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Stories Of Hope & Inspiration

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  • #76
    Wranglers & Stranglers

    Many years ago there were a group of brilliant young men at the University of Wisconsin. The group of men seemed to have an amazing creative literary talent and were extraordinary in their ability to put their literary skills to its best use. These promising young men met regularly to read and critique each other’s literary works.

    These men were merciless while they criticized one another. They dissected the most minute of the expressions and offered tough and even mean criticism to each others work. Their meeting sessions became arenas of literary criticism and the members of this exclusive club called themselves the “Stranglers.”

    Not to be excluded to the opportunity to level up there literary skills, the women of literary interest in the university started a club of their own, one comparable to Stranglers.

    The members called themselves the “ Wranglers.” Each member of the club too presented their literary pieces in front of each another. But the feedback from the members were much more softer, more positive and more encouraging. Every effort from a member, even the most feeble one, was encouraged by all.

    After twenty years, a university alumnus was doing a study of his classmates’ career when he noticed a huge difference in the literary accomplishments of the Stranglers and the Wranglers.

    Among all the brilliant young men in the strangler, none had made any significant literary achievement. But the Wranglers had several successful writers and some renowned national literary talents.

    The talent and the education between the two groups were almost the same. There was not much difference. The Stranglers strangled each other while the Wranglers gave each other a lift. The stranglers created atmosphere of contention and self doubt while the Wranglers brought out the best in each other.


    • #77
      Ten Fingers Are Overrated


      • #78
        Father's Love Letter


        • #79
          Take Lessons From An Oyster

          Mother Nature has a way of teaching us valuable lessons…if we’d only observe! As a life coach, I often hear how frustrated clients, friends, and colleagues are about their life experiences.

          I have one client in particular whose calls often (unconsciously, I’m sure), disguised as a friendly chat to see how I am. Less than half-way into the conversation, I discover her real intent. It usually has something to do with her job or kids or her husband that she is having a problem with and she wants to hash it out. I can tell because she’s much more passionate about talking about them than asking me how my life is going! That’s okay… I listen, I learn, and give my take on the situation. There are things I want to vent about some days, too. However, what she doesn’t realize is that she is frustrated about the same things over and over again. It’s almost as if she gets pleasure out of being frustrated. It’s a negative “pay off” for her. And here comes the part where Mother Nature comes in!

          It occurred to me while watching a PBS presentation that nature can be a real teacher for all of us. This particular show was about how cultured pearls were made. It showed how Mr. Mikimoto came to be known for his ingenious idea. He observed nature and realized a fortune from her.

          -continued below-


          • #80
            Going Through Spiritual Confusion

            By Oswald Chambers

            Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask." —Matthew 20:22

            There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.

            The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8).

            Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember— He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?

            The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13).

            Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father— as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “Everyone who asks receives…” (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.

            The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8).

            “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.


            • #81
              A Beggar & A Lady

              As a woman walked down the streets one day, she spotted a beggar. The man looked pretty old, unshaven and ill-dressed. Every passerby looked at him with contempt; Not like they had anything against him, but merely because of who he was- a filthy beggar.

              But when this particular woman saw him, she was filled with compassion.

              The beggar was improperly dressed for a weather so cold. Precisely, he wasn’t dressed by wrapped up in what looked like a coat from a very old and not-so-warm suit. She kindly asked the man “Sir? Are you all right?”

              The man looked at the women, who, clearly by her appearance was a demonstration of what people from a wealthy background looked like. The old beggar thought that she, like every other person, was mocking him. “Leave me alone,” he growled.

              The women did not move. Instead, to his surprise, she smiled at him and gently asked if he was hungry.

              “No, I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”-the beggar replied with a notable sarcasm. The woman’s smile did not fade. She slid her hands under the beggar’s arm and tried to pick him up.

              “Woman, what do you think you are doing?” the beggar sounded annoyed.

              “Is there a problem ma’am?” a policeman shouted, walking towards the lady and the beggar.

              “Not at all officer. I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”-the women replied

              The policeman looked at her with surprise- “that man is old jack and has been here for years. What have you got to do with him anyway?”

              “I am taking him to a cafeteria to eat something and to get him out of the cold for a while”- The women answered.

              “Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

              “It’s a good chance to feed yourself jack. Don’t blow it.”- The officer advised.

              After a lot of difficulty, the woman and the officer managed to drag jack into the cafeteria. It was past breakfast and too early for lunch hour of the day. The manager strode towards the table and asked “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “Is this man in trouble?”

              “She brought old jack in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

              “Not in my cafeteria! People like him are bad for business.”-the manager angrily retorted.

              “Now you know why I didn’t want to come in here woman.”- Jack said to the lady-“now let me go. I never wanted to be here in the first place.”

              The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, I reckon you know Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

              “Of course I do, ” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

              “And I guess you make a good amount of money through those meetings.”

              “Why does it concern you, I anyway?”

              “Because I am the CEO of the company” the women replied, showing no sign of pride in her statement.

              “Oh.”- it was all that the manager managed to say.

              She looked at the officer- “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

              “No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

              “Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

              “Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

              “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”-the manager immediately replied.

              “You served him right,” he said.

              “Oh, believe me officer, that was not what I intended. I have a reason behind all this.” She stared at Jack intently, and asked “Jack, do you remember me?”

              Old Jack examined her face- “well you do look familiar.”- He thoughtfully added.

              “Do you remember a cold and hungry girl who frequently visited this place when you worked here?” the women asked – “she has perhaps grown old hasn’t she?”

              The officer looked surprised. He couldn’t imagine this fine looking woman as a poor and hungry woman.

              “I had just graduated and had come to the city looking for a job. Didn’t find one for a really long time. I was running out of cash and had been asked to vacate my apartment too. I lived on these streets for days. It was the cold month of February, I still remember. And that’s when I found this place and walked in hoping to find food my little budget could afford.”

              Jack’s face suddenly lit up- “now I remember you. I used to be at the counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

              “I know,” the woman said. “Then you offered me the biggest roast beef sandwich, a cup of coffee, and a table for me to sit and enjoy the meal. I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register”

              “So you started your own business?” Old Jack asked.

              “No, not exactly. That very afternoon I got a job. I worked my way up. Then, I started my own business.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “Please pay a visit to the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now. I am sure there is something in my office for which we can use your help. We can even pay you a certain amount of your salary in advance.”

              Fighting back the tears, Jack asked-“How can I ever repay your kindness?”

              “You don’t have to” the woman answered. “Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

              “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said to him as they both walked out the door.

              “On the contrary, Ms. Eddy, thank you. I saw a miracle today. And of course, thank you for the coffee”

              She frowned. “I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That’s black.”

              “I do use cream and more sugar than what is good for my health”- He replied

              “I’m sorry,” she said.

              “Please don’t be. I have a feeling that this coffee is going to taste as sweet as sugar”- He replied with a smile.

              No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.


              • #82
                Eben Alexander: A Neurosurgeon's Journey through the Afterlife


                All experiences different, but common elements

                Last edited by FineLinen; September 16, 2018, 05:16 AM.


                • #83
                  Welcome to one more testimonial of NDE



                  • #84
                    What do you think are the most common questions people ask God?

                    I bet one comes to mind immediately—why? Right? We get bad news or hit a rocky spot and turn to God, asking, Why? But “why” is seldom—if ever—a useful question. I don’t think God has ever answered that question for me, probably because I wouldn’t understand if He did. But there are many questions that God has answered, at least for people in the Bible. Here are five of them:

                    1. Who am I?

                    When God assigned to Moses the task of going back to Egypt and telling Pharaoh to set the Hebrew slaves free, Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11, NIV). It was, of course, a protest, a statement more than a question. But it is still a good question, one of the best we can ask God in prayer. Who am I? What is my identity. What does God say about me in His word, the Bible? The person who sincerely asks God, “Who am I?” is often abundantly blessed by the answer.

                    2. What if?

                    When God revealed to Abraham His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the patriarch posed a series of questions. “What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?” (Genesis 38:24, NIV). He kept asking “what if?” until God answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it” (Genesis 38:32, NIV). Abraham’s questions didn’t save those cities but they do seem to reveal that God enjoys the “what if” questions. “What if we got together with other churches in our town for this purpose?” “What if I took a different course in my career?” “What if—” You get the idea.

                    3. How long?

                    One of the most frequent Bible questions is “How long?” The Psalms alone repeat the question 15 times. “How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1, NIV). “How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:2, NIV). “How long must your servant wait?” (Psalm 119:84, NIV). It is a better prayer than “why,” not only because the psalmists prayed it so often but perhaps also because it carries within it the seed of an answer: Not always. Not forever. Not (we hope) much longer.

                    4. What can I offer?

                    The beautiful Psalm 116 contains the question, “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12, NLT). It is a fine question to ask any time. “What can I offer?” I see a need in my community; “God, what can I offer?” I hear the cry of someone in pain; “What can I offer?” I remember an upcoming appointment; “What can I offer?” It is a prayer question that will often squeeze sweetness out of the sourest circumstances.

                    5. What must I do?

                    When an earthquake opened the doors of the European jail in which Paul and Silas had been imprisoned, the jailer was shocked to learn that no one had escaped, and thus his life and livelihood had been preserved. The discovery prompted him to ask, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Then followed their famous answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30-31, NIV). It is a great question to ask in prayer, any time. “Lord, what must I do?” “What are you saying to me?” “Where are you pointing me?” “What will bring about deliverance and freedom in this situation?”

                    So give it a try. Feel free to ask God any question you want, but keep in mind that some are usually more fruitful than others. And these five—“Who am I?,” “What if?,” “How long?,” “What can I offer?,” and “What must I do?”—are among the best.


                    • #85
                      Who's Your Daddy?

                      Author Unknown

                      A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg , TN. One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, 'I hope he doesn't come over here.' But sure enough, the man did come over to their table.

                      'Where are you folks from?' he asked in a friendly voice.

                      'Oklahoma,' they answered.

                      'Great to have you here in Tennessee ,' the stranger said.. 'What do you do for a living?'

                      'I teach at a seminary,' he replied.

                      'Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I've got a really great story for you.' And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with the couple.

                      The professor groaned and thought to himself, 'Great .. Just what I need ....another preacher story!'

                      The man started, 'See that mountain over there? (pointing out the restaurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother.

                      He had a hard time growing up, because every place he went, he was always asked the same question, 'Hey boy, Who's your daddy?' Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question, 'Who's your daddy?'

                      He would hide at recess and lunch time from other students. He would avoid going in to stores because that question hurt him so bad. 'When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?'

                      But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast that he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

                      Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son, who's your daddy?'

                      The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, 'Who's your daddy?'

                      'This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to that scared little boy.. 'Wait a minute! I know who you are! I see the family resemblance now, You are a child of God.'

                      With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.'

                      'With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked him, 'Who's your Daddy?' he'd just tell them , 'I'm a Child of God..''

                      The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, 'Isn't that a great story?'

                      The professor responded that it really was a great story!

                      As the man turned to leave, he said, 'You know, if that new preacher hadn't told me that I was one of God's children, I probably never would have amounted to anything!' And he walked away..

                      The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over & asked her, 'Do you know who that man was -- the one who just left that was sitting at our table?'

                      The waitress grinned and said, 'Of course. Everybody here knows him. That's Ben Hooper. He's governor of Tennessee !'

                      Someone in your life today needs a reminder that they're one of God's children!

                      'The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of God stands forever.' ~~Isaiah

                      YOU'RE ONE OF GOD'S CHILDREN!!!

                      HAVE A GREAT DAY!


                      • #86
                        Reflection of you

                        There is a story about a father and his young son who were walking through the mountains. Suddenly, the son fell, hurting his leg on a rock. He screamed, 'AAhhhh!'

                        To his surprise, he heard a voice repeating, 'AAhhhh!'

                        This made him even more curious. So, he yelled, 'Who are you?' Back came the same answer, 'Who are you?'

                        Feeling a bit perturbed by this response, he yelled out, 'Coward!' Back came the same reply, 'Coward!'

                        He looked at his father and asked: 'What's going on?' His father smiled and said: 'Son, pay attention.'

                        Looking across the valley, his father yelled to the mountain, 'I admire you!' The voice answered: 'I admire you!'

                        Again the man cried out: 'You are a champion!' The voice replied, 'You are a champion!'

                        The boy was amazed, but he was very confused. So, his father explained...

                        'You are only hearing an echo, the sound of our voices bouncing back from the mountains. However, this really is how life works. It returns to you what you think, say and do!

                        Our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and actions. If you want more love in your world, create more love in your heart. If you want to be treated with kindness, treat others with kindness. If you want more competence on your team, become more competent.

                        This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give to you, everything you give to it, only it will give you even more in return. Your life is not ever a coincidence. Each moment is a reflection of you!'

                        The son listened and grew in understanding, and through the following years, he witnessed the truth of these words in his life!

                        Author Unknown


                        • #87
                          When the wind blows

                          Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands, however, most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

                          As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. 'Are you a good farm hand?' the farmer asked him.

                          'Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,' answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help decided to hire him.

                          The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt well satisfied with the his work. Then one night the wind howled in loudly from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, 'Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!'

                          The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, 'No sir, told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.'

                          Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coop and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

                          Moral: When you're prepared spiritually, mentally and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

                          Author Unknown


                          • #88
                            The Weight of the Glass

                            Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

                            Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.

                            She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

                            As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

                            The moral=

                            It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.


                            • #89
                              Two Wolves

                              An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

                              “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

                              The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

                              The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


                              • #90
                                8 year-old's explanation of God

                                Written by an 8 year old from Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God. I wonder if any of us could do as well?

                                One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

                                He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

                                God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this .

                                Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

                                God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

                                Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

                                Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

                                His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

                                You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

                                You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God.

                                Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

                                If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.

                                It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

                                But... you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And this is what I know about God.