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Sa Kaeo II

After we left Khao-I-Dang we did not find out until the next day that the North Vietnamese had probed and killed 30 people right there at the intersection in front of the Khao-I-Dang Camp just after we left.  You may recall that I wrote about the man at that camp who had been the only pastor in Cambodia, and how the Khmer Rouge had found him and put him into one of their killing fields camps.  I told how God had actually sent one of his “shinning angels” to miraculously protect him from certain execution, just like others Billy Graham wrote about in his book, Angels.

However, we wanted to visit one more refugee camp before dark, Sa Kaeo II.  By now things were working just as the KGB had planned.  The North Vietnamese Communists were coming into Cambodia and driving the Khmer Rouge out.  This was a new camp and was already mostly populated by Khmer Rouge refugees who were themselves escaping Cambodia.

When we arrived, they were pulling this enormous chain across the entrance to block any North Vietnamese tanks from coming in.  There were no UN people there.  The place was run by a Thai officer.  They called him down to the entrance to check our credentials, and right away we found how casual this place was.  He came down only clad in his T-shirt and his drawers.  He was really nice.   He put a soldier on the outside step of our little bus with his automatic weapon and told us to go anywhere we wished.

Everything there was made of big stalks of bamboo, and most all of it was still green.  The people here were much younger than the previous camp, and there were many young children.

I walked up to the top of a hill where a Swiss NGO had constructed a hospital.  All workers at the hospital had already gone home, but there was a group of the most interesting young boys gathered there.  They were all between the ages of 12 and 16.  But what was so strange was that almost every one of them had some kind of injury.  Some had lost a leg or an arm or and eye, but most just had flesh wounds that were almost healed.  They all crowded around me, for they were all in the process of learning English in the hopes of getting to the US some day and had never met an American.

One of the older ones was named Hem-Hatch.  He could speak fairly good English, so I asked him about all these boys.  Where were their parents?  He said:  “No parents.”  So I asked:  “What is your story?”   So, he told me that they all had the same story.  They had all been in Cambodia in different villages.  The Khmer Rouge had come to their villages and lined everyone up and started going down the line, shooting every person, one at a time.  These guys saw their parents and siblings shot.  They realized that if they did not get out of there, they were going to be dead.  So, they just bolted for the jungle.  They ran as fast as they could, zigzagging as they ran to dodge the bullets.  Most had been hit at least once or lost an eye to the thorns as they crashed through the jungle.   What a strange group of orphans, but they were full of energy and enthusiasm. 

I corresponded with Hem-hatch for quite a while and sent him some Thai Baht that I could buy at a Dallas bank.  I don’t know what finally happened to him.  In the last letter I received from him he stated that he had the chance to go to France, but they were trying to get him to go back into Cambodia.  I wrote him to get his rear-end into France, for I knew that the North Vietnamese were intercepting those repatriation busses as soon as they crossed the border and killing everyone on them.

When I got back to our little bus, the folks there had found this young lady.  She was somewhere between age 19 to 24.  She was one of those new Christians that were coming out of Cambodia that I mentioned earlier.  And they were not just casual Christians.   That terror had bonded them so close to God that it was spooky.  This girl had taken upon herself the task to teach bible stories and Christian principals to every young child in the camp that she possibly could.  She was teaching groups of children all day and into the night.  There were 90,000 people already in that camp.  She stayed on the verge of exhaustion all the time.  Her dream was to get to the US and attend a bible-oriented college some day.

She gave me the name and address of a young lady friend who worked for the UN and would be able to bring things into the camp to her.  When I got back to Dallas I went to several Christian book stores and bought all the different boxes of felt bible stories and sent them to her.  Those are where you put up the different characters of a bible story on a felt board for the children as you tell the story.  She wrote back how thrilled she was and how she used them to great effect for all those children.  I also sent her quite a lot of Thai Baht so that she could buy things such as soccer balls for the older children.

So, before we left, we wanted to have a prayer for this lovely young Christian lady.  I was sitting on the front row of the little bus and she sat just above me on the chrome supports.  After we prayed, she prayed.  And I will never forget for the rest of my life what happened.  The bus was air conditioned, so it must have been cooler than normal for her.   But as she prayed, I felt water dripping down onto me.  When that girl prayed, the intensity of her prayer, the intensity of her communication with God, caused her to become wet all over.  Evidently, because of the necessity of what she was doing, God had infused her with a prodigious amount of his mighty Spirit Power.

To this day, I feel guilty that I have never been able to pray like that……with the intensity of that girl.

Stories – 26th 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 26th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

Where You Going?

Where you going?

Not “where are you going,” but “where you going?”

As I held my shoes and socks in my hand, the six-year-old repeated the question. After the second repeat the three-year-old joined in.

“Where you going?”

People think that husbands are often bothered by wives asking them where they are going. That’s nothing compared to the two little ones.

I was downstairs with them so I replied, “I’m going upstairs.”

“But where you going?”

They knew that I did not require socks and shoes to go upstairs.

I could immediately answer them, I knew where I was going, that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that children, like adults, often don’t initially ask the real question.

Invariably, whenever I answer where I am going, I am bombarded with the next question:

“Can I go?”
“Can I go?”

That’s the real question they wanted to ask.

One must make it a point that wherever one is going, it is a place that one would not mind one’s children knowing about. Whatever one is going to do, it should be something they can be proud of.

Whether you know it or not, children eventually find out where you are going.

Eventually they ask of life on some level, “Can I go too?”


THE WONDER OF PRAYER!

Have you considered the wonder of prayer?
That we can pray anytime, anywhere?
That we can lift our hearts to God above?
To one who cares for us with his tender love?

Oh, how good to turn to him when in need!
To know he listens, that he pays heed!
To bring our burdens to him, and to bring our cares!
In a sense he’s waiting just to meet us there!

God wants us to bring our needs to him,
whether they’re big or small.
None are overlooked by him.
He’s concerned about them all.

If you are God’s child,
Here’s what you should do:
Pray to him daily.
He wants to hear from you.

Pray in the name of Jesus,
God’s own beloved Son.
He honors the name of Jesus,
and remarkable things get done.

Give thanks for God’s answers
given to your prayers.
They are his reminders
that he really, truly cares!

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

The Wooden Bowl

 A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson.  The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table but the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult.  Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.

When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.  The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

“We must do something about Grandfather,” said the son.  “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”  So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.

There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.  Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl that they found in the cabinet.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”

Just as sweetly, the boy responded,  “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food when I grow up.”

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family.  And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Children are remarkably perceptive.  Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb.  If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives.

The wise parent realizes that every day the building blocks are being laid for the child’s future.

Let’s be wise builders and role models.  And realize that the Lord Jesus is observing us.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 25th 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 25th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

God Was Busy

If you don’t know GOD, don’t make stupid remarks!!!!!

A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had completed 20 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan .  One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist.

 
One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, “GOD, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform…
 
I’ll give you exactly 15 min.” The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, “Here I am GOD, I’m still waiting.”

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor,  and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform.  The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.  The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, “What in the world is the matter with you? Why did you do that?
  
 The Marine calmly replied, “GOD was busy today protecting America ‘s soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an idiot. So He sent me.”

The classroom erupted in cheers!

USC Professor…………

This  is a true story of something that happened just a few years ago at the University of Southern California . 
           
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. 
           
His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester proving that God couldn’t exist. 
           
His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic.
           
 Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. 
           
At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his  class of 60 students, ‘If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!’ 
           
In twenty years, no one had ever stood up.  They knew what he was  going to do next. He would say, ‘Because anyone who believes in God is a fool’.

If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking; such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can’t do it.’ 

And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into many pieces. 

All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. 
           
Most of the students became convinced that God couldn’t exist.  Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.
           
Well, a few years ago there was a freshman from Texas who happened to  enroll. 
           
He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about this professor. 
           
He  was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid.  But for three months that semester, he intently prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought.

Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith…he  hoped. 

Finally, the day came.  The professor said, “If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!”  The professor and the class of 60 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom.
           
The  professor shouted, “You FOOL!!! 
           
 If  God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!” 
           
He  proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. 

The professor’s jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk.  He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.

The  young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 60 students stayed and listened as he told of God’s love for them and of His power through Jesus.

WET PANTS

Come with me to a third grade classroom….  There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It’s never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it.  When the girls find out, they’ll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, ‘Dear God, this is an emergency!  I need help now!  Five minutes from now I’m dead meat.’

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.

As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water.

Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy’s lap.

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, ‘Thank you, Lord!  Thank you, Lord!’

Now, all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy.  The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out.  All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk.  The sympathy is wonderful.  But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else – Susie.

She tries to help, but they tell her to get out.  ‘You’ve done enough, you klutz!’

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, ‘You did that on purpose, didn’t you?’  Susie whispers back, ‘I wet my pants once too.’

May God help us see the opportunities that are always around us to do good….

Remember….  Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Each and everyone one of us may be going through tough times right now, but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that only He can if you are staying close to Him.  

Keep the faith.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 24th 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 24th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

Toys  vs.  Character

The world gives us toys, things that look exciting but are not the main point. The less mature you are, the more you get things for the toy appeal, and the less you get them for the higher purpose.

“The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” That is a rather well known saying. Maybe the real difference between men and boys is that real men need less toys.

It is not really a function of age. I’ve seen old men still fascinated and focused on toys while neglecting the important things of life and family.

Choosing a woman based on curves not character or choosing a man based on cash not character……..toys.
17, 27, 47 or 87, age doesn’t really matter, only maturity.

Three dictionary definitions of fiber are:
1. Something that provides substance or texture.
2. Essential character or structure.
3. Basic strength or toughness; fortitude.

Three dictionary definitions of toy are:
1. An object for children to play with.
2. Something of little importance; a trifle.
3. A bauble

Fiber or Toys?

Good question.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man,
I put away childish things.”   1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV


 Traveling Angels:

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.  Not knowing they were angles, the family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room.

Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.

As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a strange hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger angel asked why he did that, the older angel  replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.

After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest.

When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?  The first man had everything, yet you helped him, he accused.

The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.

“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.

“When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was huge hoard of gold stored behind that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it.”

“Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead.

Things aren’t always what they seem.”

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way they should with those who are close to the Lord.  If you have faith, you just need to trust that every out-come is always to your advantage with the Lord’s care. You just might not know it until some time later……

God Protects his own – A true story

 It has been confirmed that 80% of the town of Meulaboh in Aceh , Indonesia was destroyed by the Tsunami waves and 80% of the people also died. This is one of the towns that was hit the hardest.

But there is a fantastic testimony from Meulaboh. In that town are about 400 Christians.

They wanted to celebrate Christmas on December 25th but were not allowed to do so by the Muslim majority of Meulaboh. They were told if they wanted to celebrate Christmas they needed to go outside the city of Meulaboh to celebrate.  Because the Christians desired to celebrate Christmas the 400 believers left the city on December 25th and chose a high hill on the edge of town.   After they celebrated Christmas they stayed all night on the hill.

The morning of December 26 there was the earthquake followed by huge Tsunami waves destroying most of the city of Meulaboh and thousands were killed. 

The 400 believers were on the mountain and were all saved from destruction. 

Now the Muslims of Meulaboh are saying that the God of the Christians punished us for forbidding the Christians from celebrating Christmas in the city. Others are questioning why so many Muslims died while not even one of the Christians died there. 

Had the Christians insisted on their rights to celebrate Christmas in the city, they would have all died. But because they humbled themselves and followed the advice of the Muslim majority they all were spared destruction and can now testify of God’s marvelous protection. 

This is a testimony of the grace of God and the fact that as believers we have no rights in the world.  Our right is to come before God and commit our lives to Him.  Our right is kneeling down before the Lord almighty and committing our ways to Him.  

He is our Father and is very capable of caring for His children. Praise the Name of the Lord!

Bill Hekman
Pastor Calvary Life Fellowship in Indonesia.

Twinkies and Root Beer:

Once there was a little boy.  He had problems that made his spirit hurt.  He had never known his dad.  Since his mom had to work so much, he was ever so lonely, and since she came home so tired, he felt as if he never saw anyone smile.

He decided one day that he wanted to meet God.  He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his little suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer from the icebox and he started on his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie. The old man gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, the old man smiled at him. The boy was delighted!  They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but never saying a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a big hug.  The old man gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by something she had not seen in a long time…….a look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?  “He replied, “I had lunch with God.”   But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what?  He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.  “However, before his son could respond, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  And know that for some strange reason God chose to do His work through people.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 23th 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 23rd group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

The Dive

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver.

The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall.

The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross.

Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally asked God to come into his life.

As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on.

The pool had been drained for repairs.

My friends tell me that this really happened!

The Flat

The tire was flat.

Church was just letting out as I stood in the street and looked at my mother’s tire; it was flat.  It was over 90 degrees as the sun was beaming down, and she didn‘t have a spare.

A small cigarette lighter powered air pump labored away trying to raise the flattened tire.  I told my mother to take my Jeep and go home, and I would take care of the tire.

I listened as air hissed out as fast as the pump put it in.  I found the hole and backed the car up so the hole was on the bottom.  The weight of the car stopped the leak and allowed the tire to fill.  With the tire full but leaking, I pulled off.

I didn’t know of any gas stations with mechanics in the neighborhood, but I figured I could drive until I found one.  I stayed off the expressway in case the tire went flat.

After ten minutes of driving, I found nothing open on a Sunday afternoon.  I pulled into a gas station to pump up the nearly flat tire again.

As the pump was pumping, there was one man pumping gas.  “Do you know where I can get a tire plugged around here?” I asked.  “There’s a place right there,” he said pointing.

“Right where?” I asked, wondering where the place could be since he was pointing to the street and direction that I had just driven from.

“It’s next to the liquor store, it’s on the right but you have to look hard to see it.”

“Are they open now on Sunday?” I asked.  “Yes, they’re open,” he replied.

I thanked him and set out to find the repair shop.  I was somewhat skeptical that I could have passed a tire repair shop while desperately looking for a tire repair shop.

I passed the liquor store and there on the right, down a little gravel road was a tire repair shop.  Men covered in black grease were hard at work.  They were a welcome sight as the air continually hissed from the tire.

In ten minutes, I was on my way.

It reminded me so much of life.  Why?

We are often deflated, the essence of life slowly leaking out and each time we pump it up, it isn’t long before we’re flat again.

We are straining, crying, praying, hoping, pleading for the answer and often we pass right by the answer.  Life is slowly leaking out towards the flatline and we pass right by because we don’t see the road, the place or the men on the right.

I could not find it on my own; I had to seek the answer from someone who knew, from someone familiar with the territory.  When I did hear the answer, I was doubtful that I could have missed it because it was so close.  I measured it; it was 750 feet from where I asked the question, but I couldn’t see from where I was standing.  Someone had to point the way.  Jesus can be like that for each of us.  As we search His Word, I predict that the way will become clear to you.

Your answer also, is closer than you think.  It’s on the right side.  Some of you will have to bypass the liquor store to get to it.  When you get there they will be waiting to help you.  They will be waiting to help you stop the leak.  They will be waiting to fill you with breath, but you will have to really listen and be ready to take action.

And they will be open on Sunday.

The Visitor

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter.  She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter:

            Dear Ruth, I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday

            afternoon and I’d like to stop by for a visit.

            Love Always, 

           Jesus

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. “Why would the Lord want to visit me?  I’m nobody special.  I don’t have anything to offer.” With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets.  “Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer.  I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner.”

She reached for her purse and counted out its contents.  Five dollars and forty cents.  “Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.”  She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.  A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with a grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday.  Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

“Hey lady, can you help us, lady?” 

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway.  A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than  rags “Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it.”  Ruth looked at them both.  They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

“Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him.”  “Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand.  Thanks anyway.”

The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.

“Sir, wait!”

The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. 

“Look, why don’t you take this food.  I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.”

She handed the man her grocery bag.

“Thank you lady. Thank you very much!”

“Yes, thank you!” 

It was the man’s wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering.

“You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.”

Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over  the woman’s shoulders.  Then smiling, she turned

and walked back to the street…without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

“Thank you lady!  Thank you very much!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too.  The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key.  But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.

“That’s odd.  The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.”

She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

            Dear Ruth, It was so good to see you again.  Thank you for the lovely

            meal.  And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

           Love Always,

Jesus

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

The “W” in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year.  It was an exciting season for a six year old.

For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.  Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

“C H R I S T W A S L O V E”

And, I believe, He still is.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 22nd 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 22nd group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

The Hole

Two little brothers once decided to dig a deep hole behind their house.  As they were working, a couple of other little boys stopped by to watch.

“What are you doing?” asked one of the visitors.

“We’re going to dig a hole all the way through the earth!” one of the brothers volunteered excitedly.

The other boys began to laugh, telling the brothers that digging a hole all the way through the earth was impossible.  After a long silence, one of the diggers picked up a jar full of spiders, worms, insects and interesting stones.  He removed the lid and showed the wonderful contents to the scoffing visitors.

Then he said confidently, “Even if we don’t dig all the way through the earth, look what we found along the way!”

Their goal was far too ambitious, but it did cause them to dig.  That is what a goal is for, to cause us to move in the direction we have chosen.  In other words, to set us to digging!

But not every goal will be fully achieved.  Not every job will end successfully.  Not every relationship will endure.  Not every hope will come to pass.  Not every love will last.  Not every endeavor will be completed.  Not every dream will be realized.

But when you fall short of your aim, perhaps you can say, “Yes, but look at what I found along the way!

Look at the wonderful things which have come into my life because I tried to do something!”

It is in the digging that life is lived, and it is the joy in the journey that truly matters!

The Portal

Over 20 years ago I read a fictional story about a device that would allow you to live forever.

The operation of the device was simple. It was just a portal that you walked through, and when you walked through five years were added to your life.

There was no cost, at least not in terms of money.

Each time you walked through and gained five years, five years were removed from your memory.  The good thing was, you could choose which five-year period would be erased.

As the story was told, no one ever walked through because no one could find five years that they wanted to give up.

Suppose I had that opportunity?  Could I choose five years to give up?  All have had periods in their lives rougher than others.

…times of economic strain

…times of ailing and aching bodies.

…times of romantic loneliness, turmoil, or heartbreak.

…times of fear and uncertainty.

and then

…times of prosperity and plenty.

…times exhilarating youthful energy and vitality.

…times where love conquers all.

…times where we can’t wait until tomorrow.

What were the worst five years of my life?  Would I erase those if I could?

Would you?

The tough times made me stronger, wiser, and more appreciative of the easy times.

The tough times are just as much a part of who I am and why I am who I am as the easy times.

I can look outside on a freezing day and appreciate warmth because as a teenager I carried newspapers at 4a.m. each morning on a bicycle.  My hands and feet were nearly frozen daily.  Would I give up those five years of the freezing paper route?  Not hardly.

Each age has its beauty and its strain, its pleasure and its pain and with any piece missing,

we are not the same.

What I read 20 years ago was just a story.  There is only one true way to get eternal life.  That is also a portal.

It does not require that you erase anything of the past, just get one thing straight in the present that automatically washes away all sins of the past.

“Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.”  Matt 7:14 

The Tablecloth:

The brand-new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work.

They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.

One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was white as a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained.

The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria .

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria . When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.

Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the Church. The pastor insisted on driving her home; that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had three days later on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great.

At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

(True Story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid)

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 21st 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 21st group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

The List

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

 On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to pass the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon.. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously wanting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

 Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

 I have mine too,’ Marilyn said.. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for allhis friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

 Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

 May Your Day Be Blessed!

Taps

We have all heard the haunting song, “Taps.”

It’s the song used at military funerals and at the end of each day on U.S. military bases.



Perhaps we should read the words to the melody U.S. soldiers hear around the world each night.  Try humming with the words:

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight
And a star, gems the sky,
Gleaming bright, from afar,
Drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise for our days
‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky.
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

“Taps” – Words by Union General Daniel Butterfield and bugler Oliver Norton.

The Barracuda

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute did the following study:

It’s a widely known fact that Barracuda love to eat mullet.

Scientists put a barracuda into an aquarium, added a glass partition in the middle and then put a mullet in the other side.

Not believing his good luck the barracuda circled a few times, gathered up speed and launched directly at his lunch – the poor unsuspecting mullet.

Wham!  Bam!  Full throttle into the glass partition.

Unfazed at this, the barracuda did his preliminary circles and sped off again toward the mullet.  Again, Wham! Bang! into the glass partition.

Again and again and again he tried.  Some weeks later, the scientists noticed the barracuda quit trying to eat the mullet, so they removed the glass partition.

Amazingly, the barracuda remained in his side of the aquarium, silently swimming in circles.

In fact, the hapless barracuda slowly died of starvation while the lucky mullet swam about in safety just a few inches away!

Many of us are like that barracuda – hurt, bruised and wounded from many previous collisions with life.

We’ve given up, our lives have become unproductive, lifeless, hopeless, without goal, purpose or meaning.  And in this life, the Devil wants us to stay that way……until death.

Around and around we go, going nowhere…silently, starving to death… while just a few inches away there is a prize to be collected, a blessing to be claimed, a job to be had, a relationship to begin an education to be gained earnings to be earned.

The Heart

“Tomorrow morning,” the surgeon began,  “I’ll open up your heart…”

“You’ll find Jesus there,” the boy interrupted

 The surgeon looked up, annoyed, “I’ll cut your heart open,” he continued, “to see how much damage has been done “

 “But when you open up my heart, you’ll find Jesus in there,” said the boy.

The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. “When I see how much damage has been done, I’ll sew your heart and chest back up, and I’ll plan what to do next.”

“But you’ll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You’ll   find Him in my heart.”

The surgeon had had enough. “I’ll tell you what I’ll find in your heart.  I’ll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels.  And I’ll find out if I can make you well.”

“You’ll find Jesus there too. He lives there “

The surgeon left.

After the operation the surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery, “…damaged aorta, damage to

pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration.  No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis:  here he paused, “death within one year.”

He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. “Why?” he asked God aloud “Why did You do this? You’ve
put him here; You’ve put him in this pain; and You’ve cursed him to an early death.  Why?”

And they say the Lord…..actually really answered in an amazingly clear voice, …..and said, “The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock , and will forever be.  Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine.  His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow.”

The surgeon’s tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. “You created that boy, and You created that heart.  He’ll be dead in months. Why?”

The Lord answered, “The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for He has Done his duty; I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb, “YOU!”
      
The surgeon gasped and wept ………… The surgeon sat beside the boy’s bed; the boy’s parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, “Did you cut open my heart?”

“Yes,” said the surgeon.

 “What did you find?” asked the boy.

“I found Jesus there,” said the surgeon!

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.htm

Stories – 20th 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 20th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

The Silent Times

There are occasions when God will speak to you and then be silent for an extended period of time. Silence does not mean you have been forsaken by God. It simply means that God has spoken, and now is the time to allow the word that He spoke to germinate and come to pass.

Silence is not the same as peace. Silence is the absence of noise, but peace is the presence of God! While you are going through “silent times,” you should focus on inner peace.

Inner peace produces outward confidence in the face of negative circumstances so that we can go forward in the assurance that even though tribulation is coming against us, we are more than conquerors over it!

The Greek word for peace actually describes a spiritual equilibrium no matter whatever may seek to upset us. The biblical meaning of peace never denotes the absence of trouble. Peace is not the absence of negatives but the presence of positives. God’s peace is inward and spiritual and never predicated by contrary circumstances or negative events.

Poverty, sickness, death nor debt can override internal peace!

Silent times should indicate a time of reflection, introspection and listening. The quieter we become, the more we hear.  However, we cannot rush the silent times.


Silent times are times of transition. Transition is always uncomfortable and appears to last forever. We must ENDURE the silent times! Whenever you see the word endure, it means that there is no short cut through it. It must be endured.  You cannot circumvent what must be endured.

We are told to ENDURE unto the end. (Matt. 24:13)
We are told to ENDURE persecution and tribulation. (II Th. 1:4-10)
We are told to ENDURE hardness. (II Tim. 2:1-3)
We are told to ENDURE affliction. (II Tim. 4:5)
We are told to ENDURE chastening. (Heb. 12:7)

The key to being able to ENDURE is to see the END (ENDure).

Now, here are some things for you to question during the silent times:

Is my life really submitted to God?
Am I submitted at home, work, church and to the government?
Have I learned my lesson?
What is God trying to teach me?
Am I humble enough to be teachable?
Has the fruit of patience been sufficiently developed in me?
Do I still have an appetite for the world in me?
Did I properly respond to the last thing God told me to do?
Have I attained a deeper faith?
Is my attitude right toward God and others?
Am I harboring unforgiveness?
What am I becoming?
Have I sufficiently developed and matured as a person?
Have I taken the time to minister to the Lord? (Acts 13:2)

During your silent times you should:

1. Practice and develop your gifts. Study.
2. Clarify. Define goals. Reorder priorities.
3. Serve (even while you are hurting).
4. Trust God.
5. Pray

Your silent times should change your life! You should come out as a new person! When you come out, you should have a new level of:

1. Knowledge
2. Responsibility
3. Authority/Power
4. Faith
5. Trust

Remember, problems never come to last, they only come to pass!

Traveling Soldiers

I hope that you will spare me a few minutes of your time to tell you about something that I saw on Monday, October 27.

I had been attending a conference in Annapolis and was coming home on Sunday.  As you may recall, Los Angeles International Airport was closed  on Sunday, October 26, because of the fires that affected air traffic control.  Accordingly, my flight, and many others, were canceled and I wound up spending a night in Baltimore.

My story begins the next day.  When I went to check in at the United counter Monday morning I saw a lot of soldiers home from Iraq.  Most were very young and all had on their desert camouflage uniforms.  This was a change from earlier, when they had to buy civilian clothes in Kuwait to fly home.  It was a visible reminder that we are in a war.  It probably was pretty close to what train terminals were like in World War II.

Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them questions in the Starbucks line or just saying “Welcome Home.”   In addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up.  So, there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home,  but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time.

By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours.  United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight.  They weren’t getting many takers.  Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, “Folks.  As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area.  They only have 14 days of leave and we’re trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport than they have to.  We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight.  If we can, we want  to get them all on this flight.  We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you’re doing, we are here for you and we love you.”

At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, across-section of America, broke into sustained and heart-felt applause.  The soldiers looked surprised and very modest.  Most of them just looked at their boots.  Many of us were wiping away tears.  And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.

That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we win our wars.

If you want to send my little story on to your friends and family, feel free.  This is not some urban legend.  I was there, I was part of it, I saw it happen.

Will Ross, United States Department of Defense, Administrative Judge

The Sower

Jesus taught in stories or what the bible calls parables.  He did this so that we could remember the principles better that he was teaching to his hearers.

One of the most important was that of The Sower………….Jesus said that the Word of God was like a man going out to sow or scatter seeds in the field, which was the way that they planted wheat in those days.  The man would take a bag of wheat seeds and throw  them out in an arc across the prepared ground.  Jesus said that His Gospel story, (like the words that I shared with you in the prison when we first met and I invited you to make a decision about God), was like the wheat seeds.

Jesus said that some fell on rocky ground, sprang up quickly, but without deep soil for its roots, it just withered and died.  In the same way , some of your peers hear the story of why Jesus came, accept his message, and just glow with happiness.  Yet, when they do not study his word or fail to continue to pray, and neglect hanging with other Christian believers, they wither and fall away………..just like the seed that tried to grow on rocky ground.

Jesus said that some fell among the thorns, and sprang up, but the thorns chocked them out  In like manner, some accept God’s word, make a decision for Jesus, but go back with their old unbelieving friends, and continue to allow the sinful things of the world to be the most important things in their lives, and the Devil causes the things of the world to choke God’s way from their lives……..the thorns of the world choke out their relationship with God.

But Jesus also said that some of the seed fell on good, fertile ground, and sprang up and took good root and grew up healthy, and bore much fruit. 

That is the kind of seed and success that I want you to be.

Stay
In CC at a hospital near Annapolis, Maryland last month the nurse took the young service man to the old gentleman’s bedside.

“Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.

All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.  Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.

When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, and seeing how much he needed me, I stayed.”

     I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey.  His Son was killed in Afghanistan
   yesterday, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name?
 
   The Nurse with Tears in Her Eyes Answered, Mr. William Grey…………
The next time someone needs you like that …… just be there.  Stay.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 19th 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 19th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

Pumpkin

A woman was asked by a co-worker, “What is it like to be a Christian?”

The co-worker replied, “It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.

Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

This was passed on to me from another pumpkin.

The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die.

He was out there sort of like a president.  I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.  But later on when I really met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike. Then I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.  I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.



When I had control, I had to know the way.  It was rather boring, but predictable.  It was the shortest distance between two points.  But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”  I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?”  He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust.  I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand.  I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine.  And we were off again.

He said, “Give the gifts away.  They’re extra baggage, too much weight.”   So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and thus our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life.  I thought He’d wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten, scary passages.  And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do it anymore, He just smiles and says.…….”Pedal!” 

Scars:

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.

He flew into the water, swam out into the lake and then started back, not realizing that as he swam, an alligator was swimming toward the shore also.

His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and turned to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to be driving by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived.

His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father’s fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you.

The Bible teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead.

The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not let you go.

Never judge another persons scars, because you don’t know how they got them.

Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them too……..enough to not let them go!

Red Marbles

During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.  One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya.  Jus’ admirin’ them peas … sure look good.”

“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Fine.  Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”

“Good.  Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir.  Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”

“Would you like to take some home?”

“No, Sir.  Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got’s my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here ’tis.  She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that.  Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not ‘zackley …..but, almost.”

“Tell you what.  Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”

“Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: “There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. My Jim has the warmest heart that you will ever see.  I think that it is because he loves and stays so close to Jesus.  He just loves to bargain with those boys for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this wonderful Christian man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one.

Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts ….. very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.  Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket.

Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes. Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. “Those three young men, who just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size… they came to pay their debt. “We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”



With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.  Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.  Jim Miller is right there to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus.

I so want you to be there with him when you have finished your time here on this planet!

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

 

Stories – 18th 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 18th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

ATTITUDE

Jerry is the manager of a restaurant in rural America. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs so they could follow him around from restaurant to restaurant. There reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was always there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.


Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! No one can be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?”  Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, I have two choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood. I always choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life.”

“But it’s not always that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. It’s your choice how you live your life.”

Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business: he left the back door of his restaurant open one morning and was robbed by three armed men.

While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the hospital. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Want to see my scars?”  I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or choose to die.  I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared?”  I asked.  Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read ‘He’s a dead man.’  I knew I need to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.”

‘Yes,’ I replied.  The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’  Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead’.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that EVERY DAY YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO EITHER ENJOY YOUR LIFE, OR TO HATE IT.

The only thing that is truly yours that no one can control or take from you – is YOUR ATTITUDE, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

And it has been observed over the years……..that those who are closest to God invariably have the best attitudes!



Always…

Scott got to church early to get a good seat for the Christmas service.  He found a seat up against the aisle, and settled in.  People were starting to file in wearing their Sunday finery when he remembered his cell phone was on.  Just as he started to cut it off, John walked up with a big smile and a handshake.  A typical Sunday morning conversation ensued, and as it was ending John questioned Scott about turning off his cell phone.

“You never know,” he said.  “Some desperate soul just might need you,” he smiled.

Scott grimaced, reconsidered, and turned the phone onto vibrate.  Scott ran a one-man towing business, and the last thing he wanted this morning was to have to miss the service to haul someone out of a ditch, or worse, drag the shredded remains of someone’s car off of the highway.

Not five minutes passed before his cell phone vibrated.  As he walked toward the lobby to answer the call he could only think, “Full retail for this one.”

It was old Mrs. Wingate, a widow whose dilapidated jalopy was headed for the Guinness Book of World records for running long past the natural life span of any car.  Her car had broken down on her way to church, and she was stranded on the side of the road, freezing.  She was perhaps the kindliest little old lady anyone could ever hope to meet, and he could scarcely ask her to call anyone else.  After all, she and his Mom were good friends.

When he arrived, Scott could see the steam still rising from her hood.  She smiled gracefully as only a true Southern lady could, and they commiserated for a moment over her ailing car.  As he slipped a pair of coveralls over his Sunday pants and shirt, he asked her to step in front of his truck for safety’s sake.

“Why, whatever for?” she asked.  He explained how when the steel cable pulled her car up onto the flat bed of his truck there was always the possibility that it could snap, and either hurt or maybe even kill someone.

She gave a little gasp, and moved in front of the truck.  In just a few minutes her ailing car was secured, and the pair took off towards her mechanic’s shop.  Since her church was almost on the way, he asked if he could drop her off there.  She turned to him and said, “Yes, thank you.”

As he pulled up to the side door of her church to let her out, she asked, “How much do I owe you.”  He smiled, knowing that she was as poor as a church mouse.  He pointed to the church building and said, “This one’s on the House.”  She smiled that smile that only the truly thankful and relieved could smile, she put her time-worn hand on his forearm and said, “I will always pray for your safety.”

As she walked towards the church she joined some friends.  As he pulled away, he could see them clustered in that tight huddle ladies form when some news needs to be shared.  He knew he did not need to ask if she could get a ride home.  That was as given as tomorrow’s sunrise.

A year later, Scott’s Reserve Unit got called up for combat duty.  He had all the training he needed, and now it was the time to pony up.  He went through the usual tearful goodbyes with his parents and friends, and took the long grueling flight overseas.

Shortly after arriving, his unit was assigned to clear a town of “insurgents.”  With his mechanical skills, it was no surprise that he was assigned to a support group helping to maintain other vehicles in their unit.

It was not a peaceful day.  Occasionally, the distinctive clatter of AK-47s would be heard along with the blast of rocket propelled grenades.  This was usually followed by M-16 and 50 caliber machine gun fire.  It wasn’t long before his team got the call to assist a wounded humvee towards the center of town.

They quickly descended on the shot-up vehicle, and began repairs.  As they worked away it became obvious what parts and tools were needed, so Scott returned to the truck to get them.  As he rounded the back of the truck he ran face-first into a enemy soldier that had slipped up quietly.  Instantly an AK-47 was shoved into his face, and he heard the hammer of the rifle drop as the trigger was pulled.  It was the loudest sound he had ever heard in his life.  For whatever reason, the gun had not discharged, but he had heard that gun’s hammer hit steel like a blacksmith’s hammer striking an anvil.

Immediately he reacted.  With his left hand he swept the gun aside, and with his right hand slammed the heavy wrench he was carrying into the head of the enemy soldier.  The grungy, AK-47  carrying guerilla went down like a pile of rags.  Calling for help, he turned his unconscious would-be killer over to the combat troops.

He was shaking so hard he couldn’t stand up.  He sat down on the truck’s tailgate.  He could only think, “The gun should have gone off.  It should have blown my brains across the street.  I should be dead.”  But he wasn’t.

By evening, his nerves had finally settled down as much as they were going to that day.  His team had been called back to work on a downed vehicle in a well-secured area so they moved away from the fighting.  After chow the mail caught up with them.  He got two letters, and a post card.  He flipped the post card over and found that it was from that dear old soul, Mrs. Wingate.

It had only one sentence:

“I will always pray for your safety.”

He bowed his head, and quietly cried.

Science vs. God

‘Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ.’ The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says.

‘So you believe in God?’

‘Absolutely.’

‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you good or evil?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible!’ He considers for a moment.

‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent.

‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

‘Let’s start again, young fella, is God good?’

‘Er…yes,’ the student says.

‘Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student : ‘From…God…’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’

‘Yes.’

‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Without allowing the student to answer, the professor continues: ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student: ‘Yes.’

‘So who created them?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them? There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.

‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

The student’s voice is confident: ‘Yes, professor, I do’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever actually felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’

‘Yes.’

‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies. ‘There’s heat.’

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.

‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’

‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’

The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter.

‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelled the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take it on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’

Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God.

God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html

Stories – 17th 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 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.

Ron

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
side?”

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
gladness.

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.”



PACKING PARACHUTES……

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!

Pennies

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.”

“One cent?”

“No, keep reading.”

“In God we Trust?”

“Yes!”

“And?”

“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.

If you would like to watch a wonderful, life changing movie, get yourself all prepared with the time to watch a full length movie, and then go to this site and be ready for a life changing experience. .…………….. https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/english.html

如果您想观看一部精彩的、改变生活的电影,请准备好观看一部完整电影的时间,然后访问这个网站,为改变生活的体验做好准备………..…………https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch/jesus.html/chinese-mandarin.html