The CHRISTmas Pageant…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”

The CHRISTmas Pageant…

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn’t been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers with a yes and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son.

The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.  My husband thought we’d been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, “If you pray for rain make sure you carry an umbrella.”

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn’t want to disappoint Him. I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding…when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess. In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn’t keep my promise to be a perfect mother – didn’t even come close…I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God. I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to “wash up” Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his “last wife.”

My proudest moment came during the children’s Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, “We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.” But he was nervous and said, “The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.” My four-year-old “Mary” said, “That’s not ‘wrinkled clothes,’ silly. That’s dirty, rotten clothes.”

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, “Mama-mama.”

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, “We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.” The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

“I’ve never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,” laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes.

“For the rest of my life, I’ll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur.”

“My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing,” I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army, yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.

GOD BLESS AND HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

John 3:16-18 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The Apple of His Eye…

Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us, “as the apple of His eye.”

The Apple of His Eye…

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.” “Well,” he continued, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.  “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.

It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.

Mat 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Pursuing a Spiritual MBA…

Pursuing a Spiritual MBA

Real truth with a spiritual MBA is available to us. It comes
through the teaching of the Holy Spirit and of course the Holy Spirit uses

His text material, the Word of God. You can obtain it if you….

II Tim 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman  that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ”

Be careful when pursuing your Spiritual MBA. There are some sources in worldly high places not worth listening to…they see God’s truths as not relevant for today. And are foolishness for directing our lives. They are called the unsaved or not ‘born again’.

I Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Malachi 3:6a “I the Lord do not change…”

Why is it that many times the things I think are appropriate are really not what God sees as appropriate? Even when I feel I am lined up with God and His will for my life. That being the case then I need to trust God even if my inner self does not agree.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right unto men, BUT the ends thereof are the ways of death.”

It will take commitment and obtaining your reference material from the
one source of truth we have in this world.

II Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness:”

2 Peter 1:20,21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Now that we understand how important it is to pursue God’s truth and values and we know where to find them then here is one final exam. Who is the owner of truth?

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the
life, no one comes to the Father, BUT BY ME!”

Now that we know where truth resides we can focus on reading it and letting it change us so we can truly be educated in the things that matter for eternity!

Have a great day seeking and serving Jesus!

HAPPY STUDYING…

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend
with whom he grew up.  The friend had a habit of looking at every
situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and
remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition.
The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had
apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after
taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”

To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded
to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he
should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them
to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake
and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they
noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they
never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they
sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken
his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went
immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he
said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off. And he proceeded to tell
the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for
sending you to jail for so long. It was bad of me to do this.”

“No” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, “This is good?” How could it be good that I sent my
friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you when you were
captured.”

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them,
but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives
according to His precepts, even that which seems to be bleak and
hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit.

— Author Unknown

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  

If Jesus is your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

A Baby’s Tiny Hands…

Hebrews 12:1,2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and  is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

 A Baby’s Tiny Hands

While pregnant with her son
Beneath her heart within,
She’d often feel his hands
Moving inside her skin.

He’d stretch his arm and hand
and push out on her side
she’d lovingly push it back
with a smile so sweet and wide.

She could hardly wait
for his upcoming birth
to touch his tiny hands
and welcome him to earth.

Then it finally came,
the night that he was born.
With joy she couldn’t contain,
she held him until morn.

She explored his tiny fingers.
She counted all his toes.
She wanted to get to know him,
His ears, his cheeks, and his nose.

The wonder of it all,
at this new baby boy!
She could not hold back.
She wept with tears of joy.

She touched his tiny hand,
a miniature of her own.
He squeezed it tight on her finger.
Such joy she had never known!

The time passed and he grew.
As a toddler, it was grand
to walk along and hold
His fleshy little hand.

She taught him many things.
Together they spent hours.
She’d take his little hand
and touch it to a flower.

When she would hold him close,
He soon developed the knack
of hugging her ’round the neck,
His tiny hand patting her back.

As her son grew older,
His young hands also grew.
He learned many ways to use them.
Each day brought something new.

She helped him learn to read.
She helped him learn to write.
Then, as the day was ending,
she’d pray with him at night.

He learned to use a hammer
with which to drive a nail.
He’d sometimes strike his finger
and let out quite a wail!

Her son continued growing
and soon became a man.
She loved him just as much
As when his life began.

His hands were now full grown,
so strong, yet tender, when
He, with deep compassion,
comforted a friend.

She was extremely grateful
when his hands would fold;
and bowing his head in prayer,
to his Father in Heaven he’d hold.

As the years flew swiftly by,
she watched her son with pride,
His strong but gentle arms
and hands there at his side.

She then thought her life was over.
She suffered unspeakable loss
when her son’s beloved hands
were nailed to a wooden cross…

But that was just the beginning.
for he died and rose again.
Her sorrow then was ended,
and joy replaced her pain.

For, you see, her son was Jesus,
God coming to earth as man,
to save us from our sins
according to His plan.

We cannot save ourselves.
Our sins would lead to death.
God put our sins on Jesus,
the perfect and the best.

With this came our forgiveness
if we believe in Him
He will take away our sins,
and come into our lives,
As He was resurrected,

Eternal Life He’ll bring
to all who have faith and believe
and to His hand will cling.

John 14:6 “And He said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the life,
no one can come unto the Father, but by Me.”

Never Ending Daily Praise…

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Psalm 146:1-10

Praise the Lord!

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.

When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever.

He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.

The Lord loves the godly.

The Lord protects the foreigners among us.

He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

The Lord will reign forever.

He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations

Today, as the Psalmist reminds us I encourage you to put trust
and faith in God and in no event, place or person of this world. Then
and only then is there peace………………..

Praise you the Lord….terrorists cannot take that away….

In our world today there is so much sadness. Suicides, murders
of the living and of those in the womb who have yet to experience their
first breath. Terrorism, shootings on school grounds defying explanation
at least from the scholars of this world. The natural disasters seem to
be increasing and the destruction and death from them also. The heroes
in our world of sports, politics, and churches continue to let us down when
their supposedly hidden lives are revealed.

The news media is having a field day. Each and every day they do
not have to search too far to have sensational stories of new tragedies.

So, you say, why give me this to start my day? The Psalm below reminded
me that even when all around us is in peril and maybe even my life is,
there is One beautiful constant……………..

 

Philip. 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
PRAISE YOU THE LORD!

Theology, Grace, Mercy and Donuts…

John 15:13a “Greater love hath no one than this…”

Theology, Grace and Mercy and Donuts…

There was a certain Professor of THEOLOGY. We will name him Dr Smith, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Smith taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Smith tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Smith had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Smith asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night”.

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve”, Dr. Smith said.

“Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Smith.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need
you to do about 300 pushups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Smith said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.
Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of
the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts.

Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Smith’s class.

Dr. Smith went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
“Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Smith then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would
you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick
ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Smith put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Smith then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do
you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Dr. Smith asked, “Steve would you do ten
push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every
person before they got their donut.

And down the second aisle, till Dr. Smith came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good of a condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Dr. Smith said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Smith shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked,
“Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Smith said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.”

And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Smith started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Smith asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Smith asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Smith asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Smith started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Smith went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Smith, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Smith thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Smith went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Smith said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Smith said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Smith finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Smith went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Smith quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Dr. Smith turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Smith, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Smith, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do pushups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your pushups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.

Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Smith turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life… And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant” said the professor, adding “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who spared not the only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The Lord is my Shepherd…

The Lord is my Shepherd…

23rd Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s Relationship!

I shall not want
That’s Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That’s Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters
That’s Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul
That’s Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
That’s Guidance!

For His name sake
That’s Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That’s Testing!

I will fear no evil
That’s Protection!

For Thou art with me
That’s Living by Faith!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
That’s Peace and Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That’s Hope!

Thou anoints my head with oil
That’s Consecration!

My cup runneth over
That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That’s Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That’s Security!

Forever!

That’s Eternity!
THAT IS GOD’S LOVE………FOR US!

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

 John 3:16-17 “or God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The Lessons of Life…

Proverbs 4:13 “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”

The Lessons of Life…

From Paul Harvey:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.

And I really hope nobody gives you a brand-new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy\girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your
tongue on a frozen flagpole.

And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing
with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy if they are with at home with Jesus!

May you feel joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hanukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.
To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.

Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I’m here for you. And if I die before you do, I’ll go to heaven and wait for you.

We secure our friends, not by accepting favors, but by doing them.

Psalm 71:17 “O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”

Amazing Grace – The Story…

Eph 2:8a”For by grace you have been saved…”

Amazing Grace – The Story…

I was born in 1725, and I died 1807. The only godly influence in
my life, as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for
only seven years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually
an orphan.

My father remarried, sent me to a strict military school, where
the severity of discipline almost broke my back. I couldn’t stand it any
longer, and I left in rebellion at age of ten. One year later, deciding
that I would never enter formal education again, I became a seaman
apprentice, hoping somehow to step into my father’s trade and learn at
least the ability to skillfully navigate a ship. And I determined that I
would sin to my fill without restraint, now that the righteous lamp of
my life had gone out. I did that all the days in the military service
and I further rebelled.

My spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and
more a rebel. Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the
military, I finally deserted, only to be captured like a common criminal
and beaten publicly several times. After enduring the punishment, I
again fled.

I entertained thoughts of suicide on my way to Africa.
I decided on Africa, because it would be the place I could get farthest
from anyone that knew me. And again I made a pact with the devil to live
for him.

Somehow, through a process of events, I got in touch with a
Portuguese slave trader, and I lived in his home. His wife, who was
brimming with hostility, took a lot out on me. She beat me, and I ate
like a dog on the floor of the home. If I refused to do that, she would
whip me with a lash.

I fled penniless, owning only the clothes on my back, to the
shoreline of Africa where I built a fire, hoping to attract a ship that
was passing by. The skipper thought that I had gold or slaves or ivory
to sell and was surprised that I was a skilled navigator. And it was
there that I virtually lived for a long period of time.

I went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a
hairbreadth away, on a number of occasions. One time I opened some
crates of rum and got everybody on the crew drunk. The skipper, incensed
with my actions, beat me, threw me down below, and I lived on stale
bread and sour vegetables for an unendurable amount of time. He brought
me above to beat me again, and I fell overboard. Because I couldn’t
swim, he harpooned me to get me back on the ship. And I lived with the
scar in my side, big enough for me to put my fist into, until the day of
my death. On board, I was inflamed with fever and enraged with the
humiliation.

A storm broke out, and I wound up again in the hold of the ship,
down among the pumps. To keep the ship afloat, I worked as a servant of
the slaves. There, bruised and confused, bleeding, diseased, I was the
epitome of the degenerate man. I remembered the words of my mother.

I cried out to God, the only way I knew, calling upon His grace
and His mercy to deliver me, and upon His son to save me.
The only glimmer of light I could find was in a crack in the floor above
me, and I looked up to it and screamed for help.

God heard me.

Thirty-one years passed, I married a childhood sweetheart.
I entered the ministry. In every place that I served, rooms had to be
added to the building to handle the crowds that came to hear the gospel
that was presented and the story of God’s grace in my life.

My tombstone above my head reads, “Born 1725, died 1807. A
clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was
by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, preserved,
restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he once long
labored to destroy.”

I decided before my death to put my life’s story in verse.
And that verse has become a hymn.

My name? John Newton.
The hymn? “Amazing Grace”

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not
of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone would boast.”