in their hearts that are put there by Satan -- the struggles and pains that they have
made idols of. Wash away these painful thoughts from them and make Satan leave them alone so that they can enjoy peace in
I especially thank you for the increase in traffic to our web site. I pray that we will
be able to reach even more people -- some in far distant places around the world.
You are truly a wonder
to me, Oh Lord. I am thankful to be one of your children. I thank you for all the gifts you have given to me. In Jesus'
name, I pray.
Day #21/22 – The Vigil Ends at Sundown on Christmas Eve
There will be time
enough during the rest of the journey through the church year to remember our sins. It begins in Epiphany when we hear about
the brotherhood of the Kingdom, and realize our failure to effect it. Then as we move closer toward the Easter story, we realize
that the coming of Jesus served, at least in part, to mirror our sins to us. We have failed miserably in keeping our lives
from sin. The babe of Bethlehem started out in full innocence, only to go to Calgary in the darkest moment of mankind.
2:13-20 – 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When
the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see
this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16So they
hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they
spread the word concerning what had been told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed
at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as
they had been told.
Today, we quiet our hearts and make ready a place for the Christ Child. The angels
have hushed. The star in the sky is gone. All the kings and princes have gone home. And the shepherds have gone back to be
with their flocks.
Now the real work of Christmas is about to begin anew in you. The cosmic clock has struck the minute
hand of destiny in your life. It’s time to renew your life in Christ in these quiet Christmas moments.
of God is born this night. I pray that you will let him take up residence in your heart again this day. And every day of your
Make your life a living tabernacle of love, acceptance and forgiveness to everyone who has hurt you, wronged you,
brought pain to bear.
If Christ is in your heart, the darkness of pain will find no room. Let Jesse’s root spring
to life within the stump of sorrow in you.
There would be no Calvary were it not for Bethlehem.
Let this Christmas
season hold you in God’s precious, all-forgiving love. That is the way of the cross, of the hope of his dying and resurrection.
on earth – peace in your hearts – will come from the Bethlehem/Calvary connection in your life.
I pray that
your life will be so richly blessed.
Day #20 – The Longest Day of the Year
Psalm 80:17-19 – 17 But let your hand rest on the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself. 18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will
call on your name. 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
22 is one of my favorite days of the year. After today, the days start getting longer. There won’t be such a long night
any other time of the year. The promise of summer days burn bright in my memories of years passed. Long days of summer light
are on their way. Light brings joy. Light brings warmth. Light brings hope. God is light.
Wherever he is, there can
not be darkness. Light brings life. Absolutely. Darkness brings the cold shadows of death. Death is the hushed silence of
The Christmas story brings many studies of contrast. Dark and light. Jesus was born at night. He wants us to be
children of the light. His light. He is the light of the world. We are his. Jesus died late in the afternoon, near dusk. Jesus
arose from the dead early in the morning, at daybreak. This death to life brought his victory over death. Over the darkness.
Will you let the light of Jesus shine in tour hearts?
Will you let the Holy Spirit work through you and throw
off the darkness of all your unhappiness and anxieties?
Day #19 – God Gathers Us Close
Isaiah 40:11 – He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Jesus is likened to a shepherd
several times in the New Testament writings.
"My sheep hear my voice," he says.
tonight, the shepherds comes to Jesus. They wanted so much to see what this new king would look like.
surprise to see a tiny little baby laying in a manger. What in the world would they have thought.
Maybe a king with
a crown on his head?
Maybe a court surrounding a little king?
Keep in mind that baby kings or boy kings were not
all that unusual – especially in Egypt when little pharaohs ran through palaces.
So who knows what may have been
running through the shepherds’ minds.
Isaiah shows us a portent of things to come in today’s verse. It’s
the message about Jesus Christ as the shepherd in a care taking role.
Jesus knows he is sent here to fix sin. Keep in
mind that he was present at the moment his Father created the world. He was able to see what Satan maneuvered in the Garden
And he knew he was to be the shepherd of all mankind.
Did he know that when his little eyes opened
and he looked into his mother’s eyes? Did he know? Don’t you wonder? I do. I’ve looked into my babies’
eyes and wondered what they were thinking. What did Jesus know?
Day #18 – God Wants You to Know That Jesus Is His Son
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God sent his son.
He is the light
that no darkness can overcome. The light of God’s love. His promise of mercy.
Our heart is filled with the compassion
and wonder of how someone – anyone – could love us enough to send his son into the world. You and I know what
the history is and you know where this baby is headed.
Yet, at Christmas we try not to think too much about the Bethlehem/Calvary
But we know, in the back of our minds, that there’s a deeper shadow lying over the manger. This baby
is born with a job to do.
He has been sent here with a ministry – a mission that will fix the problem of sin once
and for all.
This time he takes on the evil one, and fixes him, he does.
Day #17 – The Time Is Drawing Near
Galatians 4:4 – 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his son,
born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts...
We continue our Advent
watch. The time is drawing very near as we inch our way toward the big event of the season. Advent ends at sundown on Christmas
God gives us the greatest gift of all.
He sent Jesus to earth to show us what love really is.
undeserved love is the heart of the Christmas message, and it is an experience for everyone who receives a heart full of this
baby who was born in Bethlehem. He is the Son of God.
Taking in this glorious thought that God sent his son to earth
to fix the problem of sin is a profound experience.
It is a life transforming event. We hunger for more.
do enough. We can’t learn enough. We can’t hear enough. We can’t share enough.
We are completely inadequate
in our ability to be grateful.
Day #16 – The Magi Find the Baby
Matthew 2:1-12 – 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in
Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 and asked, "Where is the one
who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4
When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was
to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, are by no means least
among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be shepherd of my people Israel."
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He then sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as
you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9 After they had heard the king, they
went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child
was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house,
they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented
him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go
back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The magi make up the last group of
characters in the Bethlehem story. They didn’t come empty handed – in fact, they had some very expensive gifts
packed on their camels.
The Bible says they had gold, frankincense and myrrh to bring for the baby king. So you may
ask why the baby Jesus would need money for anything.
And here is where the plot thickens. The magi get a message not
to go back to Herod and report anything about the birth of Jesus.
Since the magi didn’t go back to Herod, he
worried a lot about this new king they had told him was about to be born. Except they didn’t tell him for sure where
the baby was.
So Herod, being the absolutely evil man that he was, decided that the safest thing that he could do to
protect his exalted position would be to kill all newborn baby boys up to age two.
It was most fortunate that the magi
had brought expensive gifts that Joseph could use for bartering when he had to take his new family down into Egypt for a while,
just for safekeeping. And they had to stay in Egypt for a few years until God sent his messenger to let Joseph know it was
okay to come back home.
Keep in mind that God, our Heavenly Father, watches over us as much today and he did his own
son back then.
As you have read these Advent Devotionals during these past days, I hope you have gotten the idea that
God cares deeply about everything that’s going on in our lives.
And he knows everything we’re doing.
And he gives us free will and hopes that we will always choose to walk with him.
Day #14/15 – The Shepherds Came to See
Luke 2:8-12 – 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord appeared
to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do
not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David
a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped
in cloths and lying in a manger."
The Christmas story has another group of characters who shared in the
celebration of the Babe of Bethlehem. These were the shepherds who kept track of the sheep wandering around on the hillside
The angel came to them and scared them half to death. They probably had not ever seen an angel before.
you noticed that the angel startled everyone he showed himself to? The shepherds were no exception.
So the angel has
to explain that he brings good news.
It kind of always made me wonder what it was about this particular night that
made people so apprehensive that something was about to happen.
I mean, nowadays, we have all the month of November
to think about Christmas coming.
But back then, in Year #Zero, there was no history to lean on. They were just waiting
but they didn’t know what was going to happen or when or where.
Then all of a sudden, here’s this big angel
who’s going around bringing God’s message that his son was being born that night and they’d better hurry
up and go see!
And hurry up they did. They ran down out of the hills and into town. They’d never seen what a baby
king looked like and they wanted to be a part of something wonderful.
Day #13 - The Word Became Flesh
John 1:1-5 - 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through
him all things were made; without him nothing was made that had been made. 4 In him was life and that life
was the light of men. 5 the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
We don't always think of Jesus, the son of God, being present at the time of
creation. Too often, we really think of Jesus as having his beginning during that first Christmas season.
But we know, from Bible readings, that the son was with the father at the moment of creation
- and for that matter, even before time began.
Jesus was co-creator. In
this reading for today, we are told that Jesus was with God in the beginning.
I read this passage, I often think of people who have had what we call near death experiences. There is a similarity in what
each person is able to relate if they, in fact, do not die, but rather, come back to their physical body.
That similarity is the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel and at the end of the tunnel
is a bright, white light.
People who have come back have said they experienced
such an enormous peace when they got into that light and they really didn't want to come back here.
I believe that the light they are referring to is the very essence of Jesus Christ himself.
He said that he was light.
Darkness cannot exist in the same place as light.
And evil cannot exist in the same place where Jesus Christ is.
Day #12 -- Remember All Those Promises?
we read in the Old Testament prophecy, in Isaiah 7:14 -- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The
virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
"Immanuel" is interpreted to mean "God is with us."
Each and every one of us has had moments
in our lives when we wondered where God was. Maybe in those moments of anguish, you shook your hands at the heavens like the
psalmist did and wondered where the Almighty was when you needed him the most.
Then, after a while, you realized
that he was never gone from you at all all, that all you had to do was be quiet and listen. Then youcould hear him.
He was there all along.
No anxieties. Ours is a God who can move mountains.
In more recent times,
he moved an island. A whole island.
Remember the tsunami in Indonesia? A rip in the ocean floor caused a 9.1 earthquake
like nothing we've seen in a hundred years. It set off a tsunami that washed across low lying islands, killing man, animals
and vegetation alike. The account of the dead reached 229,866 people lost or missing.
This earthquake actually
moved the entire island of Sumatra a hundred meters. Now, Sumatra is not some tiny little island out there in the south Pacific
somewhere. It's about the size of the state of Florida.
The earthquake was large enough to cause the entire
planet to vibrate at least half an inch. It also triggered earthquakes in far away locations, such as Alaska.
absolute power of God moved it!
The same God who worked all those miracles down through the ages of Bible history
is the same God who works miracles in this very day and age. He's the same God who wants us to put our faith in him.
He's the same God who walks through our lives every day and whispers to us in quiet, still moments of our prayers
If you decide to attend worship services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you might be able
to sing one of the favorite Christmas hymns, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
This is an ancient Latin text from
the 12th century that was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851. The music's origin is not known, but it's
thought to be French.
I am including the poetry of the lyrics here, because they speak so clearly to the message
of Christmas and offer such a powerful part of our Advent vigil:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse,
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to Thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Shall comes to thee, O Israel.
O come, O come, thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes,
on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Shall comes to thee, O Israel.
Day #11 – Zephaniah 3:17 – 17 The Lord your God is with
you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
and from Psalm 71:1–3 – 1 In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me
never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
it just absolutely amazing how the Christmas story weaves its way through our lives.
It reaches back into the Old Testament
with the words of the prophet Zephaniah. Imagine this very young couple preparing for the birth of their first child. They
were in a barn many miles from home.
They must have been terribly afraid.
There was Joseph – more concerned
about Mary’s reputation than with his own needs. I mean, the angel Gabriel had explained things to Joseph and he absolutely
believed in his heart of hearts that this baby had divine blood from God Almighty running through his veins.
neighbors? How would they believe this story? Or would they make fun of him and say, "Yeah, right!"
And then Mary must have known great fear. If any of you have ever been far from home when your first baby
was delivered, you know what Mary must have felt. It would always be nicer to have a doctor and a nurse, than a nervous husband
caring for you. But if you didn’t have a doctor to minister to you, then your mom would be okay. At least she could
explain what you might expect.
Nope. This was just a young couple all alone, out there on their own.
God. God was most definitely with him. And you know that God’s love filled that little barn all the way to the rafters.
The Lord was getting one of his concerts of heavenly hosts ready. The little manger where Mary laid her newborn son
would be center stage against a backdrop of angels, such voices to be raised in song and praise!
Mary and Joseph, like
all couples in a really good marriage, learned to lean on each other that first night of Jesus’ birth.
was no shame on earth, or in heaven, in the birth of this little baby for God had removed any tarnish whatsoever because Joseph
and Mary were just betrothed and not yet married.
The Lord Almighty became the rock and fortress for Mary and Joseph
on that night.
I invite you to take God as your rock and fortress too. He’s still quite the miracle worker, you
Day #10 – The Bethlehem Connection
Luke 2:4-7 – 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of
Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While
they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped
him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
the second week of Advent now.
If you were in church this past weekend, you would have noticed that a second candle
is lighted during the service.
This second candle is often called the Bethlehem Candle. Some churches may designate
this the Peace Candle, depending on which tradition is followed.
The reason that Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem when
she was just about full-term in her pregnancy was because the big shot in Rome, Caesar Augustus, decided that it would be
a good time for a census to be taken all throughout the Roman world.
So it all depended on what your ancestry line was
that decided where you’d go because that’s where the records were kept.
It's kind of like voting in
the modern day. Depending on where you live (your precinct) will determine where your voting booth is located. Kind of like
Since Joseph was from the house of David – and so was Mary, for that matter – they had to trek on down
to Bethlehem all the way from Nazareth.
Nazareth was about 75 miles from Bethlehem -- as the crow flies.
This was definitely not the best time for a very pregnant woman to go clippity clopping down the road. It must have been horribly
uncomfortable -- if not downright painful -- for her.
They finally made it to Bethlehem. And when they got there, not
a room was to be had. they didn't have such things as reservations back then. And it looks like crowds of people, who
were also from the line of David, had shown up before Joseph and Mary. All the hotels were full up.
How they ended up
in the barn is anybody’s guess.
Joseph probably said to the innkeeper, "We’ll take anything. Look we’re
going to have a baby. We just need to get out of the cold, damp air so that Mary can lie down and be comfortable."
Joseph said must have worked. Because the innkeeper let them use the stable where the animals were kept. At least it was dry.
And there was hay stacked about that was a lot softer than the ground.
DAY #9 – Joseph – A Model of Kindness
Matthew 1:20 ... an angel of the Lord appeared to him in
a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in
her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his
people from their sins."
We don’t learn much about Joseph from the Biblical account
except that he was a carpenter. And he had fallen in love with the young Mary. She was absolutely his heart’s desire.
They were engaged to be married.
A betrothal in the ancient Jewish tradition was pretty much the last step toward
actually being together as husband and wife.
And it appears that in order to break the betrothal, papers for divorce
would need to be filed.
That was just about what Joseph was thinking about doing. I guess he might have figured that
if Mary were actually pregnant then she must have had sexual relations with another man.
And then, one night, while
Joseph was sleeping, here comes the angel of the Lord again. Matthew doesn’t tell us if it was Gabriel or not, but I’d
guess that it was.
Gabriel’s footprint is all over the Biblical story of Christ’s birth, so it’s
not likely he’d trek off on vacation somewhere just as things were getting really exciting.
So the angel speaks
to Joseph in a dream and confides in Joseph what the real nature of Mary’s pregnancy is.
Then, in Matthew
1:24, 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Day #7/8 -- Mary Goes to Visit Elizabeth
Luke 1:39-45: 39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where
she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby
leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice, she exclaimed" "Blessed
are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord
should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
archangel Gabriel has been busy, for sure. He has brought these two powerfully miraculous birth-messages from God above to
Elizabeth and Mary.
Can you just imagine?!
Here are two women who, physically, absolutely could not explain how
they could get pregnant in the first place.
For Elizabeth, the miracle was plain enough. But at least she was in a conjugal
relationship with her husband of many years.
Mary, on the other hand, was a virgin and physically, not a
candidate for pregnancy whatsoever.
For Mary, her pregnancy posed quite a predicament.
Mary stayed with
Elizabeth for about three months, then she headed for home.
Sure, she was betrothed to Joseph. But great care
was taken in those days among the God-fearing to reserve any kind of sexual activity to the time after the wedding.
So how was this couple going to explain a pregnancy to their friends and neighbors?
quite know what to do. But God has the answers and a way of transmitting them that is most effective.
-- Mary Gets the News
Luke 1:26-38 – 26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth,
a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s
name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and
wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary,
you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him
the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never
34 "How can this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come unto you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow
you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to
have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible
38 "I am the Lord's servant, Mary answered. "May it be to me as
you have said." Then the angel left her.
What a day!
Gabriel not only gave
Mary the wonderful news that she is chosen by God to be the mother of the long awaited Messiah.
And not only that,
but Gabriel also brings Mary up to speed about what is happening to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is just now six months pregnant
and Mary is about to become pregnant. That would mean that John is just six months older than Jesus.
also like to point out that Mary’s response to Gabriel, on hearing the news of her being the mother of the Messiah,
has been lyricized, if you will, into the musical masterpiece, The Magnificat.
J.S. Bach also memorialized
The Magnificat in a piece of music that approaches the music of the heavens. You can go the this baroque web to hear a brief
portion of this music:
http://www.baroquemusic.org/index.html – there are many samples of the baroque masters to enjoy.
Another web site that has a variety of baroque music is:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
behold, henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is
His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from
generation to generation.
has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the
hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity
be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Day #5 -- His Name
Luke 1:57-80 – 57When it was time for Elizabeth
to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great
mercy, and they shared her joy.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child,
and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No!
He is to be called John."
61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives
who has that name.
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name
the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "his name
is John." 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak,
65 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country
of Judea, people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking,
"What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him.
of the birth of John the Baptist is embedded within Luke’s telling of the Christmas story.
John would have a
most important ministry as he traveled through the hillsides around the Jordan River. His was to bring a message about the
man who would follow him – namely, Jesus Christ.
There he would make things ready for Jesus’ ministry here
on earth. His clothes would be made out of camel hair. His diet would mainly be wild honey and locusts.
think, "locusts – yuk" – keep in mind that they are not much different from the shrimp you may enjoy
with particular delight. And apparently, the locusts were plentiful in the region and loaded with protein. Enough to sustain
a healthy evangelist who was up and about at the crack of dawn.
John’s part in the life of Jesus was written
down by the prophet Isaiah, when he said in Isaiah 40:3-5 ...and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all
mankind will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Tomorrow we will change the scene to
Mary and the trip she is about to take with her husband-to-be.
Day #4 -- "What
do you mean, you don’t believe me?"
Okay, so this news might have been just a bit over the top
And from the way Gabriel reacted to Zech’s reaction, it appears that Zechariah not only was taken
aback, but it didn’t look like he believed Gabriel all that much.
Gabriel had some pretty powerful tricks up those
long, angelic sleeves.
In Luke 1:19-25, he explains things to his non-believing target: 19The
angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you
this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did
not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."
Now, Zechariah was back there
in the temple, getting his incense ready – and he was doing other things he needed to do to get ready for worship.
was back there for such a long time that the people who were waiting for him to come back out front were getting a little
Little did they know that their priest had been struck dumb.
the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22When
he came out he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, fo rhe
kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23When his time of
service was completed, he returned home. 24 After
this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 The Lord has done this
for me, she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."
should know that many Biblical scholars believe that Elizabeth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were cousins. The Bible most
definitely says they were related to each other. Elizabeth could well have been Mary’s aunt, too. Keep in mind, also,
that Elizabeth is a little more than mid-term in her pregnancy.
Keep in mind, also, that Elizabeth is a little more
than mid-term in her pregnancy.
ADVENT -- DAY 3 -- Gabriel Brings Good News to Zechariah
Luke 1:11-13 –11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right
side of the alter of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But
the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a
son, and you are to give him the name John.
Zechariah and the missus
are incredibly important players in the Christmas story.
But Zechariah was busy at the Temple with his priestly duties.
And on this particular night, he was checking on the incense.
Then this huge big angel appeared. It was none other
than the archangel Gabriel again. Zechariah was a bit startled. He probably looked like he was going to jump through his skin
when he saw the likes of Gabriel.
"What do you mean, ‘Pssst, over here.’ Who are you?" Zechariah
might have said.
But Gabriel, being Gabriel, did a good job of explaining himself. This special messenger of the Almighty
came equipped with kindness and empathy and some other heavenly mental tools that let Gabriel immediately get his ideas across.
knew a secret and he was about to share it with Zechariah. Mainly because pretty soon it would be time for Zech to head for
home. Gabriel wanted Zechariah to know that, of all things, his wife was going to get pregnant!
They would, at
long last and miracle of miracles, become parents. But not just any baby. Oh, no. God had a special mission for this baby.
They were supposed to name him John. He was going to have a very big job to do for Jesus.
Gabriel had other nice things
to say about this baby – such joyful news would warm any prospective dad’s heart, continuing in Luke 1:
14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will
be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy
Spirit even from birth. 16Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17And
he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and
the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
are Biblical references sprinkled all over the place that John the Baptist would run along before Jesus, kind of like an opening
act that big stars use today.
Except that John the Baptist would be the first to point out to everyone who’d listen
that he was nothing like the one who was following right behind him.
ADVENT -- DAY #2 -- It's About Anticipation
also about getting ready for the birth of the baby born in Bethlehem. And knowing, as Christians, that this most
joyous season also begins the countdown to Calvary.
Without Bethlehem, there would be no Calvary. This phrase is
going to be peppered all through the Advent messages.
For today, though, there's the anticipation. It was running
through the hillsides of Judea.
The archangel Gabriel was probably busier than he'd ever been before.
Maybe. But then, the Lord had lots of messages to get out to his people all over the place, and since the internet hadn't
been invented yet, he had to rely on those special beings that he created for just such a task -- getting his messages out
to the people he wanted to say something to.
During that first Christmas season, our Lord was very busy making
connections. You see, he had already picked out the people a long time ago. He already knew who the people would be for these watershed
It all began way back in the Garden of Eden when Satan started playing mind games with Eve.
of Satan's tampering, paradise got messed up and sin came into the world.
Our Lord knew then that he would
have to do something to fix the problem of sin. He thought and he thought and he thought. And then he knew. He'd have
to set the stage for the birth of his own son. He'd send his son into the world to fix the problem of sin once and for
First, there would be the birth of John the Baptist. This was going to be absolutely astonishing. But then,
our Lord had to do something with the fact that Elizabeth -- John's mom -- was too old to be having any babies. The fact
that she was post-menopausal didn't slow down the Almighty.
You've heard the saying that God doesn't
call the equipped, but rather, equips the called?
Same is true here. Besides, he had already tested out his
abilities on Abraham's wife, Sara, many years before, out there in the desert. Her barren womb delivered up one very
healthy little boy by the name of Isaac.
Believe me, when our Heavenly Father wants to perform
a miracle, there is nothing that can or will stand in his way. Expect miracles in your life. God makes them happen.
So for thousands of years, faithful followers had gone to the synagogue every weekend and heard all the stories about how
God was going to send his son, the Messiah. One day, his son would become flesh and would live on earth and would be the King
"One day, one day, one day," they must have thought.
They heard about how the Root
of Jesse would spring up, someone would rise up to rule over the nations.
Later, the Apostle Paul would quote this
Old Testament text from Isaiah 11:1-2 that promised, A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him.
Paul said, in Romans
15:4, 7: 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and
the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope...7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews, on behalf of God's
truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs 9so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy...
Worshipful people came together in assembly with one another, just like God had told them to. Every weekend.
They heard the promises. They waited. They hoped.
They just didn't know when it would happen. But
they knew in their hearts that someday -- someday -- it would happen.
(Just so you know who the players
are in this exciting Bible story -- Some of you may not know that Jesse was King David's father. We'll be hearing
a lot of references to the fact that the Baby Jesus traces his ancestry back to King David. Isaiah also makes
reference to David's father, Jesse. Mary, the mother of Jesus and Joseph, Mary's husband, also trace their lineage
back to King David.)
ADVENT 2006 – Day
Introduction to the Season of
The word advent is Latin. It means a coming or arrival.
We are talking about God coming to earth to live in human form.
year 2006, this Christmas, if you were to get such news that a woman was pregnant and that the baby would be the Son of God,
would you believe it.
Honestly, in your heart, would you believe it?
I guarantee you that such news would be a stop-the-press piece of information all around the world!
Unfortunately, we’ve not received any such message. But we do have the 2000-year-old promise that such
a baby was born. It happened a long time ago. It happened in a little village in the Judean countryside. It happened without
the benefit of FoxNews or CNN touting his presence. It happened without the internet and blogs and stories headlining the
In the next several weeks, we are going to re-read many of the pieces of the Christmas
story. I pray that by putting these pieces together again in your heart and memory, you will feel more prepared for the celebration
of Christ’s birth.
So how did the birth of one little baby become so well known?
Well, first of all – there were the Announcers. In fact, there was a heavenly host full of Announcers.
These are God’s angels – heavenly beings he created just so he would have someone to bring his messages to people
all around the world.
Then there were the astronomers. Back in the old days, they were
called the magi. One night they were looking up at the sky and saw something that looked really, really bright. "What
is that?" they probably asked.
"I don’t know," one of them answered.
"But you know someone is going to come around asking us for an answer so we’d better go find out."
So they hurried off and saddled up their camels and headed out. Across the deserts they galloped. Through
the mountain canyons they raced. They were guided by this shining light from above. It looked like a star. But it looked like
more than a star. A really big star. It was shining super bright.
Advent is a time when
we need to get ready. But not to get ready for the Christmas feasts and present wrapping. Nope. Advent is a time of preparing
ourselves for the wonder of the baby’s birth. It is a time when we devote ourselves to learning all over again the great
story of the birth of the Christ child.
That story fills us anew with great moments in
faith that touch the very seeds of our soul – a place where God has planted all the hope of the universe within us –
within our hearts.
It is there – at that moment when we feel a warm connectedness
with God – when we say "Here I am, Lord."
Then God smiles. He reclaims
us. We submit to His will.
The miracle of the Baby is reborn.
October 11, 2006
DEVOTIONAL: Thou Shalt Not Steal
20:15 -- Thou shalt not steal.
Kenneth Lay and
Jeffrey Skilling were riding a destructive tsunami of wealth. They were called visionaries. Turned out, they were just weasels.
In Wall Street jargon, a weasel is anyone who tries to get away with something.
Make no mistake about
it -- there are still corporate titans out there who are just nothing but plain old weasels. They steal. They take something
they have no right to. They are weaseling, stealing punks in $2,000 silk suits.
They're the same
vintage as the person who checks out of a motel and takes the towels.
Enron is behind us and Ken Lay is now pushing up daisies. His ticker gave out on him while he was at a resort in Colorado,
waiting to see if an appeals court would have a different opinion of him than the jury that took only six days to bring back
a guilty verdict.
Skilling -- the big accounting hotshot -- will be getting his time in the pokey.
Oh, there's still corporate shenanigans going on. It won't stop just because a couple of high flying
corporate weasels got caught with their hands "in the cookie jar."
The American economy --
trillions of dollars strong -- has survived the likes of Lay and Skilling before. Our economy is tougher than they are. I
just hope they got a change to think about what they'd done and the perfectly innocent lives they ruined because of their
combined weaseling thieves.
The likes of them have subjects thousands and thousands of employees to
a life sentence of poverty. Shame. Shame. Shame.
I CAN TALK TO GOD:
Lord, I just have a simple request. If I ever think of doing something stupid like this, will you please scream QUIT IT in
I thank my mother for Sunday School and church every Sunday for all those years I was growing up.
Oh, those pews were made out of the hardest wood in the world. The sermons were longer than
any little kid could endure, but the music was sweet, and reverent -- and the hymns resonated with the poetry in my soul.
I liked that part the best.
Apparently some of the messages ground their way into my heart.
Osmosis does work, after all.
Thank you, Lord, for all the people who had a part in my spiritual
growth and development. Amen.
October 30, 2006
DEVOTIONAL: Jesus Wept
John 11:35 -- Jesus wept.
When you think of Jesus, can you picture him with tears in his eyes? Can you think of him feeling the same deep sorrow that
you and I feel?
You know those times -- days when your heart is heavy -- those times when an anguished
lump burns in the back of your throat.
Those are the times when deep sorrow overtakes you and you weep.
Jesus wept. You bet he knew sorrow when he walked through the gardens and vineyards and hillsides here on earth -- born
of his earthly mother and his heavenly father.
In his humanness, he cried.
like we do when despair overloads us and we think we cannot suffer another single blow.
to shipwreck our faith.
Despair makes us want to give up when life isn't going smoothly.
We are tempted to separate ourselves from God when we hit bumps in the road -- to even pull off the road and watch while
life passes us by. Somehow we actually have convinced ourselves that we, and we alone, should not have mishaps in life. No
one should ever hurt our feelings. No one should ever do us wrong. Woes and sorrow are for other people. I should
God promised me a wonderful life, free of hassles. I'm like the sparrow that he dresses
in fine feathers. I'm like the lilies of the field. He promised me that my life would be free of all those worries.
Uh, no, he didn't. He never ever said that. What God did say was not to worry because he would walk
with us and give us the strength to endure. He tells us not to despair.
Despair does not please God.
He's as sorry as you and I could ever be that sin, then sorrow, entered the world. After all, he originally made this
place a paradise that was free from sin.
God is filled with sorrow when we suffer. He tastes the salt
when tears sting our eyes.
God knows our suffering. He hears the anguish in our hearts before words
are ever spoken.
Sorrow came here thousands of years ago. It happened when Satan entered the body of
a snake in God's paradise. It happened when Satan promised lies upon lies. Lies he couldn't deliver. Lies to a gullible
young woman. Lies through her to a believing husband.
Satan still whispers lies.
can hear him when he tells you that life is hopeless -- that God doesn't really care -- that God has abandoned you to
suffer by yourself. Hopeless and all alone -- that's what you are! He lies when he whispers to us that everything bad
that has ever happened to us is someone else's fault. He did it. She did it. They did it. My life would be perfect
if other people would quit messing things up for me.
Don't believe the lies. Trust and
believe that God cares. He walks with you and me through our suffering. His solutions are flawless. Want to see what his solutions
look like for your life? Let him work wonders in and through you. Today is a good day to begin.
TALK TO GOD
Oh, Lord, I still hear the echoes of Satan's lies from paradise whispering
across time. He's still doing it. Telling lies. Satan stole paradise from me and the rest of mankind. He's not only
a liar but a thief as well.
There are times when he threatens to steal my peace of mind, my
hope, my willingness to be comforted.
There are times when he tempts me with the thought that
trusting you, Lord, is useless.
I pray that you will help me turn a deaf ear and not listen
to that father of lies. I know I need to turn my faith toward you and trust that you will join with me in my sorrow and cry
with me when I weep.
And for the times when I can't even put one foot in front of another,
I pray that you will paint the words of Isaiah 40:31 in brilliant colors across my soul -- "But those
who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not
get weary; they will walk and not grow weak."
Help me to trust and believe!
Today I am going to memorize this verse until I know it in my heart.
I'm going to keep
reminding myself of this: Your word is all the truth I need to sustain me for it is the light that beckons me out of the darkness
of my pain and sorrow.
DEVOTIONAL: CHALLENGE PRAYERS
There are five challenge prayers that invite the Holy Spirit
to fill us with His power. I can't even take full credit for all of these notes -- they were from a sermon I heard some
time ago. We were visiting our daughter's church in southern California. (I take notes in church, don't you?)
THE SEARCH ME PRAYER: Imagine the
silliness in thinking that an all-knowing God doesn't know every thought we have. There are no dusty little corners where
we can tuck away hidden thoughts. When we pray the Search Me Prayer, we are inviting our Heavenly Father
to bring in his whisk broom to clean out cobwebs of old, dusty grudges and makes us fresh and squeaky clean again. Just like
new. Just like he promised.
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