The Tramp

The Tramp

The Tramp

It was a cold winter’s day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost lying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face.

He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this tramp was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church. We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man lying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit he took off his hat and coat.

My heart sank.

There stood our preacher…he was the “homeless man.”

No one said a word.

The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand. “Folks, I don’t think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today.”

Then he started singing the words to this song. “If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he’s traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain.”

“Is your living in vain?”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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It Must Be Settled Tonight

It Must Be Settled Tonight

A Story of Salvation

The burly miner blinked as he left the dark interior of the coal mine. Stopping at a faucet near the mine entrance, he washed the worst of the grime from his face and hands, then headed towards his home on the outskirts of the village. As he trudged along the dusty lane, he passed the open door of a little church. Inside, a small crowd listened intently as an energetic man gesticulated from the pulpit. Interested, the miner stepped to the door.

“Absolute surrender is what we must have,” the minister was saying. “Are you willing to surrender yourself absolutely into His hand? If not, you are not ready to meet your God.” The minister paced back and forth on the platform. “We do not know how much longer our earthly probation will last. Tonight you are living; tomorrow may be too late. Ask yourself, I beg of you, ‘Am I ready to meet the Lord?'”

The miner, touched to the quick, slipped into the back pew. I am not ready to meet God, he thought. I have lived a careless, godless life. How can I make peace with Him? The meeting ended, and the people filed out. Still the miner remained in the pew, his head in his hands.

Finally, the minister touched him on the shoulder. “Brother, are you ready to meet the Lord?”

Blindly, the miner shook his head. “I know I am not. Oh, help me find peace!”

An hour passed as the minister shared the plan of salvation, yet something held the miner back from full surrender.

“It’s getting late,” the minister finally said. “Go home, and continue to seek the Lord.”

The miner shook his head. “Stay with me a little longer; it must be settled tonight.”

Once again the minister explained the way of salvation and prayed, but in vain. Another hour passed.

“You must go home,” the minister told him. “It’s late, and I cannot make it any clearer.”

“It must be settled tonight,” the miner repeated, his eyes burning with earnestness.

“Then we shall stay here together,” the minister agreed. Once more he spoke of Jesus and shared promise after promise. Once more he prayed but in vain. “I must go,” the minister finally said. “It will soon be morning. Go home, and return tomorrow night. Maybe then you will find peace.”

“Sir, I cannot leave this place until I find peace.”

The poor man’s voice trembled. “Tomorrow may be too late. It must be settled tonight.”

The minister could not resist his appeal. “By the help of God.” He said, “it shall be settled tonight.”

Again he explained the steps of conversion; again he prayed. As he spoke, the miner broke into sobs and tears, and at last the light pierced his darkness.

“I see it!” he cried. “I give myself absolutely to God, to His will, to do only what He wants. It is settled.

Praise His name, it is settled!” The two men knelt again, but this time to thank God for bringing light to a sinner’s soul.

The next morning the miner went to work as usual. During the day he was sent to a distant part of the mine to fetch some tools. When he did not return, his fellow workers went to look for him. They found that the mine walls had caved in on him, and he was buried in the debris. Working with pick and shovel, they began to dig. Finally, from the fragments of rock and rubbish and stone which hid him from sight, came a faint sound:

“Tonight —- would have been —- too late. Thank God —- it was settled — last night!”

Am I ready to meet the Lord?

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.Matthew 24:42

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Best and Favourite Teacher

The Best and Favourite Teacher

The Best and Favourite Teacher

As she stood in front of her 5th-grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around…”

His second-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third-grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.

But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs Thompson that she was still the best and favourite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favourite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer… The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr Stoddard whispered in Mrs Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it? “Believe in Angels, then return the favour.”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. – Luke 14:14

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Angry Evangelist

The Angry Evangelist

One day a local evangelist bragged during a crusade that his God was more able than all the other gods and the powers that the villagers worshiped put together. Just then, rainstorm sounds started sounding overhead, threatening the progress of the crusade. The evangelist lifted up his voice and declared with confidence that if the rains fell, then he wasn’t a man of God; he would stop preaching!

Before he could finish his bluff, the rains began to hit the crusade grounds so vehemently, as if in disregard of his declarations. The whole town left the crusade grounds to their houses, shaking their heads in disappointment and dismay.

The evangelist, so distraught and angry, packed his belongings and left the town the next day. On his way through the next town, he checked into a local drinking pub and drank himself to stupor. As he laid on the ground cursing God, an old seedy looking man tapped him gently on the shoulder.

“Man of God”, the old man greeted. But the evangelist quickly cut in, “Don’t mention the name of God to me. He is fake. He is unreliable. I am no longer a believer in this God. A God who chooses to disgrace his servants. Leave me alone!”

But the old man would not let him be. He continued, “I am the fetish priest in the village you just preached at. During your one week stay in that village, you destroyed all the charms I had used to bind the people for 45 years. Your prayers and your words always came with some fearful fire. I tried so many times to eliminate you but I couldn’t. My last chance came yesterday. I had loaded my gun with gunpowder lying wait on the mountaintop where I had a very clear view of you.

“My plan was to shoot you from a distance since I couldn’t get close enough to you due to the fire around you. But just when I lifted the gun, the rains came from nowhere, wetting my gunpowder and covering you in a cloud such that I couldn’t even see you. All I saw was a bright man holding a sword in front of you.

“I was so terrified. I concluded that your God was indeed all-powerful and Almighty. That is why I’ve been looking for you since then. I want to follow this your God!”

The ex-evangelist bowed his head in shame.

Dear friends, sometimes, it is just wise for us to believe that our Father knows the way He is taking us. We should just trust His leading. Let our boast be in the Lord, not in ourselves. If we decree a thing and it doesn’t happen, let us not see it as disappointment or dishonour from the Father. Let us just believe that the Father wants his perfect will to be done in all things.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Always On Duty

Always On Duty

Always On Duty

Question: Can a Christian drink alcohol?

When a European Airline was initially launched, an educated Christian gentleman was traveling in the first-class section. An air hostess approached him with a complimentary drink, this was an alcoholic drink so that man politely refused.

The air hostess returned but this time bought the drink on a platter, designed to appeal and impress. However, the Christian man again politely refused, explaining he doesn’t drink alcohol.

The air hostess was concerned and informed the manager. The manager approached the man with another platter, now designed with flowers, he questioned, “Is there something wrong with our service? Please enjoy the drink, it is a complimentary offer.”

The man replied, “I am a Christian and I do not drink alcohol.”

The manager still insisted that the man take the drink. Then, the Christian proposed that the manager should give the drink to the pilot first.

The manager stated, “How can the pilot drink alcohol, he’s on duty?! And if he drinks there are all chances for the plane to crash”.

The passenger with tears in his eye replied, “I am a Christian and I am ALWAYS on duty in order to protect my FAITH. And if I drink alcohol I will crash my whole life here and hereafter. I AM 100% ON DUTY!”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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