Our Father in Heaven…

Mat 6:7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The Lord’s prayer was intended to give us an example of the type

of prayer that is pleasing to God and to show us that we have the

awesome privilege of communicating with God.  It was not intended

to be a prayer that repeat over and over to talk to God. It was designed by

a loving God to give us an example of His love for us as His sheep. Listen to some

thoughts on how to make it meaningful to God and you.

Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, let your requests be made known to God.”

Lord’s Prayer

“Our Father which art in heaven …”

“Yes?”

“Please.  I’m praying.”

“You called me.”

“Called you?  I didn’t call.  I’m praying.
Our Father which art in heaven …”

“There … you did it again.”

“Did what?”

“Called me.  You said, Our Father which art
in heaven.  Here I am. I want to be your Father, if you will allow Me.
What’s on your mind?”

“But I didn’t mean anything by it.  I was, you know, just saying my
prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer.  It makes me feel

good, doing my duty.”

“All right.   Go on.”

“Hallowed be thy name …”

“Hold it!   What do you mean by that?”

“By what?”

“By ‘hallowed be thy name’?”

“It means … it means … good grief!  I don’t know what it means. How
should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer.  By the way, what does it mean?”

“It means honored … holy … wonderful.”

“Hey, that makes sense.  I never thought about what ‘hallowed’ meant
before. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Do you really mean that?”

“Sure, why not?”

“What are you doing about it?”

“Doing?  Nothing, I guess!   I just think it would be kind of
neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.”

“Have I got control of you?”

“Well … I go to church.”

“That isn’t what I asked you.  What about your bad temper?
You’ve really got a problem there, you know.  And then there’s the way
you spend your money …all on yourself.  And what about the kind of

books you read? And most important, do you really know Me?”

“Stop picking on me!  I’m just as good as some of the rest of those
people at the church.”

I thought you were praying for my will to be done.  If that is to
happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it … like you,

for example.”

“Oh, all right.  I guess I do have some hang-ups.  Now that you mention
it, I could probably name some others.”

“Yes, my child.”

“I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like
to cut out some of those things.
I would like to …
you know … be really free.”

“Good … now we’re getting somewhere!  We’ll work together,
you and I. Some victories can truly be won.   I’m proud of you.”

“Lord, I need to finish up here.  This is taking a lot longer than it
usually does.  Give us this day, our daily bread.”

“You need to cut out the bread.  You’re overweight as it is.”

“Hey, wait a minute! Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a
sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.”

“Praying is a dangerous thing.  You could wind up changed, you know.
That’s what I’m trying to get across to you.  You called me, and here I am.

It’s too late to stop now.  Keep praying.  I’m interested in the next part of

your prayer…(pause).
Well … go on!”

“I’m scared to.”

“Scared?  Of what?”

“I know what You’ll say.”

“Try me and see.”

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

“What about Ann?”

“See?  I knew it!  I knew you would bring her up!  Why Lord, she’s told
lies about me, spread stories about my family.  She never paid back the

debt she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!”

“What about your prayer?”

“I guess I didn’t mean it.”

“Well, at least you’re honest.  But it’s not much fun carrying that load
of bitterness around inside, is it?

“No, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even.  Boy, have I got some
plans for that neighbor.  She’ll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood.”

“You won’t feel any better.  You’ll feel worse.  Revenge isn’t sweet.
Think of how unhappy you already are.  But I can change all that.”

“You can?  How?”

“Forgive Ann.   Then I’ll forgive you.  Then the hate and sin will be
Ann’s problem and not yours.  You will have settled your heart.
Some hurt and memory may remain, but you can forgive.”

“Oh, you’re right.  You always are.  And more than I want to revenge
Ann, I want to be right with you.  (pause) … (sigh). Alright!
Alright!  I forgive her!  Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She’s
bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it.  Anybody who
goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it.

Someway, somehow, show her the right way.”

“There now!   Wonderful!  How do you feel?”

“Hmmmm … well, not bad.    Not bad at all.  In fact, I feel pretty
great! You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight
for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from

now on because I’m not getting enough rest.”

“You’re not through with your prayer.  Go on.”

“All right.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Good!  Good!   I’ll do that.  Just don’t put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted. Run from the temptations.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t turn on the TV when you know the laundry needs to be
done and the house needs to be picked up.   Also, about the
time you spend having coffee with your friends … if you can’t
influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should

re-think the value of those friendships.  Another thing, your

neighbors and friends shouldn’t be your standard for keeping up
with. You must really want to flee, no bargaining.”

“I don’t understand the last part.”

“Sure you do.   You’ve done it a lot of times.  You get caught in a
bad situation.  You get into trouble and then you come running to me.
“Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you’ll never do it again.”

You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?”

“Yes and I’m ashamed, Lord.   I really am.”

“Which bargain are you remembering?”

“Well, there was the night that Bill was gone and the children and I
were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof

would go any minute and tornado warnings were out.  I remember

praying, ‘Oh God, if you spare us, I’ll never skip my devotions again.”

“I protected you, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?”

“I’m sorry, Lord.  I really am.  Up until now I thought that if I just
prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked.
I didn’t expect anything to happen like it did.”

“Go ahead and finish your prayer.”

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

“Do you know what would bring me glory?  What would really make me
happy?”

“No, but I’d like to know. I now want to please you. I can see what a
mess I’ve made of my life.   And I can see how great it would be to
really be one of your followers.”

“You just answered the question.”

“I did?”

“Yes.  The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you
truly love me.  And I see that happening between us.  Now that some

of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there is no telling

what we can do together.”

“Lord, let’s see what you can make of me, okay?”

“Yes, let’s see.”

Mat 6:1-13 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

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Worthless…How much are you worth…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Worthless….How much are you worth…

A man was on the side of the road with a large birdcage.
A boy noticed that the cage was full of birds of many kinds.

“Where did you get those birds?” he asked.

“Oh, all over the place,” the man replied. “I lure them with crumbs,
pretend I’m their friend then when they are close, I net them and shove
them into my cage.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?”

The man grinned, “I’m going to prod them with sticks, and get them
really mad so they fight and kill each other.

Those that survive, I will kill. None will escape.”

The boy looked steadily at the man. What made him do such things? He
looked into the cruel, hard eyes. Then he looked at the birds,
defenseless, without hope. “Can I buy those birds?” the boy asked.

The man hid a smile, aware that he could be on to a good thing if he
played his cards right. “Well,” he said hesitantly, “the cage is pretty
expensive, and I spent a lot of time collecting these birds, I’ll tell
you what I’ll do, I’ll let you have the lot, birds, cage and all,…..
for ten pounds and that jacket you’re wearing.”

The boy paused, ten pounds was all he had, and the jacket was new and
very special, in fact it was his prized possession. Slowly, he took out
the ten pounds and handed it over, then even more slowly he took off his
jacket, gave it one last look then handed that over too.

And then (well, you’ve guessed it) he opened the door and let the birds
go free.

Moral of the Story…The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of
life’s road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed
that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every
race and nation.

“Where did you get these people?” the man asked.

“Oh, from all over the world,” Satan replied. “I lure them with drink,
drugs, lust, lies, anger, hate, love of money and all manner of things.
I pretend I’m their friend, out to give them a good time, then when I’ve
hooked them, into the cage they go.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?” asked the man. Satan
grinned. “I’m going to prod them, provoke them, get them to hate and
destroy each other; I’ll stir up racial hatred, defiance of law and
order; I’ll make people bored, lonely, dissatisfied, confused and
restless. It’s easy. People will always listen to what I offer them and
(what’s better) they, blame God for the outcome!”

“And then what?” the man asked.

“Those who do not destroy themselves, I will destroy.
None will escape me.”

The man stepped forward. “Can I buy these people from you?” he asked.

Satan snarled, “Yes, but it will cost you your life.”

So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for your release, your freedom
from Satan’s trap, with His own life, on the cross at Calvary.

The door is open, and anyone, whom Satan has deceived and caged, can be
set free.

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Where to find, Phone Information Please….

Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

WHERE TO FIND, PHONE INFORMATION PLEASE…

When my parents were young they actually had a person who helped direct their phone calls. Yes, hard to believe but you can look it up on the world wide net.for a complete description.  My father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know.
“Information Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.
My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement. I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but, there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“Information.” “I hurt my finger” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. “Isn’t your mother home?” came the question. “Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered. “Are you bleeding?” the voice asked. “No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts.” “Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.  I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called “Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said the usual thing grownups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?” She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul, you must remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow, I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please”, “Information,” said the now familiar voice. “How do you spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

 

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent around 15 minutes on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.” Miraculously, I heard the small
clear voice I knew so well. “Information.” I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” there was a long pause. Then came the soft-spoken answer, “I guess our finger must be healed by now.” I laughed, “So it’s really still you,” I said.
“I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” “I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.” I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. “Please do,” she said.
“Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally. “Are you a friend?” she said. “Yes, a very old friend,” I answered. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.
She died five weeks ago.” Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Are you Paul?” “Yes.” “Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.” The note said, “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.” I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you make on others.  Whose life have you touched today?

 

Author Unknown

 

As we make that impression hopefully they will see where our focus is…..

 

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and 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.”

CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

James 4:14 “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

Only God could do this…

Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”

Only God could do this…

Had Moses tried to figure out all that was needed to accomplish God’s command!

One of the biggest arithmetical miracles in the world – Moses and the people of Israel were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 million plus people would require a lot of food.

According to the Quartermaster General of the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have 1,500 tons of food each day. Do you know that to bring that food each day, two freight trains each a mile long, would be required?

Besides, you must remember, they were out in the desert, and they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains each a mile long, just for one day. And just think, they were forty years in transit.

Oh, yes, they would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars, 1,800 miles long just to bring the water? And then another thing! They had to get across the Red Sea in one night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide, so that they could walk, 5,000 abreast to get over in one night.

But then another problem. Every time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long. Think of it! This space just for nightly camping. Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left? I think not.

You see, Moses believed in God, and God was going to take care of these things for him. Let us take courage, we have the same God. We think our problems are so big. Remember what God can do! Just team up with God and your problems will be His care also. Let Him run your life, and as the old song says, “He will take care of you.”

Author unknown

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Forrest Gump and the Pearly Gates of Heaven…

I John 5:11-13a “And this is the record that God has given us eternal life and that life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God
that you may KNOW that you have eternal life…”

Forrest Gump at the Pearly Gates of Heaven

The day finally arrives: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is
at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed,
however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says
“Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot
about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and
we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone.
The test is fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get
into Heaven.

Forrest responds, “It shore is good to be here St. Peter. I was looking
forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope
the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”

St. Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forrest but the test I have for you is
only three questions.

Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?

Third: What is God’s first name?”

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next
day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions. St.
Peter waves him up and says, “Now that you have had a chance to think
the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest says, “Well, the first one-how many days in the week begin
with the letter “T”? Shucks, that one’s easy. That’d be Today and
Tomorrow.”

The Saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what
I was thinking, but…..you do have a point, and I guess I didn’t
specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”

“How about the next one?” asks St. Peter. “How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder,” says Forrest, “but I thunk and thunk about
that and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Astounded, St. Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve??! Forrest, how in Heaven’s
name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forest says “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February
second, March second……”

“Hold it,” interrupts St. Peter. “I see where you’re going with this,
and I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had
in mind, but I’ll give you credit for that one, too. Let’s go on with
the next and final question: Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Andy.”

“OK, OK,” said a frustrated St. Peter, “I can understand how you came
up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the
world did you come up with the name of ‘Andy’ as the first name of
God?”

“Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,” Forrest replied. “I learned
it from the song….”Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells
me I am His own…”

St. Peter opened the gate and said: “RUN FORREST, RUN!!”

That was the humor. For the truth side there is a heaven and there is a hell. We will all frequent one of them for eternity? And of course the exam to get in is based on what we did with following God’s truth while on this earth. There are no exceptions so be very sure you are passing the test…………….here it is.

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

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again he cannot see the
kingdom of God.”

Titus 3:5a “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He saved us….”

Ephesians 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.”

So, when you leave this life what will God say to you? Enter or I never knew you…………….

God looks at the Heart…

I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

 God looks at the Heart….

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to our patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.  “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face — lopsided from
swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face…I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home.

Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.”  I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.  “Did you keep that awful looking man last night?  I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers; we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were
my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was
imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.  “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”  All this happened long ago — and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul
must stand.
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I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”