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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Crack Pot

A story ...

An elderly Chinese man had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the man bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the man one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old man smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them." "For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."


Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

The Apostle Paul said, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:9-11).  Thinking of the story above, it is interesting to note that God sees our cracks -and in spite of them - decides to use us.  

LORD, thank you for seeing our flaws and in spite of them still use us as your vessels.  Amen. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Blue Rose

The Blue Rose

A Story...




Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to
go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs,
paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the 
checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who
appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't in a hurry, so I patiently 
waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his 
hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice,
"Mommy, I'm over here."

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned 
and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened
and surprise exploded on his face as I said, 


"Hey Buddy, what's your name?"

"My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.

"Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."




"Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked. "Yes," I answered. "How old are you Denny?"

"How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle. "You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass
by."

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes
about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with
excitement, because he was the center of someone's attention. He then
abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time
to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him,
much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea
where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 

I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in
God's Garden; however, 
"Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. 

You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"
Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, "God bless you!" and then I had tears in my eyes. 

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don't turn your head and 
walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.


A friend of mine emailed this story to me.  

It moved me deeply.  

No wonder Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto Me." 

I get the idea that Jesus was trying to get a message across that was much deeper than what His disciples could actually see.  I believe He wanted to teach His followers to stop and acknowledge people.  Too often we just hurry through life and miss all kinds of hurting people right around us.  

The man in this story was wise enough to give a little of his time to this 15 year old boy and in doing so, he was giving more than just time, he was giving part of his life away.  
He was investing.  He was acknowledging something unique.  

He took the time to smell the rose. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Building Bridges


Once upon a time, 
two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door.
He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I 'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? 

     Could I help you?

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

--It was a bridge. 


-A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other-

A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his
hand outstretched..

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."

Ephesians 4:32   
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Resolution 2016: "He Shared his Best"

story. 

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. 

Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”


              So is with our lives ... 

Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all...

 -Call it power of collectivity...
 -Call it a principle of success...
 -Call it a law of life.

The bible teaches us in the book of Galatians that, "we will reap what we sow."  I've heard it said that life is like an echo, what you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness ... 

It's the start of a new year, and everybody is out making resolutions, so what about posting this message in your workspace or at home by your nightstand? Thus reminding you to share your crops in the hope that everyone produces a great 2016. 
 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My best Christmas


The Christmas party was over.

Several of the men were sitting at a table reminiscing about the Christmas days of their childhood. The conversation turned to the best Christmas of their lives. As they went around the table, they noticed one man hadn't said anything. They asked, "Come on.. Frank, What was your best Christmas?" Frank said, "The best Christmas I ever had was when I didn't even get a present." 
The others were surprised. They had to hear the story. Frank began to talk...
"I grew up in New York. It was the great depression and we were poor. My Mother had died when I was just eight years old. My Dad had a job but he only worked two or three days a week and that was considered good. We lived in a walk up and we just barely had enough food and clothes. I was a kid and didn't really notice."

"My Dad was a proud man. He had one suit. He would wear that suit to work. When he came home, he would take off the jacket and sit in his chair still wearing his shirt, tie and his vest. He had this big old pocket watch that had been given to him by my mother. He would sit in his chair, the chain from watch hanging out, connected to the fob in his vest buttonhole. That watch was his proudest possession. Sometimes, I would see him, just sitting there, looking at his precious watch. I bet he was thinking of my mother."

"One year, I was about twelve, chemistry sets were the big thing. They cost two dollars. That was big money but every kid wanted a chemistry set including me. I began to pester my Dad about it a month or so before Christmas. You know, I made all the same kid promises. I would be good. I would do my chores. I wouldn't ask for anything else again. My dad would just say, 'We'll see.."
"Three days before Christmas he took me to the carts. There was this area where all the small merchants keep their street carts. They would undersell the stores and you could get a good buy. He would take me to a cart and pick out some little toy. "Son, would like something like this?" I, of course, would tell him, 'No, I want a chemistry set.' We tramped to nearly every cart and him showing me some toy car or toy gun, and me refusing it. I never thought that he didn't have the money to buy a chemistry set. Finally, he said, we better go home and come back the next day."

"All the way home, I pouted and whined about the chemistry set. I repeated the promises. I said I didn't care if I never got another present. I had to have that chemistry set. I know now that my Dad felt guilty about being able to give me more. He probably thought he was a failure as a Father and I think he blamed himself for my mother's death. As we were walking up the stairs, he told me, that he would see what he could do about getting me the chemistry set. That night I couldn't even sleep. I could see myself inventing some new material. I could see the New York Times.. 'Boy wins Nobel Prize!"

"The next day after work, my Dad took me back to the carts. On the way, I remember, he bought a loaf of bread, he was carrying it under his arm. We came to first cart and he told me to pick out the set I wanted. They were all alike, but I went through them, like I was choosing a diamond. I found the right one and I almost yelled. 'This one..Dad!'"
"I can still see him, reaching into his pant's pocket, to get the money. As he pulled the two dollars out, one fluttered to the ground, he bent over to pick it up and as he did, the chain fell out of his vest. The chain swung back and forth. 'No watch.' 

In a flash, I realized that my Dad had sold his watch. He sold his most precious possession to buy me a chemistry set. He sold his watch, the last thing my mother had given him, to buy me a chemistry set."


"I grabbed his arms and I yelled, 'No.' I had never grabbed my Dad before and I certainly had never yelled at him. I can see him, looking at me, a strange look on his face. 'No, Dad, you don't have to buy me anything.' The tears were burning in my eyes. 'Dad, I know you love me.' We walked away from the cart and I remember my Dad holding my hand all the way home."

Frank looked at the men. "You know, there isn't enough money in the world to buy that moment. You see, at that moment, I knew that my Dad loved me more than anything in the world."

author unknown