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Discussion in 'Discussions about Religion.' started by beensetfree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Lessons from Suffering Part III

    "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."3

    Third. To turn our crises into opportunities, we need to face causes. If there is one thing in life that I have learned, it is this: the problem we see is not necessarily the problem that is.

    For instance, what we blame many of our problems on—especially personal ones—very often is not the real cause. What we see are mostly symptoms, and as counselor John Townsend says, symptoms very often are "the fruit of a deeper root." For instance, my criticism of someone else may be caused more by my jealousy or negative attitude rather than by what that person did. My hurt feelings or anger at another person may be a reflection of my insecurity or my unresolved hostility. I may unconsciously be looking for a peg to hang my anger on; that is, an excuse to blame somebody else for my unresolved problems.

    Only as we become courageously honest with ourselves and face the actual causes of our difficulties can we begin to resolve them. Jesus Christ expressed a universal principle when he said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you at liberty."4

    Fourth. To turn our crises into opportunities, we need to ask the question, "What might God be trying to say to me, or to teach me, through my adverse circumstances?" There is almost always some valuable lesson to be learned.

    Remember, because he was in prison John Bunyan wrote his literary masterpiece,Pilgrim's Progress. And through rising above her severe handicaps, blind Helen Keller became a great inspiration to millions.

    And so it is with each of us. No matter what happens to us, God wants to use our suffering to strengthen us, to mature us, and to make us better persons.

    If you are going through a time of sickness, sorrow, depression, financial setback, a broken relationship, or feel you have failed in some way, can you accept that God wants to use your suffering to help you grow and become closer to him? Can you ask him to help you see what you might be contributing to your situation, for the courage to do your part in resolving it, and through it help you to grow?

    After a long winter, spring eventually comes and with it new leaves appear on the trees in all their refreshing beauty. In the summer they thrive. In the fall they die. But in dying their beauty is greater than in the spring. But the tree doesn't die. The falling leaves just make further growth possible. And that's the cycle of life—struggle, pain, beauty, growth.

    Apparently, in his later years, Renoir, the famous French painter, suffered badly from arthritis. On one occasion his close friend, Matisse, questioned him, "My friend, why do you keep on painting when you are in so much pain?" To which Renoir thoughtfully replied, "The pain passes, but the beauty remains!"

    For all who trust their life to God and ask him to use their struggles to help them grow, their pain, too, will pass, but their beauty will remain—forever. As God's Word, the Bible, says, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."5

    Be sure to invest your pain. Don't waste it. Invest it wisely in your own growth and in the growth of others. As God's Word also says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."6

    Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in all of life's painful circumstances, please face me with the truth of anything that I may be contributing in any way to cause or worsen my situation. Help me also to accept my problems as allowed by you so that I will learn from and, in so doing, become a more mature, loving and helpful Christian. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."
     
  2. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    I ran into a stranger as he passed by.
    “Oh, excuse me please” was my reply.
    He said, “Please excuse me too;
    I wasn’t even watching for you.”
    We were very polite, this stranger and I.
    We went on our way and we said good-bye.
    But at home a different story is told,
    How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

    Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
    My daughter stood beside me very still.
    When I turned, I nearly knocked her down.

    “Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.
    She walked away, her little heart broken.
    I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

    While I lay awake in bed,
    God’s still small voice came to me and said,
    “While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,
    But the children you love, you seem to abuse.
    Look on the kitchen floor,
    You’ll find some flowers there by the door.
    Those are the flowers she brought for you.
    She picked them herself, pink, yellow and blue.
    She stood quietly not to spoil the surprise,
    And you never saw the tears in her eyes.”

    By this time, I felt very small
    And now my tears began to fall.
    I quietly went and knelt by her bed;
    “Wake up, little girl, wake up,” I said.
    “Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
    She smiled, “I found ’em, out by the tree.
    I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you.
    I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”

    I said, “Daughter, I’m sorry for the way I acted today;
    I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
    She said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay. I love you anyway.”
    I said, “Daughter, I love you too,
    and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”

    Are you aware that: If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family – an unwise investment indeed.
     
  3. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Give Me a Thankful Heart

    "Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. You are the LORD God."1

    How easy it is to take God's blessings and provisions for granted. I've lived in Southern California for several years and have experienced earthquakes which shook the good old terra firma I was standing on. I've seen the results of ravaging fires that destroyed scores of homes, riots that destroyed scores of properties, and floods and mud slides that also caused great losses.

    Southern California is little more than converted desert and what amazes me is where all the water comes from to meet the needs of some twenty-plus million people! I've lived through several years of drought and still there was enough water. Most of the water comes from the most marvelous water storage system ever created, and it's not just from the many man-made dams and reservoirs, as wonderful and as necessary as these are. It's from the snow that stores water for many months of the year and releases it basically as it is needed. If it weren't for the magnificent mountains and the amazing supply of snow, Southern California would still be little more than a desert.

    It also amazes me how so many people complain about rainy days when we get good rains in such a dry and thirsty land—rains that fill up the rivers, dams, and reservoirs and store billions of gallons of water in the form of snow over thousands of square miles of rugged mountains—rains that keep us alive!

    All God has to do is turn off the sky's faucet or blot out the sun for long enough and every living thing would die.

    As the Levites said, truly God gives life to everything.

    Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for all the incredible blessings you provide for all of us all of the time. May I be ever mindful of these and thankful for them. Help me to always have a grateful heart and live in an attitude of gratitude. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
     
  4. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Heartprints

    "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."1

    "Whatever our hands touch… we leave fingerprints. On walls, on furniture, on door knobs, dishes and books. As we touch we leave our identity.

    "Oh [God] please wherever I go today… help me leave heartprints—heartprints of compassion, understanding and love. Heartprints of kindness and genuine concern.

    "May my heart touch a lonely neighbor, or a runaway daughter, or an anxious mother, or perhaps a dear friend!

    "I shall go out today to leave heartprints, and if some one should say, 'I felt your touch,' may that sense be your loving touch through me!"2

    Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me today and every day so that my life will reflect your likeness so that the people I rub shoulders with will see your love shining through me so that I will leave heartprints from you on them. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
     
  5. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Your son and mine

    Daddy’s Little Buddy.
    The miracle before my eyes.
    A reminder of God’s presence,
    Every time I see him smile.

    His laughter is a joy to my Heart.
    His forgiveness makes mine pale when compared.
    He makes me laugh with a sense of humor,
    That he is always willing to share.
    The little things that excite him,

    Make me remember the kid I used to be.
    It reminds me to enjoy every moment more,
    Instead of letting the world get to me.
    Above all I only have to look at him,
    His daddy’s pride and joy,

    To remember to thank my Heavenly Father above,
    For my special little boy.
    I understand now how much God loves us,
    Every time I hold him tight.
    God gave up the Son He loved so much,
    To give us eternal life.
    Thank You God For your Son and mine.

    Read more: http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/3117/your-son-and-mine/#ixzz4yRp9yb3c
     
  6. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Dear Mothers

    I raised Him as a good boy, taught Him well, all through His life.
    I tried to do the best I could, as a Mother and a wife.
    His Step-Dad was a good man, taught Him well in every way,
    And treated Him as his own son, until His dying day.

    He always was a good boy, never even raised His voice.
    Except on some occasions, when He really had no choice.
    He treated people kindly, treated everybody fair.
    And if somebody had a problem, He would always care.

    People always listened, to the words He had to say,
    And they would stay and listen, even late into the day.
    Everybody loved Him, from the rich to down and out,
    But there were some, who did not want Him going all about.

    He never did an evil deed, as everybody knows.
    There were a few who said, “He’s always stepping on our toes.”
    “This Man is speaking blasphemy,” said leaders in their quote.
    “We have the perfect setup here, and He’s rocking our boat.”

    “If only we could shut Him up, and go on like it’s been,
    But, if He will not shut His mouth, we must get rid of Him.”
    So, on that Friday, I stood by and watched them kill my son.
    While other’s watched and wondered, ‘What on earth has this boy done?’

    I raised Him as a good boy, He made life so rich and full,
    And just because He spoke like God, He’s called a criminal.
    A mother loves her children and she gives the very best.
    A mother does the best she can and prays God does the rest.

    If God blessed you with children, you must give them back to Him,
    And realize deep in your heart, that He’s in charge of them.
    In this life, there will be times, when you don’t understand,
    What God is doing, but you know you’ve done the best you can.

    On that Friday, it felt like my heart ripped from my chest,
    But, I knew God was in charge and I had done my best.
    To be a mother is a blessing, that God does bestow,
    But, someday, wants His children back and I thought you should know.

    Mary



     
  7. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Position: Mum

    JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work various hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

    RESPONSIBILITIES: This is for the rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

    Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

    Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, and embarrassed the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

    POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

    PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

    WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

    BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

     
  8. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The 2m Radius Challenge
    Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts:
    Consider your ways—Haggai 1:5

    What if the measure of a man’s life, in the end, isn’t how many hours he’d logged in pews on Sundays? What if it isn’t how many times he’d read through the Gospels? What if the measure is, rather, only how he’d treated people around him? What if it’s how well he’d noticed and met the needs of people who came into close proximity? Well, brother, if those aren’t the only things measured, they’ll certainly be among the most consequential.

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory . . . he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left”(Matthew 25:31-33).

    Our King, Jesus Christ, in his sheep-and-goats discourse, teaches that our lives will indeed be measured—and he tells us how. By doing that, ahead of time, before we’re actually gathered before him, he gives us a decision framework, one we can use during our lifetimes. On that day, he won’t ask for a church attendance record. He will ask how much we’ve used our lives for other people, especially those in need (Matthew 25:34-40).

    Okay, so what do we do?

    Throughout your day, today, imagine a circle—one with a 2-meter radius, you at the center. Notice who comes into that circle. Log their names. Notice and write down their needs—friendship, mercy, love, tough love, hope—and how you might help meet them.

    (There’s nothing special about 2m. What matters is increasing intentionality. And, truly, a man could spend his entire lifetime just trying to meet the needs of people who’d come into his 2m circle—so, it’s a good place to start.)
     
  9. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Sermons We See

    I'd rather see a sermon, than hear one any day;
    I'd rather one would walk with me, than merely point the way.

    The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
    Fine counsel is confusing but example's always clear.

    And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds;
    For to see good put in action is what everybody needs!

    I soon can learn to do it, if you'll let me see it done;
    I can see your hands in action but your tongue too fast may run.

    And the lectures you deliver may be very fine and true;
    But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do!

    For I may not understand you and the high advice you give;
    But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live!

     
  10. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.

    Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”

    When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

    At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part.

    Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a potentially frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was absolutely mesmerized.

    Whatever our situation in life and histories, however outrageous, however desperate, whatever dry spell of the spirit, whatever dark night of the soul, God is whispering deep within our beings, “Don’t quit. Keep playing. You’re not alone; together We will transform the broken patterns into a masterwork of Our creative art. Together, We will mesmerize the world with Our song of peace.”
     
  11. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Though only four years old,

    He said a bad word in preschool;

    Twenty other four year olds

    Heard him break the rule.

    Now twenty-one four year olds

    Know this real bad term;

    And it’s stuck in all their heads

    With a memory that’s firm;

    And all around the playground,

    That word keeps slipping out;

    And three year olds are hearing it,

    Of that there is no doubt!

    So now all these little people

    Know a word they shouldn’t say

    Because a little preschool boy

    Heard his father “cuss” one day.
     
  12. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    For all mums

    We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.”

    “We’re taking a survey,” she says, half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”

    “It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. “I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations….”

    But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

    I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

    I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

    That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.

    I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.

    She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

    I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

    However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

    Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years — not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

    I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

    I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

    I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children’s future.

    I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

    My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter’s hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God . . . that of being a Mother.


     
  13. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “O that I knew where I might find him!”

    Job 23:3

    In Job's uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father's face. His first prayer is not “O that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!” nor even “O that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!” but the first and uppermost cry is, “O that I knew where I might find Him , who is my God! that I might come even to his seat!”

    God's children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. “He that hath made his refuge God,” might serve as the title of a true believer.

    A hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave, would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true heir of heaven, he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the bosom of the God who frowned upon him. Job's desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation.

    The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, “O that I knew where I might find my God!”

    Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth's hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings, we rejoice in him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God's presence with us. Only let us enjoy his smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for his dear sake.
     
  14. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Six little Christians tucked in little beds

    Heard the church bell ringing and raised their little heads.

    One little Christian shut his eyes once more;

    “I’m sleeping in,” he said, “That’s what Sunday’s for.”

    Five little Christians raised their little heads,

    Stretched and sat up straight in their little beds.

    One little Christian laid his head back on his pillow;

    “It’s Sunday, my day off,” he said, “I’m a lucky fellow.”

    Four little Christians sat up in their beds

    And scrambled right out as Mother always said.

    One little Christian turned on the TV;

    “Oh look,” he said, “Something’s on I want to see!”

    Three little Christians did what mother said,

    Hurried up and dressed when they got out of bed.

    One little Christian dressed in his old jeans,

    Ready to go out and hit the golf course greens.

    Two little Christians donned their fine apparel

    And went to the kitchen to eat some bowls of cereal.

    One little Christian was headed toward the door

    When he decided to stay home and eat a little more.

    One little Christian walked out his front door

    And hurried off to church ’cause that’s what Sunday’s for!
     
  15. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    My mother was raised in a church-going family but by the time I was born she had ceased going to regular services; although several times when a weeklong “revival meeting” was going on at the church she had grown up in she attended the weekday evening services and I would be there beside her on the hard pew for sermons that seemed endless.

    But other than those special revivals, Mother didn’t ever attend church; yet as a child I was usually at church in one congregation or another almost every week.

    When I was a very small girl, my sister—5 years older than I—used to walk me three blocks to Aunt Martha’s house. From there, Aunt Martha would walk me the additional half block to the Methodist Church where she and Uncle Alex were staunch parishioners and where she served as a Sunday School teacher for many years. Aunt Martha was my father’s sister and with her being so involved, the Methodist church was also where I went to Bible School in the summer. At the Methodist church I listened avidly to all the bible stories, including my favorite about David slewing the Giant.

    After dropping me at Aunt Martha’s house for Sunday school, my sister would continue on another block to Aunt Evelyn’s. (Mother’s sister). Aunt Evelyn would take her to the local Church of Christ only about a block from the Methodist church. After services, the routine was reversed and my sister would walk me home.

    When I got a little older, I joined my sister at the Church of Christ on Sunday mornings; but even as a teenager, I went to the Methodist church youth fellowship meetings which were held week-day evenings.

    One way or another, I grew up with some knowledge of religion and the feeling that on Sunday mornings I needed to worship. To the credit of my aunts, I grew up to love God and try to do what’s right. I’m pretty sure that if they could know me now, they would consider their efforts worthwhile.

    Remembering those who helped me along the way.
     
  16. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.”

    John 12:2

    He is to be envied. It was well to be Martha and serve, but better to be Lazarus and commune. There are times for each purpose, and each is comely in its season, but none of the trees of the garden yield such clusters as the vine of fellowship. To sit with Jesus, to hear his words, to mark his acts, and receive his smiles, was such a favour as must have made Lazarus as happy as the angels. When it has been our happy lot to feast with our Beloved in his banqueting-hall, we would not have given half a sigh for all the kingdoms of the world, if so much breath could have bought them.

    He is to be imitated. It would have been a strange thing if Lazarus had not been at the table where Jesus was, for he had been dead, and Jesus had raised him. For the risen one to be absent when the Lord who gave him life was at his house, would have been ungrateful indeed. We too were once dead, yea, and like Lazarus stinking in the grave of sin; Jesus raised us, and by his life we live — can we be content to live at a distance from him? Do we omit to remember him at his table, where he deigns to feast with his brethren? Oh, this is cruel! It behoves us to repent, and do as he has bidden us, for his least wish should be law to us.

    To have lived without constant intercourse with one of whom the Jews said, “Behold how he loved him,” would have been disgraceful to Lazarus, is it excusable in us whom Jesus has loved with an everlasting love? To have been cold to him who wept over his lifeless corpse, would have argued great brutishness in Lazarus. What does it argue in us over whom the Saviour has not only wept, but bled? Come, brethren, who read this portion, let us return unto our heavenly Bridegroom, and ask for his Spirit that we may be on terms of closer intimacy with him, and henceforth sit at the table with him.
     

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