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March 7th, 2009

Forgiving

Old-Oak-Tree

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job. His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed: “Lord, You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how. It is not fair Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – Teach me To Forgive.” As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder.

He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground.

He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them. He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak. “Have you ever told a lie?” He asked.

The man answered, “Yes, Lord.” “Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?” The man answered, “Yes. Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more. “Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours?” Jesus asked. And the man answered, “Yes, Lord.” “Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?” The man, crying now, answered, “Yes, Lord.”

As Jesus asked many more times, “Have you ever . . ?” the man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, “Yes, Lord.” Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.

Jesus said, “I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.”

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It may be hard to see how you’re going to get through something, but when you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is.

Read the following first line slowly and let it sink in. If God brings you to it – He will bring you through it.

Lord I love You and I need You, come into my heart, today. For without You I can do nothing.

March 7th, 2009

Story : A Pillow and A Blanket

Silk Pillow and blanket

A long time ago, a young, wealthy girl was getting ready for bed. She was saying her prayers when she heard a muffled crying coming through her window. A little frightened, she went over to the window and leaned out.

Another girl, who seemed to be about her age and homeless was standing in the alley by the rich girl’s house. Her heart went out to the homeless girl, for it was the dead of winter, and the girl had no blanket, only old newspapers someone had thrown out.

The rich girl was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea. She called to the other girl and said, “You there, come to my front door, please.”

The homeless girl was so startled she could only manage to nod.

As quick as her legs could take her, the young girl ran down the hall to her mothers closet, and picked out an old quilt and a beat up pillow. She had to walk slower down to the front door as to not trip over the quilt which was hanging down, but she made it eventually. Dropping both the articles, she opened the door. Standing there was the homeless girl, looking quite scared.

The rich girl smiled warmly and handed both articles to the other girl. Her smile grew wider as she watched the true amazement and happiness alight upon the other girl’s face. She went to bed incredibly satisfied.

In mid-morning the next day a knock came to the door. The rich girl flew to the door hoping that it was the other little girl there. She opened the large door and looked outside. It was the other little girl. Her face looked happy, and she smiled. “I suppose you want these back.”

The rich little girl opened her mouth to say that she could keep them when another idea popped into her head. “No, I want them back.”

The homeless girl’s face fell. This was obviously not the answer she had hoped for. She reluctantly laid down the beat up things, and turned to leave when the rich girl yelled, “Wait! Stay right there.”

She turned in time to see the rich girl running up the stairs and down a long corridor. Deciding whatever the rich little girl was doing wasn’t worth waiting for she started to turn around and walk away. As her foot hit the first step, she felt someone tap her on the shoulder, turning she saw the rich little girl, thrusting a new blanket and pillow at her. “Have these.” she said quietly.

These were her own personal belonging made of silk and down feathers.

As the two grew older they didn’t see each other much, but they were never far from each other’s minds. One day, the Rich girl, who was now a Rich woman got a telephone call from someone. A lawyer, saying that she was requested to see him.

When she arrived at the office, he told her what had happened. Forty years ago, when she was nine years old, she had helped a little girl in need. That grew into a middle-class woman with a husband and two children. She had recently died and left something for her in her will.

“Though,” the lawyer said, “it’s the most peculiar thing. She left you a pillow and a blanket.”

March 7th, 2009

Story : The Pilot and The Rat

Pilot in cockpit

The modern jet on the runway was a beauty. It was equipped with the latest technology and weaponry. The jet could fly at supersonic speeds, and quickly race to great heights. If an enemy plane were in the vicinity, the jet’s pilot could destroy that plane miles away, before the plane’s pilot could even see him.

An Air Force pilot climbed into the jet and off he flew, leaving the earth far behind as he soared above the clouds. Although no one was looking, the pilot straightened himself in his seat. He was naturally proud of his jet, and of himself for qualifying to fly such a sophisticated mode of transportation.

After he reached cruising altitude, the pilot heard a strange noise. He took off his helmet, and recognized the noise–it sounded like someone gnawing on rubber or plastic. Peering down below the instrument panel, to his horror the pilot saw a rat, out of his reach and gnawing on the main electrical wire between the jet’s controls and its engine. If the rat were to cut through that line, the jet would careen out of control, and crash immediately.

The pilot’s first instinct was to descend–an emergency landing. But he had flown so far that there was not enough time to land. So he decided to ascend–maybe the rat couldn’t survive at a higher altitude. The pilot put on his oxygen mask, boosted power to the jet’s engine, and quickly climbed as high as he could go. Soon the gnawing sound ended. When the pilot landed safely, he found the rat — dead.

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How Does This Apply to Our Lives?

“If you lie down with dogs, you will rise with fleas.” That saying holds much truth, and so does this story.

The pilot was highly trained, at the top of his profession. His equipment was the best that technology could provide. But his safety was threatened by the appetite of one of the most primitive of animals — a rat.

Like the jet pilot, we live in a world of high technology. Robots make our clothes, microwave ovens cook our food, cordless telephones carry our voices, and computers analyze our cars. And yet our lives are also affected by many things people faced centuries ago. Hate, jealousy, and dishonesty continue to exist. We are still plagued by temptations to strike out in anger, cut corners to get ahead, and toy with the truth.

And something else has not changed: most people say they want to be delivered from temptations, but really would like to keep in touch with them. You see, we know certain things are wrong, yet we still flirt with them. As our power of resistance weakens, we think that one small compromise of our principles won’t matter. But it does. Lying down with dogs has unhealthy results, and so does compromising with wrong.

Take care to avoid being lured into moral and ethical trouble. Build a wall of protection around your life by shunning anything that promotes or gives credibility to unwholesome attitudes. Read Scripture, meditate upon its truths, and do your best to live by them.

Those steps will lead you to new spiritual altitudes. Just as the hungry rat could not survive at high altitudes, sinful appetites cannot survive at such spiritual heights.

“The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.” Job 17:9

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