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The ABC of Fatherhood

The ABC of Fatherhood

The ABC of Fatherhood

A – Always trust them to God’s care

B – Bring them to church

C – Challenge them to high goals

D – Delight in their achievements

E – Exalt the LORD in their presence

F – Frown on evil

G – Give them love

H – Hear their problems

I – Ignore not their childish fears

J – Joyfully accept their apologies

K – Keep their confidence

L – Live a good example before them

M – Make them your friends

N – Never ignore their endless questions

O – Open your home to their visits

P – Pray for them by name

Q – Quicken your interest in their spirituality

R – Remember their needs

S – Show them the way of salvation

T – Teach them to work

U – Understand they are still young

V – Verify your statements

W – Wean them from bad company

X – eXpect them to obey

Y – Yearn for God’s best for them

Z – Zealously guide them in biblical truth

— Author Unknown

Meditation: May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us. – 1 Kings 8:57

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Situations that Require Silence

Situations that Require Silence

Situations that Require Silence

As the adage goes, ‘silence is golden’, the following is a list of 20 situations where it is better to be silent:

  1. Be silent – in the heat of anger.
  1. Be silent – when you don’t have all the facts.
  1. Be silent – when you haven’t verified the story.
  1. Be silent – if your words will offend a weaker person.
  1. Be silent – when it is time to listen.
  1. Be silent – when you are tempted to make light of holy things.
  1. Be silent – when you are tempted to joke about sin.
  1. Be silent – if you would be ashamed of your words later.
  1. Be silent – if your words would convey the wrong impression.
  1. Be silent – if the issue is none of your business.
  1. Be silent – when you are tempted to tell an outright lie.
  1. Be silent – if your words will damage someone else’s reputation.
  1. Be silent – if your words will damage a friendship.
  1. Be silent – when you are feeling critical.
  1. Be silent – if you can’t say it without screaming.
  1. Be silent – if your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family.
  1. Be silent – if you may have to eat your words later.
  1. Be silent – if you have already said it more than one time.
  1. Be silent – when you are tempted to flatter a wicked person.
  1. Be silent – when you are supposed to be working instead.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles. – Proverbs 21:23

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Message from a Couple Who Have Too Much Stuff

Message from a Couple Who Have Too Much Stuff

A poem sent to Dear Abby from a couple who have too much stuff.

So many of you asked us (since Yuletide’s drawing near)

“What do you want for Christmas? What can we give you this year?

If we say, “We want nothing!” you buy something anyway,

So here’s a list of what we’d like; believe now what we say:

 

Pajamas for a little child, food to feed the poor.

Blankets for a shelter, and we ask a little bit more–

Perform good deeds and let us know, or volunteer your time.

These last are worth a fortune, and they needn’t cost a dime.

 

We have too many things now, vases, candles, tapes and clocks.

We have our fill of garments, ties, underwear and socks.

Candy is too fattening, crossword books we’ve more than 20.

We don’t need trays or plates or cups, and knickknacks we have plenty.

 

We’ve no walls to hang more pictures; we have books we’ve not yet read;

So please take what you’d spend on us and help the poor instead!

Just send a Christmas card to us and tell us what you’ve done;

We’ll open them on Christmas Eve, and read them one by one.

 

It won’t cost as much for postage as a package sent would do,

You’ll need no wrapping paper, ribbons, ink or glue.

And we’ll thank God you listened to what we had to say,

So we could be the instruments to help someone this way.

– Author Unknown

Meditation: The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  – Isaiah 41:17

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Tomato Game

The Tomato Game

The Tomato Game

A teacher asked her students to bring some tomatoes in a plastic bag to school. Each tomato was to be given the name of a person whom that child hates. So, the number of tomatoes would be equal to the number of persons they hate.

On a pre-determined day, all the children brought their tomatoes well addressed. Some had two, some had three and some had five, some even had 20 tomatoes in accordance with the number of people they hated. The teacher then told them they had to carry the tomatoes with them everywhere they go for two weeks. As the days passed the children started to complain about the decay and smell of the tomatoes. The students who had many tomatoes complained it was very heavy to carry and the smell was too much.

After a week, the teacher asked the students “How did you feel this week?” The children complained of the awful smell and heavy weight of the tomatoes, especially those who carried several tomatoes.

The teacher said, “This is very similar to what you carry in your heart when you don’t like some people. Hatred makes the heart unhealthy and you carry that hatred everywhere. If you can’t bear the smell of spoilt tomatoes for a week, imagine the impact of bitterness on your heart as you carry it daily.”

The heart is a beautiful garden that needs regular cleaning of unwanted weeds. Forgive those who have angered you. This makes room for storing good things. Endeavour to get better, not bitter.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. – Mark 11:25

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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One on the Wall

One on the Wall

One on the Wall

I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighbouring town of Venice (Italy), the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, ‘Two cups of coffee, one here, one on the wall.’

We heard this strange order with interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. As soon as he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, ‘A Cup of Coffee’.

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had the two cups of coffee, but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, ‘A Cup of Coffee’.

It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left. After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a poorly dressed man entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, ‘One cup of coffee from the wall’.

The waiter served coffee to this man with customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.

We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the dustbin.

Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.

Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem. He has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him. He only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.

Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see will be our wall of good deeds on the Day of Judgement. This is what is Charity when you give from one hand and the other hand does not know about it. May God help us to spend for the poor and the needy.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. – Matthew 6:2-4

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Thorns

Thorns

Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

“She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The shop clerk’s approach startled her.

“I…I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.

“For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” asked the shop clerk. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

Then the door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi, Barbara…let me get your order.” She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except for the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

“Want this in a box?” asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again.” She said as she gently tapped her chest.

“Uh,” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, uh….she just left with no flowers!”

“Right, said the clerk, “I cut off the flowers. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.”

“Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that!” exclaimed Sandra.

“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today,” explained the clerk. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.”

“That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk, “and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.”

“So what did you do?” asked Sandra.

“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the ‘flowers of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort.

You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then someone else walked into the shop. “Hey, Phil!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement…twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?”

“No…I’m glad you asked,” Phil replied. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from “thorny” times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific “problem” and give thanks for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too…fresh.”

“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.”

It read: “My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.” – George Matheson

Praise Him for your roses, thank him for your thorns.

By Lynn Sheer

Meditation: Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? – Job 2:10

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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