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Illustrations

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

There s a phrase that has been around for a long time, which says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Not only does that statement ring true in and of itself, but also Jesus illustrated that truth more than anyone ever known. It seems that almost every time someone asked Jesus a question, He would answer the question with a story. A story that perfectly described the truth He was teaching, and also gave an example of how it played out. Illustrations can be actual true events, but often are tales of every imaginable kind. The Bible itself contains both true stories, and also similitudes as good illustrations.

The illustrations that are listed below are a collection from many years of listening, reading, and researching. I have only a few records of where any of these stories came from or how I came across them. Authorship is claimed for only a few of them. Credit for these illustrations is listed whenever I can. When my notes indicate they were actual events I have noted so. I have tried to place these illustrations in categories, but of course you can decide for yourself where to use them. You will also notice that I love and appreciate humor. Some stories are just there for the humor yet surely they too can be used to illustrate some point.

A

AGING:

Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96, and all widows, live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other sisters, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?” The 94-year old yells back, “I don’t know, I will come up and see.” She starts up the stairs, and pauses, “Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her two sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood.” She then yells, “I’ll come help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.”

Three retired men, each with hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?” “No,” replied the second man, “It’s Thursday.” The third man chimed in, so am I, let’s go get something cool to drink.”

A Senior citizen was driving down the freeway when his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!” “Heck,” said Herman, “it’s not just one car. Its hundreds of them.” 

ANGER:

Most all of us have some kind of a temper. We are born with this in our human nature. Perhaps you have heard this story … it was a summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska. A weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. He was tired and hungry. The only other customers were three tough looking, motorcycle riders. They decided to give him a hard time. Did they verbally abuse him, but one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his French fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it. How did this trucker respond? How would you respond? Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the register, and went out the door. One of the cyclists said to the waitress, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?” The waitress replied, “He isn’t much of a truck driver either. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot.”

The story is told of an Irishman who was a champion boxer, but left the ring to become a preacher. He was setting up his tent in one particular town. Some of the local toughs began to jeer and sneer as the preacher went about his business. Finally, one of them came over and physically challenged the preacher to a fight. The preacher said, “So, you’d like to take a swing at me, would ya?” The tough guy just sneered. So the preacher stuck out his jaw on the right side and said, “All right then, have at it.” The tough guy took a swing, and popped the preacher’s jaw. The preacher stood up, shook his head and turned his left jaw. “Would ya like to try it again?” The tough takes another swing, and connected with the preacher’s jaw, again. Then the preacher stood up, took of his suit coat, rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, and said, “The Lord has not given me any more instruction.” “There is however, only one thing I like doing better than preaching, and that’s fighting.” So the Irish preacher proceeded to whoop the tar and thunder out of the tough guy.

A man left work one Friday afternoon. But instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend fishing with the boys and spending his entire paycheck. When he finally appeared at home Sunday night, he was confronted by his very angry wife, and was barraged for nearly 2 hours with a tirade about his actions. Finally his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him, “How would you like it if you didn’t see me for 2 or 3 days?” To which he replied, “That would be fine with me!” Monday went by and he didn’t see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results. On Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her … JUST a little out of the corner of his left eye.

ATTITUDE:

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered … Love them anyway.

If you do good people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives … Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies … Succeed anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable … Be honest and frank anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow … Do good anyway.

The biggest people, with the biggest ideas, can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest pride … Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs … Fight for some underdogs anyway.

What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight … Build anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth … Give the world the best you’ve got anyway! (Reader’s Digest)

B

BABIES: See change

BANKING:

An older Native American wanted to get a loan for five hundred dollars. A banker pulled out a loan application and asked, “What are you going to do with the money?” “Buy silver, make jewelry, and sell it,” was the response. The banker asked, “What do you have for collateral?” The Indian replied, “Don’t know collateral.” The banker explained, “Well that’s something of value that would cover the cost of the loan. Have you got any vehicles?” “Yes 1949 Chevy pick-up,” replied the Indian. The banker shook his head, “How about livestock?” “Yes, I have a horse,” replied the Indian. The banker then asked, “How old is it? “Don’t know, has no teeth,” replied the Indian. Finally the banker decided to make the five hundred dollar loan. Several weeks later, the elderly man was back in the bank. He pulled out a roll of bills, “Here to pay,” he said. He then handed the banker the money to pay his loan off. The banker asked, “What are you going to do with the rest of that money?” “Put in teepee,” replied the Indian. “Why don’t you deposit it in my bank?” the banker asked. “Don’t know deposit,” replied the Indian.” The banker responded, “you put the money in the bank and we take care of it for you. Whenever you want to use it, you can withdraw it.” The old Indian leaned across the desk and asked the banker, “What you got for collateral?”

BIBLE:

THE BIBLE: This book’s doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read this Book to be wise, believe in it to be safe, practice it to be holy. This book contains light to direct you, food to support you, comfort to cheer you. This book is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. In this book paradise is restored, heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is this book’s grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. This book should fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your feet. This book is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. This Book is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever. This Book involves the highest responsibilities. This Book will reward the greatest labor, and this Book will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

JUST USE ME – I AM THE BIBLE. I am God’s wonderful library. I am always – and above all – The Truth. To the weary pilgrim, I am a good strong staff. To the one who sits in gloom, I am a glorious light. To those who stoop beneath heavy burdens, I am sweet rest. To him who has lost his way, I am a safe guide. To those who have been hurt by sin, I am healing balm. To the discouraged, I whisper glad messages of hope. To those who are distressed by the storms of life, I am an anchor. To those who suffer in lonely solitude, I am a cool, soft hand resting on a fevered brow. O, child of man, to best defend me, just use me! –

C

CHANGE:

Having a baby changes everything. A man and a woman marry and start a life together. They are usually understandably young and immature, and, are fairly self-centered in their lifestyle. Then a baby comes along, and changes everything! Nothing makes you grow up quicker. Nothing changes your priorities more. Your sleep schedule changes, your social life pauses indefinitely. Your times of intimacy must alter. Your house is not as quiet, and it also smells different. Your money suddenly vanishes, and you must humble yourself to degrading tasks. So, you make changes as necessary. And … indeed, the baby does need changing every time you turn around. You think you are changing them, but really they are changing you. You want to mold and shape this new life, but at least at first, only YOU are being transformed! The wife’s pride was in her hair, which she could spend hours shaping. Now it’s cut short, pulled back. She always wanted more curves, now she’s got them! The husband used to watch football in his easy chair, now he’s a gopher, running plays called by his new life coach from the sidelines He can’t afford to drop the ball, because It’s his child which he cradles in a football hold, trying to make the crying stop! Then, before you know it, that all changes. Next, the baby starts pulling itself up. So the knick-knacks must be moved higher or put away. We spend the next three years begging them to talk & to walk. Then, we spend fifteen years telling them to be quiet and sit down. Truth be told, every stage of their lives includes fascinating changes. Another thing, they are all expensive. You think the costs might go down over time? Think again! I think teenagers cost more than adults. And then they go to college. Parents are now suffering from mal-tuition! Costs gradually increase over the years until they finally reach their peak, which is the night you go bail them out of jail and bring them back to the basement you refinished for retirement. They will now live there until sometime in their 20’s-40’s! There is one thing however that doesn’t change. You love them through it all, and with every beat of your heart!

CHILDREN:

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy. If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to have confidence. If a child lives with praise, he learns appreciation. If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

Children are so absolutely cute. Her are five short stories that prove so:

One morning at Sunday school a 4-year-old little boy showed up without any identification. The teacher got his first name but that was it! The teacher said, “Brian, what’s your daddy’s name?” He quickly replied, “Daddy!” So, she tried again, “Brian, what’s your mommy’s name?” He answered, “Mommy!” Suddenly she had a brainstorm, “Brian, what does your Daddy call your Mommy?” His face lit up. With a grin and in a deep voice, he replied, “Hey, babe.”

A four-year-old named Amanda went to the doctor’s office with a fever. The doctor looked in her ears and said, “Who’s in there? Donald Duck? “She looked at him, and said, “No.” He looked in her nose and said, “Who’s in there? Mickey Mouse?” Again she said, “No.” He put his stethoscope on her heart and said, “Who’s in there? Barney?” Amanda raised her eyebrows and said, “No, Jesus is in my heart. Barney is on my underwear.”

A four-year-old granddaughter asked her Grandpa why he was wearing the brightly colored scarf in his pocket. Grandpa replied, “I thought it would make my blue suit look much prettier.” After a moment’s consideration, she replied sympathetically, “It didn’t work, did it?”

Six-year-old Molly complained to her mother that her stomach hurt. Realizing it was lunchtime, Mom told Molly, “Your stomach is empty; you’ll feel better after you put something in it.” Later that evening the pastor came over for a visit. During the conversation he mentioned he had a headache. Molly piped up with the solution: “That’s because it’s empty, you’ll feel better once you put something in it.

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes in the sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Mom why are some of your hairs white?” Her mother replied, “Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Oh Mommy, now I know why all of grandma’s hairs are white.”

CHURCH:

TRUE STORY: Many years ago a Christian had stopped attending church services. After a month or so the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening, and the pastor found his parishioner at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the pastor’s visit, the member welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The minister made himself at home, but said nothing. After several minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and he placed it to one side of the hearth … all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. His host watched all of this in quiet contemplation. The one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, then there was a momentary glow and its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The minister glanced at his watch, slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow once more, with all the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “I’ll be back in church Sunday.”

CHURCH BULLETINS:

Please read and re-read every bulletin before you pass them out. The following are bloopers from over the years.

*Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

*The cost for attending our Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.

*Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget to bring your husbands.

*The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

*The sermon for this morning is “Jesus walks on the water.” The sermon for this evening is “Searching for Jesus.”

*Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

*Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests copies of Pastor’s sermons.

*Sermon for next week, “Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help.”

*A chili-bean dinner will be held on Tuesday evening in the church fellowship hall. Music will follow.

*At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell? Come early and listen to our choir practice.

*For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

*Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

*Weight Watchers will at meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.

COMMITMENT:

The story is told of a little girl staying for dinner at the home of her friend. The vegetable was buttered broccoli, & the mother asked if she liked it. The child replied very politely, “Oh, yes, I love it.” But when the bowl of broccoli was passed, she declined to take any … The mother said, “I thought you said you loved broccoli.” The girl replied sweetly, “Oh, yes, ma’am, I do, but not enough to eat it!”

Commitment can be compared to what it takes in order to have ham and eggs for breakfast. The chicken is involved, but the ham is committed.

The late president John F. Kennedy told a story one day about commitment. Frank O’Connor, an Irish writer, wrote the story. The Irishman told of his childhood days when he and his friends would wander through the countryside of his homeland. When they would come to an orchard with a wall too high to cross, they would all toss their hats over the wall. Therefore they had no choice but to do whatever they had to do to get their hats back.

A young man went to see an elderly man for some advice. He said, “Sir I have seen a lot of people who are up and down in their faith. I have both heard and observed that you are not like that. I see that you have fervently sought after God throughout all these years. What makes you different?” The old man smiled and replied. “Let me tell you a story: One day I was sitting here quietly in the sun with my dog. Suddenly a large white rabbit ran across the field right in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, and took off after that big rabbit. He chased the rabbit over the hills with a passion. Soon, other dogs joined him they were attracted by his barking. What a sight it was, that pack of dogs ran barking and howling, running across the creeks, up the steep embankments, through thickets and, through the thorns! Gradually however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course, and frustrated by the chase. Only my dog continued to hotly pursue the white rabbit.” Now, in that story … young man, lies the answer to your question.” The young man sat in confused silence. Finally, he said, “Sir, I don’t understand. What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the quest for God?” “You fail to understand,” answered the well-seasoned old man. “Because you failed to ask the obvious question. And that is, why didn’t the other dogs continue with the chase? And the answer to that question is, the other dogs had not seen the rabbit. They were only in the chase because they were following to see what my dog had seen.” We have to follow Jesus because we have seen Him for ourselves, and not through someone else.

COMMON SENSE:

Most products we purchase today have labels warning about improper use. One would think that common sense would prevail, but believe it or not, the following warnings are all real. A label on a snow sled, which says: “Beware, sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions.” A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: “Harmful if swallowed.” A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to: “Remove child before folding.” A container of underarm deodorant says: “Caution: Do not spray in eyes.” A cartridge for a laser printer warns, “Do not eat toner,” A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns: “Do not drive with sunshield in place”

The story is told of a young pastor who arrived at his first pastorate. It was out in a farming community. He knew very little about farming. His first Sunday at his new position, just so happened was in the middle of harvest season & only one person showed up. The young pastor waited for fifteen minutes to see if any one else would come. Finally … he looked down at the one farmer and said, “What do you think I should do?” The farmer replied, “Well Pastor I’m just a cowhand but I do know this. If I have a load of hay and I go to the backfield to feed the cows, even if only one cow shows up I still feed that one cow. The young Pastor realized he now knew what to do. So he launched into a two hour-long sermon. At the end of the service the young pastor walked up to the farmer and asked, “Well how did I do?” … The farmer looked at the pastor and said, Well Pastor I am just a cow-hand but I do know this, when I feed just one cow I don’t feed him the whole load of hay.

 COMPASSION:

We are often tempted to look at the outward appearance of someone. To judge people by their looks, or maybe even how we perceive them. This starts out early in life. A little girl in the 3rd grade came up to her father one evening and very emotionally asked, “Daddy, am I pretty?” He said, “Of course you are honey.” But the wise father knew there was more to this, so he asked her, “Why are you asking me if you are pretty?” Tearfully, she said, “The boys in my school were saying who the pretty girls are, and they didn’t say my name.” (Can you feel her pain? – good that’s compassion.) I would have wanted to say, “Honey if those boys make fun of you, just punch them in the nose. THAT IS NOT COMPASSION … OR GOOD ADVICE

TRUE STORY: One day a little boy stood outside a restaurant with his head pressed flat against the window. A man inside noticed him went outside and brought him in and bought him a meal. The young boy however, kept looking outside and wouldn’t eat. When the man asked him what was the matter, the little boy said, “My brother, he’s outside and he doesn’t have anything to eat either.” The man went and got the other boy and they all had a great feast.

TRUE STORY: Dr. Paul Brand has devoted his life to treating leprosy patients in India. In the course of one examination, Dr. Brand laid his hand on the patient’s shoulder and informed him through a translator of the treatment that lay ahead. To his surprise the man began to shake with muffled sobs. Dr. Brand asked if he had said something wrong?” The translator quizzed the patient and reported, “No, doctor, he says he is crying because you put your hand around his shoulder. Until he came here no one had touched him for many years.”

CONFESSION:

A little boy had been given a slingshot for his birthday. He loved it and practiced every day aiming at different objects. During the summer he and his sister would spend a lot of time at their grandmother’s house. One day he was out in grandma’s backyard, when he spied his grandma’s pet duck. He thought, “Wow … a live target!” On impulse he took out his slingshot, took aim and hit the duck with a stone. The trouble is, the duck died on the spot! He’d killed it! Then he panicked. What was he to do? This was grandmother’s pet duck. He did not want to get in trouble … so he hid the duck in the woodpile. But when he looked up, there was his sister … She’d seen what he’d done. After lunch that day, Grandma told Sally to help with the dishes. And Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And then she leaned over and whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So, Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have? For the next several weeks Johnny did a lot of dishes. And every once in a while (when he’d be tempted to object) His sister would whisper to him: “Remember the duck” After a few weeks, Johnny realized he could not go on like this. So Johnny went to grandma and confessed. It was then that Grandma informed Johnny that she already knew what had happened. She told Johnny she had watched the whole thing out the window. Then she said, “I have been waiting to see how long you would let Sally make a slave out of you. Un-confessed sin makes a slave out of you.

The story is told of a father of four boys. Dad came home one day, only to find all of them engaged in a free-for-all. They were throwing punches, wrestling, etc. Dad looked at the oldest of the four and asked, “Butch, who started this?” He responded, “Well Dad, it all started when Harold hit me back,”

CONVERSION:

True conversion involves going back and starting over. This true story happened about 30 years ago. I came home from work one night only to discover that my darling wife had purchased a portable barbecue for the grand sum of $19.97. She was very proud of her purchase! However, she was also very frustrated. She said to me, “There is something very wrong with it. I have tried and tried for the last two hours and it cannot be put together.” She showed me how a certain piece just would not fit. Being a kind and loving husband, I said, “Sweetheart sit down and let me at least look at it.” I reached over, picked up the instruction page, and I began to read it. My frustrated wife said, “What are you doing?” I replied, “Honey I am reading the directions of how to put it together.” She said, “We don’t need those, see it just won’t go together.” I said, “I’m sorry dear I just want to look.” As I looked, I immediately realized the problem. My dear wife had put what she had put together out of sequence. I could see that if I took it apart, and started over, and put it together in the right sequence it would and indeed it did go together. Sometimes in life things happen and the only way to fix them is to go back and start over.

CREATION:

Jonathan Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. He lived during the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. He was also an inventor. He invented eyeglass lenses, and the telescope. He kept logs of planetary motion, made maps of the known world of stars, and wrote a book called, Astronovia Nova (650 page theory of how earth travels around the sun) Kepler was troubled by one of his friends who denied the existence of God. His friend was an early evolutionist. In order to convince his friend of the truth, he constructed a model of the sun with the planets circling round it. When his friend came into the observatory and saw the beautiful model, he exclaimed with delight, “How beautiful that is! Who made that?” Kepler answered, “No one made it, it made itself.” His friend looked at him and said, “Nonsense, tell me who made it.” Kepler replied, “Friend, you say that this little toy could not make itself. It is but a very weak imitation of this great universe which, I understood, you believe did make itself.”

D


DATING:  

Have you ever heard the story of the young couple’s first date? The young lady was expecting the young man to show up. She was dressed up and waiting patiently. However, by the time he was an hour late, she figured she had been stood up. So, she took off her makeup, put on her pajamas, gathered all the junk food in the pantry, and sat down to watch TV with the dog. As her favorite show was just coming on the doorbell rang. It was her young man. He stared at her wide eyed and said, “I’m two hours late, and you’re still not ready?” 

DECISIONS:

 Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad? Who came to a sign at the fork of the road? He looked one way and the other way too. The Zoad had to make up his mind what to do. Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants. And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance. If I go to Place One, that place may be hot. So how will I know if I like it or not. On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool. If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool. In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue. So Place One may be best and not Place Two. Play safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce. I’ll simply start off to both places at once. And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance, went no place at all with a split in his pants. (Dr. Seuss)

DIETING:

A father took his young daughter to the grocery store to get groceries. Mom had given them a carefully prepared list. The two of them returned home with one of those big bags of M&Ms. His wife said, “Why did you buy this? You know M&Ms aren’t good for you!” The husband said, “Don’t worry, honey this bag of M&Ms has one-third less calories than usual.” The wife looked over the package. She says, “What makes you think that there are one-third less calories than usual?” The husband says “Well, we ate about a third of the bag on the way home, so now there’s one-third less calories than usual!”

An overweight businessman decided that it was time to lose weight. He took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning however, he arrived at work carrying a big gigantic coffee cake. “This is a very special cake,” he explained, “I accidently drove by the bakery this morning and there in the window were a host of warm goodies. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed, “Lord if you want me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let me find a parking place directly in front of the bakery. And sure enough,” he continued, “the eighth time around the block, there it was!”

One year I had initially resolved to exercise, but after a little research I decided it wasn’t a good idea. These are the three things I base that decision on:

  1. If walking were good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
  2. A whale swims all day every day, only eats fish, and drinks water, but is still fat.
  3. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives fifteen years, while a tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.

And you tell me to exercise, I don’t think so.

The other day I got in a line, and stood there for 20 minutes. When I got to the front I realized the line was for exercise. I thought the sign had said extra fries!

Here are a few one-liners:

*My goal for this year is to lose just ten pounds. So far I only have fifteen to go.

*Last night I had salad for dinner. Mostly croutons & tomatoes … well, actually it was just one big round crouton with tomato sauce … well okay, I had pizza.

*How to prepare tofu … One: throw it in the trash. Two: Grill some meat.

*Yesterday I did a week’s work of cardio – I walked into a spider web.

*I don’t mean to brag, but last year I finished a 14-day diet in three hours and twenty minutes.

*Kids today have it easy, I walked nine feet across shag carpet to change the TV channel.

*A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight … live longer than the men who mention it.

METHUSELAH’S DIET:

 Methuselah ate what he found on his plate, and never as people do now.

Did he note the amount of the calorie count? No, he ate it because it was chow.

He wasn’t disturbed as at dinner he sat destroying a roast or a pie,

To think it was lacking in lime or in fat or a couple of vitamins shy.

He cheerfully chewed every species of food, untroubled by worries or fears

Lest his health might be hurt as faddists assert, and he lived over 900 years.

E

ENCOURAGEMENT:

 TRUE STORY: A man named Rusty had a son named Charlie. Charlie was eight years old and was a little chunkier and little slower than most of the boys his age. But Charlie wanted to play football. On the way to the first football practice, Charlie’s dad told him, “Now Charlie, the coach is probably going to want you to be a lineman.” The truth is: no eight-year old boy wants to be a lineman. They all want to be a quarterback, running back, or receiver. That’s where the glory is. It’s not in being a lineman. Charlie’s dad, continued: “Now the linemen are really important because they block for the other players. The linemen don’t get to carry the ball or throw passes, but if the linemen do their job, the guys carrying the ball can make touchdowns … otherwise they can’t.” Sure enough, thirty minutes into the first practice, the coach started to place his team. He said, “Charlie, I want you to be lineman. You’ll be the right guard.” Charlie looked over to his dad with a big smile and went [thumbs up!]. He was thrilled! Maybe your Heavenly Father designed you to play a role that doesn’t get much applause. If you have a behind-the-scenes assignment where you’re blocking for others and not
getting much glory, can you still be content?

TRUE STORY: It was 1929 and Georgia Tech was playing the University of California. In the first half Roy Riegals recovered a fumble for his team, USC. But in his excitement & confusion, Roy ran the wrong direction, 65 yards in the wrong direction, until one of his teammates outdistanced him and tackled him just short of the end zone. USC ultimately lost the game that day as a result of Roy’s mistake. During half time at that Rose Bowl everyone wondered what coach Nibbs Price would do. Would he bench Riegals the rest of the game? As the men sat in the dressing room, Roy was in the corner, a blanket around his shoulders, face in his hands, weeping like a baby. Finally the coach looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second half, and that includes you Roy.” There can be times in our lives when we feel like Roy Riegals. Maybe we feel we have picked up the ball but run in the wrong direction. Not just for 65 yards, but often for many years. Maybe someone feels like it’s too late to receive this gift, and go in a new direction. But today God is still giving us the same chance that Coach Price gave Roy Riegals. Georgia Tech won that Rose Bowl, but the Georgia Tech players will tell you that they’ve never seen a man play football with the intensity As Roy Riegals did that second half.

EVOLUTION:

SO … just what is this thing called evolution? What is the Darwinian delusion? Well … Darwin tell us himself, in his book, The Origin of the Species, on page 23: “Analogy would lead me to the belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype.” It goes on to say: “All organic things which have ever lived on the earth may be descended from one primordial form.

To put it very succinctly, and very simply, we began as some primordial slime … then some primitive protozoa, and then, some segmented worm, and then a fish, and then an amphibian, and then a reptile, and then a bird, and then a mammal, and then a man. So, what you do is … you take nothing, and then … as time goes by … after time … plus chance … amoebas become astronauts. That’s it – just give it time.

So … “Once I was a tadpole beginning to begin; then I was a frog with my tail tucked in; then I was a monkey in a banyan tree; and now I’m a professor with a Ph.D.” (Author unknown)

DEVOLUTION:

We used to think there was a God, that He made mankind too;

But Darwin set us right on that, man came here through the zoo.

We have no God, we made ourselves, perhaps from some great star;

We care not what our destiny we know not what we are.

When nothing was man built himself, through nothing of the same,

We also made the mighty orbs, and they from nothing came.

He everything in perfect sphere, made perfect as could be-

If there is a God, Man’s God himself, his throne’s a cocoanut tree.

When Darwin wrote of man’s ascent the monkey said Amen;

Then they chattered Higher critics rant, and are no ass-ended men.

Those long-eared owls, of whom I speak, prate of development;

That evolution’s all you need for future betterment.

Our father’s from the jungles came, and theirs came from the sea.

And seers came from God knows where so Haeckel says not me.

Just stop and think of those good old days, when man was free from care,

And lived like other animals at home most everywhere.

Herb Spencer was a donkey then, who never had a soul.

Tom Huskley was an orang-outang, a treetop was his goal.

They mixed things up so terribly, we don’t know where we’re

The world’s one great big family; you’re cousin to a cat.

We’re brothers to the brutes today, the pig, the sheep, and the bull;

In eating pork, lamb chops, or beef, you’re sure a cannibal.

I’d hate to think my sausage skins contained my neighbor’s wife,

Or when I wring a chicken’s neck I take some old friend’s life.

Your grandmother was an angleworm, her mate a big tadpole.

That wife or yours a scaleless fish, who never had a soul.

Ed Cairwood was a guinea pig, his wife a croaking frog.

But evolution helped them out with jelly from a bog.

That dancing Jad was an ape, that flirt a flying squirrel.

That perfumed peach a polecat was, ere he became a girl.

Jack Daw was that shorthaired flip, but lost his power to fly.

Some college heads were jellyfish, in Darwin’s days gone by.

Oh, give us back those days so fine, those days so free from care.

With wife a walrus on the ice, and I a polar bear.

When aunt Jane was a crocodile, in those days ere I knew you,

And uncle Jim could jump a mile, he was a kangaroo.

Aunt Kate could switch and crack her tail around a bamboo tree.

A tiger cat a dread female, her mate a chimpanzee.

H.G. Wells was a tall giraffe, his wife a black baboon.

And higher critics in those days, were microbes on prunes.

Such educated ignorance, learned lunacy so vain,

Would crash essential moral law, to make its self a name.

These scientific symptoms, the joke of all who think,

In every bright baboonery, they search for a missing link.

There are no links but missing links, as thoughtful people know,

The system these people advocate, but multiply their woes.

To do away with one great God, they need a thousand worse,

For every change demands a power, as great as that at first.

Just think there is no moral law, among us apes on earth,

Vice and virtue, these are terms for things that never had birth.

We’re brutes as well as animals, there’s no such thing as sin,

Live as you like, it there is a heaven, old Pete will let you in.

Won’t glory be a happy place, when all our folks get home?

If ever we revert to type, we’ll make those angels groan.

We’ll give dear old St Peter, many more woes than he has,

And turn the New Jerusalem, into a jungle with jazz.

EXCUSES:

Here is a list of excuses you can use if you are caught sleeping at your desk. WOW … they told me at the blood bank this might happen – WHEW … I guess I left the lid off the liquid paper – HEY … this is one of the seven habits of highly effective people – HOW ABOUT … OH … I was working on my …

Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan. It’s too bad you interrupted me, I had almost solved one of our biggest problems …

Parents write letters to school giving excuses for their children. These are actual notes:

*Please excuse Lisa for being absent She was sick, and I had to have her shot.

*Dear school: Please ekscuse John for being absent on January 28, 29, 30, 31,32, and also 33. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

*Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and also his boots leak.

*Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

Most people don’t write … an excuse when they miss church. But I did come across this: Take the 10 top reasons why people don’t go to church, and insert the phrase “Wash” instead of go to church. This is what you get:

  1. I was forced to wash as a child.
  2. People who wash are hypocrites. They think they are cleaner than others.
  3. There are so many kinds of soap, I could never decide which one was right.
  4. I used to wash, but it got boring.
  5. I wash only on Christmas & Easter.
  6. None of my friends wash.
  7. I’ll start washing when I am older.
  8. I really don’t have time to wash.
  9. The bathroom isn’t warm enough to wash
  10. The people who make soap are only after your money.

Some soldiers had been given a day of furlough. The commanding officer however became furious, when nine soldiers who had been out on pass failed to show up for morning roll call. In fact it was not until 7 p.m. that night that the first man straggled in. The soldier explained, “I’m sorry, sir,” I had a date and lost track of time. I missed the bus back, and being determined to get in on time, I hired a taxi. Halfway here, the taxi broke down. I went to a farmhouse and persuaded the farmer to sell me a horse. I was riding to camp when the animal fell over dead. I walked the last ten miles, and just got here. The colonel was so amazed with the soldier’s creativity he let the young man off with a reprimand. However, after him seven other stragglers in a row came in with the same story. They all one by one claimed they had a date, missed the bus, hired a cab, bought a horse, etc. The colonel was waiting for the ninth man to decide what to do with all of them. Finally … the ninth man reported in. “Okay,” the colonel growled, “Now what happened to you?” The soldier responded, “Sir, I had this date, and missed the bus back, so I hired a cab.” “Wait!” the colonel screeched at him. “Don’t tell me the cab broke down.” “No, sir,” replied the soldier. The cab didn’t break down. It was just that there were so many dead horses in the road we had trouble getting through.

The story is told of a man who was known to like drinking a lot of alcohol. He explained that he drank only to drown his troubles. Someone asked him, “After you drown them, why do you continue to drink?” “You don’t know my troubles,” he sighed, “My troubles are excellent swimmers.

The story is told of a man who was late for a job interview. He couldn’t find a parking spot. So finally he parked in a no parking zone. He left a note on the window. The note said: “To any officer of the law, I drove around the block several times and could not find a parking place. I cannot be late. I really need this job interview. So … please forgive my sin!” A few minutes later, the local traffic officer discovered the car. He read the man’s note, and then left a note of his own: “Dear Sir or Madam: I understand you have driven around this block several times. I understand it is hard to find a parking place. Please understand … that I have been driving around this block for the last 20 years. It is my job to cite those who violate the law, so … lead me not into temptation!”

F

FAITH:

There was a group of church folks from a drought stricken community in West Texas. They contacted the local pastor and asked him if he would call a special prayer meeting to pray for rain. He gladly agreed and they set a time for the meeting. The people all assembled one evening on a hillside to pray for rain. When the Pastor arrived … he looked at the people and said, “Folks let’s just go home. There is no sense in praying tonight. The people were shocked, and they asked, “What’s the matter?” The pastor replied, “Not one of us brought an umbrella.”

FAITHFULNESS:

TRUE STORY: Charles Blair for many years pastored Calvary Temple in Denver Colorado. Charles himself told the story of how when he attended college, he had a roommate who also became a pastor. As you know, Denver is a big town … Charles Blair’s friend was called to serve in a little town of about 1,000 people. One day Charles drove out to visit his college friend. His friend got up the next morning, and he took Charles with him to have him listen as he taped his daily local 50 watts radio program. The friend opened the broadcast saying, “Hello world” … He then proceeded as if he was speaking to a million people. Afterwards … Charles told his friend, “Don’t you think you’re putting it on a little bit thick. Are you acting this way because I am with you?” Charles Blair’s friend looked at him and said, ‘I am as honest as I can be. This is my world. Then he went on to say, “Listen, any sissy can pastor 5,000 people in a great big town. It takes a man of God to pastor out here where we might get one visitor a year.” Even if God has placed us where not much happens, we have to be faithful anyway.

FAMILIES:

 Did you ever hear the story about a widow who re-married. Her grown daughter later married her new husband’s father. Each couple had a child. One day the widow tried to explain the story of what happened next. She said, “This made my dad my son-in law, and my daughter became my mother, because she was my father’s wife. My father’s wife then had a son, and he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter’s son.” Since my husband is now my father’s father then I’m his grandchild, and as wife of my grandfather, I’m my own grandma. Got all that?” Families are confusing, aren’t they?

FASTING:

We have to realize that there are different types of fasting. Let me give you some of them from out of the Bible. *Absolute Fast – This means no water or food. The longest recorded is 40 says. Moses did this in Exodus 34:28. *Water Only Fast – This is where you have water only Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:34. *Partial Daniel-type fast – This fast you deny yourself of only certain food. Maybe cut out meat, maybe desert. This is a fast that can go on indefinitely. An Example of this fast is found in Daniel 10:3. * Juice Fast – This is a modification of the normal fast. Fruits and vegetable juices are used for a supplement. This is good for a person who is in an extended fast. *Sundown fast – This is a fast where you eat one meal a day. This time that you save with meals should be spent in time with God. This feast can go on a long time. But it is harder to maintain then you think. Most of us naturally assume that fasting has to do with abstaining from food. There is a reason for that. We as a society are driven by food. Look at the number of restaurants. Look at the number of food commercials. Look at the number of events we have with food. *Not all fasts involve food – Some people, due to health cannot do a dietary fast, it just does not work. But everyone certainly can give up TV, Internet, books, hobbies, etc. for a certain time period … this one can go on indefinitely. The bottom line is, it should be something meaningful in your life. (I cannot fast, by giving up spinach) It needs to be something that costs you … otherwise it does not demonstrate true fasting.

FORGIVENESS:

Leonardo Da Vinci was a famous painter. Perhaps, one of his most famous works was called “The last supper.” Leonardo attempted to capture the frustration that occurred among the twelve disciples, when Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him. It is believed to be a true story that it took Leonardo three years to complete the painting, from 1495 to 1498. The reason why is interesting … Leonardo had been in a fierce feud with another person. Leonardo was so angry with this person that when he painted Judas Iscariot, he put this man’s face in the picture. Leonardo had purposely waited to put Jesus’ face in last. He was hoping and praying to portray something very special about Jesus. That however, is where the problem came in. He tried over and over, but he could not paint the face of Jesus to his satisfaction until one day he realized the problem. He went to the person he had the feud with, settled their differences, and then re-painted Judas Iscariot. The next day he was able to paint Jesus to his satisfaction.

I had only been married a couple of years when one day my wife was misbehaving more than usual. I told her, “You know, that’s the third time today! And that’s also the 298th, 299th, & 300th time I have had to forgive you for something you did.” Before she could answer I reminded her that Jesus only requested her to be forgiven 490 times. She laughed and said, “Buddy … you’re already over 700 – but I’ll forgive you anyway!”

It was a poet named Heinrich Heine who wrote the following: “My nature is the most peaceful in the world. All I ask is a simple cottage, a decent bed, good food, some flowers in front of my window, and a few trees beside my door. Then … if God wanted to make me completely happy, He would let me enjoy the spectacle of six or seven of my enemies dangling from those trees. I would forgive them all the wrongs they have done me ­ from the bottom of my heart. For we must forgive our enemies, but not until they are hanged.

Ernest Hemingway tells of a father and son who had stopped talking to one another. Things got so bad that the son left home. After several years, the father wanted to mend the relationship. He looked everywhere for his son but could not find him. Finally he went to the capital city of Madrid, went to the newspaper office and took out an ad in the newspaper that said this: “Paco, please meet me at 12 noon tomorrow in front of the newspaper office – All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” The next day at 12 noon, there were 800 men named Paco standing in front of the building!

FRIENDS:

The story is told of a man who came home to find two little girls sitting on the steps of the apartment building where he lived. Both were crying uncontrollably, shedding lots of big tears. Thinking they might be hurt, the man dropped his briefcase. He quickly went over to ask them “Are you all right?” Still sobbing, one little girl held up her doll. “My baby’s arm came off!” The man took the doll and its disjointed arm. After a little effort and luck, the doll was back together. The girl cried out, “Oh, thank you,” The man then turned to the other girl and asked, “And what’s making you cry, young lady?” She wiped her cheeks and said, “I’m okay, I was just helping her cry.” (How sweet! And what a good friend!)

One day, two travelers were on the road together, when a bear suddenly appeared on the scene. Before the bear noticed them, one man made for a tree at the side of the road. He immediately climbed up into the branches and hid there. The other man was not so nimble as his companion, and because he could not escape, he threw himself on the ground and pretended to be dead. The bear came up and sniffed all around him. The man kept perfectly still and held his breath. (They say that a bear will not touch a dead body.) The bear … thinking he was dead … just went on his away. When the coast was clear, the traveler in the tree came down. He asked the other what it was the bear had whispered to him when he put his mouth to his ear. The other replied, “He told me never again travel with a friend who deserts you at the first sign of danger.” (Aesop’s Fables)

G

GIVING:

A couple of months ago I went to an event and had to park at actually the furthest parking space there was. A lady realtor I recognized was at the event. She had come very late. On the way out I noticed her getting in her car and she was at the very closest parking space there was. I couldn’t help my self, I asked, “How did you get that parking spot.” She looked at me and said, ‘Oh … I pay my tithes, what can I say.

TRUE STORY: Back in the 1880’s, there was a young medical student. He was selling books from house to house in a farming community in order to pay his way through college. This obviously took a lot of time and a lot of walking. One day (hot and thirsty) he came to a certain farmhouse. No one was home except a teenage girl. She told the man, my mother is a widow, we have no money to buy books, but here’s what I can do.” She went in and got him some cookies and a large glass of fresh milk. She wouldn’t take any money when he offered. Years later … the medical student had become chief of surgery at a monumental hospital. One day while visiting the wards, he spotted a face he thought he remembered. He asked a few questions, and sure enough it was indeed she. The teenage girl was now a middle-aged woman, but she was also very ill. The doctor took a special interest in her case. She was put in a private room with nurses around the clock. Everything known to medical science was done for her. After weeks of care she was about to be dismissed. The woman was cured, and for that the woman was delighted. But the woman was also frightened out of her wits. She still lived on the farm with her now ninety-year old mother. She had no money to pay for all of this. But as they prepared for her discharge, they brought her the bill. She could not believe her eyes. The bill was indeed for a lot of money, but at the bottom of the page it said, “Paid in full by some cookies and one glass of milk.” Dr. Howard A. Kelly, MD

The story is told of two men who crashed their private plane on a South Pacific Island. One of the men brushed himself off and proceeded to run all over the island to see if they had any chance of survival. When he returned, he rushed up to the other man and screamed, “This Island is uninhabited and there is no food or water. We’re going to die!” The other man leaned back against the fuselage of the wrecked plane, folded his arms and responded, “No we’re not. I make over $100,000 a week.” The first man grabbed his friend and shook him. “Listen, we’re on a deserted island and no one knows where we are.” The other man, unruffled, again responded. “It’s OK … I make over $100,000 a week.” The first man could not believe what his friend was saying. So he again repeated, “For the last time, I’m telling you that we are lost. It doesn’t matter how much money you make because there’s no one around to help us.” Still unfazed, the first man looked the other guy in the eye and said, “Don’t make me say this again. I make over $100,000 per week, and I tithe 10%! … Trust me when I tell you my pastor will find us!”

A rich man died and went to heaven. St. Peter came to greet him and said, “Welcome to heaven. Let me show you where you’ll be staying.” As they walked, he saw mansions stretching out in every direction. They were beautiful! Constructed of gold and silver and precious gems. They came to an ornate home. As they paused to gaze at it, the rich man said, “Who gets to stay here?” Peter replied, “That’s for your janitor. He was a godly man who loved Jesus, and served Him all his life. This is his reward.” They continued to stroll past other mansions, until they stopped in front of an extremely large one that seemed to be made of emeralds and rubies. The rich man asked Peter, “Is this mine?” Peter answered, “No, this one belongs to your maid. On the little bit of money you paid her, she raised six children and gave to her church every week.” They continued to walk and came to a different section of homes. Only these houses weren’t as nice. As they walked up a small hill, they stopped in front of a shack made of tar paper and used sheet metal. The front door was cut out of an old refrigerator box. It was held together with bailing wire, twine, and duct tape. After pausing for a moment, the rich man asked, “And whose is that?” Peter responded, “Why, it’s yours!” The rich man couldn’t believe it. There must be some mistake. Peter bowed his head and said, “No, there’s been no mistake – We did the best we could with what you sent ahead!”

GRATITUDE: See Manna

GREED:

A couple went to a concert at a beautiful old art-deco theatre. At the end of the concert, there were two ushers standing near who were applauding harder than anybody else in the whole place. Now … this couple was amazed with this particular concert because of the talent of the musicians … But it amazed them even more to see these two ushers. They were applauding more vigorously than all of the concert attenders. A moment later as the applause began to die down however. It was then that they overheard one usher say to the other, “Keep clapping … If we can get them to do another encore, we get overtime!” It wasn’t the music … it was their wallets they were applauding for …

GROWING:

TRUE STORY: It started off with a letter to the editor, printed in the British Weekly. “Dear Sir: I have been attending a church quite regularly for the past 30 years. To my consternation, I discovered that I couldn’t remember a single sermon. I wonder if a minister’s time might be more profitably spent on something else? Sincerely ______. For weeks a huge storm of editorial responses ensued. Another letter finally ended the uproar. “Dear Sir: I have been married for 30 years. During that time, I have eaten some 32,850 meals — mostly of my wife’s cooking. Suddenly, I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet, I have received nourishment from every single one of them. I have the distinct impression that without them, I would have starved to death long ago. Sincerely _______”

H

HONESTY:

TRUE STORY: In a small college town, there was a bar that was often frequented by the students. A few days before parents weekend, the bar actually ran an Ad in the campus paper. “Bring Your Parents for Lunch Saturday. We’ll Pretend We Don’t Know You!” The college chaplain saw the Ad, and got an idea. He posted on the campus bulletin board: “Bring Your Parents to Chapel Sunday. We’ll Pretend We Know You!”

A high school senior made an application to a certain university. She wrote on her application that she did not see herself as a good leader, but that she knew she was a good follower. The admissions officer wrote her back. “Applications for our freshman class indicate there are 599 leaders coming to our college next fall. Since we only have 600 openings, we feel obligated to be required to admit at least one follower. Please be advised that your application is accepted.

HUMILITY:

Charlie starts out telling Lucy, “Some day I want to be a humble, lowly, country doctor. One who out of the passion of his heart serves out his life in a humble community. And while I am there in all that humility, I want to discover a cure for something, and over-night become a world famous country doctor. (Charles Schultz)

Just so you know, being humble does not mean that you become a door-mat for other people. It does not mean you have to become a member of the Dependent Order Of Really Meek And Timid Souls

Matthew Henry said, “The meek are those who quietly submit themselves before God, to His Word, to his Rod, who follow His directions, and comply with His designs, and are gentle towards men.

I     

INFORMATION:

Information alone is not enough. Sometimes students rely on a teacher to help them find truth.  They may however erroneously believe that if they hear more, or have more information, they are learning more. Information alone does not change lives. Here is Proof: Consider for a moment the person who spends hours scouring books, or websites for information about heart disease, but never makes any changes to his or her diet or exercise regimen. In other words, you discover a cure, but you don’t put your discovery into practice, so you have a heart attack anyway.

Most of what I really need to know, about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned: Share everything – Play fair – Don’t hit people – Put things back where you found them – Clean up your own mess – Don’t take things that aren’t yours – Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody – When you go outside, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

LACK OF INFORMATION:

Here is a list of true classified ads in daily newspapers … they are listed in reverse order to show who won the unknown contest:

  1. Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
  2. Try us once … you’ll never go anywhere again.
  3. Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.
  4. Illiterate? Write today for free help.
  5. Stock up and save. Limit: one.
  6. Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
  7. Semi-Annual after Christmas Sale.
  8. For sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
  9. We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
  10. Used cars for sale: Why go elsewhere to be cheated. Come here first.

Those classifieds are funny, because somebody either left out, information, or misspelled, one small word or phrase. Sometimes, it’s the things you don’t notice – the little things that have the greatest value.

Sometimes you just have to ask for yourself. A woman calling a local hospital said, “Hello, I would like to talk with the person who gives the information regarding your patients. I would like to find out if a patient is getting better, doing as expected, or getting worse.” The voice on the other end of the line said, “What is the patient’s name and room number?” She said, “Sarah Finkel, in room 302.” The nurse responded, “I will connect you with the nursing station.” The third floor nursing station answered, “Hello, how can I help you?” Again the woman asked, “I would like to know the condition of Sarah Finkel in room 302.” The lady responded, “Just a moment, let me look at her records. Oh yes, Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she’s had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back as normal, she’s going to be taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours, and if she continues this improvement, Dr. Greer is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o’clock.” The woman said, “Thank God! That is wonderful! Oh that is fantastic! That is just wonderful news.” The nurse said, “From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be a close family member, or a very close friend.” The lady replied, “No, not exactly, I am Sarah Finkel in room 302, and nobody around here tells me anything.”

Life is different in the country. You never know the story until you hear the whole story. It seems that one-day an elderly farmer was involved in an accident. A car driven by another man had hit his mule-drawn wagon. The farmer was suing the driver, claiming personal injuries as a result of the accident. When the farmer was on the witness stand, the attorney for the driver of the car was grilling him. “Tell me sir, isn’t it true that after the accident, you said that you never felt better in your life?” “Well,” the farmer began, “That morning I got up, and hitched my mule to the wagon. I put my hound dog in the seat beside me, and I started down the road.” The lawyer interrupted, “Please, just give me a simple yes or no answer to the question.” The judge directed the lawyer to le the farmer have his way in answering the question. “Well,” the farmer said again, “That morning I got up, and hitched my mule to the wagon. I put my hound dog in the seat beside me, and I started down the road. As I went down the road, this big car barreled into the rear of my wagon. My mule was knocked to the side of the road, my dog was knocked to the other side, and I was pinned under the seat. Directly a policeman came along. He saw my mule’s legs were broke; he pulled out his pistol and shot him dead. He went over to my dog, seen it was hurt real bad too, and shot it in the head. Then he came over to me and asked, ‘Well, how are you feeling? And sure enough, I said, officer, I never felt better in my life.”

A preacher visited an elderly lady from his congregation. As he sat on the sofa he noticed a big bowl of peanuts on the coffee table. He asked, “Okay if I have a few?” “No, not at all,” she replied. They chatted for an hour and when the preacher stood up to leave he noticed that instead of eating a few peanuts, he had emptied most of the bowl. He said, “I’m sorry for eating all of your peanuts, I meant to only eat just a few.” She said, “Oh, that’s okay. Ever since I lost my teeth, all I can do is suck the chocolate off of them anyway.”

Charles Steinmetz retired from working at General Electric Company after a life long career. A few months later a particular system broke down. The engineers were stumped. After two weeks of trying they still had not fixed the system. The company decided to call Charles to come back in as a consultant. Charles inspected the machinery, and after about an hour he marked an “X” on the defective part. They immediately replaced the part and everything started working great. Charles sent them a bill for ten thousand dollars. The manager protested, and asked for an itemization of the costs. Charles wrote on the bill, “Making a chalk mark, one dollar, knowing where to make the chalk mark, $9,999.00.

I.Q. TEST:

It doesn’t hurt to take a hard look at your own self from time to time. And this should help you get started: During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized. “Well,” said the director, “We fill up a bath tub, and then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient. We then ask him or her to empty the bath tub.” “Oh, I understand.” Said the visitor. A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.” “No,” said the director, “A normal person would just pull the plug. Do you want a bed near a window?”

J

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN:

TRUE STORY: At a local High School, a young Christian was always sharing his faith. An agnostic teacher decided to call for a debate. The debate was to be on the subject, “Is the Bible the word of God.” The teacher deliberately chose the most talented student in class to debate against the Bible. The Christian boy asked that they only use verses from the gospel of John. The day of the debate, the Christian read a few verses and testified about his own personal belief in Jesus. The debate challenger stood up, and made this confession. He informed the class that before this assignment he had never read the Bible before. He then stated that in order to prepare for the debate; he had read the gospel of John once, and then several more times. Then he said, “I have come to the conclusion that the Bible is true, and that Jesus is the Son of God. I have come to believe on Him for eternal life.”

K

 

TWO DIFERENT KINDS OF KINGS:

 TRUE STORY: A boy named Alexander became king in 333 BC. He had started out the prince of a Podunk little province in northern Greece. As his father was dying, Phillip of Macedonia told his son, “Macedonia is too small for you. I fear the world is too small for you.” And so, just ten years later, Alexander the Great was the king over most of the known world. To this day his mark has been left on the world. In Egypt, Alexandria is named after him. In Pakistan, the town of Bucephalous is named after his horse. Even as far west as Afghanistan – the town of Khandar, the name comes from “Ale-xandhar.” He made quite a space for himself. Kingdoms are as much about will as they are about territory. As great as his army was, Alexander probably marched through less than 5% of his territory. He only fought battles in a few towns. What he did was simple. He’d march into a province and give the rulers a choice. One: They could join him, give him troops and tribute, and in return they would be under his protection. Two: You could resist him, and Alexander’s armies would kill you in the end. It was a pretty simple choice, right? Alexander wasn’t the world’s greatest soldier – He was the world’s greatest diplomat and salesman. He fought, as much by will as he did by weapon. It was said that right before he died in 323 BC, “He wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.” In other words, he was sad, because there was nobody left on whom to impose his will. Alexander died when he was only 33 years old.

Now let’s contrast. In the Bible, Jesus was only about 33 when he wept for Jerusalem. And why did He weep? Was it because He knew they were going to reject and crucify Him? No, He wept because they were “like sheep without a Shepherd.” He knew that if only they would do His will, people could live together without fighting. People would be fed, and there would be enough. If only they could see and hear and taste how beautiful the will of his Father could be. So, Jesus went to the cross and suffered and died a cruel ignominious death. He died, so that everyone else could live in freedom from life’s greatest enemy, sin. He never once lifted a sword or imposed Himself on anyone. He lived a perfect sinless life. By doing so He won the hearts of many. His immediate followers went out and turned the world upside down with the message of His love. To this day, the Kingdom of Jesus reigns in the hearts of men, women, and children all over the world. Isaiah prophesied, and it is true, “Of the increase of His kingdom, there shall be no end. (Isa. 9:6)

  • An anonymous poem about Jesus and Alexander –

 Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three, one lived and died for self, one died for you and me.

The Greek died on the throne, the Jew died on the cross, one’s life triumphed seemed, the other a loss. One led armies forth, the other walked alone, one shed a whole world’s blood, the other gave His own. One won the world in life and lost it all in death, the other lost His life to win the whole world’s faith.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three, one died in Babylon, and one on Calvary.

One gained all for self, and one Himself He gave, one conquered every throne, the other every grave.

The one made himself god, the God made Himself less, the one lived but to blast, the other but to bless!

When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords, but Jesus died to live forever Lord of Lords.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three, the Greek made all men slaves, the Jew made all men free.

One built a throne of blood, the other built on love, the one was born of earth, the other from above.

One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven. The other gave up all, that to all Him be given.

The Greek forever died, the Jew forever lives, he loses all who get, and gains all things who gives.

 

LABOR:

This is a modern day nursery story of a little red hen. “Once upon a time there was a little red hen who scratched about in the barnyard until she discovered some grains of wheat. She called her neighbors, and said, ‘if we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?’ ‘Not I,’ said the cow. ‘Not I,’ said the duck. ‘Not I,’ said the pig ‘Not I,’ said the goose. Then, I will,’ said the little red hen — and she did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain. ‘Who will help me reap my wheat?’ asked the little red hen? ‘Not I,’ said the duck, ‘out of my classification,’ said the pig. ‘I’d lose my seniority,’ said the cow. ‘I’d lose my unemployment compensation,’ said the goose. ‘Then I will,’ said the little red hen — and she did. At last came time to bake the bread. ‘Who will help me to bake the bread? Asked the little red hen? ‘Oh, that would be overtime for me,’ said the cow. ‘I’d lose my welfare benefits,’ said the duck. ‘I’m a dropout and never learned how,’ said the pig. ‘If I’m to be the only helper, ‘That’s discrimination,’ said the goose. ‘Then, I will,’ said the little red hen. She baked five loaves, and held them up for her neighbors to see. Now, they all wanted some, and, in fact, demanded a share. But, the little red hen said, ‘No, I can eat the five loaves myself.’ ‘Excess profits,’ cried the cow. ‘Capitalistic leech,’ screamed the duck. ‘I demand equal rights,’ yelled the goose, and the pig just grunted. So, they painted unfair picket signs, and marched ’round and ’round and … her neighbors wondered why she never baked any more bread.”

People considered a farmer mean … He made his boys work in the summer cornfields, while their friends played at the swimming hole. One man scolded the father saying, “Why do you make those boys work so hard? You don’t need all that corn.” The wise father replied, “Sir, I’m not raising corn, I’m raising boys.

LAZY:

After lightning struck on old shed, a farmer was relieved because now he didn’t have to tear it down. The rain cleaned off his car and that saved him from having to wash it. When asked what he was doing now, he replied, “I’m waiting for an earthquake to shake the potatoes out of the ground.”

 LEADERSHIP:

The story is told of a bunch of frogs that lived on a farm. The frogs became unhappy because they noticed that not one of them was really a leader. So, they began complaining to the farmer over and over. The farmer got tired of listening to the complaints, so one day he threw a log into the pond. He said, “There you go, there is your leader.” Now the frogs were happy. After a while however, the frogs noticed that their leader never did anything. He just floated there and moved wherever the wind blew. So the frogs eventually became unhappy, and they started complaining to the farmer again. They said, “We don’t like our leader.” Well, at first the farmer ignored them, but after a while he got tired of the complaining. So, finally the farmer went out and got a white stork. He told the frogs, “There you go, and there is your new leader.” Now the stork, be moved around constantly. He was all the time busy and he had the frogs busy too. Well, after a while the frogs started complaining again. They were no longer happy with this new leader. This time the problem was that every now and then the stork would eat one of the frogs. The moral of the story is this: If you want to be a good leader, you must lead somewhere between a log and a stork.

LIFE EXPLAINED:

God created the dog – He told the dog to sit all day by the door of the house, and bark at anyone who goes by. God said, “For that I will give you a life span of 20 years.” The dog responded, “That’s a lot of barking, is there anyway I can do that for only 10 years and give 10 years back?” God agreed.

God created the monkey – He told the monkey to entertain people, do monkey tricks, and make them laugh. God said, “For that I will give you a life span of 20 years.” The dog responded, “That’s a lot of entertaining, is there any way I can do that for only 10 years and give 10 years back?” God agreed.

God created the cow – He told the cow to work in the hot sun all day, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer. God said, “For that I will give you a life span of 40 years.” The cow responded, “That’s a lot of work, is there any way I can do that for only 20 years and give 20 years back?” God agreed.

God created humans – He told them to eat, sleep, play, marry, and just enjoy life. God said, “For that I will give you a life span of 20 years.” The humans responded, “Really, only 20 years? Is there any way we can possibly have our 20 years, plus the 20 years left over from the cow, plus the 10 years left over from the monkey, and the 10 years left over from the dog?” God said, “Okay you asked for it.” That is why, for 20 years we eat, sleep, and play; then for 40 years we work to provide for our family; then for 10 years we do monkey tricks for our grandchildren; and we spend the last 10 years sitting on the porch and barking at everyone who goes by.

LIGHT:

A certain farmer had three sons. He wanted to turn the farm over to one of his sons. But couldn’t decide which one had the best ability. So he decided to give them a test of their ingenuity. There was a little shack out back. He gave each one $20.00 and he told them to buy whatever they could that would fill up that little shack. ONE SON … bought $20.00 worth of cheap pillow feathers. He put the feathers in the shack and as he backed out of the shack, he fluffed it up with a pitchfork. (It was about a foot deep) THE SECOND SON … bought $20.00 worth of straw. He put the straw in shack, and as he backed out of the shack He fluffed it up with a pitchfork. (It was about two foot deep) THE THIRD SON … bought a candle. He paid 50 Cents – kept the rest for his dad. As he lit the candle the whole shack was full of light.

We can only be a true light when we allow God, our father, to be the light. We need to let Him shine through us. Believe me, when we do the light of God will always fill every area of our lives, and light up the lives of those we are trying to reach.

LISTENING:

Lucy walked up to Charlie Brown one day and said, “You know what the trouble is with you Charlie brown? Charlie responded, “No, and I don’t want to know … leave me alone. “ With that Charlie Brown walked away with his hands in his pockets. Lucy called after him, “ The whole trouble with you Charlie Brown is you won’t listen to what the whole trouble with you ”is. (Charles Shultz)

M

MANNA:

TRUE STORY: Paul Harvey tells the story of Modern Day Manna. From 1942 until 1973, every Friday night, a man named Eddie would go down and visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. He would walk slowly and slightly stooped. He would carry a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket. Why would he do this? It was a gratitude that never faded. You see, many years before, in October of 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas Macarthur in New Guinea. But there was an unexpected detour, which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. Somewhere over the South Pacific, the plane crew became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean. For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark was ten feet long. But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone, or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them, but a miracle occurred. In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was the B- 17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, led the men in prayer that day for deliverance. They also sang a hymn of praise. After a bit, they had all dozed off.” Some time later, something landed on Eddie’s head. He knew immediately that it was a sea gull. Paul Harvey concludes: “and the rest … as they say, is history. Without saying a word, Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten, and its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed, because a lone sea gull, offered itself as a sacrifice. Now … you know that Captain Eddie made it. And now you also know that he never forgot. Because from then on, every Friday evening, about sunset, on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast you could see an old man walking … white-haired, bushy-eye-browed, and slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls … to remember that one, who on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle … like manna in the wilderness.

MARRIAGE:

A big rancher in Texas wanted to know the intentions of the young man that was dating his daughter. He filled up his huge swimming pool with alligators. He then announced that any man who could swim through that pool of alligators could have either have his daughter’s hand in marriage or five acres of property. About that time you cold hear a splash, and about sixty seconds later the young man crawled out of the other end of the pool. “Wow,” said the rancher, “Well what do you want my daughter or the land.” The young man replied, “Neither, I want to know the name of the guy who pushed me in!”

A young man and woman decided to get married. As the big day approached, they both grew a little apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, and certainly not with each other. The groom-to-be decided to ask his father for advice, “Dad what do I do? You see, I have terribly smelly feet. I’m afraid that my future wife will not be able to stand them.” “No problem,” said dad, ‘All you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed.” Well, it seemed to him that this was a workable solution. The-bride-to-be decided to take her problem to her mom. “Mom, what do I do? You see, when I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful. I’m afraid that my future husband will not want to sleep in the same room with me.” “No problem,” said Mom, Every morning, get straight out of bed, head for the bathroom, and brush your teeth. The key is not to say a word until you have brushed your teeth. Well, to her this seemed to be a workable solution. The loving couple was married and each followed the advice to the tee. That is until about six months later. One morning, shortly before dawn, the husband woke with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searched the bed. This of course, woke his bride, who, without thinking, immediately asked, “What on earth are you doing?” “Oh, no!” he gasped in shock, “You’ve swallowed my sock!”

Did you hear about the guy who received this note from an ex-girl friend? “Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie … P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery.

A preacher: was conducting a wedding. It came to the part of that all-important question, “Do you take this man for better or worse?” The woman answered, “Well, he can’t get any worse, and there is no hope for him getting any better, So I’ll take him … ‘As is.’ ”

The story is told of a couple from out east that always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch. They finally saved enough money to buy their dream spread in Wyoming. The man’s best friend flew out to visit and asked, “So, what’s the name of your ranch?” He told him that he had a really hard time coming up with a name that he liked. He and his wife couldn’t agree on what to call it so they settled on, “The Double R Lazy L Triple Horseshoe Bar-7 Lucky Diamond Ranch.” His friend was really impressed and then asked, “So where are all the cows?” To which the new rancher replied, “We had quite a few … but none of them survived the branding!”

I understand … there was a woman who dreamed of owning a new Ferrari sports car. When her husband asked what she wanted for her birthday, she told him … “I want you to surprise me with something that goes from 0 to 200 in sixty seconds.” She just knew he would understand. He bought her a shiny new silver bathroom scale. The funeral is on Tuesday.

A pastor’s wife took her overworked husband to the doctor. The doctor took the wife aside and whispered, “I don’t like the way he looks.” She responded, “I don’t either, but he’s always been a good father to our children.”

Have your ever heard a story like this? The husband is watching football, and the wife wants to talk.

She: Honey the plumber didn’t come to fix the leak behind the water heater today.

He: Uh – Huh …

She: So the pipe burst and flooded the basement.

He: Honey can this wait, it’s third down and Goal to go.

She: Some of the wiring got wet and almost executed fluffy.

He: Oh – shucks touchdown. … Come on guys!

She: The vet says Fluffy will be better in about a week.

He: Can you get me something to drink?

She: Dear the plumber finally came; he said he was happy our pipe broke because now he can afford to go on vacation.

He: Aren’t you listening, I said I need something to drink?

She: Stanley … I’m leaving you. The plumber and I are flying to Acapulco in the morning.

He: Can’t you stop all that yakking and get me something to drink? The trouble around here is nobody listens.

Pastor George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. She said, “I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.” Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan. “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love, and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.” With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful, will he ever be surprised!” She went home, and she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if she really loved him.” For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, and sharing. When she didn’t return, Pastor Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?” “Divorce?” she exclaimed, “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise, but by often-repeated deeds.

Please don’t think that I think that all problems in marriage are the woman’s fault. This one however might have been. There was a man who was driving down the street when his wife looked over at her husband who was behind the steering wheel. She looked and said, “Do you remember how we used to sit so close in the car when we were young. “ The husband looked over and said, “Well honey, I haven’t moved.”

Perhaps this story will even things out. A husband went to the doctor to ask some questions about his wife. It seems he felt she was getting hard of hearing. He asked the doctor if there was some way to tell without bring her in. The wise doctor gave him a great plan. Go home, stand about twenty-five feet away, and in a normal voice ask her what she is cooking for dinner. If she doesn’t respond, take intermediate steps around five feet at a time and keep asking until she responds. The husband went home, and at twenty-five feet away he asked his wife the question, but there was no response. He tried again at twenty feet, fifteen feet, ten feet, and finally at five feet. It was at that point that he did hear his wife say, “For the fifth time dear, we are having chicken.”

One couple couldn’t even agree on what color to paint their house. She wanted to paint the house green, but he wanted to paint the house brown. Eventually they compromised and painted the house green.

A pastor was retiring after forty years in the ministry. As he came to clear out the bedroom to the parsonage, he found a small bowl with five eggs and one thousand dollars in cash. Baffled, he called his wife in and said, “Darling, what is this little basket under the bed with five eggs and all this money?” “Oh,” she said, “Well, dear, you see, every time you gave a bad sermon, I put an egg in that basket.” Secretly, the pastor was so pleased as he thought, “Not bad, only five bad sermons in over forty years.” Then he asked, “And what about the thousand dollars?” She sheepishly responded, “Well, every time I had a dozen, I sold them.”

An 85 year old couple Christian couple, married 60 years, died in a car crash. They lived so long because the wife was strict on nutrition. Arriving in heaven, St. Peter took them to their extraordinary mansion. As they “oohed and aahed, the man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “It’s free,” Peter replied, “this is Heaven!” Next they went to see the golf course & prime fishing lake behind their mansion. The man asked, “What are the green fees?” Peter answered, “This is heaven, you play for free and no cost for fishing!” Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch with 5-star cuisines laid out. Again the man asked, “How much to eat?” Peter replied, “Don’t you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!” The man thought for a minute and said, “Well OK, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?” Peter said, “That’s the best part, you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven.” With that the man went into a fit of exasperation … Good grief! When his wife tried to calm him down, he said, “This is all your fault. If it weren’t for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!”

NOT A TRUE STORY: Three couples were standing in line, waiting to get through the gates of heaven. St Peter was doing the interviewing. He asked the first man his wife’s name, to which he responded, “Penny.” St Peter looked inside his book and responded, “Oh, it’s you, look at you. Money, money, money, that’s all you ever think about. Why you even married a woman named Penny. Sorry, you are in the wrong line. The next couple stepped up, and St Peter asked the man for his wife’s name. He responded, “Candy.” St Peter looked inside his book and responded, “Oh, it’s you, look at you. Food, food, food, that’s all you ever think about. Why you even married a woman named Candy. Sorry, you are in the wrong line. The next man took his wife by the hand and voluntarily stepped out of the line. As they left he said to his wife, “Come on Fanny, I think we are in the wrong line.”

MISTAKES:

The story is told about a traveler … In between flights at an airport she bought a small package of cookies. She then sat down in this busy place to glance over the newspaper. As she read she became

increasingly aware of a rustling noise. Peeking over her newspaper, she was shocked to see a well-dressed gentleman sitting across from her. He was helping himself to her cookies. Half angry and half-embarrassed, she reached over and gently slid the package closer to her. She took one out and began to munch on it. A minute or so passed before she heard more rustling. The man had taken another cookie! By now … there was only one left in the package. Though beside herself, she didn’t want to make a scene so she said nothing. Finally, as if to add insult to injury … the man broke the remaining cookie into two pieces, pushed one piece across the table to her with a frown. He gulped down his half and left without even saying thank you. She sat there dumbfounded. “Of all the nerve!” Some time later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her shock … there, in her purse was her package of unopened cookies. And somewhere in that airport was another traveler. He was still trying to figure out how that strange woman could have been so forward and insensitive!

There is a story about two farmers who were rivals. Two Kentucky farmers, who both owned racing stables, even though they were friends, over time they became fierce competitors. One spring, each of them entered a horse in a local steeplechase. Both farmers hired a professional rider to help him outdo his friend. The two horses were leading the race at the last fence, until the un-imaginable happened. Both horses fell, and both riders fell off. But, one of the jockeys quickly jumped back on the horse and won the race. When the jockey found the farmer who had hired him. He was fuming with rage. “What’s the matter?” the jockey asked. I won, didn’t I?” “Oh, yes,” roared the farmer. “You won all right, but you still don’t know, do you?” “Know what?” asked the jockey. “You won the race on the wrong horse.” While this situation does not occur often at horse races, it happens in human life. Each of us, trying hard to win the race, but sometimes we climb on the wrong horse. If we do not discover our error, we cross the finish line a triumphant failure.

It started out as a not so happy telephone exchange between an angry customer and an apologetic Domino’s Pizza: Customer: The angry caller said, “Listen … I ordered a Pizza & it came with no toppings on it or anything, its Just bread. The Domino’s employee responded: We’re so sorry to hear about this! … “Wait,” said the customer … Oh … wait a minute … never mind, I just realized I opened the pizza box upside down.’

A man called his travel agent, furious about an Orlando, Florida vacation package he had booked for his family. He had been expecting an ocean-view hotel room. The travel agent explained that was not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of 
the state. “Don’t lie to me,” he said. 
“I looked on the map, and Florida is a very thin state.”

A customer looked at an ad for a hedge clipper that 
he had to read twice: “A built-in safety switch prevents accidental starting, and blades will stop when you take one hand off.”

Did you hear the story about the man who walked up to a vending machine, put in a coin, pressed the buttons labeled, Coffee … Double cream … Sugar. The motor began to whir, but no cup appeared. The nozzles however went into action, sending forth hot water, coffee, cream and sugar, just as he wanted. After the proper amounts had gone down the drain, the machine turned off. The man thought to himself, “I have been ripped off!” The thing is however … He really wanted some coffee. So he decided to risk trying it again. This time he carefully read the menu … and this time for the first time … He noticed that there was another choice at the very top. SO THIS TIME HE PUSHED THE BUTTON THAT SAID CUP … And sure enough … this time the cup came just prior to all the ingredients.

N

NO:

NO! … Tell me it isn’t so … Well apparently there is a page in the 1970 U.S. Government Peace Corps Manual that is for volunteers who work in the Amazon Jungle. The page I’m going to share about was written by Robert Pelton. Pelton writes concerning what to do in case you’re attacked by an Anaconda. Apparently the Anaconda is the largest snake in the world. It grows to 35 feet in length and weighs between 300 and 400 pounds. It squeezes its victims to death. So this page is the strategy, the steps to take, if attacked by an Anaconda: If you are attacked by an Anaconda: ONE. Do not run. The snake is faster than you are. TWO: Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another. THREE: Tuck your chin in. FOUR: 4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body. FIVE: Do not panic. SIX: After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet end – Always at the feet end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic. SEVEN: The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time. EIGHT: When the snake has reached your knees, Slowly, and with as little movement as possible, reach down and take your knife and very gently, slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth, between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip the snake open … freeing yourself and rendering the snake helpless. NINE: Be sure you have a knife. TEN: Be sure your knife is sharp. While that is what I would call a situation that I would like to get out of, I do not know if I could handle just sitting there allowing a huge 30 foot snake swallow me whole. I have actually never considered joining the peace corp. Now I know that even if I am invited, my answer is NO!

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OBSCURITY:

Someone years ago coined the phrase “Great things come in small packages.” The truth is in many ways this is absolutely true, and also in ways you might not think about. Did you know: A common flea can jump up to 200 times it’s own height. If a man could match that feat he could jump over the Eifel Tower in Paris. If you think you are so big Just try that some time. (I don’t want to try because I am afraid it would hurt when I landed) Did you know: A fly can lift a match and carry it. If a man had the same strength he could carry a 6 X 14 Glue-Lam 24 feet long. (It is possible several people would want to hire you) Did you know: Sometimes tiny marks have a huge significance. Years ago the wife of a wealthy man travelled overseas. She sent a telegram to her husband. Knowing that telegrams cost money per word, she was brief. “Found wonderful bracelet. Price $75,000.00 can I buy it?” Her husband being even more frugal, wired her back, “No, price too high! TRUE STORY … the operator inadvertently left out the comma. The message now read, “NO PRICE TOO HIGH!” She bought the bracelet … the husband sued the telegram company and won (Morse code … spells out punctuation) Did you know: Little omissions of duty can create great havoc. You read in the news every now and then about a parent leaving their children home alone, or in a hot car. May be just a few minutes while they run to the store. Unfortunately, disaster happens in their absence. On more than one occasion … a soldier has thought he could leave his sentry post for a few minutes. A watching enemy takes advantage, and now the soldier has caused a breach in the defense. Some men are wounded and he is facing a court-martial.

OBVIOUS:

TRUE STORY: Back in the earlier 1900’s, there was a well-known public speaker named Will Rogers. Will was a comedian as much as anything else. One day Will was applying for a passport and the clerk asked him for his birth certificate. Will simply stated that he didn’t have one. The clerk informed him she needed one in order to issue a passport. He asked her why. She replied, “So I can have proof of your birth.” Will answered, “Well, I’m here, ain’t I? Don’t I look like I’ve been born?”

OPINIONS:

A man ran into a veterinarian’s office, carrying his dog and screaming for help. The vet rushed in, grabbed the dog and put him on the examination table. A few minutes later the vet declared, “I’m sorry your dog has passed away. The man said, “I want a second opinion!” So the vet went in and brought out a cat. The cat walked from head to tail pawing and sniffing the dog. Finally the cat looked at the vet and meowed. The vet looked at the man and said, “Sir, the cat agrees your dog is dead.” The man was still unwilling to accept the fact that his dog was dead, so the vet brought in a black Labrador. The lab sniffed the dog from head to tail, and finally looked at the vet and barked. The vet looked at the man and said, “Sir, the dog agrees your dog is dead too.” The man finally agreed to the diagnosis. Then he asked, “Well, how much do I owe you?” The vet answered, “That will be five hundred and fifty dollars. The man replied, “550 dollars to tell me my dog is dead?” “Well, said the vet, ‘I would have only charged you fifty dollars for my initial diagnosis. The additional five hundred dollars was for the cat scan and lab tests.”

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PASTORAL STAFF JOB DESCRIPTIONS: (THIS IS ALL IN FUN)

SENIOR PASTOR: Leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Is more powerful than a locomotive. Is faster than a speeding bullet. Walks on water. Discusses policy with God.

BOARD MEMBERS: Leap short buildings in a single bound. Are more powerful than a Hummer. Are faster than a speeding BB. Walk on water in an indoor swimming pool. Talks with God.

ADMINISTRATIVE PASTOR: Barely clears a Quonset hut. Loses tug-of-war with a Hummer. Can fire a gun. Swims well. Is occasionally addressed by God.

YOUTH PASTOR: Makes marks on the wall when trying to leap over buildings. Is run over by a Hummer. Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury. Dog paddles. Talks to the animals.

CHILDREN’S PASTOR:  Runs into buildings. Has never seen a Hummer. Uses a squirt gun. Can’t stay afloat with a life preserver. Talks to the walls.

PEOPLE PROBLEMS:

To dwell above with the saints in love, that will indeed be glory … but to dwell below with the saints we know, well that is a different story.

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but I have noticed … it seems that wherever I go, there is a certain family there. I call them the Tater Family. You probably do know them. DICK-TATER … he is the Dad, AGGIE-TATER … she’s the Mom, SPEC-TATER … that’s their Son, IRRI-TATOR … that’s the Girl … Oh, and don’t forget their dog VEGGIE. (Rev. Bill Stephens)

I heard of a pastor who called a man into his office. The pastor questioned him … the stories that he had told … the man replied, “It’s not me that starts all of these rumors, It’s the people I tell them to.”

A new minister came to a church. The congregation really didn’t even know him that well. The word got out in the Ladies’ Society that the new preacher had come to one of their meetings, and had forced his wife to leave the meeting in tears and to go home. This rumor spread all around the church. Finally, he stood at the pulpit and said, “I’ve heard this rumor … I have four things to say:

Number one: I have never interfered with any woman’s choice; she may attend whatever she wishes.

Number two: There was no wife of mine attending the meeting in question.

Number three: I was not at the meeting in question.

Number four, and finally: I don’t yet have a wife.”

TRUE STORY: The church is not a place for competition. It was more than 200 years ago when the English and the French were at war over what was then called colonial Canada. British Admiral Phipps arrived early and was supposed to wait for the rest of the British troops. Phipps was an ardent non-conformist. While waiting he noticed a huge Catholic Cathedral with statues of saints on the towers. Phipps had his men load their cannons and they began shooting at the statues. While yes … he knocked a few down, history records that when the infantry arrived, and the signal was given to attack, Phipps didn’t have any more ammunition. He had used it all shooting the saints. Perhaps instead of focusing on what we differentiate in, we need to focus on what we can agree on. Jesus’ blood, His cross, and a lost world is what really matters!

TRUE STORY: Dean Rusk was the Secretary of State of the United States of America from1961 – 1969. One day Rusk told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with a sigh, “The world is round. Only one-third of the people of the world are asleep at any given moment. The other two-thirds are awake and probably stirring up mischief somewhere.”

A man by the name of Sam was in the computer business for 25 years. One day he decided he was sick of all the stress, so he quit his job. He bought 50 acres in Vermont, as far from humanity as possible. Sam now only saw the postman once a week, and he bought his groceries once a month. Other than that, it was total peace and quiet. After about six months of total isolation, a knock came at his door. Sam opened the door, and there stood the biggest man he have ever seen. He was a Vermont mountain man. He said, “My name is Enoch … I’m your neighbor from four miles over the ridge. I’m having a party this Saturday and I would like you to come.” Well, after 6 months of silence, Sam was ready for a friend. Just before Enoch left however, he said, Gotta warn you there will be some loud music, more than likely there will be some fighting too.” Sam thought … I usually get along with anybody. As a last thought … Sam asked, “What should I wear?” the mountain man answered back, “Wear whatever you want, it’s just gonna be the two of us.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS:

MY HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED … If Jesus were here today He would be wanted by: The Liquor Licensing Board for turning water into wine without a license; the Medical Association for practicing medicine without a license; the Health Department for feeding 5,000 people in the open without a permit; the Education Department for teaching without a certificate; the Water Police for walking on water without a life jacket; the ASPCA for driving a herd of pigs into the sea; the Board of Psychiatrists for giving free advice on living a guilt free life; the Women’s Liberation Movement for not choosing a woman disciple; and the Inter-Faith Movement for condemning all other religions.

In November of a few years ago, the Lord came to Noah’s one-hundredth generational grandson. His name was also Noah, and he was now living in the United States. The Lord said, “Noah, once again, the earth has become wicked, and I see the end of all flesh before me. I want you to build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.” God then gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “With all this modern technology, I’m only giving you three years to build the Ark. And then I will start the unending rain for forty days and forty nights.”

Three years later, the Lord stopped by to check on Noah. The Lord found Noah weeping in his back yard, but no Ark. “Noah,” the Lord said, “I thought we had an understanding, where is the Ark?” “Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah,” but things have changed. I did my best, but there were big problems.” Noah continued, “First the city inspector came by and said I had to get a building permit for the Ark construction project.” Noah swallowed hard, “When I applied for a building permit Lord, Your plans did not meet their codes. So, I had to hire an engineer to redraw Your plans.” “Redraw My plans?” thundered the Lord! “I tried to explain who I was building the Ark for, Lord, but all the clerk said was, “Oh sure, and I’m the Queen of Sheba.” “But that’s not all, I then got into a huge struggle with the Fire Department, about the need for a sprinkler system. I had to get a variance from the design review board.

We no sooner got that settled, and then my neighbors got together and claimed that I was violating the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard, and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go back to the planning commission for a decision. And then, the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us but they would hear nothing of that. And then, getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I need the wood to save the owls, but they would not hear of it. And then, the EPA ruled that I could not build the Ark until they conducted an environmental impact study on Your proposed flood. They asked for a detailed report, so I sent them a globe.

But that’s not all Lord, then the carpenters I hired to help my sons and I build the Ark formed a union and went on strike. The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only union workers with Ark building experience. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer. And, by the way lord, I’m also still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew. Immigration and Naturalization is checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work.

But I’m still not through with my problems Lord. When I started gathering the animals, an animals rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. About the time I convince them that I really did intend to take good care of the animals, we had to start negotiations on why I was only taking two of each kind. And then, to make matters worse, Lord, the IRS seized all my assets. Their claiming I’m trying to leave the country to avoid paying taxes. And they say if I do go, I need to file and pay use taxes. Believe it or not Lord, the animal rights group is now suing me again. Their claiming I’m trying to leave the country with endangered species.”

About then, Noah’s wife came out of the house to see who Noah was talking to. So, Noah moved a bit behind her, and looking around her, Noah said, “So, forgive me, Lord, but it is still going to take at least another 100 years for me to finish the Ark.” The Lord was silent as Noah shuddered and waited. Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “Lord, does this mean you are not going to destroy the world?” “No,” said the Lord. “The government beat me to it.”

 POWER:

In a seminary mission’s class, a man by the name of Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary he went to a mission station. There he was given a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years. One day orders came for he and his family to move on to another station. A new missionary came to that station. Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started. The new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.

PRAYER:

 I got up early one morning, and rushed right into the day; I had so much to accomplish, I didn’t have time to pray. Troubles just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. Why doesn’t God help me, I wondered, He answered, “You didn’t ask.” I tried to come into God’s presence. I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, “Why child, you didn’t knock.” I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on gray and bleak, I called on the Lord for the reason—He said, “You didn’t seek.” I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day. I had so much to accomplish, that I had to take time to pray.

 A minister in church was observing a young boy. The boy was praying very fervently. But much to the preacher’s surprise, he was also heard to say from time to time: “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.” So, the preacher approached the boy after he had finished his prayer. “Son, I was very pleased to see you praying but tell me, why did you keep saying ’Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo?” The boy replied, “Well, you see sir, I just finished taking my geography test in school, and I have been praying for the Lord to make Tokyo the Capital of France. That way I will get that question right!”

Stonewall Jackson was a man of prayer. Jackson said, “I have so fixed the habit of prayer in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post (office) without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in the lecture-room without a minute’s petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in.”

PRAYING FOR YOUR FAMILY:

TRUE STORY: Dwight Lyman Moody was a famous Baptist Preacher. In a book of his biography you will find the following information. Dwight was born in the early 1800’s. It is estimated that during his lifetime he won over one million people to Christ. But at first, it did not seem that it was going to turn out that way. Dwight left his home in Northfield, Massachusetts at the age of 17. He was disruptive and couldn’t get along with anyone. Worst of all, his mother made him go to church as a child. He left home and headed for his uncles home in Boston. When he got there he was homeless and penniless. His uncle let him go to work in his shoe store with one condition. Dwight had to go to church with them. It took a whole year of Dwight complaining and arguing, but Dwight did go. In the meantime, Dwight became one of the best shoe salesmen his uncle ever had, but he still made him go to church to keep his job. Finally, one Sunday Dwight gave his life to Christ. The next Sunday … Dwight told them he wanted to teach a Sunday School Class. They told him there wasn’t an opening for him to teach a class. Dwight told them, ‘If I can round up some boys to attend can I teach?” They agreed, no doubt tongue in cheek. The next Sunday Dwight came walking in with 17 boys in tow. It turns out that Dwight could not only sell shoes, he could also sell people on coming to Jesus Christ. But remember, it all started with a mom and dad, and an aunt and uncle who did all they could to influence Dwight to know Jesus.

PRIDE:

A newly promoted colonel had moved into a makeshift office. He was just getting unpacked when out of the corner of his eye, He noticed a private with a toolbox coming his way. He wanted to seem important … So … he grabbed the phone and pretended to be in the middle of a conversation: “Yes sir, Mr. President. I’ll be happy to do that Mr. President. Well that’s kind of the First Lady, you give her my regards as well.” He hung up the phone on that non-existent conversation. He looked at the private. He said, :What can I do for you?” The private looked at the Colonel sheepishly and said, “Well, sir, I’m just here to hook up your telephone.” (Reader’s Digest)

A young woman went to her pastor for help. She told him, “Pastor, I am struggling with something, and I want your help. I come to church on Sunday and I can’t help thinking that I’m the prettiest girl in the congregation. I know I shouldn’t think that way, I know Pride is a sin, but I can’t help it.” Then she asked, “Can you help me with this?” The pastor replied, “Mary, don’t worry about it. In your case it’s not a sin. You’re just terribly mistaken.”

PRODIGAL SON:

This is the story of the prodigal son in the key of “F”: Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings, and flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself a feedflinger in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Phooey! My father’s flunkies fare far finer!” The frazzled fugitive, frankly facing facts, frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he forlornly fumbled, “Father, I’ve flunked, I’ve fruitlessly forfeited family favour.” The farsighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch the fatling from the flock and fix a feast. The fugitive’s fault-finding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former fritterer, but the faithful father figured, “Filial fidelity is fine, but the fugitive is found! What forbids fervent festivity? Let flags be unfurled, let fanfares flare.” So the father’s forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive’s future fortitude.

PROVISION:

TRUE STORY: During World War 2, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. He found his way to several small caves & crawled inside one of the caves. He thought surely they will search all the caves and he would be killed … but he prayed, “Lord, please protect me.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. He even prayed again. “God, I need a brick wall, not a spider web.” To his amazement, the spider web covered the entrance. His cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. When the soldiers came, and saw the web, they did not search his cave … God is our protector.

PSYCHOLOGY:

He was a Professor of psychology, but he had no children of his own … Whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing, he would say, “You should love your boy … not punish him.” One hot summer afternoon the professor was doing some repair work on a concrete driveway. He was tired out after several hours of work. He went and sat down to rest for a few minutes. Just then out of the corner of his eye he saw the neighbor boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, and was about to scold him severely when his neighbor leaned from a window and said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must ’love’ the child!” At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract but not in the concrete!”

PURITY:

TRUE STORY: There’s an animal found in some spots in the state of Minnesota as well as a few other places of similar climate too. This animal is called an ermine. The ermine is a short-tailed weasel. It has the unique feature of having its fur change to a snow-white color in the winter. God created this animal with this feature to protect it from others. The ermine instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters in northern Europe and Asia take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a opening in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home. But when he gets there he doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life.

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QUESTIONS:

When Franklyn Roosevelt was president … The phone rang one day in the office of a church in Washington DC. The caller had a question. The caller asked if they knew if the president would be attending that day. The minister replied, “That I cannot promise, but I do know that the Lord will be present, and that should be sufficient incentive for a reasonably large attendance.”

TRUE STORY: A few years ago, a woman had the opportunity to talk to her son, who was deployed to Iraq. He had called from there to say hello. Being a good Christian woman, she just had to ask the question of whether or not he had to work on Sundays. He paused for a moment and then said, “Mom – we have to work every day, it’s called a war.” (Readers Digest)

QUITTING is not an option:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes do; That is they’re wrong from our tear-dimmed view. When debts are high and income low; And how you gonna make, you just don’t know. When you are pulling and panting to make ends meet; And it’s about all you can do to drag your feet. Well it’s alright if you like, to rest a bit; But say, whatever you do, don’t dare quit. There’s a goal, a crown and a Victor’s cup; And a real reward, if you don’t give up. But, many-a-man has stopped too soon; And quit his job, along about noon. It’s human nature, to watch the time; And listen for the bells of noon to chime. But say my friend, don’t let em criticize; You must forget the time if you want the prize. To those about you who are having their fun; And frolicking about in the noonday sun. Just let them play and lounge about; They’ll have to pay when rewards are given out. It’s the man who works the whole day thru; That wins the cup and the laurels too. Oh his back may hurt , and there may be tears; But he won the prize, and he gets the cheers. See, it won’t be long, till he’ll have a bath; A good square meal, and a big long nap; And when he’s one, real wide awake. He’ll see the prize, but the tears and aches; They’ve disappeared, somehow they’re gone; He forgets his toil, and the hours how long. Tis the prize he sees, and somehow he is glad; And he truthfully says, it wasn’t so bad. Friend, if you feel you’ve got the hardest fight; And everybody else’s burden is light. Compared with yours and the weight you bare; And you feel you have the biggest share. Of trouble and aches and pains, and worry; Debts and mortgages all due in a hurry. It’s alright to stop and rest if you like; But say whatever you do, don’t you strike. Just stop long enough to get your air; And while your breathing, just look over there. Across the street, or around the corner; You’ll say Bless me, there’s another mourner. I do declare, he’s got trouble, another kind; And gee by golly it looks as heavy as mine. And when you see yourself getting tired again; Just rest a bit, and look at him. And say, it won’t be long till you decide; Huh! I wonder why I fussed and cried. And fumed and and puffed and pouted when; I bear no more than other men. I’ve got a chance to win the cup; As much as others, who don’t give up. So here goes me, my best, my all; I’ll see this through, stand or fall. (Anonymous –)

TRUE STORY: A young man named Antonio really loved music. But because Antonio’s voice was high and squeaky, he did not make the tryouts for the Boy’s Choir. When he took violin lessons, the neighbors persuaded his parents to make him stop. But … Antonio still wanted to make music. His friends gave him a hard time because his only talent was whittling. When Antonio was older he finally got a job as an apprentice to a violinmaker. His knack for whittling grew into a skill of carving. And his hobby became his craft. He worked patiently and faithfully. By the time he died, he had made over 1,500 violins, each one bearing a label that read, “Antonio Stradivarius.” They are the most sought-after violins in the world and sell for more than $100,000 each. Antonio couldn’t sing or play or preach or teach … but his responsibility was to use his ability, and his violins are still making beautiful music today.

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REAPING WHAT YOU SOW:

A successful, and wealthy, contractor had a faithful carpenter who worked for him for many years. One day the boss says, “I’m going away on another project, but I want to put you in charge of a project in my absence. I want you to build me a dream home. Spare no expense, I trust your judgment, make it as nice as you can imagine. I’ll be back in few months to check it out.” The carpenter says to himself, “The nerve of that guy. Pay me peanuts all these years and then asking me to build his dream home. I’ll show him!” He proceeds to do a shabby job with cheap materials. The contractor returns a few months later. Then he walks up and takes the employee’s hand and says, “Here’s the keys to the house, there, its yours! I had you build it for yourself! Thank you for all your help all these years in helping me build my business. You can build a life on the foundation of criticism if you want to … But sooner or later you’ll have to live in the house that you build.

RUSHING: (into things)

The photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a huge & horrible forest fire. Smoke was beginning to fill the air everywhere. Arrangements were made to go at once to a nearby airport where the plane was waiting. When he arrived at the airport, the reporter jumped in the plane with his equipment and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they were immediately in the air. The photographer yelled, “Fly over the north side of the fire,” Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures,” “I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!” After a pause the pilot said, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”

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SALVATION:

TRUE STORY: A little boy decided to make a sailboat — a little toy sailboat. He fashioned it out of wood, carved it, and painted it red. He took it down to the stream to sail it, when a puff of wind blew it from his hand and finally, out of his sight. He was dejected and heartbroken. Several days later, as he was passing a secondhand store, he looked in the window, and there was his own boat. Someone had found it and was trying to sell it. He went into the store and demanded it. The proprietor said, “Son, I cannot give it to you. I purchased it from someone. It is for sale, if you want it, you may purchase it.” The little fellow said, “How much is it?” The man told him. The youngster went, worked, and earned the money. He then went back to the store, put the money upon the counter, and said, “Now, let me have the boat.” The little boy took the boat that was the work of his own hands, and walked out of the store caressing it and talking to it. He said, “Little boat, you’re mine; you are twice mine. You are mine because I made you, and you are mine because I bought you back.” God can say that to every one of us sitting here: “You are mine. You are mine because I created you, and you are mine because I redeemed you. I bought you back.”

SEEKING GOD:

TRUE STORY: The life of a man named Martin Luther shows what can happen when someone decides to give everything they are and have to God. Martin Luther lived from 1483 to 1556 in Germany where, at the time, Catholicism was the faith of 99% of the people. Martin’s father, a poor man, rose from his poverty and became the owner of a copper mine. His father was determined to see his son ascend to civil service and thereby bring honor to the family. At the age of seventeen, in 1501, Martin entered the university. Martin received his bachelor’s degree after just one year in 1502! Three years later, in 1505, he received a master’s degree. In the summer of 1505, Martin Immediately enrolled in the law school of that same university. Shortly thereafter, a lightening bolt struck near to Martin as he was returning to school. Terrified, he cried out, “St. Anne if you will help me, I’ll become a monk!” Martin survived, and he kept his bargain. He dropped out of law school and entered the monastery there. Martin fully dedicated himself to his monastic life. As always he gave it everything he had. He devoted himself to fasts, punishing his flesh for long hours in prayer. He travelled on pilgrimages, and daily made constant confession. However, the more he tried to do for God, it seemed, the more aware he became of his sinfulness. Martin felt like he just could not find peace with God. Martin Luther’s superior was a man named Johann Von Staupitz. This man decided that young Martin needed more work to do to distract him from all this thinking. He ordered Martin to pursue more academics.

In 1507 Martin Luther was ordained to the priesthood. In 1508 he began teaching theology at the university of Wittenberg. Martin kept studying and studying. On 19 October 1512, the university of Wittenberg conferred upon martin Luther the degree of doctor of theology. But Martin did not stop there either. He kept studying the Bible, he kept praying and seeking, and doing all kinds of things trying to repent. Martin could not be satisfied until he got closer to God. One day, Martin came across a verse in in the book of Habakkuk, chapter 2, verse 4 which said, “The just shall live by his faith.” (See Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:37-38) One day Martin Luther had a break through. Martin now believed and taught that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, received by faith and trust in God’s promise to forgive sins. This comes to us freely by Christ’s death on the cross. This, he believed was God’s work from beginning to end. Martin began to write some articles called “The 95 Thesis.” It so happened at the time, there was a Dominican priest named Johann Tetzel. Mr. Tetzel was trying to raise money for the church. He was being very successful. How he was doing this was by the selling of indulgences. He told people if they would give him huge amounts of money, the payment would be accepted to get their dead relatives out of purgatory. (Purgatory being the place where people go who are not right with God.)

Knowing the truth, the just shall live by faith in Christ’s death on the cross Martin Luther began to get a fire inside of him. Martin took his 95 Thesis and nailed it to the door of the church. Martin stated, this is not right, I protest!” Martin was locked up and thrown in jail by the church! So … since there was nothing else he could do he began translating the Bible from Latin into German. It was also about that time (You see God is always on a time schedule) Johannes Guttenberg was inventing the printing press. What better thing to try it out on, than Martin Luther’s Bible in German. They began to print, they began to pass them out, and revival began to sweep the country of Germany.

Martin Luther was so on fire, that this action is believed to be the beginning of the protestant movement. Today, we call ourselves protestant. The problem is we have forgotten what we are protesting. We need to continue to protest sin, and protest disobedience to God’s Word.

SELFISH:

I gave a little party this afternoon at three. It was very small, three guests in all: I … myself … and me. Myself ate all the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea. And it was I … and myself Who passed the pie to me.

I love you for loving me. You love me for loving you. So much in love with us are we that you could kiss you, and I could kiss me. (Tommy Smothers)

There’s a clever young guy named Somebody Else, there’s nothing this guy can’t do. He is busy from morning till way late at night, just substituting for you. You’re asked to do this or you’re asked to do that, and what is your reply? Get Somebody Else to do that job. He’ll do it much better than I. There is so much to do in this weary old world, so much and workers so few. And Somebody Else, all weary and worn, Is still substituting for you. Far too many have been content to let Somebody Else do the work. The problem with this is, that there aren’t that many Somebody Else’s out there. And those there are have grown weary and tired.

“The Property Laws of a Toddler.” 1. If I like it, it’s mine. 2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine. 3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine. 4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. 5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. 6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. 7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine. 8. If I saw it first, it’s mine. 9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine. 10. If it becomes broken, it’s yours.

SIGNS:

I understand (I’ve been told) there is a Boy Scout summer camp located in Arnold, California, called Camp Wolfeboro. Apparently there is a rock there one can use as a sign for weather conditions. The following weather indications are listed: If the rock is wet, it’s raining – If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing – If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining – If the rock does not cast a shadow and is not wet, the sky is cloudy – If the rock is not visible – it is foggy – If the rock is white – it is snowing – If the rock is coated with ice – there is a frost – If the ice is thick, it’s a heavy frost – If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake – If the rock is under water, there is a flood. – If the rock is warm, it is sunny – If the rock is missing – there was a tornado – If the rock is wet and swinging violently – there is a hurricane – finally, If the rock has white splats on it, watch out for birds.

SIN:

The Bible says, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” (Num. 32:23)

Two young adults were involved in a fender bender. At first they were angry with one another, each accusing the other of being at fault. Finally, calmer heads prevailed and they decided to call the police and let the officials settle the matter. As they waited for the police to arrive they got involved in a conversation. They discovered that both of them were single, and that they had a lot in common. As a matter of fact, the chemistry began to seem to flow between the two. Finally the young woman said, “You know, maybe it was God’s will that we had this accident, and we get to meet one another.” The young man, who was really attracted to the young woman, said, “I think you are absolutely right!” And then the young woman said, “Its silly for us to stand out here in the cold. Let’s get inside my car & sit where it will be a little warmer.” And the young man agreed. As they sat talking in the car the young woman said, “You know, I just happened to be at the store and I bought a bottle of wine. I have some paper cups. How about if we have a toast to this chance meeting.” The young man thought, well, I don’t want to lose this moment so he agreed. They made their toast, and he gulped down his wine. It was then he noticed she hadn’t toasted. So he said, “Aren’t you going to drink yours?” She said, “No, I think I’ll just wait for the police to arrive to assess the damages.

Paul Harvey tells the story of 4 high school boys late one morning. They said it was due to a flat tire. The teacher told them they had missed a test. But she was going to let them make it up. She put them in the four different corners of the room. There was only one question on the test, which tire was flat?

A busload of politicians, were headed for a convention. They had to go on a detour due to highway construction. The driver lost control of the bus and they hit a tree head on. A farmer saw the mess shortly after it happened. He got his tractor and buried all the politicians. The police came to investigate. They asked the farmer why he didn’t call the coroner to make sure they were dead. The farmer said, “Well some of them told me they weren’t. But, you know how those politicians lie.

STUBBORNESS:

TRUE STORY: In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. An investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem, like radar malfunction, or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.

T       

TAXES:

A Little Boy desperately wanted $100.00. He wanted the money to buy some toys. So he prayed to God for a whole week, but nothing happened. So, he decided to write a letter to God requesting the $100.00. When the Post Office got the letter addressed to God, they decided … to forward it on to the Whitehouse. The President surprisingly received it. He was very impressed, touched, and amused. So, he instructed his aid to send the boy $5.00. He thought $5.00 would be a lot to the little boy. Turns out, the boy was, indeed delighted by the money. He sat down and immediately wrote a thank you note, which read: “Dear God …Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that for some reason, You had to send it through Washington. I just thought you ought to know, that, as usual … they kept most of it.

TEMPTATION:

TRUE STORY … One day as the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day. One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?” “No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.” I believe that in the same way, the temptations Jesus faced weren’t designed by God to see if Christ would sin, but to prove that He wouldn’t.

TRUST:

In 1989 there was an earthquake that almost flattened the country of Armenia. 30,000 people died in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived he discovered the building was flat as a pancake. The father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging, other grieving parents arrived. Everyone else there could see that it was probably useless. So they tried to pull him off of what was left of the school. They told him, “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire fighter told him he should go home. The man dug for eight hours, then twelve, then twenty-four, and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, ARMANDO!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!” Then the boy added these priceless words, “There are several other kids here with me. I told the other kids not to worry. I told them that if you were alive, you’d save me, and when you saved me they’d be saved. I knew, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!” We serve a God who has promised to always be there for us, and He always keeps His promises too.

TRUTH:

Today many people think that truth is relevant to the circumstances. The truth is however, that in God’s eyes truth is truth. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Take the story of the three pigs for example. The truth of the matter is, the story of the three pigs actually originated as a fairy tale from England. The original story was first printed in the 1840’s. The story begins by saying there was an old sow with three little pigs. Momma pig didn’t have enough provisions to feed her three piglets, so she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first little pig – met a man with a bundle of straw, and the little pig built a house with it. But, along came a wolf, and knocked at the door He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” To which the pig answered, “No, not, by the hair of my chinny chin chin.” The wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig. That’s how the original story actually goes. The second little pig – met a man with a bundle of sticks, and the second pig built his house, and suffered the same results. The third little pig – met a man with a load of bricks and he built his house with bricks. The wolf fails to blow down the house. The wolf then attempts to trick the pig out of the house by asking to meet him at various places, but the wolf is outwitted each time. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, but the pig catches the wolf in a huge pot of boiling water, slams the lid on, and cooks and eats him. –

You need to know that it doesn’t end there. In 1989 a parody developed called, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.” The story is told as a narrative by the wolf. The wolf claims the entire incident is a misunderstanding. The wolf says he had gone to see the pigs to borrow some sugar, and by accident he had destroyed the first two houses in a sneezing fit. He ate the first two pigs to not waste food. (Since they’d died in the house collapse anyway) He only attacked the third pig’s house, after the pig had continually insulted him. (The wolf’s family sued for damages and got millions)

Now, not to be out done, in 1992 there was one last telling of the story. The story unfolds in Los Angeles. The wolf is guilty, but the wolf drives a Harley Davidson motorcycle and is able to make a get-away. The first little pig is an aspiring guitarist, the second is a pot smoking dumpster diving evangelist, and the third holds a Master of Architectural degree from Harvard University. In the end, with all three pigs barricaded in the brick house, the third pig calls 9-1-1. John Rambo is dispatched to the scene, and kills the wolf with a machine gun. (Disclaimer pigs and wolves can’t talk or build, or anything like that.)

 U

UNBELIEF:

TRUE STORY: In a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, there is a grave on which were placed huge slabs of granite and marble. They were also cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. She was an angry agnostic. Yet strangely, she directed in her will that her grave be made so secure that if there were a resurrection, it could not reach her. On the marker were inscribed these words: “This burial place must never be opened.” But listen to what happened. In time, a seed, covered over by the stones, began to grow. Slowly it pushed its way through the soil and out from beneath them. Over time, as the trunk enlarged, the great slabs were gradually shifted so that the steel clasps were wrenched from their sockets. A tiny seed had become a tree that had pushed aside the stones. Boy is she going to be in for a big surprise!

UNDERSTANDING:

Along my way through life I have learned that when you don’t understand someone, you can make them feel alone, frustrated, and resentful.

TRUE STORY: There was a wealthy couple, of whom one day the husband had passed away. The wife was trying to get their son to take over the family business, but the son refused. In exasperation she took him to a psychologist. So he was asked why he wouldn’t take the position. The young man said, “Well, you don’t know my father. All my life he told me that he was teaching me self-reliance. He never once encouraged me. He said it would make me tough. Many days during my childhood, my Dad would play catch with me. He would throw me ten balls in a row. Every day … the 8, 9, or 10th ball, he would give me a bad throw on purpose. Dad said it would make me tough. But all my life I couldn’t please him. All my life I couldn’t measure up. I just don’t have the confidence. I just know that my dad would not be pleased, no matter what I did. Thank God that is not the way I was raised.

TRUE STORY: It’s not really how you start out that matters. It does matter how you finish. The teachers of Thomas Edison once told his parents, “He seems too stupid to learn.” Walt Disney, as a young man, was fired by a newspaper. They said he didn’t have any good ideas.

V

VALUES:

A little boy was afraid of the dentist. So his father decided to set the example and have his teeth examined, too. The dentist looked inside the father’s mouth and said, “Oh, there’s a tooth there that has to be pulled.” The father asked, “How much will it cost?” The dentist answered, “We charge $55 a tooth.” Then the father asked, “How long will it take to pull the tooth?” The dentist answered, “A few minutes.” The father protested, “I get paid by the hour and when I think of paying $55 for a minute’s work, that is a terribly high hourly wage.” “Well,” the dentist said, “I can pull the tooth more slowly if you like.”

The late Jack Benny was a comedian whose joke lines were often about how much of a tight wad he was … One of his most popular jokes was about an armed robber who approaches Benny and demands, “Your money or your life!” Benny hesitates and says nothing. Finally, the robber says, “Well, what will it be?” To which Benny replies, “Don’t rush me, I’m thinking about it!”

W

WAITING:

Sometimes we need to just wait a while in order to see what is really happening. Many years ago, Lin Yutang lived with his son in a fort in the country of China. One night, their only real possession, which was a horse, ran away. The neighbors said, “We are sorry for your misfortune. But Lin said, “How do you know this is a misfortune.” A week later, the horse returned with a whole herd of wild horses. “The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean. That was good fortune. But Lin said, “How do you know this is good fortune?” A week later, Lin’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean. That was not good fortune.” But Lin said, “How do you know this is not good fortune.” A week later, a Chinese warlord came along … drafting men to fight in his army. He had no use for an old man, or for a young man with a broken leg. The neighbors said, “Oh, we see what you mean, this really was good fortune.” But Lin said, “How do you know this is a good fortune.” Now, this story could go on & on. The truth is, no event is final on this earth! A lot of days … we may not be able to properly evaluate on the day that things happen. But we must remember that all the days are not in yet. We must also remember that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

 WITNESSING:

One Sunday as a family drove home from church, a little girl asked, “Mommy, there’s something I don’t understand.” Mom said, “Oh? What is it?” “Well, God is bigger than we are, and God is so big that He could hold the world in His hand. Is that true?” Mom responded, “Yes, that’s true, honey.” The little girl then said, “But Mommy, does God come to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?” Mom replied, “Yes dear, that is right.” With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, “If God is bigger than us, and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”

I recently read about a certain man who said to himself, “I cannot speak in front of people. I don’t feel I have the talent to do anything in Christian service. But, I can put two extra plates on my dinner table every Sunday and invite two people to break bread with me.” He went along doing that for more than thirty years. He became acquainted with a lot of people who attended his church. Many of them became Christians through his personal act of service. When he died … a few days before his funeral It was made known that any of those who had become Christians through his influence would be welcomed in a special area set aside for them. A hundred and fifty people came in honor of the memory of the man who had preached to them the gospel of the extra dinner plate.

There was a guy from Katy, Texas who needed his suit dry cleaned before he left on a trip. He remembered one store with a huge sign, “One-Hour Dry Cleaners.” It was on the other side of town, but he needed his suit, so he drove out of his way to drop it off. After the clerk filled out the necessary information, he told her, “I have some errands to run and I’ll be back in an hour to pick it up.” She said, “I can’t get this back to you until Thursday.” Frowning now, he responded, “I thought you did dry cleaning in an hour,” “Oh, no,” she replied, that’s just the name of the store, we don’t actually do that.” There are many folks today who wear a sign saying that they are a Christian, but they fail to deliver the goods. There are many churches which do not deliver on what the sign out front says either.

WORRYING:

Of course I am jesting when I say this, but I have reason to believe that worrying really does work. My proof is that most of the things that I worry about just don’t even happen. Therefore my worrying worked. NOT SO! Consider this, the average person’s worry is focused on 40% of things that will never happen, 30% of things about the past that can’t be changed, 12% of things relating to the criticism of others (Things mostly untrue), 10% about health (Which gets worse with stress), and 8% about real problems that will be faced. Those things can be taken to the Lord in prayer.

Anyway … here’s a fun little exercise to try out some time, to help people let go of their worries. Purchase some balloons and give one to every listener. Instruct them that, in a moment you are going to read a list of stressful situations. Tell them that each time they hear a situation similar to one they experienced recently, they are to blow a breath into their balloon. Tell them to be careful to not let any of the air out until they are instructed to do so. Warn them that based on their worry levels, some of their balloons may pop before you are finished reading the list, and that’s okay. (You can make or adapt this one to your own list)

 HERE’S THE LIST:

1. You got into a disagreement with a family member.

  1. You worried about finances.
  2. Your car needs something repaired.
  3. 4. You failed at something.
  4. You broke a Commandment.
  5. You felt afraid.
  6. You felt hurt by someone’s actions.
  7. You felt like giving up on someone or something.
  8. You worried about something.
  9. You worried that you were worrying too much.

 Next instruct those that still have their balloon in contact, to hold them up and remember to not let any air out until they are told to do so. Ask everyone to look around and notice the different sizes. Tell them to notice that probably everyone now has some air in their balloon, and that their plight is common to all. Explain that these balloons represent our stress levels. Explain that worry is the number one joy stealer in life. Worry is a thief! Explain that maybe even some in the room are unable to concentrate and fully give themselves to God right then, because their minds are drifting to the problems and worries that they feel they have. Maybe some are asking God questions like: “Why have you not given me a job? Why have you not restored my marriage? Why have you not rescued me from my financial distress? Why have you not taken my illness from me? Why God? Why?

Now … read Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Explain) Next, explain how they must let go of the worry in their lives and start living. Then instruct them that this is how we are going to start the process. Instruct them that it is now time to let go of their balloons. (Say something like 1 – 2 – 3 let go!) Finally lead them in prayer that God will allow them to let their worries fly away just like their balloons.

Some years ago in a very small town, so small they had a volunteer fire department, there was a fire that was really burning at a certain man’s house. As he watched, he phoned his insurance company, but there was no answer. In deep frustration he told someone, “How come my agent is never there when I need him?” One of the firefighters tapped him on the shoulder. “That’s because I’m right here, putting out the fire,” responded the agent. God is closer to us than even a volunteer fireman.

X

X (TO CROSS THINGS OUT):

It wasn’t easy coming up with an illustration for the letter X, but maybe this will work. As you may have seen, Jesus had a lot of run-ins with a group called the Pharisees. (More about them later) for the most part, the Pharisees were usually upset with Jesus for breaking their rules for the Sabbath day. Now … understandably we all need rest, so this could have been good – but something happened between when Moses wrote these words, and when Jesus walked the earth – that something was tradition. You see the Pharisees took the simple idea of resting one day a week and … figured they had to help God out by … telling people what resting really was. So, they came up with different things that were prohibited (Crossed out or X’d out) on the Sabbath. Apparently Talmudic rabbis developed a list of 39 categories of work that a Jew could not do on the Sabbath. They are as follows: There was to be no sowing, plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, or cleansing of crops. There was to be no grinding, sifting, kneading, or baking. There was to be no shearing wool, washing wool, beating wool, dyeing wool, spinning, weaving, or making two loops. There was to be no weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying a knot, loosening a knot, sewing two stitches, ripping out to sew two stitches. There was to be no hunting a deer, slaughtering, flaying, salting a hide, curing a skin, scraping a skin, or cutting up a skin. There was to be no writing of two letters, or erasing to write two letters. There was to be no building, or pulling down. There was to be no putting out a fire, or lighting a fire. There was to be no striking with a hammer. There was to be no carrying objects from one house into another. You were not to walk more than a Sabbaths day journey. (Approx. 2,000 ft.) They had listed other ways that a man could break the Sabbath too. You could not eat an egg that was laid on the Sabbath. If you got a tack in your shoe, you had to stop and take it out, lest you be accused of carrying a burden on the Sabbath. Now, you could swallow vinegar, if you had a toothache, but you couldn’t hold it in your mouth: that was considered healing on the Sabbath. If a flea happened to bite you, you had to let him gnaw away, because there’s no hunting on the Sabbath; and so, you couldn’t bother that flea. They just had a lot of laws and rules. Again, no fire could be kindled on the Sabbath day, no matter how cold it was. Finally, if an ox fell in the ditch, you could get him out; but if a man fell in a ditch, you just had to leave him there. How many readers have broken these Sabbath laws?

Jesus came along and did not focus on crossing out (or Xing out) all these activities like the Pharisees did, so they did not like Jesus. Jesus explained that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27) In other words God knew that man not only needed a day of rest, but that on that day man did not need to spend the entire Sabbath day counting and avoiding all of the things he could possibly do wrong. The Sabbath was not just a day of rest however, it was to be a day of thanking God (worship) for delivering them out of Egypt, bondage, and slavery. (Burnt offerings were made on the Sabbath) God did not want His people to enter into their own new bondage of working and never resting. (Lev. 23:3; Num. 28:9-10) Man needed to spend his time just doing one thing that should never be crossed (or X out). And that is spending time with his Creator. Jesus also told the Pharisees that He was Lord of the Sabbath. (Matt. 12:7-8) In other words God is Lord of all things. And God has a greater law than the law of the Sabbath. God has a law of love. If someone needs to be healed on the Sabbath, God’s love for that person exceeds any other law.

Y

YES YOU CAN IF YOU TRY:

One day a frog fell into a deep rut. He tried to get out, but he just couldn’t. Mrs. Frog, standing above, admonished. Beckoned, and belittled him but to no avail. She told him, “Come on, get out, we’ve got to go!” Mr. Frog said … NO WAY … I JUST CAN’T DO IT.” So … Mrs. Frog just hopped off down to the pond. In a few minutes … Mr. Frog appeared right beside her on the lily pad. She looked, and said, “I thought you said you couldn’t get out?” He responded, “A big truck came along and I had to.”

A fellow was walking through a cemetery one night. He fell into a grave that was ready for the next day. He tried and tried for several long minutes to get out … but he just could not. What he did not know was that an hour earlier, someone else had fallen into the same grave. When he finally stopped trying to climb out, he heard a voice behind him say, “You can’t get out, I have already tried.” ABOUT THAT TIIME THE 2ND FELLOW SUCCEEDED!

YIELDING:

Some people just insist on doing things their own way no matter what! But that does not always work out. The story is told of 2 cowboys on a particular ranch. A steer got loose and it was a particularly wild one. They found it, but could not get it into the back of their truck. One of the cowboys had worked that ranch for many years. Understand … this was not his first rodeo. They went and got the meanest burro on the entire ranch. They tied the burro side-by side with the steer, with some very strong rope. Now, the burro was ornery. But that burro had one redeeming quality. That burro liked it back at the ranch. So, after they tied them together, they just drove back to the ranch. One week later, after seven days of throwing each other all over the place, and loosing a few pounds, the burro and the steer arrived at the ranch where they belonged.

Z

ZEAL:

I’ll never forget the story told by Pastor Garland Rogers. It was a civil war story. I don’t remember the name of the state, or the names of the men. I just remember there was one guy, who was a southern soldier. He joined the confederate army, but he refused to wear the gray uniform. He refused to carry the army issue rifle. He refused to walk in formation. They were short of men, so they let him join the confederacy anyway. Not long after getting started, one day he disappeared. After a day or two they all figured he had either gone home, or had been shot or captured by some union soldiers. But a couple of days later, off in the distance they could see six union soldiers coming with their hands in the air. Directly behind them walked this odd-ball, un-uniformed, missing guy. He had his non-issue musket pointed at them. He had captured them. The confederate soldiers stared in disbelief, until the guy said, “What’s the matter with you guys. I thought we were supposed to go get these guys. You guys ought to go get some too … the woods are full of them.” Jesus is all about bridging the gap. Not only dies there need to be a place for all amongst us, but we need to really dedicate ourselves to the real task that God has called us to. Remember, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes on Him would inherit eternal life. (John 3:16)

I like the story I read about Bob & Bill. Bill stopped by his friend Bob’s little country store. He needed a jar of mustard. Bill noticed shelves were loaded with bags of salt. Bob told Bill, I have mustard but I must go to the back to get it. Bill went with him and to his amazement everywhere in the back room were more bags of salt. Bill said, “Say Bob you must sell an awful lot of salt.” Bob looked down at the ground and said, “No … I can’t sell much salt, but the fellow that sells me salt, boy can he sell salt!” You and I need that kind of enthusiasm in our spiritual lives

The story is told of a new Christian who was in New York on business. His first Sunday in town he decided he really should go to church. As the preacher began preaching, the man got caught up in the sermon. He said, “Amen” a few times. Now, this church was not accustomed to hearing any “Amen’s.” So after what apparently was one too many Amen’s, a deacon walked over to the stranger and said, ‘You’re upsetting the service. You’ll have to be quiet.” The man nodded his consent. A few minutes later, however, the man was again caught up In the sermon and said, “Amen.” The deacon came back to him and said, “I told you to be quiet.” The man said, “I can’t help it, I got religion.” The deacon replied, “Well, be quiet anyway, you didn’t get it here.”

Dr. Bob Moorehead wrote these words: I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, I won’t let up, I won’t slow down, I won’t back away, I won’t be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. From this moment on I live by presence, I lean by faith, I love by patience, I lift by prayer, and I labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my God reliable, and my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until heaven returns, I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.

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