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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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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The Gift of Self

The Gift of Self

The Gift of Self

Once there was a wise king who cared for his people so much that he wanted to know how they lived. He dressed in rags and, night after night, sat with a poor man who lived alone under a bridge. There they’d share dinner that they scavenged from a garbage dump nearby. Soon, the poor man looked forward to the evenings because of the stranger’s company.

One night, the king decided to finally reveal his true identity. In full regalia, he went with the royal entourage to visit the poor man.

“What do you want to ask of me?” inquired the benevolent ruler. He expected the man to ask for wealth or a decent home or a place of privilege in the king’s court. Instead, the poor man replied, “You’ve showered others with your wealth, but to me, you’ve given yourself!”

This is the story of our lives. Jesus is Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us.” Rulers of this world can give us wealth but only He gave us His very self. He left His throne in heaven and took on flesh to be one of us. There’s no greater gift than that.

Meditation: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Cleaning

The Cleaning

The Cleaning

Dear Lord Jesus

As I go about my housework
Let me see each job I do,
As a service for my King
And a way of loving You.

Let me wash away my judgments
Of others right or wrong,
As I wash up the dishes
Place within my heart a song.

As I clean up little fingerprints
And lots of muddy shoes,
May I remember how you cleaned the feet
Of the loved ones you did choose.

As I mend up torn pajamas
And sew a button on,
Show me where I need to mend a breech
That’s gone on far too long.

Let me tidy up my thoughts
As I tidy up the toys,
Let me sweep away my fears
Like the dirt from little boys.

May I be just as quick with my forgiveness
As I am with mop and broom,
Sweeping up the clutter
In my heart and living room.

May I rinse out pride and ego
As I rinse the bathtub out,
And while we are at it Lord
Let’s take care of anger, hate and doubt.

Please remind me often Lord
That the way I’m called to serve,
Is an honor given me
And not below what I deserve.

You know Lord, as I look
At all the work we need to do,
I think we’d better house clean
At least each day or two.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.Proverbs 24:27

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Magic of Three Days

The Magic of Three Days

The Magic of Three Days

It was a beautiful spring day, and a sense of peace stayed with me as I left the cathedral on Easter Monday morning. I paused for a moment on top of the steps leading to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet, corsages and boutonnieres were parading on top of a spread-open newspaper.

The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with some inner joy. I started down the stairs–then on an impulse, turned and picked out a flower.

As I put it in my lapel, I said, “You look happy.”

“Why not?’ she answered. “Everything is good.”

She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply started me. “You’ve been sitting here for many years now, haven’t you? And always smiling. You wear your troubles well.”

“You can’t reach my age and not have troubles,” she replied. “Only it’s like Jesus and Good Friday….” She paused for a moment.

“Yes?” I prompted.

“Well, when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. When I get troubles I remember that and then I think of what happened only three days later-Easter and our Lord rose from the dead. So when things go wrong, I’ve learned to wait days and somehow everything gets much better.”

She smiled good-bye, but her words still follow me whenever I think I have troubles… “Give God a chance to help…wait three days.”

– by Patt Barnes

Meditation: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. – Isaiah 43:2

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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