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FEEL GODD STUFF
George K
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 5:36 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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Dog's Best Day - Bretagne - YouTube


tos
Posted: Friday, September 25, 2015 6:28 AM
Joined: 6/4/2015
Posts: 348


I just want to say how good I feel when I see all the cute pets in the avatar photos!
sandyjm
Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2015 6:45 PM
Joined: 4/25/2015
Posts: 406


Thanks for sharing !
George K
Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 11:00 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYI_aOyCn9Y

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George K
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 6:14 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


This is about living one day at a time and enjoying life one day at a time...

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A businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The businessman then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor."

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The businessman scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise." The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" To which the businessman replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, señor?" The businessman laughed and said, "That's the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions." "Millions, señor? Then what?" The businessman said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

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The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "Isn't that what I'm doing right now?"

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George K
Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2015 12:03 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


This is an e-mail I received...

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At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story:

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My name is Mildred Honor. I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons...something I have done for over 30 years. During those years I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the prodigy, I have taught some very talented students.

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However, I have also had my share of what I call 'musically challenged’ pupils. One such pupil being Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano, so I took him as a Student. At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say 'My Mom's going to hear me play someday'. But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability.

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I only knew his Mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

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Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to the students' homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify. He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. 'Please Miss Honor, I've just got to play' he insisted.

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I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital - perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right. The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program, just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my 'curtain closer'. Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it. 'Why wasn't he dressed up like the other students?' I thought. 'Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?'

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Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the Ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age. After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause! Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. 'I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?' Through the microphone Robby explained: 'Well, Miss Honor, Remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away this morning. And well... she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.'

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There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As people from social services led Robby from the stage to be placed in to foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

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No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy... of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn't know why.

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Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April, 1995.

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A footnote to the story. If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you are probably wondering which people on your address list aren't the 'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message. The person who sent this to you believes that we can all make a difference! So many seemingly trivial interactions between two People present us with a choice. Do we act with compassion or do we pass up that opportunity? You Now Have Two Choices:

1. Delete this; OR

2. Forward it to the people you care about.

You know the choice I made. Thank you for reading this. May God bless you today, tomorrow and always. If God didn't have a purpose for us, we wouldn't be here! Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.


George K
Posted: Friday, October 2, 2015 11:14 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


Live a life that matters
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.


George K
Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 12:46 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?vvj5dzMxzmc


George K
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2015 7:41 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP8psM4LWXk

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George K
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2015 4:51 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

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What is love? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, “I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?” Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could only do that by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature – even to the one who seeks to cut it down. So this is the first quality of love: its indiscriminate character. That is why we are exhorted to be like God, “Who makes His sun to shine on good and bad alike and makes His rain to fall on saints and sinners alike; so you must be all goodness as your heavenly Father is all goodness.” Contemplate in astonishment the sheer goodness of the rose, the lamp, the tree, for there we have an image of what love is all about.

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How does one attain this quality of love? Anything you do will only make it forced, cultivated and therefore phony, for love cannot be forced. There is nothing you can do. But there is something you can drop. Observe the marvelous change that comes over you the moment you stop seeing people as good and bad, as saints and sinners and begin to see them as unaware and ignorant. You must drop your false belief that people can sin in awareness. Sin occurs, not as you mistakenly think, in malice, but in ignorance. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” To see this is to acquire the indiscriminate quality one so admires in the rose, the lamp, and the tree.

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And here is the second quality of love – its gratuitousness. Like the tree, the rose, the lamp, it gives and asks for nothing in return. How we despise the man whose choice of his wife is determined not by any quality she may have but by the amount of money she will bring as dowry. Such a man, we rightly say, loves not the woman but the financial benefit she brings him. But is your own love any different when you seek the company of those who bring you emotional gratification and avoid those who don’t; when you are positively disposed toward people who give you what you want and live up to your expectations and are negligent and indifferent to those who don’t? Here too there is only one thing that you need to do to acquire this quality of gratuitousness that characterizes love. You can open your eyes and see. Just seeing, just exposing your so-called love for what it really is, a camouflage for selfishness and greed, is a major step arriving at this second quality of love.

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The third quality of love is its unselfconsciousness. Love so enjoys the loving that it is blissfully unaware of itself. The way the lamp is busy shining with no thought of whether it is benefitting others or not. The way a rose gives out its fragrance simply because there is nothing else it can do, whether there is someone there to enjoy the fragrance or not. The way the tree offers its shade. The light, the fragrance, the shade are not produced at the approach of persons and turned off when no one is there. These things, like love, exist independently of persons. Love simply is, it has no object. They simply are, regardless of whether someone will benefit from them or not. So they have no consciousness of any merit or of doing good. Their left hand has no consciousness of what their right hand does. “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty and help You?”

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The final quality of love is its freedom. The moment coercion or control or conflict enters, love dies. Think how the rose, the tree, the lamp leave you completely free. The tree will make no effort to drag you into its shade if you are in danger of sunstroke. The lamp will not force its light on you lest you stumble in the dark. Think for a while of all the coercion and control that you submit to on the part of others when you do so anxiously live up to their expectations in order to but their love and approval or because you fear you will lose them. Each time you submit to this control and this coercion you destroy the capacity to love which is your very nature, for you cannot but help to do to others what you allow others to do to you. Contemplate, then, all the control and coercion in your life and hopefully cause them to drop. The moment they drop, freedom will arise. And freedom is just another word for love.

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George K
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 5:25 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_BrgF5WIjo

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George K
Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 6:56 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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The Prayer of Francis of Assissi starts out:...

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"Lord, make me an instrument of you peace..."; this video shows someone who is trying that, I sure hope it's successful and spreads!

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http://tinyurl.com/nkhl3yk


George K
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 8:08 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth, tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again.

In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces—one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.

A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.

 


George K
Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2015 4:46 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

There once was a farmer who had a horse. One day the horse ran away.

All his neighbors came to console him, but he was not distressed.

He told them, "Good, bad, who knows?"

A few days later the horse returned and with it was a mare.

All his neighbors came to him to congratulate him on his good fortune, but again he would not mind them telling them, "Good, bad, who knows?"

A week later his son was riding the mare, fell and broke his arm.

Again the neighbors came to wish him condolences and tell him how very unlucky he was.

The farmer shook his head and said, "Good, bad, who knows?"

A few days later, war was declared and all able-bodied young men were conscripted, but because on his son’s broken arm, he was not.

We are wise when we leave it to God to decide what is good fortune and what misfortune, and thank him that all things turn out for good with those who love him.

"Good, bad, who knows?"

Author Unknown

 


George K
Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2015 7:15 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


Enesto Cortazar~A New Day
George K
Posted: Monday, November 16, 2015 5:04 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

On the 31st of July, this beautiful time-lapse rise of the Full Blue Moon was captured 2 ½ miles away from Cape Byron Lighthouse, on Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. The head land and lighthouse at Byron Bay is the most easterly point of the Australian Mainland and therefor is the first place in Australia to watch the full moon rise. This video is made up of 1038 frames and slowed down to as close to real time as possible. The photographer has been working on perfecting this type of time lapse for over a year now after seeing the work of his favorite photographer Mark Gee.

Don't forget to breathe watching this majestic time-lapse; everything about it is just perfect, and it's a photography clinic for anyone interested in taking time-lapse. See this stunning moonrise and appreciate just how beautiful God’s work can be.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/137218768


George K
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:12 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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 http://tinyurl.com/q47ln5w

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George K
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2015 7:57 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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 http://tinyurl.com/q47ln5w

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George K
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2015 11:36 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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 http://tinyurl.com/nenclm6

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George K
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 8:06 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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I like this song a lot, and there's a good video to go with it!

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 http://tinyurl.com/omrzee3

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George K
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2015 8:28 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

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George K
Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2015 10:30 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 In an old Guideposts magazine, there was the story of Elizabeth English and her husband Herman who owned an appliance store. They also sold toys. In the Christmas of 1946, they had sold about all of their toys. Elizabeth had been uneasy about leaving the store that Christmas Eve because one package on lay-a-way had not been picked up. So Elizabeth and Herman stayed open as long as they could. No one came.

The next day, Christmas day, Elizabeth could not get into the Christmas spirit. Strangely, she began to get the urge to go to the store that morning. After an hour, Elizabeth gave up fighting the urge and told Herman she was going down to the store. As she got to the store, she noticed two small boys standing in front of the store. The little fellows got very excited when they saw Elizabeth coming. They were almost frozen.

The older boy explained to Elizabeth that his younger brother didn't get anything for Christmas, and so they came to get Jimmy some skates. He then pulled out three dollars. Sadly, Elizabeth knew she had sold just about all of her toys. But she happened to glance at the lone package on the lay-a-way shelf. She walked over and ripped off the wrapping to find that it contained a pair of child's skates! Jimmy reached for them and tried them on. They fit perfectly. When the boys tried to pay Elizabeth for the skates, she told them to use their money to buy some gloves. The boys grinned in amazement at the free gift of roller skates.

Elizabeth asked the boys, "How did you know I would come?" The older boy answered, "I knew you would come. I asked Jesus to send you." Now, Elizabeth was in the Christmas spirit.

 


George K
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 5:43 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


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click on "video"

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 video

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George K
Posted: Sunday, December 13, 2015 5:18 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

In an old Guideposts magazine, there was the story of Elizabeth English and her husband Herman who owned an appliance store. They also sold toys. In the Christmas of 1946, they had sold about all of their toys. Elizabeth had been uneasy about leaving the store that Christmas Eve because one package on lay-a-way had not been picked up. So Elizabeth and Herman stayed open as long as they could. No one came.

The next day, Christmas day, Elizabeth could not get into the Christmas spirit. Strangely, she began to get the urge to go to the store that morning. After an hour, Elizabeth gave up fighting the urge and told Herman she was going down to the store. As she got to the store, she noticed two small boys standing in front of the store. The little fellows got very excited when they saw Elizabeth coming. They were almost frozen.

The older boy explained to Elizabeth that his younger brother didn't get anything for Christmas, and so they came to get Jimmy some skates. He then pulled out three dollars. Sadly, Elizabeth knew she had sold just about all of her toys. But she happened to glance at the lone package on the lay-a-way shelf. She walked over and ripped off the wrapping to find that it contained a pair of child's skates! Jimmy reached for them and tried them on. They fit perfectly. When the boys tried to pay Elizabeth for the skates, she told them to use their money to buy some gloves. The boys grinned in amazement at the free gift of roller skates.

Elizabeth asked the boys, "How did you know I would come?" The older boy answered, "I knew you would come. I asked Jesus to send you." Now, Elizabeth was in the Christmas spirit.

Just like the miracle these boys experienced, can you imagine the excitement and spirit that must have over come Mary as she began to grasp the miracle that was happening to her.

How about the miracles that God has performed in your life?


George K
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 2:47 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)


Isaiah reminds us that God brings into our world and into our lives the light of Jesus Christ during this Christmas season.

I recall a story about one of those busy days before Christmas. A sales clerk was overwhelmed with costumers. So, the manager was having the clerk take down everybody's address for a free catalogue.

The clerk took down one family's address, and the clerk trying to be friendly said, "It's a madhouse, isn't it?" "No," said one member of the family pleasantly, "It's a cute little home with a white picket fence around it."

This family didn't see their home as being a madhouse like many places are right before Christmas, but they saw their home as a pleasant place that was full of love and light. Their home was just like the stable, where Jesus was born. Most of us could not imagine being born in a barn, but Mary and Joseph made it their home. And in this place, there was a bright star over Bethlehem which marked the birthplace of our savior.

What does the light of God mean to us? It means that when we accept the light of Jesus Christ into our lives, we meet God. It means the light takes away the darkness of our lives. It means we become different people. It means we live for God and others. It means we work through the church to make a difference in our community and world. It means we have experienced God's unconditional love.


Loving God of Christmas, help me to see more clearly the light of Jesus Christ in my own life, and help me to share him with others. Amen.

 


George K
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 7:26 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." (Luke 1:3


Mary was obedient to God's call to be the one who would give birth to God's Son Jesus Christ. The greatest blessings are the ones bound up in our fellowship with God. Mary knew how important her relationship to God was.

You see, the greatest miracles in life come when we are bound to a close relationship with God. Maybe our celebration of this season would be more wonderful if we recognized that the glory of Christmas came about because of the willingness of ordinary people, like Mary, who obeyed God's claim in their lives.

I firmly believe that miracles happen today, and one way they happen is through ordinary people like you and me. There was a story in the newspapers a few years ago about eight-year-old Mark Amador's letter to Santa. He laid it on the line, "My Mom needs help bad! . . . " His letter spoke about his mother's unemployment, about them selling almost everything they had to buy food. "I want clothes and food for us to last 3 months," wrote Mark. "Hope my Mom will have a job by then."

The Tucson postal workers who opened the letter were jarred with his story and gave presents of clothing, and toys, and food to Mark, his two older brothers and their mother, Abigail. But there's more. Mark confided to Santa that he tried to be good at school but had to contend with classmates who ridiculed his ears, which stuck out. Dr. Burkhardt, a plastic surgeon, was asked by his nurse, if he would be willing to fix an 8-year-old boy's ears for nothing. "Sure," he said. "That's good, because Channel 13 is on the line." Mark's mother, was astounded by the response to Marks' letter ". . . it was a Godsend," she said. "Things like this never happen to us . . . ."

But it was Christmas! And Christmas is a time for miracles from a God who uses ordinary people, like Mary, and like you and me.


Dear Father of Jesus, I want to be open to responding to your word like Mary was. Please guide me to be faithful to your word. Amen.


George K
Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 6:08 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:20 )

 

 


Although we might not think of Joseph as a man of great faith, he really was. The custom of the day was for families to arrange the marriages of their children. Often this involved negotiations with the parents, while the children had no say whatsoever in whom they would marry. Being a small town, they no doubt had known each other.

 

I'm sure that Mary and Joseph were excited about getting married. We can imagine Joseph inventing carpentry errands that took him by Mary's house. We can picture Mary making a wide detour with her water jar on the way to the well and walking ever so slowly past Joseph's shop. Joseph must have been happy. Mary would soon become his wife.

Then one day everything changed. Mary wanted to speak with Joseph. She told him about an angel who told her that she would have a child who will "be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High." (Luke 1:32) Matthew tells us that Joseph was a "righteous man" but he was having a hard time believing Mary's story.

Joseph had two choices: he could set the wedding date sooner and hope people had lost track of time, or he could divorce her. Mary was in danger. If anyone found out that she was pregnant she would be stoned to death. Matthew tells us that his decision was to quietly divorce her.

Joseph, however, was a "righteous man" and God intervened. As Joseph was sleeping, an angel from God spoke to him, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife... for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." The angel told Joseph that he had the responsibility of naming the child Jesus, "for he will save his people from their sins." Joseph was faithful to God's call. and, as they say, the rest is history.


God of Joseph, help me remain faithful to you during this Christmas and all year long. Amen.

George K
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 7:55 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NRSV)


According to Matthew, Immanuel means, "God is with us." You see, Mary's miracle is one of hope for all of us. It's a miracle that says that God has not abandoned us to the consequences of our own sinfulness. Rather, God sent Jesus as our deliverer, and our savior.

A few years ago, just before Christmas, Doris Young, 41, an unemployed mother living in Dallas, was sick with grief. Her 6-month-old son, had just died from sudden infant death syndrome; and the funeral home wouldn't bury him until she could come up with the $700 fee. Heather Hoffman, a social worker was doing her best to help. "I made dozens of phone calls... but no one had an emergency fund for funerals," she said. Then one of Hoffman's coworkers put in a call to a local officer who frequently urged neighborhood residents to call her if they ever needed anything. The officer was not on duty, but Sergeant Williams was on duty. As he heard about the woman's plight, he sent out an alert to patrol cars citywide. Almost immediately, officers began showing up at his police station, handing over five, ten, even twenty-dollar bills. Within hours, Williams had collected the needed money and an additional $300, including cash from his own pocket. "Maybe my son won't get that special toy for Christmas, but this was a child who would never see Christmas," said Williams. Young cried when Hoffman called to tell her the news. "I didn't know what I was going to do," she says. "I would have been lost without those officers."

That is the miracle of Christmas. Jesus, the Christ child, turns our despair into hope.


Dear God, please forgive me. Thank you for giving me a savior. Amen.


George K
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 5:02 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today's Devotional

Eight Tiny Reindeer

At Christmastime we read and hear poems, stories, and songs about reindeer. There are those eight tiny reindeer, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, and the one that ran over Grandma.

Once, Harold Kurtz, a missionary in the Presbyterian Church USA, spoke at our church. He told of going to Siberia, which is in the northern part of Russia. He visited a reindeer-herding people called the Nenets. There are about 30,000 in this people-group. Harold wondered how he could let those people know of the love of God and what Jesus Christ had done for them.

One day, he saw one of the men sacrifice a reindeer to their god. He found out that this was done on a regular basis. The missionary then thought of the following Scripture:

Hebrews 10:1-4,12 – Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, "he sat down at the right hand of God." (NRSV)

Harold told the people about Jesus Christ and how He gave His life — Jesus Christ was their reindeer. All the sacrifices that they had made were useless. There was only one sacrifice for sin, and that was made by Jesus Christ. Since Harold met with them, many of the Nenets have been turning to the Lord.

We also must remember that the blood of eight tiny reindeer or millions of animals will not pay our sin debt for us. Only Jesus Christ giving His life will do so if we turn to Him. Praise God, we don't have to do anything to appease God or to get Him to love us. God showed His love by sending His Son to live a human life, then to die on the cross: one sacrifice for sin.

At Christmastime, it is nice to remember the manger, but we have to leave there and remember that Jesus came to be our sacrifice. Then, we need to remember that He didn't just die but rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of God.

Prayer: Lord God, we thank You for sending Your Son as a Baby in a manger. But we thank You and praise You more for sending Him to be our sacrifice. In the name of Jesus Christ, Who lived and died for us, we pray. Amen.

Dean Masters


George K
Posted: Friday, December 18, 2015 11:06 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.
  —John Ruskin

It's hard to keep from trying to control the lives of others, especially in a family. We can learn from the man whose friend drove twenty miles to and from work on the freeway every day. "How can you do it?" he asked. "I've tried, and I can't go a mile in such traffic without screaming at the crazy drivers who cut in, go too slow, change lanes. Nobody listens. I'd lose my mind if I had to do it your way." His friend replied, "Your trouble is trying to drive every car around you. I relax and drive only one car - my own."

We have only our own lives to live, and this is usually enough to keep us busy. If we pay too much attention to how others live, we will neglect ourselves.

What acts of others can I ignore today?

George K
Posted: Saturday, December 19, 2015 7:15 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

 

 

 

This is a busy season, but there is a lot more to Christmas than shopping. I recently read a Christmas card that clearly reveals what our focus should be this Christmas.

"If our greatest need was for information,
God would have sent an educator."

"If our greatest need was for technology,
God would have sent a scientist."

"If our greatest need was for pleasure,
God would have sent an entertainer."

"If our greatest need was for money,
God would have sent an economist."

BUT SINCE OUR GREATEST NEED IS FOR FORGIVENESS,
GOD SENT A SAVIOR.


Dear God, please forgive me, as I accept Jesus into my heart today and everyday. Amen.

George K
Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2015 5:02 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)

 


I remember a story of a young girl who was taken to a shopping mall to see Santa. After waiting in line for what seemed to be an eternity, it was finally her turn to sit on Santa's knee. After the usual "Ho ho ho's" and "what is your name" questions, the girl was finally asked what she wanted for Christmas. She replied, "I would like two toy dolls, two teddy bears, two video games, and two winter coats." "Well," said Santa, "that certainly is a tall order to fill. But, do you mind telling me why you want two of everything?" The little girl had obviously prepared herself for this question, because she said without hesitation, "So I can share."

 

I like this girl's spirit. Christmas is about sharing. And may we this Christmas also realize that what we want and what we need aren't always the same thing. I hope we will allow Christ to help us change the direction we travel and the attitude that shapes our thoughts.

Let us play "Follow the Leader" with Christ. Those in the Christmas story did--Mary, Joseph, the Three Kings, and the Shepherds. Let's follow the savior, as we share his love.


Dear God, you have shared so much of yourself with me. May I share as you have shared. Amen.

George K
Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2015 5:31 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

 


George K
Posted: Monday, December 21, 2015 6:12 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors! (Luke 2:14)

 

 


Christmas is a celebration of how God shared God's self with us. This story tells it best... Time before time when the world was young, two sisters shared a field and mill together. Each night they divided evenly the grain they had ground together during the day. One sister lived alone, the other had a husband and a large family. Now the single sister thought to herself one day, "It isn't really fair that we divide the grain evenly. I have only myself to care for, but my sister has a family to feed." So each night she secretly took some of her grain to her sister's granary to see that she was never without. But the married sister said to herself one day, "It isn't fair that we divide the grain evenly, because I have children to provide for me in my old age, but my sister has no one. What will she do then?"

 

So every night she secretly took some of her grain to her sister's granary. As a result, both of them always found their supply of grain mysteriously replenished each morning. Then one night they met each other half-way between their houses. Suddenly they realized what had been happening, and embraced each other in love. It is said that the spot where they met became a holy place, because God was made known to the world in a place where human beings discovered each other sharing in acts of love.

When we share and give in love most of the mud of the world will become a firm foundation of peace for all. When Jesus is around all ground can be Holy Ground.


Lord Jesus, may the mud of my life become a firm foundation of your peace, as I learn to share. Amen.

George K
Posted: Monday, December 21, 2015 6:45 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2800


 I received Christmas greetings from a friend today, and the e-mail subject line was "Marry Christmas". This struck me as funny: I don't really know anyone named Christmas, so who was I supposed to marry? I mentioned it to a friend, and she did know a girl named Christmas, but being female, I was not about to seek her out to marry her.

So, in what I wrote back to my friend, I mentioned, "Maybe it is time to marry Christmas into all the other things going on in life."

That got me thinking: How do we marry Christmas into all the other things going on in life? I guess that depends on what the deepest meanings of Christmas are, and how they can be applied to all of our lives. How could we have Christmas all year long?

It's all about giving: gifts, time, energy, love. Love? Whose love? My love? God's love? Ah … it was God's love that started Christmas, was it not?

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. (NKJV)

It was God's love for each one of us that led Him to give His only Son. It was that Son's love for us that led Him to give His life for each one of us so that we could have everlasting life. It is God's love that draws us to Him. It is God's love that forgives our sins when we repent. It is God's love that motivates us to forgive others for their sins against us. Through His love poured out within us by His Holy Spirit, we can reach out to others with those gifts of time, energy, and love. And that is how we can marry Christmas with all the other things going on in life.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for the love that You have shown us. Through showing us Your love, You have taught us how to love. Help us, Lord, to continually show Your love and to marry Christmas with everything we do all year round. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Ruth Burkholder
Stouffville, Ontario, Canada

 
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