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March 1st, 2012

Story : Working To Buy Food And Bibles

Working To Buy Food And Bibles

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had brought everything alive with color, but a northern cold front had brought winter’s chill back to southern Indiana.

I sat with two friends in a quaint restaurant just off the town square. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. I could read the well-worn sign attached to his pack: I WILL WORK FOR FOOD.

My heart sank. I noticed other people at the tables around us looking at him, too, shaking their heads in sadness and disbelief. We finished our meal, but I couldn’t get the image of the man out of my mind.

I had a list of errands to do before going back to work. As I passed the town square, I looked halfheartedly for the stranger. If I see him again, I’ll have to do something, I thought with a knot in my stomach.

I drove through town and saw no sign of him. As I finished my errands and got back in the car, I felt the Spirit of God speaking to me: “Don’t go back to the office until you’ve driven once more around the square.”

After a moment’s hesitation, I headed back. At a corner of the town square, I spotted him standing on the steps of the stone-front church, going through his pack. Do I really have to get involved? What should I say to him? Maybe it’s best to just drive on. The vacant parking space on the street seemed to be a sign from God. I pulled in, got out, and approached the town’s newest visitor.

“Looking for the pastor?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied. “Just resting.”

“Have you eaten today?”

“Oh, I ate something early this morning.”

“Would you like some lunch?” I offered.

“Do you have some work I can do for you?”

“No,” I replied. “I commute here from the city but I would like to take you to dinner.”

“Sure,” he finally agreed with a smile.

As he gathered his things, I asked some innocent questions.

“Where you headed?”

“St. Louis.”

“From…?”

“Oh, all over; mostly Florida.”

“How long you been walking?”

“Fourteen years,” came the unexpected reply.

We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left only minutes earlier, and Daniel and I got acquainted. His dark hair was long and straight, and he had a neatly trimmed beard. His face, weathered by the outdoors, seemed slightly older than thirty-eight years. His eyes were dark yet clear. I was startled at how articulate he was. As he removed his denim jacket, I read the words on his bright red T-shirt: JESUS IS THE NEVER ENDING STORY.

Daniel’s Story

Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen some rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier while backpacking across the country, he had stopped in Daytona Beach. He hired on with some men who were putting up a large tent and sound equip-ment. A concert, Daniel thought. Instead, it was a series of revival services, and he gave his life over to Christ.

“Nothing’s been the same since,” he said. “I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did.”

“Ever think of stopping?” I asked.

“Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That’s what’s in my pack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when his Spirit leads.”

It suddenly hit me. This homeless friend is not homeless. He’s on a mission and lives this way by choice. My next question burned inside me before I finally asked: “What’s it like?”

“What?”

“To walk into a town with everything you own on your back. And having to carry that sign?”

“Oh, it was humiliating at first,” Daniel admitted. “People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread at me and made an obscene gesture. That didn’t make me feel welcome. But then I realized God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.”

My concept was changing, too.

Following The Star

We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door Daniel paused. He turned to me and said, “Come ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.” I felt as if we were on holy ground.

“Could you use another Bible?” I asked. He mentioned a certain translation that traveled well and was also his personal favorite.

“I’ve read through it fourteen times,” he said.

I was able to find Daniel a Bible and he seemed grateful. “Where you headed from here?” I asked.

“Well, I found a little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.”

“Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?”

“No, I just figure I should go there.”

He pointed to the map. “I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.” Daniel smiled warmly.

I drove him back to the town square where we’d met two hours earlier. It began to rain as we unloaded his things.

“Would you like to sign my autograph book?” he asked. “I like to keep messages from folks I meet.”

I wrote how his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with the words of Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.”

“Thanks,” Daniel said. “I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.”

“I know,” I said. “I love you, too.”

“The Lord is good.”

“Yes, he is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?” I asked.

“A long time,” he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced. Deep inside, I had been changed.

See you in the new Jerusalem

Daniel adjusted his belongings on his back, smiled his winning smile, and said, “See you in the new Jerusalem.”

“I’ll be there,” was my reply.

He began his journey again, his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. Then he suddenly turned and asked, “If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?”

“You bet,” I shouted back.

“God bless.”

“God bless.”

It was the last time I ever saw him.

Later that evening as I left the office, the wind blew stronger. I bundled up and hurried to the car. As I reached for the emergency brake, I saw them—a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the handle. I picked them up and wondered if Daniel’s hands would stay warm tonight without them. I remembered his request: “If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?”

I keep Daniel’s cotton gloves in my office to help me see the world and its people in a new way. His two hours of ministry affected me from that day on. Sometimes I can hear his voice distinctly, “See you in the new Jerusalem.”

Yes, Daniel, I know I will.

NB: “I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

– – – written by Richard Ryan

February 16th, 2012

God : The Perfect Father

God The Perfect Father

A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances, said: “My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!”

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty losing a finger.

Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said “Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger.” The slave replied: “My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows “why” of all these things. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!” Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, he left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices. In the altar, ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages found that the victim had not one of his fingers, so he was released. According to them, it was not so complete to be offered to the gods.

Upon his return to the palace, he authorized the release of his slave that he received very affectionately. “My dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?”

The slave replied: “My King, if I had gone with you in this hunt, I would have been sacrificed for you, because I have no missing finger, therefore, remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong.”

—————— ——————–

Often we complain about life, and negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose. Every morning, offer your day to God, don’t be in a rush. God is the perfect father.

Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, and ease your feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong! You know why this message is for you? I do not know, but God knows, because he never makes mistakes. He is the perfect father and He uses imperfect people.

The path of God and his word is perfect, without impurities. He is the way of all those who trust in Him.

January 18th, 2012

Story : Never Judge Anyone

Never Judge Anyone

A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father going and coming in the hall waiting for the doctor. Once seeing him, the dad yelled: “Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have the sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said: “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital and I came the fastest I could after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily.

The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book – “From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. – Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy, “Thank goodness!, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any question, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was in the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

NEVER JUDGE ANYONE because You never know how their life is & as to what is happening or what they’re going through.

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