Lessons -- of Life (Character, Charity / Love, etc.)

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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
9-2-2004

The following is a poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama. Judge Moore was recently sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

America the Beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
I'm glad they'll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty,
your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain.

From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
and a need to always pray.

We've kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.

We've voted in a government
that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
who throw reason out the door,

Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not angry,
that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven
and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land
and those who live within.

But, America the Beautiful,
if you don't - then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.

~Judge Roy Moore

Watch Yourself - Don't Jump to Conclusions
5-19-2004

At an airport one night
With several long hours
Before her flight.
She hunted for a book
In an airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies
And found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book
But happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her,
As bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two
From the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore
To avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies
And watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief
Diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated
As the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice,
I would blacken his eye."

With each cookie she took,
He took one too,
When only one was left,
She wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face,
And a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie
And broke it in half.

He offered her half,
As he ate the other,
She snatched it from him
And thought....ooh, brother!
This guy had some nerve
And he's also rude,
Why he didn't even show
Any gratitude!

She had never known
When she been so galled,
And sighed with relief
When her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings
And headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back
At the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane,
And sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book,
Which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage,
She gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies,
In front of her eyes.

If mine are here,
She moaned in despair,
The others were his,
And he tried to share.
Too late to apologize,
She realized with grief,
That she was the rude one,
- the ingrate, the thief!

How many times have we absolutely known that something was a certain way, only to discover later that what we believed to be true ..... was not? "Always Keep An Open Mind And An Open Heart, Because .......................... You Just Never Know .... "You might be eating someone else's cookies."
Practice what you Preach
12/22/2003

Two cars were waiting at a stoplight.   The light turned green, but the man didn't notice it.   A woman in the car behind him is watching traffic pass around them. The woman begins pounding on her steering wheel and yelling at the man to move.   The man doesn't move.

The woman is going ballistic inside her car, ranting and raving at the man, pounding on her steering wheel and dash.   The light turns yellow and the woman begins to blow the car horn, flips him off, and screams profanity and curses at the man.

The man, looks up, sees the yellow light and accelerates through the intersection just as the light turns red.

The woman is beside herself, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection.   As she is still in mid-rant she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the barrel of a gun held by a very serious looking policeman.

The policeman tells her to shut off her car while keeping both hands in sight.   She complies, speechless at what is happening.   After she shuts off the engine, the policeman orders her to exit her car with her hands up.   She gets out of the car and he orders her to turn and place her hands on her car.   She turns, places her hands on the car roof and quickly is cuffed and hustled into the patrol car.   She is too bewildered by the chain of events to ask any questions and is driven to the police station where she is fingerprinted, photographed, searched, booked and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door for her.   She is escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer is waiting with her personal effects.   He hands her the bag containing her things, and says, "I'm really sorry for this mistake. But you see, I pulled up behind your car while youwere blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, andcussing a blue streak at him.   Then I noticed the:   "Choose Life" license plate holder, the "What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the "Follow Me to Sunday School" bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk.

So, naturally . . . . . . . I assumed you had stolen the car."

THE CARPENTER
9-9-2003

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.

"I'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help you with?

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence, an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.

The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

It was a bridge . . . a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched...

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

Remember This . . .
** God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
** God won't ask the square footage of your house, but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
** God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
** God won't ask what your highest salary was, but He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
** God won't ask what your job title was, but He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of our ability.
** God won't ask how many friends you had, but He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
** God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.
** God won't ask about the color of your skin, but He'll ask about the content of your character.

Thinking Outside of the Box

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Think before you continue reading. . .

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box." Keeping in mind, and living in accordance with the ideas from the previous lesson (The Carpenter) helps us to have or develop the kind of open mind that produces or allows for this kind of thinking & creativity.

A Cherokee Lesson
4/17/2003

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.....

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil --- he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good --- he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too".

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

God's Cake
3/11/2003

A young man is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong -- school problems, friend problems, family problems, financial problems, severe health problems, etc. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which, of course, he does. "Here, have some cooking oil". "Yuck" says the young man. "How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Grandma!" "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Grandma, those are all yucky!" To which Grandma replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good. We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!" God is Crazy About You. He sends you flowers every Spring, a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart.

(Jan. 2003)
                                        Imagine . . .

There is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.   It carries over no balance from day to day.   Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.   What would you do?   Draw out ALL OF IT, of course!!!!

Each of us has such a bank.   Its name is TIME.   Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.   Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.   It carries over no balance.   It allows no overdraft.   Each day it opens a new account for you.   Each night it burns the remains of the day.   If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.   There is no going back.   There is no drawing against the "tomorrow."   You must live in the present on today's deposits.   Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!   The clock is running.   Make the most of today!

(Oct. 2002)
Take Care of the Rocks

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed that yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up every-thing else.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is like your life. The rocks are the bigger important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children, your religion - anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, would be extremely damaging to you. The pebbles are the other important things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale like your job, house, or car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff (including all entertainment)."

"If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important."

There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, finish the addition, give a dinner party, fix the disposal, or wax the car.

Many people drive themselves nuts and stress themselves out working on and dealing mostly with the pebbles and sand.

Set your priorities. Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Take time to exercise and get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing.

Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter.

A Drug Problem ?

I had a drug problem when I was a child and teenager.

I was "drug" to church on Sunday morning.
I was "drug" to church on Sunday night.
I was "drug" to church on Wednesday night.
I was "drug" to Sunday School every week, and
I was "drug" to Vacation Bible School.

I learned something from these drugs.   These "drugs" are still in my veins, and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think.   They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin.   If more children had this "drug" problem, America would certainly be a better place.    - - Unknown.

A Lesson from Frogs

A number of frogs were traveling together through the woods. Two of them fell into a pit and all the other frogs gathered around. When it looked like the two could not jump out, the frogs on top told them that they were as good as dead.

Traveling together the frogs on top needed to wait until the two in the pit either got out or died before they could continue their journey. Quickly becoming impatient they yelled at the two below to give up, quit trying and wasting time; to quit suffering and die.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The frogs on top kept telling them to give up and stop, that there was no way they could make it and they were as good as dead.

Eventually the situation overcame one of the frogs who took heed to what the others were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump and try to get out. Again the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and eventually, finding better footing and getting hold of some roots near the top, finally clawed his way out.

The other frogs were stunned. They congratulated him and explained how amazed they were that he could get out of there. They admitted they were wrong and apologized for discouraging him and then realized that they had to use sign language to communicate - learning that he was deaf.

He expressed his deep gratitude for their sustaining support and encouragement. - - - HE THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE ALL CHEERING HIM ON THE WHOLE TIME.

The lesson:

THERE IS THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH IN THE TONGUE.
- - An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word to someone who is down can be the push over the edge. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. Anyone can speak words that can rob another of the spirit to push forward in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another, or hold his tongue when irritated.

What's Inside?

A speaker began the presentation by placing two identical jars on the table next to the pulpit.   He then quoted 1 Samuel 16:7   "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.   Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks a the heart."   These jars came from the same factory, were made of the same materials, and can hold the same amount.   But they are different, he explained.   Then he upset one and it oozed out honey.   He turned over the other, and vinegar spilled out.   When a jar is upset, whatever is in it comes out.   Until the jars were upset, they looked alike.   The difference was within, and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed.   Until we are upset we put on a good front.   But when we are upset, we reveal our innermost thoughts and attitudes, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  (Luke 6:45)   What if someone tipped you over today?   What would flow out?   Would you reveal the "honey" of grace and patience, or the "vinegar" of anger and sarcasm?

Have a terrific day knowing that the one who upsets you may be just looking for some honey.   "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."  (1 Peter 4:8)

Many children, and adults, sometimes, act up - different / annoyingly - to catch our attention - simply looking for some honey - not because they really want to cause any problems.

The Brick and the Corvette

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Corvette. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Vet's side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Vette back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing! That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister . . .please, I'm sorry . . .I didn't know what else to do," he pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop. . ." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother," he said, "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's to heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his weelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Corvette. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the screwed up door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention! God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice: Listen to the whisper . . .or wait for the brick!

NAILS IN THE FENCE

There once was a little girl who had a bad temper. Her mother gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper, she must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the girl had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the girl didn't lose her temper at all.

She told her mother about it and the mother suggested that the girl now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper.

The days passed and the young girl was finally able to tell her mother that all the nails were gone.

The mother took her daughter by the hand and led her to the fence. She said, "You have done well, my daughter, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a person and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Shoes ... and Friendship

My alarm went off -- it was Sunday again;
I was tired -- it was my one day to sleep in.
But the guilt I'd have felt the rest of the day
Would have been too much, so I'd go; I'd pray.

I showered and shaved, adjusted suit and tie,
Got there and swung into a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in humble prayer
Before I closed my eyes,
I saw that the shoe of the man next to me
Was touching my own and I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side, I thought,
"Why do our soles have to touch?"
It bothered me so; he was glued to my shoe,
But it didn't seem to bother him much.

Then the prayer began: "Heavenly Father, "someone said - -
But I thought, "Does this man with the shoes have no pride?"
They were dusty, worn, scratched end to end.
What's worse, there were holes on the side!

"Thank you for blessings," the prayer went on.
The shoe man said a quiet "Amen."
I tried to focus on the prayer,
But my thoughts were on his shoes again.

Aren't we supposed to look our best when walking through that door?
"Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought, glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer ended and songs of praise began.
The shoe man was loud, sounding proud as he sang.
He lifted the rafters; his hands raided high;
The Lord surely heard his voice from the sky.

Then the offering was passed; what I threw in was steep.
The shoe man reached into his pockets, so deep,
And I tried to see what he pulled out to put in,
Then I heard a soft "clink," as when silver hits tin.

The sermon bored me to tears - - and no lie - -
It was the same for the shoe man,
For tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service, as is custom here,
We must greet the visitors and show them good cheer.
But I was moved inside to want to meet this man,
So after the closing, I shook his hand.

He was old, his skin dark, his hair a mess.
I thanked him for coming, for being our guest,
He said, "My name's Charlie, glad to meet you, my friend,"
And there were tears in his eyes - - but he had a wide grin.

"Let me explain," he said, wiping his eyes. "I've been
coming for months, and you're the first to say, "Hi."
I know I don't look like all the rest,
But I always try to look my best."
"I polish my shoes before my long walk,
But by the time I get here they're as dirty as chalk."

My heart fell to my knees, but I held back my tears,
He continued, "And I must apologize for sitting so near."
"But I know when I get here, I must look a sight.
And I thought - - if I touched you, our souls might unite."

I was silent for a moment knowing anything I said
Would be pale in comparison,
So I spoke from my heart not my head.

"Oh, you've touched me," I said. "And taught me, in part,
That the best of a man is what's in his heart."
The rest, I thought, this man will never know . . .
How thankful I am that he touched my soul!


Love Thy Neighbor

When I was growing up, my father used to say, "No matter who they are or what they do, treat your neighbors with love." I didn't fully understand what he meant until on Sunday on our way to church, when we spotted someone shoveling corn from our crib into a battered old truck. Dad stopped the car and got out. The man looked up and froze. I knew this man. Everybody in town suspected him of stealing their gas! No one had ever confronted him for fear of his violent temper. Now we'd caught him red-handed. What was Dad going to do? "If that's not enough," my father said evenly, "come back tomorrow. Take as much as you need. Remember, you're my neighbor." The man dropped his shovel and hung his head. He never stole from us or anyone else in town again, as far as I know. Perhaps he learned how to be a good neighbor that day. I know I did.

Where to Find Jesus

"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..." "You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted. The surgeon looked up, paused, "I'll cut your heart open," he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..." "when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there." The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest backup and I'll plan what to do next." "But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there…… …… you'll find Him in my heart." The surgeon a little perturbed continued. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply,and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well." "You'll also find Jesus there. He lives there." The surgeon left. Afterwards the surgeon sat in his office recording his notes from the surgery - on tape, saying: "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis," here he paused, "death, within one year." He stopped the recorder, but, was puzzled and disturbed like never before. "Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You put him here, and cursed him to an early death. Why?" The surgeon felt an answer, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock,and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow." The surgeon's eyes swelled, his heart was expanding, but still puzzled and even angry, questioned: "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?!" Another answer came: "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has done his duty; I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb." The surgeon wept more than ever. During the next visit with the boy, the surgeon sat on the side of the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" asked the boy. Said the surgeon: "I found Jesus there."


TANGLED HAIR

Beth was sitting at an airport terminal, waiting to board a plan. She was sitting there with several other people who were also waiting, whom she did not know. As she waited, she pulled out her Bible and started reading. All of a sudden she felt as if the people sitting there around her, were looking at her. She looked up, but realized that they were looking just over her head, in the direction right behind her. She turned around to see what everyone was looking at, and when she did, she saw a stewardess pushing a wheelchair, with the ugliest old man sitting in it, that she had ever seen before. She said he had this long white hair that was all tangled and such a mess. His face was really, really wrinkled, and he didn't look friendly at all. She said she didn't know why, but she felt drawn to the man, and thought at first that God wanted her to witness to him. In her mind she said she was thinking, "Oh, God, please, not now, not here." No matter what she did, she couldn't get the man off of here mind, and all of a sudden she knew what God wanted her to do. She was supposed to brush this old man's hair. She went and knelt down in front of the old man, and said, "Sir, may I have the honor of brushing your hair for you?" He said, "What?" She thought, "Oh great, he's hard of hearing." Again, a little louder, she said, "Sir, may I have the honor of brushing your hair for you?" He answered, "If you are going to talk to me, you are going to have to speak up, I am practically deaf." So this time, she was almost yelling, "Sir, may I please have the honor of brushing your hair for you?" Everyone was watching to see what his response would be. The old man just looked at her confused, and said, "Well, I guess if you really want to." She said, "I don't even have a brush, but I thought I would ask anyway." He said, "Look in the bag hanging on the back of my chair, there is a brush in there." So she got the brush out and started brushing his hair. (She has a little girl with long hair, so she had lots of practice getting tangles out, and knew how to be gentle with him.) She worked for a long time, until every last tangle was out. Just as she was finishing up, she heard the old man crying, and she went and put her hands on his knees, kneeling in front of him again looking directly into his eyes, and said, "Sir, do you know Jesus?" He answered, "Yes, of course I know Jesus. You see, my bride told me she couldn't marry me unless I knew Jesus, so I learned all about Jesus, and asked Him to come into my heart many years ago, before I married my bride." He continued, "You know, I am on my way home to go and see my wife. I have been in the hospital for a long time, and had to have a special surgery in this town far from my home. My wife couldn't come with me, because she is so frail herself," he said. "I was so worried about how terrible my hair looked, and I didn't want her to see me looking so awful, but I couldn't brush my hair, all by myself." Tears were rolling down his cheeks, as he thanked Beth for brushing his hair. He thanked her over and over again. She was crying, people all around witnessing this were crying, and as they were all boarding the plane, the stewardess, who was also crying, stopped her, and asked, "Why did you do that?" And right there was the opportunity, the door that had been opened to share with someone else, the love of God. We don't always understand God's ways, but be ready, He may use us to meet the need of someone else, like He met the need of this old man, and in that moment, also calling out to a lost soul who needed to know His love. May we all be a blessing unto someone today. The greatest joy comes from loving / serving others.

President Thomas S. Monson on Making the Most of Today
("Now Is the Time," Ensign, Nov. 2001, 60-61)
"How fragile life, how certain death. We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask, 'What are we doing with today?' If we live only for tomorrow, we'll have a lot of empty yesterdays today. Have we been guilty of declaring, 'I've been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step -- tomorrow'? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today.

"Because life is fragile and death inevitable, we must make the most of each day. . . . "My brothers and sisters, may we resolve from this day forward to fill our hearts with love. May we go the extra mile to include in our lives any who are lonely or downhearted or who are suffering in any way. May we 'cheer up the sad and make someone feel glad' (Hymns, no. 223).

May we live so that when that final summons is heard, we may have no serious regrets, no unfinished business, but will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith' (2Tim. 4:7)."

The cost & value of Freedom - What the 4th of July means

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But, they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember freedom is never free! I hope you will show your support by sharing this with as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

WORK - - THE PRIVILEGE AND BLESSING OF WORK

It has always struck me as more than just a little bit ironic that every year about this time (the 4th of July) America pays tribute to her working men and women by not working.

Not that I'm complaining. I appreciate a day off as much as the next worker bee. It's just the logic that throws me. I mean, on Thanksgiving we actually give thanks. On Arbor Day we go out and plant trees. On Christmas we celebrate a gift from God by giving gift ourselves. On Easter we observe another divine gift by eating multicolored eggs that were supposedly delivered by a rabbit.

OK, so the logic of Easter eludes me, too.

Still, it stands to reason that if we are going to celebrate America's workers, there ought to be something laborious about it. And no, I'm not talking about the effort it requires to pack a picnic lunch, or to go camping or boating or any of the pastimes we work so hard at enjoying during the long weekend. I'm talking about sweating, toiling, working, you know - - laboring.

Mom and Dad understood the concept. Around our house, Labor Day was just that: a day to labor. I don't remember it as a day for picnics or parties or backyard barbecues. We'd just had a full summer for that. Labor Day meant that school was back in session and it was time to work. And so we did. We prepared the garden bed for winter. We pruned fruit trees. We bottled peaches and pears and tomatoes until the inside of our house was thick with steam and aroma. Sometimes there were special projects that we never got around to doing during the summer: Painting the trim around the house; taking out an old, dead stump; planting new grass in that patch of dirt in the middle of the lawn that we used as home plate during spirited games of whiffle ball.

For me, however, the job was always the same: mowing, edging and raking the lawn. As the youngest of eight children, I always got the easiest - - and the most boring - - assignment.

"It's not fair!" I protested one Labor Day. "I do the lawn all summer. Why can't somebody else do it today?"

"Because everyone else already has a job to do," Mom said. So much for labor negotiations.

A late summer trip had interrupted regularly scheduled lawn care, and our yard looked it. The grass was tall and thick - - especially the edges. I shuddered. Dad didn't believe in power mowers or edgers, so this would require hours of back-breaking, wrist-snapping, energy-sapping labor. What a way to spend Labor Day, huh?

Don't ask me how, but I survived the ordeal. I was tired from pushing the mower up and down the slope of our front lawn. My fingers ached from squeezing Dad's rusty grass clippers. And I was itchy from the grass that seemed to cover me. But for some reason, as I sat out on the front porch that evening looking out over the aesthetic results of my labors, none of that mattered. I was weary, but content. And I wasn't sure why until Mom came out with the lemonade.

"That's why we have you mow the lawn," she said, as she handed me a tall, cool glass. "You do such a good job."

In retrospect, I'm sure the other lawns in our neighborhood looked every bit as good as ours. Maybe better. But that night I was King Lawnboy, and all was right in my carefully clipped kingdom.

I've never forgotten the feeling of satisfaction that came from a job well done. That's the feeling we ought to celebrate on Labor Day, for much of what we are as a nation we owe to the efforts of workers who are willing to work and who take pride in the results of their labors. So do something laborious this Labor Day, and savor the privilege and blessing of work.

"Tis the season, you know.

I ASKED GOD

1. I asked God to send me his friends...He sent you.
2. I asked God to take away my pain. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
3. I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
4. I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned.
5. I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No. I give you blessings, happiness is up to you.
6. I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
7. I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
8. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.
9. I asked God to help me LOVE others as much as He loves me. God said..............Ahhh, finally! you have the idea.

No Wonder God Loves Little Children

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.
Little children see flowers for mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away.
The kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm, so I sit self consciously and listen.
Kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
Kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray I say Thee and Thou and grant me this, give me that.
Kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to heaven yet. I would miss my mom and dad."
When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and clothes and dirty carpets.
Kids will sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach - - or to learn from?
No wonder God loves the little children.

The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, his steps faltered. The family ate together at the table. But, the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled onto the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating , and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There the Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eyes as he sat alone. Still the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four year old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food when I grow up." The four year old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or the tablecloth spoiled.

On a positive note. I've learned that no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree light. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is no;t the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the need of others, your work and doing the best you can; happiness will find you. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one! I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch-holding hand, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the shoulder.

Sometimes they just need a little something to make them smile. People will forget what you said . . . people will forget what you did . . . BUT, people will never forget how you made them feel.

Lessons of Life
by: Andy Rooney

I've Learned . . . . . That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of the elderly person. That when you're in love, it shows. I've learned that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day. I've learned that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world. I've learned that being kind is more important than being right. I've learned that you should never say no to a gift from a child. I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way. I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everybody needs a friend to act goofy with. I've learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand. I've learned that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult. I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. I learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for. I've learned that money doesn't buy class. I've learned that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular. I've learned that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved. I've learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can? I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts. I've learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you. I've learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile. I've learned that there's nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies, and feeling their breath on your cheek. I've learned that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them. I've learned that life is tough, but I'm tougher. I've learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss. I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere. I've learned that I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away. I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them. I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. I've learned that I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it. I've learned that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you are hooked for life. I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it. I've learned that it's best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation. I've learned that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Mothers

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born. The child asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?" God replies, "Among the many angels, I chose one for you. Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you." The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy." God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you everyday. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy." Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?" God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak." "And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?" God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray." "I've heard that on Earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?" God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it's life." "But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore." God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach you the way to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you." At that moment there was much peace in heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name." Her name is not important. You will simply call her Mom." How sacred the name of Mother is. This brought tears to my eyes. Brothers this would be a wonderful thing to send to your Mother's for that special day in May that is set aside to honor mothers.

Wealth / Success / Love (Faith)

Sometimes Choices Are Difficult A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said, "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat." "Is the man of the house at home?", they asked. "No", she replied. "He's out." "Then we cannot come in", they replied. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. "Go tell them I am home and invite them in!" The woman went out and invited the men in. "We do not go into a house together", they replied. "Why is that!" she asked. One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth", he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home." The women went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!", he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!" His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?" Their daughter- in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!" Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice, "said the husband to his wife. "Go out and invite Love to be our guest." The woman went out and asked the three old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest." Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?" The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!!!" MY WISH FOR YOU . . . Where there is pain, I wish you peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, I wish you a renewed confidence in your ability to work through it. Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I wish you understanding, patience, and renewed strength. Where there is fear, I wish you love, and courage.

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Reference Note:  If you would like to find additional inspiration, or learn more about how to handle difficult experiences, bring greater peace and happiness and fulfillment into the lives of those you care about and yourself, then you can   Click Here   or  call:   800-720-9400 (for Free Video and/or books)   or   contact us   Many self help, motivational organizations and/or psychologists, etc. charge considerable fees for similar guidance and help, but you can get all the direction & help you need for any concern from the source of everything (good) at no charge.

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Something else EVERYONE should learn about -- to better prepare for the future
- - to better protect yourself -- concerning the massive money confiscation and illegal controls over the money, economies & governments of the U.S. and the world,
-- an In-Depth, Critical History of Money & Banking - the root of most deceptions, problems, conflicts. The U.S. obviously went into Iraq under very questionable or false pretenses. Millions of people around the world are suffering and dying - in many unjust, unnecessary wars, and from abusive governments. The least everyone can do is get informed as to just what is going on, and where most of the control exists:

"The Money Masters" Video - about who controls the "money" - the creation (confiscation) of massive Wealth & Power.

Learn what is going on and what should be done in our government and our economy today from one in congress who is worth listening to, who addresses the most important, core concerns in our society: the fraud, manipulations & control of the big money (central bankers) and the over extended power(s) of the government, the dismantling of the constitution, and sovereignty of the U.S., Ron Paul at: campaignforliberty.com

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Knowledge,               Intelligence,                 Wisdom

in life generally (and in religion) and how they affect our mental, emotional & spiritual health and happiness parallel how Diet & Nutrition affect our physical health:


For some important concepts to consider about your Diet and how much it affects your health, check our page on "Nutrition & Health" plus the connecting pages (linked from that page).   For other good sources of info and the kinds of products that are critical to get the necessary nutrition that is severely lacking in most diets, the following sites we have found to be two of the best resources (highest quality and at reasonable prices):

Nature's First Law - Loaded with resources - many informative, inspiring and motivating books -- well worth the nominal costs.

Pure Potent Organic Plant Nutrition   -   Highest quality, most pure products - direct from plants - at most reasonable prices - for all health concerns.

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