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Sister
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2010, 12:22:28 PM »

Like Fire Cast On the Earth
 
Martin Luther knew that the ice of human nature had frozen things over in his day, most especially he thought, in the heart and mind of a man named Erasmus. To that Dutch humanist Luther wrote the Word of God always puts the world in a state of tumult because it comes like fire cast on the earth. "For the Word of God comes, whenever it comes, to change and renew the world."
 
Nowhere does the fire of God's Word burn off the ice and cause tumult more than in the differences between generations, in the relationships between father and son and mother and daughter. These relationships tend to freeze over into a cool placidity where mother thinks her daughter must be just as she is, or son thinks he must be a carbon copy of dad. Not so, says the gospel. There will not be agreement between mother and daughter or father and son so much as there will be distinction; each will have a proper share of the kingdom of God. God's Word burns off the ice of mutual identification and kindles the fire of proper identity over and over again.
 
John G. Lynn, Trouble Journey, CSS Publishing.
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2010, 12:24:20 PM »

Without the Fire the Seeds Will Never Grow
 
Stretching south for hundreds of miles from Glacier National Park lay a majestic mixture of valleys, rushing streams, and gargantuan mountains called the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Backpackers have hiked there for decades looking for elk, grizzlies and golden eagles. Fortunately the grizzlies stay up in the high country, but a golden eagle may be spotted and the elusive wolverine may be tracked.
 
The Bob Marshall Wilderness hosts some 90,000 packers and hikers each year, most of them in the months of July and August. They must come in either by foot or horseback. No motorized vehicles are allowed. The forests on those rugged mountain slopes are thick with Lodgepole Pine, a tough, hardy tree with cones so thick that only extreme heat can burst forth the seeds. That's where fire comes in. For thousands -- oh, millions of years -- lightning has cracked the big sky out there down to the forests below. (Often the lightning will hit the Douglas Firs, less rugged than the Lodgepole Pines, and a forest fire will begin.) For years, of course, the United States Forest Service fought furiously to put out these fires. More recently, they have adopted a policy of managed fires. They have learned these fires have a purpose. Without them the seeds of the Lodgepole Pines are never released. Without them much of the underbrush and plant life there does not regenerate. The earth needs a fire cast on it or it will die.
 
Jesus, speaking to Peter, that blustery, Lodgepole Pine kind of a man, said, "Peter, I have a fire to cast over the earth, and how I am constrained until it be kindled!" What did Jesus mean? He knew that Peter, like all of his disciples, was a wilderness that needed fire or he would die. Peter needed the fire of God's Word to keep his heart from freezing over and to keep the passion of his soul from cooling down.
 
John G. Lynn, Trouble Journey, CSS Publishing
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2010, 11:35:18 AM »

Peer Pressure
 
Chuck Swindoll tells about a study of teenagers and peer pressure. The design of the study was simple. They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a test. Each group was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the groups of ten did not know was that the other nine had been instructed ahead of time to vote not for the longest line, but for the second-longest line.

Do you get the picture? Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for the next to the longest line. This left the tenth student being the only one who would be voting for the longest line. Guess what happened. Time after time, this tenth student would glance around, frown in confusion at the way the others were voting, and slip his hand up with the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Each time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases, and was true of small children and high-school students as well.

It's hard to say no to the crowd. And becoming an adult doesn't make it much easier. You may know the story of the woman who was interviewed by reporters on her 102nd birthday. When asked what was the best thing about passing the century mark, she answered, "No peer pressure!"

King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
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Deenie
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2010, 03:27:33 AM »

 an angelic monkey I cannot offer your words, as you so are " Awe" to me.
Your words of Peer Pressure triggered this post from me.
(  I refer to School house rock a lot - 3 being a Number that makes a starting Point) 
There are three great divisions completing time--past, present, and future.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/G5h11p-w4kY?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/G5h11p-w4kY?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0</a>
One thing missing today, is teaching your child to be accountable, to be part of the world around us. To be given tasks and to be rewarded with praise ( not gifts/monetary dollars) yet for them to feel human emotions. Early On. To build their self esteem. I am self sufficient. I can make up my own Mind. I will not be a follower, I may not be a leader .. I can make my OWN path and feel confident I am doing the right thing.
That is what a child craves today, A child will be able to build upon themselves instead of building a BRAND " what Mass Media wants them to Be"
-- Brilliant Minds come from those who do not fit into society yet are of the exceptions - I wonder how many Brilliant minds were lost along the way ..because they didn't know how to Grow within their emotions along with their inner self + be educated, or find self worth, or listen from within " having a choice of contemplation" Rather than acting on instinct.
--
It scares me in society today, Kids all want to be rock stars or sports figures - and have no clue about how to get there. They deem themselves Rock Star before they can even walk on their own. Their Egos inflated to the highest of high..so when someone forgets to give them ketchup with their fries ..they blow the others head off..with out a thought. Don't you know who I am? Happens in every city from cover to cover all over the US.
Lack of SELF, Lack of Worth, Lack of Understanding, Eyes when You stare into them, They Remain Empty - a chain effect that plaques the youth of even the best of families.
Too many today feel that just because they are alive ..they are to be instant Haves
from day one .. they have no clue, In an Adult World,  what it means to be of the " Nots" so therefore they feel they have no accountability or responsibility in the Society they claim. Which is not theirs to take.  They feel they are above and not beneath ..
God help US, when tasks are asked of them as simple as can you Help Me?
The Media today is destroying minds, creating robots just as you mentioned in your post.
We all stand as individuals - Until we are forced to make a choice. Not a stance every time. But a Choice. One individual that raises the Hand, the unsure follows suit, watching HE/She Must know what is right.. then it Must be My choice Too.

Sister " Knowledge is Power" and we need to bring it back to the fundamentals of living that every child understands. When they Raise their hand, It is personal to them. It may not feel like it at the moment ..its the after that they realize ..
What Did I DO? I never would have if I had only known
It's when those who figure out after the fact it was a mistake ..they never take the stance to raise their hand again ..because they feel It's not my place, my hand means nothing - 
I opt out. We need a Self Esteem Revelation / Revolution for All in the USA Today.
Including Parents. Teachers - Everyone needs to feel what they do and be conscience of their choices ~ because it effects everyone. Always starts with 1 ..which equals 3.
Past, Present, Future 
 an angelic monkey
Sending My Sister Love

 

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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2010, 09:52:55 PM »

Deenie, I so agree with every word you said.  Did you get to read the "Sin of Excuses" yet?


Also, I have not forgotten about the question you asked me.  I am still trying to say the right thing . . .
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2010, 02:13:44 AM »

Freckles (author unknown)
An elderly woman and her little grandson, whose face was sprinkled with bright freckles, spent the day at the zoo. Lots of children were waiting in line to get their cheeks painted by a local artist who was decorating them with tiger paws.
“You’ve got so many freckles, there’s no place to paint!” a girl in the line said to the little fella.  Embarrassed, the little boy dropped his head.
His grandmother knelt down next to him.
“I love your freckles.  When I was a little girl I always wanted freckles," she said, while tracing her finger across the child’s cheek.
“Freckles are beautiful.” 
The boy looked up, “Really?”
“Of course,” said the grandmother.
“Why, just name me one thing that’s prettier than freckles.”
The little boy thought for a moment, peered intensely into his grandma’s face, and softly whispered, “Wrinkles.”

Awe .. I once worked with a young lady, her name I will call " Bright Eyes" .. she was covered in freckles from head to toe.. beautiful girl. With BIG Blue Eyes. She told me one day that she has always been proud of her freckles.
She said I love my Freckles. She said when I was really little and I didn't understand them. I asked my Grandmother ..what are all these spots on me and why does no one else have them? 
Her Grandmother said to her .. Its because when you were in your Mommy's Tummy you were so special.. so so special ..that right before you were born all the Angels planned a party and got all gussied up, had their hair done, put on pretty dresses and put on tons of lipstick .. when You were born, they were so Happy and they blew tons of kisses at you.. therefore You my sweet one are covered in Angel smooches ...from head to toe   an angelic monkey

When she told me that .. I bout fell over. Its all what your told, its all what you make of it, Its all how you perceive it ..  Bright Eyes is a sweet girl with lots of ambition. Not one that I have ever had to worry about.  Her being 2o yrs younger than I .. she is one that taught me many lessons.   
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 02:25:23 AM »

Deenie, I so agree with every word you said.  Did you get to read the "Sin of Excuses" yet?


Also, I have not forgotten about the question you asked me.  I am still trying to say the right thing . . .


I tried to find your post you want me to read Sister,,, I can't find it.
When I was 5 yrs old..
I have to add too that my Grandpa had a beagle one of his favorites of many beagles .. His name was Freckles ..  he was the sweetest dog ever. He had long droopy ears and the sweetest disposition. His tummy was white covered with dapple black spots that is how he gained his name " Freckles". He was thin by nature, taller than most beagles. Longer legs with a lean body. Long tail. He would sleep in the barn at night and I told my Grandpa its too cold for him to sleep outside. So my Grandpa allowed him to sleep in the basement of his house. We found a Cat that had kittens in my Grandpa's barn.. She had left them. They being old enough though to fend for themselves. They left. One stayed behind. It was a male kitten .. ivory with tan stripes.. My Grandpa would feed him. I think it was because I yelled at him .. Feed him Grandpa. My Grandpa named him Frosty. Soon enough Freckles and Frosty were sleeping in the basement of my Grandpa's house. He took so many pics of them.
They would curl up with each other. Freckles protected Frosty like he was his Momma. Even though Freckles was a male too. They were too Peas in a Pod.  Good Memories.
 I could say more but I won't ..too sad. Nothing that my Grandpa did. I will end it here.
Blessings to my Sister who is a Beagle Mama  an angelic monkey
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« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2010, 01:26:49 PM »

Author Saul Bellow wrote about a rabbi who lived in a small Jewish town in Russia. The rabbi had a secret. Every Friday morning the rabbi disappeared for several hours. The people of his congregation liked to tell people that during his absence from them their rabbi went up to heaven and talked to God. When a stranger moved into town and heard this explanation for the rabbi's weekly departure, he was not convinced. So he decided to find out what was really going on. The next Friday morning, he hid by the rabbi's house, waiting and watching. As usual, the rabbi got up and said his prayers. But unlike other mornings of the week, he then dressed in peasant clothes. He grabbed an ax and wandered off into the woods to cut some firewood. With the man watching from afar, the rabbi then hauled the wood to a shack on the outskirts of the village where an old woman and her sick son lived. He left them the wood, enough for a week, and then went quietly back home.
After seeing what the rabbi did, the stranger decided to stay in the village and join the congregation. From then on, whenever he heard one of the villagers say, "On Friday morning our rabbi ascends all the way to heaven," the newcomer quietly added, "If not higher."
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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2010, 05:14:31 PM »

COVERED BY THE CLOUD!
By Spencer January
   
   It was a morning in early March, 1945, a clear and sunny day. I was 24 years old and a member of the U.S. Army's 35th Infantry Division, 137th Infantry Company I.
   Along with several other companies of American troops, we were making our way through dense woods, towards the Rhine River in the German Rhineland.
   Our objective was to reach and take the town of Ossenberg, where a factory was producing gunpowder and other products for use in the war.  For hours we had pressed through an unrelenting thicket. Shortly after midday word was passed that there was a clearing ahead. At last, we thought, the going would be easier. but then we approached a large stone house, behind which huddled a handful of wounded, bleeding soldiers who had tried to cross the clearing and failed.
   Before us stretched at least 200 yards of open ground, bordered on the far side by more thick woods. As the first of us appeared on the edge of the clearing there was an angry rat-tat-tat and a ferocious volley of bullets sent soil spinning as far as we could see. Three nests of German machine guns, spaced 50 yards apart and protected by the crest of a small hill to the left, were firing across the field. As we got our bearings it was determined that the machine guns were so well placed that our weapons couldn't reach them.
   To cross that field meant suicide. Yet, we had no choice. The Germans had blockaded every other route into the town. In order to move on and secure a victory, we had to move forward.
   I slumped against a tree, appalled at the grim situation. I thought of  home, of my wife and my 5-month old son. I had kissed him good-bye just after he was born. I thought that I might never see my family again, and the possibility was overwhelming.
   I dropped to my knees. "God," I pleaded desperately, "You've got to do something. Please do something." 
   Moments later the order was given to advance. Grasping my M-1 rifle, I go to my feet and started forward. After reaching the edge of the clearing I took a deep breath. But just before I stepped out from cover, I glanced to the left.  I stopped and stared in amazement. A white cloud – a long fluffy white cloud – had appeared out of nowhere. It dropped from over the trees and covered the area. The Germans' line of fire was obscured by the thick foggy mist.
   All of us bolted into the clearing and raced for our lives. The only sounds were of combat boots thudding against the soft earth as men dashed into the clearing, scrambling to reach the safety of the other side before the mist lifted. With each step the woods opposite came closer and closer.
   I was almost across! My pulse pounding in my ears, I lunged into the thicket and threw myself behind a tree.  I turned and watched as other soldiers following me dove frantically into the woods, some carrying and dragging the wounded.
   This has to be God's doing, I thought. The instant the last man reached safety, the cloud vanished! The day was again bright and clear.
   The enemy, apparently thinking we were still pinned down behind the stone house on the other side, must have radioed their artillery. Minutes later the building was blown to bits but our company was safe and we quickly moved on.
   We reached Ossenberg and went on to secure more areas for the Allies. But the image of that cloud was never far from my mind.  I had seen the sort of smoke screens that were sometimes set off to obscure troop activity in such situations. That cloud had been different. It had appeared out of nowhere and saved our lives.
   Two weeks later, as we bivouacked in eastern Germany, a letter arrived from my mother back in Dallas. I tore open the envelope eagerly. The letter contained words that sent a shiver down my spine. "You remember Mrs. Tankersly from our church?" my mother wrote.
   Who could forget her? I smiled. Everybody called Mrs. Tankersly the prayer warrior.
   "Well," continued Mom, "Mrs. Tankersly telephoned me one morning from the defense plant where she works. She said the Lord had awakened her the night before at one o' clock and told her, 'Spencer,  January is in terrible trouble. Get up now and pray for him!"
   My mother went on to explain that Mrs. Tankersly had interceded for me in prayer until six o' clock the next morning, when she had to go to her job.
   "She told me the last thing she prayed before getting off her knees was this" -- "Lord, whatever danger Spencer is in, just cover him with a cloud!"
   I sat there for a long time holding the letter in my trembling hand. My  mind raced, quickly calculating. Yes, the hours Mrs. Tankersly was praying would indeed have corresponded to the time we were approaching the clearing. With a seven-hour time difference, her prayer for a cloud would have been uttered at one o'clock, the exact time Company I was getting ready to cross the clearing.
   From that moment on, I intensified my prayer life.
   For the past 52 years I have gotten up early every morning to pray for others. I am convinced there is no substitute for the power of prayer and its ability to comfort and sustain others, even those facing the valley of the shadow of death.


From Guideposts
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2010, 01:44:23 AM »

Soldiers Surprising their kids

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpohfny7jWg&feature=related
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« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2010, 06:50:39 PM »

Just A Little Donkey
by Rita S. Beer

Just a little donkey,
but on my back I bore
The one and only Savior
the world was waiting for.

Just a little donkey,
but I was strong and proud --
I gladly carried Mary
through the chaos of the crowd.

I brought her to the stable
where she made a tiny bed . . .
A place for Baby Jesus
to lay His little head.

I pray the world remembers
that special Christmas night
when just a little donkey
carried Heaven's Precious Light.
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2010, 07:32:57 PM »

Footprints in the Snow
Written by Jerry & Sandi Knode

I had a dream one wintry night
as the moon was full and bright.
The snow fell softly on a tree,
that stood alone just like me.
Then a man came walking by
whose caring look caught my eye.
It was Jesus walking there,
calmly in the cold night air.
In my heart at once I knew,
all I'd learned of Him was true.
He is the light in children's eyes
and shining stars in clear night skies,
Life's answer to each hurt and wrong,
the peace we've need for so long.
It was the holy Christmas season,
and He had come by for a reason.
He put a bow upon the tree,
a symbol of His gift for me.
I woke up thinking of my dream,
amazed at just how real it seemed.
From my window I saw the bow,
crimson red on the pure white snow.
Ribbons were flowing down the tree,
like the blood He shed for me.
I was in awe of the bright red bow,
then I saw His Footprints in the Snow.
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« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2010, 03:13:30 PM »

At the Hospice memorial service for my husband this was read by his nurse. It explained exactly how I felt. I thought I would like to share it.

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be.
So,He put his arms around you
And whispered " Come to Me."
With fearful eyes I watched you
And saw you pass away.
Although I loved you dearly,
I could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest.
God broke my heart to prove to me
He only takes the best.
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« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2010, 05:14:54 PM »

At the Hospice memorial service for my husband this was read by his nurse. It explained exactly how I felt. I thought I would like to share it.

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be.
So,He put his arms around you
And whispered " Come to Me."
With fearful eyes I watched you
And saw you pass away.
Although I loved you dearly,
I could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest.
God broke my heart to prove to me
He only takes the best.

4Donks, thank you so much for sharing this . . . do you know who wrote it?  Would it be ok if I used it?
For reasons known only to God, funerals are one of my strengths . . . I don't do them like some preachers.  I tell a story from the Bible I think fits that person (even if I have never met them) and entwine it with the person's life.  Some day, some time . . . this might bring comfort to someone else.  But I wouldn't want to use it without your permission.  If you rather I didn't, assuredly I understand.  Again, thank you for sharing.
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« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2010, 05:44:35 PM »

At the Hospice memorial service for my husband this was read by his nurse. It explained exactly how I felt. I thought I would like to share it.

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be.
So,He put his arms around you
And whispered " Come to Me."
With fearful eyes I watched you
And saw you pass away.
Although I loved you dearly,
I could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest.
God broke my heart to prove to me
He only takes the best.

4Donks, thank you so much for sharing this . . . do you know who wrote it?  Would it be ok if I used it?
For reasons known only to God, funerals are one of my strengths . . . I don't do them like some preachers.  I tell a story from the Bible I think fits that person (even if I have never met them) and entwine it with the person's life.  Some day, some time . . . this might bring comfort to someone else.  But I wouldn't want to use it without your permission.  If you rather I didn't, assuredly I understand.  Again, thank you for sharing.
If it would help someone else that would be wonderful. In the program it was listed as  author anonymous .
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« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2010, 07:43:36 AM »

I LOVE YOU

Bennett Cerf told this story:
In Java they tell of a young man who spied a beautiful maiden on the high road and followed her for a mile.  Finally she wheeled and demanded, "Why do you dog my footsteps?"  "Because," he declared fervently, "you are the loveliest thing I have ever seen, and I have fallen madly in love with you at sight.  Be mine!"
"But you have merely to look behind you," said the girl, "to see my young sister who is ten times more beautiful than I am."
The gallant cavalier turned and saw as ugly a wench as ever drew breath in Java.  "What mockery is this," he demanded of the beautiful girl.  "You lied to me!"
"So did you," she replied.  "If you were so madly in love with me, why did you turn around?"
God loves you.  When you profess love for him, your eyes must be on him only.  Divine love searches every nook and cranny of our lives.  Love is self-giving for the benefit of the recipient.  It is reciprocal vulnerability.
Turn your eyes to the Lord, and accept his proposal of love.  The world will not be changed by those who know the most but by those who love the most.
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« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2010, 04:44:40 AM »

A Tough Question

When I meet with a couple in preparation for their baby's baptism, I always ask this question: Have you prepared a will and have you specified in it who would rear your child if you were removed from the picture? Young parents don't like to even think about such a possibility, but life's uncertainties make it necessary. It's a tough question.
Whom do you trust enough to rear your precious child?
God had to answer that question when he decided to send his son Jesus to planet earth. God had to select a mother and a stepfather for his son.

 Bill Bouknight, Collected Sermons
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« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2010, 08:08:55 PM »

There is the moving story of Sister Emmanuelle, in her 70s, who rose each morning at 4:30 A.M. to begin her day as a loving and caring presence among the 10,000 garbage pickers of Cairo, Egypt.  The people with whom she lived and whom she served are considered untouchables “who live in what amounts to perpetual serfdom, bequeathing their trade and squalor to succeeding generations.”
   The garbage pickers maintain their existence by sorting through the city’s refuse that is hauled out in donkey carts.  The ragged men and women and children scavenge for bottles and tin cans to sell, and they feed the garbage to their pigs that roam freely in and out of homes.  Infant mortality in the area is, not surprisingly, 40 percent.
   At 9 a.m. each day, Sister Emmanuelle welcomed some forty children to her hut.  She taught both Christians and Muslims to read and write and helped them learn of the wider world beyond the garbage dump.  Waving aside the swarms of flies that filled the air as enormous clouds, Sister Emmanuelle spent hours visiting her people, carrying a ledger in which she carefully recorded the names and needs of 3,000 families.  She was gentle, but her gentleness hardened to strong metal when she challenged officials and bureaucrats to do more to help the garbage pickers.
   Speaking of her life in the refuse heap of Cairo, Sister Emmanuelle said, “My job is to prove that God is love, to bring courage to these people . . . I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else because here I feel I am giving the life of Jesus Christ to the children.”
   Jesus’ coming is our going . . . our moving out to those intersections which cross the crowded ways of humanity.  His coming is our moving closer in loving ways to give others the life of Jesus and to show Christ forth as God’s gift of grace and salvation for all people.
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« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2010, 09:10:15 AM »

Called to Obey Love

Kierkegaard has a fable of a king who fell in love with a maid. When asked, "How shall I declare my love?" his counselors answered, "Your majesty has only to appear in all the glory of your royal glory before the maid's humble dwelling and she will instantly fall at your feet and be yours."

But it was precisely that which troubled the king. He wanted her glorification, not his. In return for his love he wanted hers, freely given. Finally, the king realized love's truth, that freedom for the beloved demanded equality with the beloved. So late one night, after all the counselors of the palace had retired, he slipped out a side door and appeared before the maid's cottage dressed as a servant.

Clearly, the fable is a Christmas story. We are called to obey not God's power, but God's love. God wants not submission to his power, but in return for his love, our own.

God moved in. He pitches his fleshly tent in silence on straw, in a stable, under a star. The cry from that infant's throat pierced the silence of centuries. God's voice could actually be heard coming from human vocal cords.

That's the joy of it. God has come to be with us!

James T. Garrett, God's Gift, CSS Publishing Company
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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2011, 09:17:07 AM »

Unconditional Love
I don't remember the first time I walked, but I imagine it went something like this: I stood at one end of the room with my mother and my father was a full three steps away. Before that day I could probably do the kind of creative dangling that almost looks like walking, when somebody held me by the hands and shifted me from side to side as my feet barely touched the floor. But this is the day when I will try a real honest walk on my own - all holds barred - with just two eager parents, miles apart, there to cheer me on. So I set out, wobbling at first, stumbling at second, but unmistakably making it on my own from one set of arms to the other. And then I imagine that my father lifted me high in the air with an exultant shout as if no one in human history had ever walked before. Then, after numerous kisses and exclamations, I probably felt like the most loved, most marvelous boy in all the world.

After a time I could walk with more assurance but, for some reason, I didn't receive so much praise. In fact, I can't remember the last time that anyone praised me for walking across a room. So I had to do other things. Simply walking just wasn't good enough anymore. I had to strive to make a splash in other ways, just to get back to that feeling, that feeling of being noticed, of being picked up with a shout of delight, of being valued.

For the most part, we don't have much experience with unconditional love, so we try to create conditions in which we will feel worthy of love. We do not entirely trust love without reasons, so we strive to create reasons for the love received.

And in all that striving, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that my parents did not praise me because of my accomplishments. Rather, they praised my accomplishments because they loved me, and would have loved me if there were no accomplishments to praise.

If parents sometimes have something like unconditional love, a love without reasons, for their children, how much more so does God love God's children? All of our striving to try to win something that is ours already. God values you, not because you have distinguished yourself in some way, but because you are God's beloved.

Martin Copenhaver, Whispered in Your Ear
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