Archive for the STORIES Category

Cross a Raging Water

Posted in STORIES on February 1, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

As I stand on the shore of the still blue water, I can only hear the trickle of the faintest stream. Can only feel the breeze of the softest wind and only hear the song of the furthest lark. And yet I stand on the shore, unsure of where to go…how to cross, what path leads me there? I do not know. I stand, staring at the water, reflecting back to me in most perfect picture, myself, alone, solitary and afraid. “Oh dear God” I say as I stand there alone, wondering where He has gone in this hour of need. But do I hear an answer? Do I see a sign? No. But I know He cares. “Oh dear Lord, come to me please…” I ask, standing there. But nothing, no sign..where could He have gone? Soon at my feet there is a rumble, the clear blue water becomes a river, a flood, a torrent of water. I tremble for fear and step back. I can not take my eyes from it, how will I ever cross it, how will I ever survive? The sound transfixes me, the danger overcomes me and I feel helpless. 

Then a voice calls, above all else I hear it echo to me…smooth, and clear, full of the kindest peace… “My child…come to me.” I look across the raging torrent…which now rages silently…with no sound, and I see my God, standing on the other side. “Come to me” He beckons once again…I want so badly to go and be in His arms, want so badly to feel his love and protection, but how do I get to that place. “How Lord?” I ask…yelling as if to talk over the silence…”Come.” I look at the water…it rages with speed, crashes with thunder. “Come.” I cry…afraid to try..but I know that’s where I belong…so I step. A step closer to the danger…a step closer to my Lord. He is there…waiting for me…there for me like He said He would be, all I need do is go to Him. I step closer, the spray of the water touching my face. “I love you Lord” I say…now on the shore. I step into the water, my will says go on…my body cries stop! I go on…each step my feet finding solid ground…I am in the middle of the rage, standing. I look at my feet…the water only coming up to my ankles…still raging. The stream is only a foot deep. I now run..finding the courage to go on. 

I am there..in His arms…sweet bliss comes across me..the Lord never left me, the Lord never left me. He was there…”you see my child” he whispers “all you need do is find the courage to cross, I have given you the power over these things..have made you bigger than them..that is part of your calling to me.” I stay…motionless in His arms…he is soft like the warm sun and my muscles relax…all pressure gone… all trembles cease and I am at perfect peace with my God, my Father…my Protector. “Oh dear God” I say “I love you my Father, I know you are there for me now…I know with you, I can overcome.” We stand there..for what is eternity..embracing..and never once, not for the shortest moment, do His arms loosen, He steadfastly holds me, forever. 

 

by Philip Lopez

Chain Of Love

Posted in STORIES on February 1, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

Joe was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the factory closed, he’d been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home. 

It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all, this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here and knew the country. 

He could go down this road blindfolded, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy. It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down. He’d better get a move on. 

You know, he almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. 

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm. By the way, my name is Joe.” 

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk. 

She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been alright with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added “…and think of me”. 

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out of work actor, it didn’t ring much. 

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe. 

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said, “You don’t owe me a thing, I’ve been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here’s what you do. Don’t let the chain of love end with you.” 

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s gonna be alright, I love you Joe.”

The Burning Hut

Posted in STORIES with tags on January 28, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

612889-mediumThe only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger.

“God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.

“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. St. Paul wrote, “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).

St. Paul had confidence that good would come out of everything (Romans 8:28), so he learned to be thankful, not bitter, even when he was suffering.

Remember the next time your little hut is burning to the ground–it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God. 

 

 

author unknown

Burning Bush

Posted in STORIES on January 28, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

52102358051108wsp0461Where were you when God called you? Can you remember that instant when you knew that you knew that God had a design, a plan, and a purpose for you? Realization has come to me in stages, yet in my soul I always knew. I think most of us are like that if we care to admit it. Did you question God when He called you? Did you wonder if it was really the Lord calling you? I ask these questions because I have been walking with Moses recently and his actions started my present line of thought.

Moses was tending a flock of sheep and as he led them to the back of the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Moses was pretty much minding his own business when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses turned aside to get a better look, after all you don’t see a burning bush every day. Let me try to paint the complete picture for you.

Moses is standing barefoot in front of a burning bush, barefoot because the bush has told him that the ground is holy. The flame in the bush is the Angel of the Lord. The bush is burning, yet not consumed by the flame. The bush is talking to him and he is talking to the bush. The bush tells Moses that it is God and says in so many words, “Moses, my man, I have a job for you,” and Moses immediately starts arguing with the bush, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” Do you suppose the Lord felt like he was reasoning with a bush? Tell me, what did you say when the Lord called you?52656607051121wsp0122

I remember thinking, Moses, what do you expect God to say, that He was having a bad day and he must have been mistaken? Do you expect God to see the wisdom of your reasoning and intellect, the God of heaven and earth? I could hardly keep silent any longer and just as I was about to cry out that God had never asked him to move in his own power, the Lord glanced my way, and in that instant I knew that we all have a little Moses in us. It is always so easy to see the mistakes of others and ignore our own, isn’t it? The glance from the Lord said it all and I wondered, why is the Lord always so gentle with me? 

I kept my peace and my concealment and watched as the Lord patiently overcame all the objections that Moses could muster. I recalled my own objections when the Lord called me. What about you, have you answered the call or are you still in the objecting stage? Well, that is between you and the Lord, but remember, he has brought you here to show you something.

Looking back, I doubt if Moses had any idea of the adventure that was to unfold in his life. I followed the man on and off from a distance for many years and I tell you, I have never seen a tougher man. Would you stand up to Pharaoh time after time? After all the plagues that wasted most of what Pharaoh held dear, would you have the guts to walk up to him and say, by the way Mr. Pharaoh, there is more to come if you don’t do what the most high God wants done? 

Would you baby-sit that unruly mob for forty years? What would you do when even your own relatives turned against you? Would you pray for them and ask God to heal them? If you had to spend forty years in the desert with “children” what would you do? What will we do when we realize that we have a lot in common with the “children?” 

For forty years they whined, complained and refused to obey the Lord. Is that really much different from what you and I do? I wish I could say yes. I watched Moses walk the desert at night, just him and the stars and God. I could hear him talk to God but I stayed far enough away so I couldn’t make out the words. A man should have privacy when he is with his Creator. I would watch him come back from those walks and his face would be at ease, all the tension gone. After many of those walks the children would try to intercept him before he could find the safety of his tent. I noticed that he became more resourceful at avoiding them as the years passed.

Do you walk with God in the cool of the day and talk with Him? It is a two-way conversation, God so desires to have a relationship with you. Many of us spend our time murmuring and complaining instead of doing what we are called to do. The Lord never told us to talk the problem, don’t you think He knows the problem? Speak the solution and God will honor your words.53277967051204109

One lesson I learned as I walked with Moses that stands out in my mind is that God never honors murmuring. He will at times respond to murmuring, manna is a good example. Can you imagine eating the same food for three meals a day for forty years? Oh, you can call it heavenly food if you like, but you haven’t a clue of the meaning of monotony until you dine on the same food for years and years. On top of that their women had to wear the same clothes for forty years, what a life that was in the tents. I won’t even tell you of the standard conversation that I would hear, but suffice it to say, it is no wonder they were such an ugly bunch. The children murmuring to the women, the women murmuring to the men, the men murmuring to each other and to Moses and to God, well, you get the picture. What do you think that calliope sounded like to God?

I wondered how they could have lived if they would have repented and asked God, in faith too bless them. On those nights when I was keeping my distance from Moses as he talked to God I wondered how things would have been if Adam had not blamed the snake and the woman. It is to late for them to change but you and I could start fresh right now if we wanted. 

The times I enjoyed the most is when Moses would go on retreat with the Lord. I wasn’t allowed to get as close as Moses, they were talking God to leader, so I would set up camp some distance away. The peace and serenity of the Lord is something that I carry with me to this day. As a observer I have heard on more than one occasion that the day will come when all of mankind can enter into the secret place of the most high. What a day that will be! I can see a time when people will never murmur again, although I wonder, knowing man as I do. Yet I am a dreamer so I chose to dream of a time when murmuring will end once and for all. 

Lately I have been watching Moses writing and when I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was writing books. Not a book like I would write of dates, people, and facts, but books written under the power of the Lord. I should tell you this, Moses glows, at times he is so bright he has to cover himself. He has let me read some of his writing and I can tell you the man is very good, his work has a glow of it’s own.

I have learned many things from Moses and his people through the years, the following three stand out above the rest. The first is if everyone around you is murmuring, whether it is a few or millions, you don’t have to join in. God will honor your faith and he will go around millions of people if necessary to move on your faith. One man can keep the faith and be a light to the world if he desires and God can make you that light. Can you see yourself glowing with the presence of God? 

I recall the day of the thunder and lightning. It seemed like the earth would shake itself apart. The mountain smoked and the wind was heavy on my flesh. The darkness was thick with the presence of the Lord. Moses drew near but the people were full of fear. They told Moses to talk to God and then tell them what the Lord said. That is why Moses was chosen to lead the people, he drew near. I remembered the burning bush and how he turned and drew near to the Lord that day. Don’t stand far off from God like the children did that day. They never did grow up, they remained children until they died, spiritual babies that had seen God’s power but rejected it and thereby sealed their fate.556779210602010292

One other thing that often comes to mind is courage of conviction. Joshua and Caleb were men of valor, when the Lord said they could take the promised land they believed God and not the circumstance. For forty years Joshua held fast his confession of faith. He watched all the children die in the desert because of disobedience and when the fullness of time came he was well able to lead his people. I recall times in my life when I wouldn’t hold fast to my confession for more than a hour. What an encouragement and example Joshua is to me.

Well, my friend, I have enjoyed writing you this letter and bringing you up to date on what I have witnessed lately. I pray that it is an encouragement to you and your faith. If you should happen to see a burning bush or a shaking mountain heavy with the Lord’s power, I encourage you to draw near. Please write soon so I know all is well with you. I must return to my book and finish the story of the desert. The Lord has some others that I am to watch and write about, if possible I will visit you shortly. 

 

by Pat Worrell

A Brother’s Miracle

Posted in STORIES on January 28, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3 year old son Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy’s tummy.

The pregnancy progresses was normal for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist church in Morristown, TN. Then the labor pains come. Every five minutes…..every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a c-section be required?

Finally, Michael’s little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With sirens howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s hospital, Knoxville, TN. The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, “There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.” Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby and now they plan a funeral.

Michael keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he says. Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over.

Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. But Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael whether they like it or not. If he doesn’t see his sister now, he may never see her alive.

She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, “Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed!”

The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firm line. “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!”

Karen tows Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3 year old, Michael sings: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray – – -”

Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.

“Keep on singing, Michael.”

“You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away- – -”

The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten’s purr.

“Keep on singing, Michael.”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms…” Michael’s little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.

“Keep on singing, Michael.”

Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Funeral plans are scrapped. The next day – – – the very next day, the little girl is well enough to go home!

Woman’s Day magazine called it “the miracle of a brother’s song”.

The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God’s love!

The Blue Ribbon

Posted in STORIES on January 27, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. Using a process developed by Helice Bridges of Del Mar, California, she called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First she told them how the student made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.” 

Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week. 

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons, and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition, and we’d like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened.” 

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, “Well, sure. The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss’s jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, “Would you do me a favor? would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people.” 

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, “The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says ‘Who I Am Makes A Difference’ on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you. “My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid and I love you!” 

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I don’t need to.” 

 

Who You Are Makes A Difference

The Bishop’s Gift

Posted in STORIES on January 27, 2009 by mybookofwisdom

Once a church had fallen upon hard times. Only five members were left: the pastor and four others, all over 60 years old. 

In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.” 

The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the Bishop had said. In the months that followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. “The Messiah is one of us?” they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off, off chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care. 

As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years, the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop’s gift. 

Something to think about…. What if God were one of us? 

 

by Joan Osborne