A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know?” the man said.
“You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”
The doctor was holding the handle of the door, on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.”
“I know little of what is on the other side of death,” the doctor continued, “but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness.”
John 14:2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
A couple of years ago, my wife and I purchased a new truck. I took my father-in-law out for a test drive to show it off, and I could tell the horsepower and all the extras impressed him.
As we turned a corner, however, a truck pulled out in front of us. We have all seen a truck like this truck before. White, rusty in some spots, rusted out holes in others, bed full of ladders, tools, paint buckets, ropes, and various other work materials. It sputtered as it pulled out, and I had to slightly brake, so as not to rear end it.
I kept thinking to myself about how this guy and his truck were ruining my afternoon drive. “How am I going to show off my truck when I’m stuck behind this loser?” The words out of my mouth were: “He needs to get that thing fixed.”
My father-in-law, who had said maybe ten words the whole drive, kept looking straight ahead and said calmly, “He’s probably doing the best he can.” He was very matter-of-fact when he said that, his voice reflected no pity–just empathy and understanding. The simplicity and truth in his words gave me just the valuable reminder I needed that day.
Often it takes the words of the humble person to restore our direction and see what are the important values of life: love, friends, forgiveness, humility, compassion.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!” The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!” The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”
Years passed and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!” The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”
Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.
That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
What a beautiful story. There are three passages in the Bible that tell of the three trees. They are,
Luke 2:1-7 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
Matthew 8:23-27 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
and Matthew 27:32-38Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
So the next time you feel down because you didn’t get what you want, find joy in the knowledge that God is thinking of something better to give you.
One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”
Deuteronomy 1:8 “Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.”
The fox missed out on the grapes because he gave up. I encourage you this week not to give up. Do not allow struggles and challenges in life to keep you from serving and following God. How desperate are you for the things of God?
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
KEEP ASKING! KEEP SEEKING! KEEP KNOCKING!
Heavenly Father, I pray that a spirit of boldness and determination will arise in each of us today. I pray that every challenge we face will be used as an opportunity for Your power and glory to be revealed. I pray that spiritual eyes and ears will be open to the fact that we are not alone. You will never leave us or forsake us, and you will cause us to triumph. Loving Father, I pray for those who might feel like giving up. I ask that You will encourage and strengthen them as only You can, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
I came across this video of Tim Harris and just had to share it. I hope it brightens your day as it did mine.
Tim Harris, the second of four boys, was born with Down syndrome and when he was growing up his parents saw the challenges that his disability presented socially. They started to think about his future and they made the choice to create a life as typical as possible.
Thanks to the faith and support of his parents, Tim has went beyond the typical and has made the world a little bit more extraordinary. Today, Tim is the happy, energetic and proud owner of Tim’s Place, a successful and very unique restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M.
Although the restaurant serves regular New Mexican fare, Tim’s Place is famous for its trademark special called the “Tim Hug” -— a “calorie-free” and “guilt-free” treat that, according to the menu description, guarantees to “improve your lease on life.”
“I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends.” says Tim.
Tim’s Place, which calls itself the “world’s friendliest restaurant” opened its doors in 2010 and since then, Tim has given out more than 19,000 hugs. He keeps track using a Hug Counter.
According to CBS News, Tim Harris is probably the only restaurant owner with Down syndrome in the United States.
Tim — a college graduate — is also an accomplished Special Olympian, an excellent sailor and an experienced offshore fisherman. In high school, Tim was also elected homecoming king and Student Of The Year.
Harris and his family said they hope his example will serve to inspire others.
“I tell people with disabilities that they can follow their dreams,” Tim Harris
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? ” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?
Junior high school students in Chicago were studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to list what they considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following received the most votes:
1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal in India
3. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
4. The Panama Canal
5. The Empire State Building
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
7. China’s Great Wall
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn’t turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The quiet girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”
The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:
1. to touch…
2. to taste…
3. to see…
4. to hear… (She hesitated a little, and then added…)
5. to feel…
6. to laugh…
7. and to love.
The room was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop.
Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.
John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.
Visualizing the family needs, she said: “Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can.”
John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.
Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.
The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, “Do you have a grocery list?”
Louise replied, “Yes sir”
“O.K.” he said, “put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries.”
Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.
The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.
The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, “I can’t believe it.”
The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more. The grocer stood there in utter disgust.
Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which said:
“Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands.”
The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, “It was worth every penny of it.”
It was some time later that the grocer discovered the scales were broken; therefore, only God knows how much a prayer weighs.