Grandma’s Hands

Grandma’s Hands

This is good; I’ll never look at my hands the same!

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn’t move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,” she said in a clear, strong voice.

“I didn’t mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to her.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” she asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story: “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

“They braced and caught my fall when, as a toddler, I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook
when I buried my parents and spouse.

“They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand.

“They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works really well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly, it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands, He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma’s hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. – Job 5:18

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Piano Concert

Piano Concert

Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy quietly got up and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.

In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.

That’s the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren’t exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life’s work truly can be beautiful.

The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.

Remember, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. And He will always be there to love and guide you on to great things!

— Author Unknown

Meditation: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear… – Psalm 46:1-2

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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You Make A Choice

You Make A Choice

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

“When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued, “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.”

Then he told the following story:

“Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’

I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team but, as a father, I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay… As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all teammates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball…. the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’ s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay!’

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.”

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.”

“Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!”

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’ So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them.

Meditation: We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. – Romans 15:1

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Three Bullets

Three Bullets

There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old rifle and three bullets. So, he decided that he would go out hunting and kill some wild game for dinner.

As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit. He shot at the rabbit and missed it. The rabbit ran away.

Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. The squirrel disappeared into a hole in a cottonwood tree.

As he went further, he saw a large wild turkey up in a tree, but he had only one bullet remaining. A voice spoke to him and said, “Pray first, aim high and stay focused.”

However, at the same time, he saw a deer which would provide more meat than the turkey. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But, then he saw a rattlesnake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake. Still, the voice again said to him, “Pray first, aim high and stay focused.”

So, the man decided to listen to God’s voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree, and shot the wild turkey. The bullet went into the turkey, deflected off a bone and hit the deer, killing it. When the gun fired, it knocked the man off balance, he stepped on the rattlesnake’s head which killed it and fell backwards into a pond. When he stood up to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a deer and a turkey with which to feed his family. The snake was dead simply because the man listened to God.

Moral of the story: Keep God first and everything else will follow. Pray first before you do anything. Aim high in your goals, and stay focused on God. Never let people or things discourage you concerning your past. Do not look to man for your blessings, but look only to God.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Checking In

Checking In

A minister passing through his church
in the middle of the day,
Decided to pause by the altar
and see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened,
a man came down the aisle,
The minister frowned as he saw
the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

His shirt was kind a shabby
and his coat was worn and frayed,
the man knelt, he bowed his head,
Then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed,
each noon time came this chap,
each time he knelt just for a moment,
A lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister’s suspicions grew,
with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop the man and ask him,
‘What are you doing here?’

The old man said he worked down the road.
Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time,
For finding strength and power.

‘I stay only moments, see,
because the factory is so far away;
as I kneel here talking to the Lord,
This is kind a what I say:

‘I just came again to tell you, lord,
How happy I’ve been, since we found each other’s friendship and you took away my sin.
Don’t know much of how to pray,
but I think about you every day.
So, Jesus, this is Jim checking in today.’

The minister feeling foolish,
told Jim, that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome
To come and pray just anytime

Time to go, Jim smiled, said ‘Thanks.’
He hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar,
He’d never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love,
and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart,
he repeated old Jim’s prayer:

‘I just came again to tell you, Lord,
How happy I’ve been since we found each other’s friendship and you took away my sin.
I don’t know much of how to pray,
but I think about you every day.
So, Jesus, this is me checking in today.’

Past noon one day, the minister noticed
that old Jim hadn’t come.
As more days passed without Jim,
he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him,
learning he was ill.

The hospital staff was worried,
But he’d given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them,
Brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious.
Changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn’t understand
why Jim was so glad,
when no flowers, calls or cards came,
Not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed,
He voiced the nurse’s concern:
No friends came to show they cared.
He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke
up and with a winsome smile;
‘the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know,
that He’s in here all the while

Every day at noon He’s here,
A dear friend of mine, you see,
He sits right down, takes my hand,
Leans over and says to me:

‘I just came again to tell you, Jim,
How happy I have been, since we found this friendship, and I took away your sin.
Always love to hear you pray,
I think about you each day, and so Jim,
this is Jesus checking in today.’

— Author Unknown

Meditation: But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. – John 4:23

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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