Encouraging Stories - #1
Why would God want ME?
I'm not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I'm just not worthy. Why would God want me?
Well, did you know that
David's armor didn't fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea's wife was a prostitute.
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God's will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul - well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn't require a job interview for salvation. He's our Heavenly Father.
He doesn't look at financial gain or loss. He's not prejudiced or
partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.
He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves
SATAN SAYS, "YOU'RE NOT WORTHY."
JESUS SAYS, "SO WHAT? I AM."
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.
He doesn't calculate how you failed in '99. It's not even on the record.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn't call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He'll use us in spite of who we are, where we've been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!
Encouraging Stories - #2
A Lesson From An Ant
by: Josh and Karen Zarandona
Brenda was a young woman that wanted to learn to go rock climbing.
Although she was scared to death she went with a group and they faced
this tremendous cliff of rock. Practically perpendicular. In spite of
her fear, she put on the gear and she took a hold of the rope and she
started up the face of that rock.
Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she
was hanging on there, whoever was holding the rope up at the top of the cliff made a mistake and snapped the rope against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.
You know how tiny contact lenses are and how almost impossible to
find. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with who know how many
hundreds of feet behind and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping that she would be able to find that contact lens. Here she was, very far from home. Her sight was now blurry. She was very upset by the fact that she wouldn't be anywhere near a place where she could get a new contact lens. And she prayed that the Lord would help her to find it.
Well, her last hope was that perhaps when she got to the top of
the cliff, one of the girls that was up there on the top might be able to find her contact lens in the corner of her eye. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye. There was no contact lens to be found. She sat down with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to come up the face of the cliff.
She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of
that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro
throughout the whole earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these
mountains. You know every single stone and leaf that's on those mountains and You know exactly where my contact lens is."
Finally, the time came when it was time to go down. They walked
down the trail to the bottom. Just as they got there, there was a new
party of rock climbers coming along. As one of them started up the face of the cliff, she shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"
Well, that would be startling enough, wouldn't it? She had found
the contact lens! But you know why she saw it? An ant was carrying that contact lens so that it was moving slowly across the face of the rock.
What does that tell you about the God of the universe? Is He in
charge of the tiniest things? Do ants matter to Him? Of course they do. He made them. He designed them.
Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him this incredible story, he drew a picture of that ant lugging that contact lens (as you see in the comics with a balloon with words in it over his head) with the words: "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it and it's awfully heavy.
But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."
If God is in charge of the ants, don't you think He cares about you and me? I guess Solomon was right. One could learn a valuable lesson from that ant -- trust in God. We could probably all say a little more often, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. Still, if you want me to, I'll carry it for You."
Encouraging Stories - #3
Mountain Moving Faith
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies
built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by
a church member. Ten days before the new church was to
open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that
the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building.
Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they
would not be able to use the new sanctuary.
Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot
had used every inch of their land except for the mountain
against which it had been built. In order to build more
parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain
out of the back yard.
Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning
that he would meet that evening with all members who had
"mountain-moving faith". They would hold a prayer session
asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to
somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted
before the scheduled opening dedication service the following
At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members
assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours.
At ten o'clock the pastor said the final "Amen". "We'll open
next Sunday as scheduled," he assured everyone. "God has never
let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this
The next morning as he was working in his study there came a
loud knock at his door. When he called "come in", a rough
looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat
as he entered.
"Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company over
in the next county. We're building a huge new shopping mall
over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing
to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll
pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area
free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can't do
anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle
The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally
planned and there were far more members with "mountain-moving
faith" on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!
Encouraging Stories - #20
This is Jesus just checking in today
A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle.
The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while.
His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.
The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap,
Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?"
The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.
"I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away;
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY."
The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.
Time to go, Jim smiled, said "Thanks." He hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before.
His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY."
Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come.
As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.
At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill.
The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward.
The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.
The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern:
No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.
Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; "the nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here all the while everyday at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:
"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACHDAY,
AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY."
Encouraging Stories - #21
After living what I felt was a "decent" life, my time on earth came to the end.
The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house.
The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.
As I looked around I saw the "prosecutor." He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.
I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me,I felt I knew Him.
The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.
As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, "Let us begin."
The prosecutor rose and said,
"My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell."
He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and In the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible Perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.
As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not Offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?
Satan finished with a fury and said, "This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise."
When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, "Hi, Dad," and then He turned to address the court.
"Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished."
Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine."
My Lord continued with, "His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy."
As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, "There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all."
The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips..
"This man is free." The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed."
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I will win the next one." I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?"
Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, ....... Paid In Full.
Encouraging Stories - #22
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled
with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a
large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day.
For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set
squarely against the cold, massive surface of the
unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that
his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided
to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: "You
have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and
that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, "Why
kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the
minimum effort; and that will be good enough."
That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter
of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
"Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service,
putting all my strength to do that which you have asked.
Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a
millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to
serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against
the rock with all of your strength, which you have
done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move
it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have
failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself.
Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your
hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become
massive and hard.
Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass
that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock.
But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your
faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my
friend, will move the rock."
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect
to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple
obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that
moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.
When everything seems to go wrong . just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down ... just P.U.S.H.!
When people don't react the way you think they should ...
When your money is "gone" and the bills are due....just P.U.S.H!
When people just don't understand you, just P.U.S.H.
True Stories - #1
THE POWER OF A LITTLE PRAYER
It was the end of a great day! My wife and I were on our way home. It was about midnight. We were both relaxed and enjoying the ride on a clear autumn night. I was driving our 1999 Mazda 626 down the highway and was preparing to exit onto a major 4 lane road.
Sarah and I frequently pray as we travel, especially at night. We were both in a reflective mood and decided to pray about half way home. I had already finished praying to God. Sarah was still talking to Him as we started up the long exit ramp. She was asking Him for His protection on all her family who were also traveling home that evening. Little did she know we were about to become the recipients of that very protection.
We both were watching the traffic light as we got about half way up the ramp. It was solid green. There were no vehicles in front of us so we simply rolled into the intersection at about 30 MPH, to make the sweeping left turn onto the other road.
As we entered the intersection we saw a flash of light to our left and instantly heard a loud crash and felt a jarring impact. Our bodies were thrown to the right, then whipped back immediately to an upright position. I felt a sharp blow to my lower side and back as our car stopped dead in the intersection. It felt like somebody had hit me full force with a baseball bat. I just sat there, dazed and moaning. I could not believe what had just happened.
I heard my wife asking me if I was OK. I told her my back hurt but otherwise I seemed to be alright. I asked if she was injured, expecting an answer involving neck pain. Praise God she was completely unhurt! I then realized that I did not have any neck trauma either. In spite of being violently slammed sideways we had no obvious injuries to our necks.
The paramedics checked me over in the car then helped me out the passenger side because the drivers side was crushed shut. They checked me out in the ambulance and said I was OK except for some possible bruised ribs where the side impact door beam hit me in the back. I didn't even have to go to the hospital.
Our car had to be towed away, (it had almost $10,000 damage), but we walked away! Amazingly, the 3 teenagers in the Blazer that hit us were also completely unharmed. The speed limit was 45 MPH on that road and the driver said she had a green light, so she would not have been slowing down before she hit us broadside in the intersection. There is no reasonable explanation for the lack of serious injuries for all of us, unless we believe in miracles! We do!
There are a lot of things that don't make any sense about this whole thing. Looking back on the accident, and observing the damage to the vehicles, there are many things that I simply don't understand. This all should have been much worse!
What I do know is this. Jesus saves.....in more ways than one! Jesus heard my wife's prayer for protection. He put an angel between the two vehicles to absorb the majority of the energy that would have sent some of us to the hospital with major injuries. His intervention saved lives that night. I walked away from an accident that other people, at other times, never did. Why? I can't answer that question.
I don't know the mind of God and why He chooses to save one and not another at any given time. What I do know is that God is good all the time....and all the time God is good! His goodness and love never changes. He allows nothing bad to happen that is not ultimately for some good. He has a purpose for each and every one of us, and maybe we don't always understand it, but there is a reason for all things, good and bad, in our lives.
I don't know why He chose to spare me and my wife this time, but we are very thankful that He did. He also extended His mercy to the 3 teens that we didn't even know and spared them too. I don't claim to know all the answers. All I can testify to is the fact that at the time of impact my wife was talking to God and asking for His protection, and we all walked away from this wreck with no serious injuries. The facts speak for themselves! What more can I say?
True Stories - #2
GOD WAS THERE!
Name withheld by request
Last December 20th I had a experience that changed my life and nearly ended it. I had personal questions that were answered also that I had in my mind for a while. I had been feeling a little under the weather on the 16th of December and decided not to work that following Monday or Tuesday. I thought since I had a lot of sick days built up I may as well take advantage of them since I didnt really feel well. I had very little appetite and was just not energetic at all. That Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I stood up and with the remote in my hand I turned the television off and at that point the world stopped and life ended. The next thing I knew I was in Barnes hospital in an ICU unit. I thought I was in a dream because everything looked wrong to me. I could not see very well or very clearly. I could see maybe ten feet and it was very very murky and cloudy looking. Giving it a dreamlike appearance. I saw people that I worked with and thought "hmmm I Ive never dreamed of them before! After about a few times of going in and out of consciousness, I came to my senses and realized that I was not dreaming! I really was here in the hospital! "How did I get here?" I thought. I wondered did I have wreck or what. I noticed that the television had the date as the 23rd of December on it. I was completely baffled about the whole thing. I noticed I was hooked to all kinds of electronic things. There was a red light on my finger and a wire that went into my chest to my heart. My legs were attached to a massage machine and my arm to a blood pressure machine that took readings every 15 minutes it seemed. "What happened to me?" My legs hurt really bad and I was weak.
When I realized that I was REALLY in a hospital I thought "How did I get here? Did I have a wreck? I was lost. About 15 minutes after I had regained consciousness, a doctor came in and explained to me how I had been in a coma and how a lucky young man I was to be here. His words were very serious words, but the only thing I thought was what I was going to do when I get out. Later on during my hospital stay I learned from friends what had happened the four days that I was missing in my mind. I thought about God. God, in my view, did not let me die. He did an amazing thing in my book by saving my life. Here is what I am thnkful for. Life? Of course! But I am glad that God saw me when I was dying in my bed and before anyone had prayed a prayer about me, He acted! God, I now know, really loves me a lot! I didnt know that I was about to die that Tuesday night, but He did! He did NOT allow it. For whatever reason. Maybe He was just being Himself...nice! I loved Him and admired Him long before any of this thing happended to me. What a Great Person He is! He defies logic to me. A Person Who can not only be smart and ever in control of things but He can be, and is, NICE!! He has been my Friend Who I have talked to for years and this is not the only time He has saved my life but that is for another time. I may not know who the beast is or false prophet or whatever. But I will go to my grave knowing that the God that I know really is a friend and that I am crazy about Him. By the way...He does love you deeply too. He will do for you what He has done for anyone. He really is No respecter of persons or any of the stuff we hold is high esteem. Thank Him that He is not. God...You are amazing!
True Stories - #3
My daughter, Kathleen, was 15... too young to seriously date but she had a boyfriend. One evening, when I was leaving to pick up my son, Paul, from baseball practice, she asked if she could just go with her boyfriend to pick up his little brother at a friend's house. She said they would come right back. I said, "All right, just make sure you wear your seat belt, and come right home."
It was my father's birthday and my 3 yr. old daughter, Therese, was already at my father's house waiting for us to come over with the cake I had yet to pick up at the store. I left to pick Paul up at school, but decided to take the highway, rather than the shortcut along the back roads.
After leaving the school, Paul and I ran in the store for the cake and some last minute goodies. As we were getting into the car, we heard and saw paramedics, fire trucks, three ambulances and of course a multitude of police cars. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and said to Paul, "Somebody needs our prayers, quick." I wondered if there was a fire or a bad car accident.
At one of the intersections I had to stop to let more emergency vehicles through, and prayed, "Lord, those people need you right now, go to them and place your protective hand over them."
We stopped at my parents to drop off the food, before going home to pick up Kathleen, but my father met me at the car and told us to not to rush, the party could wait a bit, because Therese had fallen asleep. "Which way did you go to the school?" he asked, "Because there was a bad accident on the
back road, I heard someone was killed. It happened just about the time you had to pick up Paul at the school and I know you always go that way. I was so happy to see you pull in, where's Kathleen?" I explained I was going back home to get her.
As I drove the short distance home, I couldn't help but worry what if she was involved in the accident? I ran in the house and called out her name, dead silence. Then, the phone rang. It was her friend's mother, who worked in the emergency room of our local hospital. She only told me that the three of
them were in an accident and were being transported to the hospital. I didn't call my husband at work, nor my parents, I just ran out the door fast.
At the hospital emergency room, I could hear one of the paramedics softly talking to another parent there, saying "I'm so sorry, so very sorry". I rushed by him and found the doctor in the hallway. He looked at me and asked if I believed in God, and with that my knees gave way.
I wasn't ready to accept the fact that Kathleen might be..."Oh please, not my girl". "No," he said, "you don't understand, do you believe in divine intervention?" I sammered, a weak, "Yes." Not having a clue what he was talking about. He smiled at me and asked, "Do you know what shirt your daughter is wearing tonight?" Nodding no, he told me to go down the hall and look. "Your daughter is blessed with angels and so are you.
From what the emergency personnel told me, there is no way that your daughter should be alive, let alone only have a few scratches." Kathleen was laying on a cart, waiting for more x-rays. When I got to her, we both sobbed. As I was hugging her I had the urge to check her shirt, unzipping her jacket. I read the words, "Jesus Saves."
I knew then, what the doctor had meant. All three were treated and released. On the way home that night, Kathleen told this story: "It was really weird, about a quarter of a mile before the accident, I said, 'Wait, we forgot to put our seat belts on, my Mother will kill me.' Then a car was coming towards
us in our lane, he swerved, and I knew we got hit in the passenger side of the car, where I was sitting. We got hit a total of three times because the car kept spinning in a circle. I felt his little brother's hand on my shoulder, holding me tightly in place. "But Mom, after it was all over, I could still feel the hand on my shoulder. I looked and his little brother had flown out the back window of the car, as we later found out, on the first spin. "It was an angel, Mom, I know it!"
I knew it too, especially when we went the next day to look at the car, it had been split in half, right underneath my daughter's seat. The driver of the other car, witnesses said, must have been traveling between 90-95 miles per hour and the point of impact was directly at Kathleen's door. The police report stated that the car door was found fifty feet away from the accident scene,with the seat belt attached. So when the door broke loose, "the hand" was the only thing that saved my daughter's life.
God knew, long before I did that my child was in trouble, and I will always thank Him for saving her life and restoring mine.
I have been meaning to write this story for the past couple of years. Kathleen just turned 21. While I was writing this I smiled and cried, but it's all true.
(More Encouraging Stories follow these reflective questions.)
Do I believe there is a real heaven and hell?
When I die where will I go?
What do I need to do to live forever?
Why do I believe what I do?
If what I believe isn't true, would I want to know it?
Who has the answers?
True Stories - #4
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD
by Susan Rule
My name is Susan Rule. I am thirty-two years old and from New Jersey. I would just like to start out by giving God all the glory and praise for letting me be here to share this with you.
I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and two wonderful sisters. I was very involved in church up till about the age of seventeen, then my friends came first. My addiction started out by smoking and drinking alcohol. By the age of twenty-one I lived in the bars day and night. I started lying and stealing from my own family. I met my boyfriend who I loved very much and we moved in together. My boyfriend was involved in drugs and we started selling them out of our apartment.
At first I was able to just sell the drugs and not use them. After a while of watching people come into my home and get high I started getting very courious, and I started using. Heroin became my best friend I always had to have it to get through my day. Heroin is a drug that if you don't have it, you will do anything for it.
I remember the last time my boyfriend and I went to pick up our package, we saw someone on the side of the road being searched. I remember us looking at each other and saying that will never happen to us, we have been doing this to for to long. Well, on the way home it did happen to us, I remember being on the side of the road and just being so humiliated and embarrassed. By that evening I was being booked and entered the county jail, they had taken my boyfriend to an another jail because of outstanding warrants. I remember just feeling so alone at that point. For the first week I just basically stayed to myself, I was very sick and weak, from coming off the heroin.
I decided to call my parents after I started feeling better. My father came immediately to see me, my mother just couldn't bare to see me. I could just see the hurt in my fathers eyes as he asked me what my plans were if I got out of jail. I didn't know at that point in my life, I was tired and ready to just die.
A few weeks later I finally called my mother and told her I was ready to get some help, she told me of the Walter Hoving Home which is a sixteen month Christian residential program for women. My parents bailed me out and took me to New York to the program.
Since then I have dedicated my life to the Lord. God has helped me reconcile with my family, God has help me build up and my self-esteem, and God has even given me a hope and a future. I complete the program on July 31st, and I am already working as a staff member here. I thank god for forgiving my sins and making me his child.
If anyone knows any women with a drug or alcohol problem, please tell them to call the Walter Hoving Home at (845) 424-3674.
For Nothing is Impossible with God. Luke 1:37
True Stories - #5
OUR FESTIVAL MIRACLE
Name withheld by request
We were at Lake Ozark, Missouri, for our churches annual 8 day celebration. My husband Leo and I sang in the Choir. On Tuesday morning we sang backup music to open the worship service. We had just finished practicing for choir and I came down from the stage to my seat for church services. It wasn't long before Mrs. Petcu (my daughter's mother-in-law) was at the end of our isle motioning for me to come to her. She said, "I noticed you smiling and waving and thought maybe you haven't heard." I said, "Heard what?" She said, "Ronda (my daughter) and Matt (my grandson) were in a camper that blew-up and have been taken to the hospital." My heart just almost stopped! She continued saying that they were in an explosion/implosion and they were burned. I started looking around for Stacy (my daughter) and she was looking for me. We found each other just about the same time the announcement for prayers for my daughter, her son and the Mitchell's, some good friends of ours, came over the speaker. My heart fell to the floor and my knees went weak.
I asked my husband and my brother to watch Stacy's son. Stacy and I went to the hospital. They weren't there. They transferred them to another hospital up in Columbia. They were immediately placed in the Burn Unit. Now I was frantic and the only thing I could think was , "Oh God, please let them be OK!
I came out of that driveway and went the wrong way to Columbia, which turned out to be good because Stacy saw our friend, Donny, who pulled over, so did we, and we found out what happened.
Ronda and Matt were having breakfast with Donny and Donny's parents and Grandma. As they were eating their eggs, Mrs. Jean Mitchell (Donny's mom), smelled gas, and Mr. Don Mitchell (Donny's dad), said he would check it out. He lit a match and the gas exploded. Donny was telling me that Ronda was O.K., but Matt was burned a couple of places on his face and that he was coming from the hospital and Ronda needed clothes for her and Matt, and Donny needed to go see how Mom and Grandma were. I said, "O.K., you go see about them. We'll get clothes and go to Columbia.
I still didn't know what to expect on how bad Matt had been burned, so I was in a hurry. I'm glad Stacy was driving.
We got to the hotel and got a little resistance until I told them the circumstances, and the lady at the desk said oh she hoped everything would be all right. She heard about the explosion/implosion over the CB radio.
It took forever to get to Columbia! We went into the ER and they said they weren't there yet. The ambulance they would have traveled in was outside, so after waiting way too long in the ER I was going to find admitting or someone else who could tell me something when the ER person said, "Oh, they took them straight up to the burn unit." It scared me some more! I think I held my breath going up the elevator!
The doors opened and with instant relief but still much concerned, I saw Matt standing down the hall with this way too big blue hospital shirt on. He was burned on the left side of his face, his hair was matted where it was burned, his eyelids were red and puffy, and he was just standing there drinking some water. Then I turned and saw Ronda sitting on a chair with hardly anything wrong, just some minor cuts and matted hair. Then she told me they still had Don, Sr. in the room. I got permission to see him. His hands were bandaged and IV's were going. He had some second degree burns but that didn't stop him from giving me a big smile! Then the nurse came in and said after he got a shot he could leave too.
I thanked God and I thanked God and I thanked God!
Later my husband and I went over to the trailer camper and when we saw it we couldn't believe it! It was TOTALED! The camper had glass blown everywhere, the walls were bowed out. Cabinets were off the wall. It was a mess!
Mrs. Mitchell told us that she smelled gas, she was standing at the sink and her husband was below the sink looking at the tank. Matt was sitting behind them and to one side. When Don Sr. went to check the pilot...BOOM.... Matt said he saw a blue ball come right at him as cabinets blew off the wall and fell into the chair where he was sitting. (He ducked his head which kept a cabinet from hitting him.) The fire wrapped around Jeans ankles as Ronda grabbed Matt and raced out the door. Donny pulled grandma out while he was trying put out the fire in her hair at the same time. Don, Sr. took the full blast on his face and hands, and then had to get into his pocket for keys to get to the big tanks to shut them off, breaking blisters that had already formed. I didn't know until later that Donny's ear was burned in the fire also.
People who were camping to one side of them emptied 4 fire extinguishers and put out the fire, keeping it from the big tanks. People on the other side were catching victims as they jumped out of the demolished camper. The fire department said they expected to find everyone dead, that with an explosion/implosion like that usually no one survived. The EMT's said that they must have been protected by angels.
God had His angels there protecting them!
An angel stood between Don,Sr. and the blast!
An angel held the cabinet just long enough to protect Matt as Ronda pulled him from that chair!
An angel directed the blast towards the back window, blowing it out of the camper, and keeping everyone from being severely burned!
An angel kept the fire away from the big tanks until Don could turn them off!
Yes, the angels were very busy that day, and so were the thousands of members who were praying for all the injured people heading to the hospital.Before they were transported from the accident scene they were all anointed by our minister. Mr. Petcu had anointed Don, Sr. and Matt and Ronda at Lake Ozark Hospital and on the ride to Columbia, Mo. Don, Sr. said he couldn't feel the pain. God was already intervening and healing!
For the remaining 6 days of that Festival I thanked God every day! When we sang praises to Him I sang with all my heart! There were six people in that camper trailer, and I don't know how many angels, but to this very day I thank God, and I thank God, and I thank God.
Encouraging Stories - #4
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR ACTIONS
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went
out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives." He looked at me and said, "Thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.
We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. "I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.
Encouraging Stories - #5
THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said. "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.
The Lord led the holy man to two doors.
He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water. The people sitting around the table
were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.
But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.
The Lord said, "You have seen Hell.
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here
the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The holy man said, "I don't understand."
"It is simple," said the Lord. "It requires but one skill. You see they have learned the secret to happiness..... feed one another."
Encouraging Stories - #6
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Let's see...I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said, OK.
Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school-the Bible that says Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.
Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about, so we won't spank them anymore.
Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.
Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea.
Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to "do it" anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the "fun" they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea.
And then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.
And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that.
And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said they're entitled to their free speech.
And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages homosexuality, rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.
Therefore, now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with... "we reap what we sow."
(More Food For Thought follows these reflective questions.)
When I die where will I go?
What do I need to do to live forever?
Why do I believe what I do?
If what I believe isn't true, would I want to know it?
Who has the answers?
Encouraging Stories - #7
THE MOUSE FROM THE HOUSE
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain? The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning:
There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me."" I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"
The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. "Be assured you are in my prayers."
The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"
The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.
But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember the mouse in the house.
Encouraging Stories - #8
SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS LIFE TEACHES YOU
1 ~ Most Important Lesson - Always remember that everyone is important to God.
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely,"said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."
"I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
Second Important Lesson - Always stop and help others in need.
One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.
Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.
A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.
Mrs. Nat King Cole".
Third Important Lesson ~ Always remember those who serve you.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it." Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient."Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied." The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five cents - You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
Fourth Important Lesson ~ Always remember that every obstacle can be an opportunity.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.
Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then, a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
Fifth Important Lesson ~ Always remember to love others no matter what the cost.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and seriousdisease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her..." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then, his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
You see, understanding and attitude, after all, is everything. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.