Stories – 5th Installment

For the last 20 years I have presented the Gospel to each new youth at the highly secure prison for the kids ages 13 to 19 at Gainesville, Texas.  It is the first time that most any of them have stopped “running on the streets” and had the time to think about their life.  Most every one made a decision to make God part of their life.  After our hour+ together I would write each one a letter.  As a result I corresponded more with many of them.  And in each letter I would enclose a group of short stories or poems.  They really liked them, especially those with an emotional message. You probably would not believe how many locked-up prison boys have loved theses little stories, and read them over and over.

In my soon to be published book I enclosed a long list of those short stories in the Appendix.  Since the prison boys liked them so much, I thought you may like to see some of them.  So, here is a fourth group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.


Cherokee Indian Youth’s Rite of Passage

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone.  He is required to sit on a log the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.  He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm.

The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his log, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.

It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the log next to him.  He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the log beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Moral of the story:

Just because you can’t see God,

Doesn’t mean He is not there.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”


A man from Norfolk, VA called a local radio station to share this on Sept 11th, 2003. His Name was Robert Matthews. These are his words:   “A few weeks before Sept 11th, my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On our way to the airport, we prayed that God would grant my wife a safe trip and be with her. Shortly after I said ‘amen’ we both heard a loud pop and the car shook violently. We had blown out a tire. I replaced the tire as quickly as I could, but we still missed her flight. Both very upset, we drove home. I received a call from my father who was FDNY. He asked what my wife’s flight number was, but I explained that we missed the flight. My father informed me that her flight was the one that crashed into the southern tower. I was too shocked to speak.

My father also had more news for me; he was going to help. ‘This is not something I can just sit by for, I have to do something.  I am not on duty for another hour, but I have to go help my fire battalion buddies.’  I was concerned for his safety, of course, but more because he had never given his life to Christ.  After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off of the phone, he said, ‘Take good care of my grandchild.’ Those were the last words I ever heard my father say; he died while helping in the rescue effort when the other tower went down. My joy that my prayer of safety for my wife had been answered quickly became anger. Anger at God, at my father, and at myself. I had gone for nearly 2 years blaming God for taking my father away. My son would never know his grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ, and I never got to say goodbye.

Then something strange happened. About 2 months ago, I was sitting at home with my wife and my son, when there was a knock on the door. I looked at my wife, but I could tell she wasn’t expecting anyone. I opened the door to a couple with a small child. The man looked at me and asked if my father’s name was Jake Matthews. I told him it was. He quickly grabbed my hand and said, ‘I never got the chance to meet your father, but it is an honor to meet his son.’

He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Center and had been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been caught under debris from the plane, before the building went down. He then explained that my father had been the one to find his wife and free her in time for her to get out. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of my father giving his life for people like this.

He then said, ‘there is something else you need to know.’ His wife then told me that as my father worked to free her, she talked to him and lead him to Christ.  He prayed with her to ask Jesus into his heart, right there.  He then went on up in the building to try to help others.

I began sobbing at the news. Now I know that when I get to heaven, my father will be standing beside Jesus to welcome me, and that this family would be able to thank him themselves. “

When their baby boy was born, they named him Jacob Matthew in honor of the man who gave his life so mother and baby could live.

This story should help us to realize two things: First, that though it has been awhile since the attacks, we should never let it become a mere tragic memory.  And second, but most important, God is always in control. We may not see the reason behind things, and we may never know this side of heaven, but God is ALWAYS in control, especially for those who love Him and stay close to Him.


Years ago I watched the famous basketball star Wilt Chamberlain on a television talk show. Wilt was one of the original old-time big basketball stars.

In the days before Michael Jordan, Shaq, Rodman and the other household basketball names, there was Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt broke all kinds of basketball records. He had a 100-point game among the other records he established.

I was counseling a man who stated that he wished that he had a harem of several women to end his romantic problems. I thought of Wilt and that television interview.

Although Wilt held numerous basketball records, the record that Wilt is most famous (or infamous) for is the statement he made concerning his personal life. Wilt claimed that by age 55, he had slept with 20,000 women. That statement shocked the sports world.

Wilt started at 15; that’s 500 new women per year. That’s 10 per week. How did one man have an average of ten new women in his life each week for 40 years? I couldn’t fathom that yet I knew many men secretly wished they had such a life.

The world focused on the 20,000.  I am sure many men imagined those were 20,000 rather attractive women as Wilt was a sports icon the world over.  Wilt said, “The average Joe would have proposed to any of those 20,000 on the first date.”

Yes, Wilt appeared to be living the “life.” What the world missed was Wilt’s other statement.  It’s the “other” statement that always stayed with me.

Wilt Chamberlain in essence said, “I would rather have had just one woman that I truly loved, than 20,000 that I didn’t.”

Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines and he reached a similar conclusion:    “…all is vanity.”

While scoring over 30,000 points on the court, Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out.  Off the court, he never truly “scored“.

Wilt died in 1999.

The score:   20,000 to 0

And learn the lesson of Wilt’s “other” statement.”

The 23rd Psalm is very interesting.  Most people do not really understand the symbolisms………

When he talks about “preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies“…….he is describing how the shepherd would go over the meadow before letting the sheep graze and pull out all of the poisonous weeds that grow in that area.

When he talks about leading me beside “the still waters”…..he is referring to the fact that a sheep will not drink from a running stream.  The shepherd would make a little dam in the stream out of rocks so that there would be a quiet spot for them to drink.

When he talks about anointing their heads with oil….he is referring to how the shepherd would examine each sheep for insects and cuts, and put oil on the cuts and on their heads to keep insects away from their eyes and noses.

When the Psalm talks about the “Valley of the shadow of death”, here is what it means: Sheep aren’t that smart. They’re cute and all, but like other animals, they have no concept of death. They can, however, understand the difference between light and dark. They behave differently on sunny days than they do on days when the skies are full of thick, dark storm clouds. And, they seem happier in a sunny, open field but fearful in dark, closed-in, seemingly dangerous valleys. We, like sheep, intuitively understand this too.  We can go through dark, tough times and even endure death, but we don’t need to fear those dark times. God has already given us the victory over every circumstance because of Jesus’ work on the cross.  

And there are many other references as to how the shepherd of that day took such careful care of his sheep………all to show how the Lord will take such care of each of us if we will stay close to Him and allow Him to do so and stay in the flock as His sheep and not wander away.

39 Cents of Understanding

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell.

He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.

He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle, “Here, Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence.  His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller.

Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up.

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy.
He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.

In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.

Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”   And with that the farmer said, “well son 39 cents just happens to be the price of that little dog.”

In the same way Jesus identifies with each of us and all of our infirmities because of what he endured on the cross for each one of us.

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