Cookies

cookies

A lesson in kindness

A small boy at summer camp received a large package of cookies in the mail from his mother. He ate a few, then placed the remainder under his bed. The next day, after lunch, he went to his tent to get a cookie. The box was gone.

That afternoon a camp counselor, who had been told of the theft, saw another boy sitting behind a tree eating the stolen cookies. “That young man,” he said to himself, “must be taught not to steal.”

He returned to the group and sought out the boy whose cookies had been stolen. “Billy,” he said, “I know who stole your cookies. Will you help me teach him a lesson?”

“Well, yes–but aren’t you going to punish him?” asked the puzzled boy.

“No, that would only make him resent and hate you,” the counselor explained. “I want you to call your mother and ask her to send you another box of cookies.”

The boy did as the counselor asked and a few days later received another box of cookies in the mail.

“Now,” said the counselor, “the boy who stole your cookies is down by the lake. Go down there and share your cookies with him.”

“But,” protested the boy, “he’s the thief.”

“I know. But try it–see what happens.”

Half an hour later the camp counselor saw the two come up the hill, arm in arm. The boy who had stolen the cookies was earnestly trying to get the other to accept his jackknife in payment for the stolen cookies, and the victim was just as earnestly refusing the gift from his new friend, saying that a few old cookies weren’t that important anyway.

 

 

Rom 12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. ”

 
Mt 6:19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:…”

 

Eph 4:28 “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

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Cabbie

cabbie

This story is dedicated to my friend Craig, living in South Africa

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.

“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me and address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse. “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “There are other passengers,” I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.” I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

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Teddy Bear’s Call

 

I was on the outskirts of a little Southern town, trying to reach my destination before the sun went down. The old CB was blaring away on channel 1-9, when there came a little boy’s voice on the radio line. He said, “Breaker 1-9, is anyone there? Come on back, truckers, and talk to Teddy Bear.”

I keyed the mike and said, “You got it, Teddy Bear.”

The little boy’s voice came back on the air, appreciate the break. “Who we got on the other end?”

I told him my handle and then he began.

“Now I’m not supposed to bother you boys out there. Mom says you’re busy and for me to stay off the air. But you see, I get lonely and it helps to talk cause that’s about all I can do. I’m crippled and cannot walk.”

I came back and told him to fire up that mike, I’d talk to him as long as he’d like.

“This was my dad’s radio,” the little boy said, “but I guess it’s mine and Mom’s now cause my daddy’s dead. Dad had a wreck about a month ago. He was trying to get home in a blinding snow. Mom has to work now to make ends meet. I’m not much help with my crippled feet. She says not to worry that she’ll make it all right. But I hear her crying sometimes late at night.

“You know, there’s one thing I want more than anything else to see. Ah I know you guys are too busy to bother with me. But, you see, my dad used to take me for rides when he was home. But I guess that’s all over now since my daddy’s gone.”

Not one breaker came in on that CB as that little crippled boy talked to me. I tried hard to swallow the lump, it just would not stay down as I thought about my boy in at home in hometown.

He continued, “Dad was going to take Mom and me with him later on this year. I remember him saying, ‘Someday this old truck will be yours, Teddy Bear.’ But I know I will never get to ride in an 18-wheeler again. But this old base will keep me in touch with all my trucker friends. Teddy Bear’s going to back out now and leave you alone cause it’s almost time for Mom to come home. But you give me a shout when you’re passing through and I’ll be happy to come back to you.”

Well I came back and said, “Before you 10-10, what’s your home 20, little CB friend?”

He gave me his home address and I didn’t hesitate one second because this hot load of freight was just gonna have to wait. I turned that truck around on a dime and headed for Jackson Street 229.

As I rounded the corner, I got one heck of a shock, 18-wheelers lined up for three city blocks. I guess every trucker from miles around had caught Teddy Bear’s call, and that little boy was having a ball. For as fast as one driver would carry him in, another would carry him to his truck and they’d take off again. Well you better believe I took my turn at riding Teddy Bear. And then I carried him back in and put him down in his chair. Buddy, if I never live to see happiness again, I want you to know I saw it that day in the face of that little man. We took up a collection before his mom came home. Each driver said goodbye and then they were gone. He shook my hand with a mile-long grin and said, “So long trucker, I’ll catch you again.”

I hit that interstate with tears in my eyes. I turned on my radio and got another surprise. “Breaker 1-9,” came a voice on the air, “just one word of thanks from Mom Teddy Bear. We wish each and every one a special prayer for you cause you just made my little boy’s dream come true.”

I’ll sign off now before I start to cry. “May God ride with you; 10-4 and goodbye.”
*You know, this is not really a story with a moral, but if we can learn anything from this event, it’s that whatever it is we are doing at the moment, it cannot compare to the needs of a child. It cannot compare to a cry for help, a wish needing fulfilled, a word needing to be said, and a gift to be gave.

When we show compassion it’s always a win-win situation. Regardless of the outcome, when love is given, it never returns void. We need to remember this the next time we are looking for something at a store, or a delivery we think we desperately cannot live without, or an answer we must have right that minute…it just might be on a truck, a truck with 18 wheels of compassion- giving a little boy the ride of his life.

Share your love and compassion to someone whom you know is reaching out and bless someone today.

The Story of the Fisher King

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It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king.

Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy,

“You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.”

But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty.

And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God,
… so he reached into the fire to take the grail,
… and the grail vanished,
… leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded.

Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper.

Until one day, life for him lost its reason. … He had no faith in any man, not even himself.
… He couldn’t love or feel loved.
… He was sick with experience.
He began to die.

One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king,

“What ails you friend?”

The king replied,

“I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”.

So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king.

As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement,

“How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?”

And the fool replied,

“I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”

by: Richard LaGravenese, The Fisher King

*Ya know, we are all thirsty for something lacking in our lives…we look in all directions for that which can satisfy our thirst. Many of us stay with that which we find (a religion), but never really being filled, and our thirst never being quenched. Many argue about which way to travel, but at the end of the day, there really was only One Way, a Way we may have considered but never committed; forsaking all. Like the Fisher King, the holiest was always right beside us….closer than a brother…if only we would just ask Him to fill us with Himself; – we would never thirst AGAIN. We would never have to practice any religion, for we would have better….”relationship” with the One who saved us! Won’t you give into that tug at your heart and be thirsty no more?

 
Jn 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

 
Jn 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

 

 
Jn 7:37-38 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

 
Jn 4:10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

 

 
Rev 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
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I Saw It, I Was There…!

doubting_thomas

The Scenario (A Biblical scenario based on Bible truths)

‘It was a new week, I awoke, still filled with all my doubt.
The others were confused, and scared, of how it all turned out.
All our plans and dreams were gone, our future looking bleak.
Everything we had hoped for, with nothing left to seek.

Well, I guess that life goes on, you do the best you can.
I had hoped He was the one, but He was just a man.
Today the air seems fresher, as I walked out in the street.
“Have you heard,” a stranger said, as he began to speak.

“That man named Jesus, that they killed, last Wednesday on the cross,
Nobody knows what happened, everybody’s at a loss.”
“Someone took His body, others say He rose again.”
“Some even say He lives, and He has spoken to His men.”

I thought, I spoke to John and Peter early on last night,
They never mentioned anything, this fellow can’t be right.
The town is in a frenzy, some remember what He said.
They think because the body’s gone, He came back from the dead.

Many were not there that day, when He was crucified.
But, I saw the soldier thrust the sword into His side.
I had thought, He’d use His power to show He was Lord.
But, I knew that He was dead, because I saw the sword.

I had to go and see the men, to see what they have heard,
Rumors spread so quickly and you can’t believe a word.
People love to gossip and spread stories all around.
I know the men are hiding, they’re afraid they may be found.

Later on that evening, when I knew it would be safe,
I went to see the other men, to see them face to face.
As I opened up the door, expecting to see fear,
They were all excited and they said, “He was just here!”

“He has given us the Spirit, of the Holy Ghost!”
“He breathed on us and told us, that our bodies were His host!”
“Are you all insane?” I asked, before I turned to leave.
“Unless I see Him for myself, I never will believe.”

“I was there, I saw the nails, they hung Him on the cross.”
“The sword that pierced His side and all the blood He lost.”
“He was dead, I know He was, when I had to leave.”
“Unless I see the wounds on Him, I never will believe.”

“I will come back, a week from now, to see if you regain,
Your senses, after you recover from your awful pain.”
“All of us are hurting from His loss, as it would seem,
But, we cannot go on in life, while you live in a dream.”

Exactly eight days later, I went back to check on them.
Hopefully, they’ve overcome their fantasizing whim.
As I stood among them, “It is true,” they did persist,
“Jesus came!” and suddenly, He was standing in our midst.

Then, He looked at me and said, “It’s true I really died.”
“Come and take your finger, and just thrust it in my side.”
“Look upon my hands and see the marks where I did bleed,
And then you’ll know I live again, and then you can believe.”

“Now, my Lord and God I know, and I do realize,
You were dead and live again, I’ve seen it with my eyes.”
“You believe,” He said, “because your eyes are sharp and keen,
But, blessed are believers, who believe and have not seen.”

After this He came to us and taught a month or so.
He showed us many wonders and taught all we had to know.
I am here to tell you, that I saw Him die and rise.
It’s not a story that I heard, I saw it with my eyes!’

Thomas (Disciple of Jesus; AKA, Doubting Thomas)
Jn 20:26 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. ”
Jn 20:27 “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. ”
Jn 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. ”
Jn 20:29 “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

 

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The Rich Family in Church

the_rich_family_n_church

I’ll never forget easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money. By 1946, my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before easter the pastor of our church announced that a special easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home, we talked about what we could do.

We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us baby-sat for everyone we could.

For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three potholders to sell for $1. We made $20 on potholders. That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them.

We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering. The day before easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before. That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church!

On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet. But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich. When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front.

Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20. As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money.

There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills. Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly.

We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night. We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor. That easter day I found out we were.

The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed–I didn’t even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor! I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time.

We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy.

Ocy put it in the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.” Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.” We were the rich family in the church! Hadn’t the missionary said so? From that day on I’ve never been poor again. I’ve always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

 

 

Jas 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

 

 
1 Cor 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;…”

 

 

Mt 11:5 “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

 

 

Mt 19:21 “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

 
Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, …”

 
1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

 
*Do any of us get so excited to give to others as this family did? No? We should. It should really make you happy to give.

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Death Is Life

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Death is life, and life is death, how odd a mystery.
God, Himself, became a man for everyone to see.
Life is more than food and drink, or striving to obtain.
If….in life, that’s all there is, existence is insane.

Why would God, allow a man, to just be born and die?
If in life, that’s all there is, the question must be, ‘why?’
Life would have no purpose, if we only live someday die.
If all we have, is these few years, why should we even try?

But, God did come to common man, trying to explain.
The plan He had, for all of them, to come with Him to reign.
He said, “This life is nothing, it is just a place to start.”
The earth is like a garden, where He’s planted every heart.

He wanted us mature and pure, and the Kingdom enter in,
The perfect world, He has for us, when we are washed of sin.
He placed us here to learn walk and live with Him.
Not out of fear, of who He is, but love we have within.

Then, He knew, we could not do it on our own.
He became a man Himself, and became our atone.
He saw that we were weak and could not shed the awful sin.
So, He came down to break us free, so we could walk with Him.

He said, “It’s very simple, for the sin to go away,
It takes a death, to kill it off, and someone has to pay.”
He said, “The price of sin is more than we can afford,
But,” He said, “I’ll pay the price, if you come to the Lord.”

“I will take the sin upon Me and I’ll die for you.”
“Then, on the third day, I’ll rise up, then all you have to do….
Is believe I died for you, and paid your debt that day.”
“Just accept My gift to you, that’s all there is to say.”

“It’s really very simple, not as men would have it be.”
“Just believe I died for you, then come and follow Me.”
“It’s not that complicated, like religion’s always been.”
“Just believe I died for you, to take away your sin.”

“Because, on the third day, I arose and it was done.”
“Now, the minute you believe, your new life has begun.”
“I will take your life that day and show you what it’s for.”
“Then you’ll know the meaning, and you can live forever more.”

“Life is death and death is life, because of what I’ve done.”
“You need not fear, because of sin, that……is why I’ve come.”
“I gave you life to seek Me out, the moment you were born.”
“And now Eternal Life is yours, because I rose the third day morn.”

 

 

 

Mt 16:21 “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

 

 
1 Cor 15:4 “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ….”

 

 

Jn 8:51 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. ”

 

 

Jn 8:52 “Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.”

 

ARE WE KEEPING HIS SAYING???

 

 
Jn 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”