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 these 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 17th group of them for you. And you are welcome to share them with others.
The Other Side
A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the
examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what
lies on the other side.”
Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other
The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of
which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a
dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He
knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he
sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one
thing…I know my Master is there and that is enough.”
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 25 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate some one on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
And thank the Lord for sending them your way!
You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This gives you something more to think about.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at her husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her own house. The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live.
The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure.
How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this? “Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”
She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by?
“When I see a coin, I pray, and I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful.”
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message
It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient up to a point.…..and He sent his son to die for our sins……and accepting his Son into our hearts in response to that is the most important decision that one can make on this whole planet!
Pick Thee Me Up – from a friend of mine.
Pick Thee Me Up.
That’s another one of Josees’ expressions.
Josees is my two-year-old son.
He doesn’t have perfect syntax. Even that simple statement requires an ear trained in babyonics to understand.
Pick thee me up!
He says it as he stands in front of me with his outstretched arms and a pleading in his eyes and voice.
Pick thee me up!
Pick thee me up!
Pick thee me up!
Over and over he pleads until sooner or later he’s picked up, giving both of us relief.
He is smart enough to recognize the father. He is smart enough to know that his father can lift him out of his situation. He is smart enough to keep pleading until his plea is heard.
Whenever he is frustrated, whenever he is afraid, whenever he feels alone, whenever he needs rest, whenever he needs, he asks his father to….”Pick thee me up.”
It is a lesson that we all would do well to learn, for we all have a heavenly father.
We all, sooner or later need to call upon him.
We all need to say. . .
Pick thee me up!
Josees was named after Joses, the brother of Jesus.
There were times when Jesus had to call on his father, and say, “Pick thee me up.”
So will you.
(1 Corinthians 6:14) “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
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