Inspiration - Page 2


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LOVE YOURSELF

L et go of the "shoulds" in your life.
O pen up to the miracle of now.
V alue your uniqueness.
E xplore your dreams and passions.

Y ield to life - go with the flow.
O bey the voice of your Spirit.
U nwind - get cozy and comfy.
R enew yourself - body and soul.
S urround yourself with caring people.
E xpress yourself - be true to you.
L inger longer at what you enjoy.
F eel the love you have for yourself and others.

Got Jesus?

I drive into work listening to gospel music or a pre-recorded sermon on the radio. I get out of the car and walk to the building entrance.

As I open the building door, I leave just enough room for me to get in and I leave Jesus standing outside as the door closes behind me. He's standing with His palms on the door glass and watches me as I get on the elevator. His eyes are sad and He turns and goes to sit on the stone bench.

There He'll sit patiently and wait for me for the next 9 hours. First, two hours of work; I fuss and complain about things not going right. Jesus sits with His chin in His hand and looks upward toward the building, wishing He could help me. By lunch time I'm flustered, regretting I work in this place and sputtering bitterness all over folks. Jesus comes around to the side of the building where my cubicle is located. He looks up from the ground trying to get my attention but I can't hear him; my focus is on my problems.

Jesus goes back to the front of the building, sits down and continues to wait for me. He thinks to Himself as He looks up to the third floor, "She went in there defenseless. If only she had taken me in there with her. When will she learn?"

End of the day - I'm pooped, run down, no energy, irritable and frustrated. I leave the building & Jesus gets up happily to greet me but I'm in no mood for Him now. I've just been to hell and back and the last thing I want to do is be bothered with anyone.

Does our attitude leave Jesus standing on the outside?

Do we almost let the door smack Him in His face as we enter the workplace, therefore rendering us defenseless?

From time to time our jobs overwhelm us and we completely forget to "take Jesus with us". We may not go around cursing anyone out or punching anyone in the face (hopefully) but what are our actions saying about us and about whom or whose we are?

"We are the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. A city on a hill can not be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matt.13-15. We should be bringing peace to our jobs not be the cause of confusion. We should be the ones to bring our gifts & talents to the table to help in WHATEVER area God has chosen for us to work in. "Whatever you do, work at it with ALL your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Col 3:23-24

Just A Wire
by Kevin Corbin, "Gleanings From The Word" Ministries

The thin piece of wire was part of a spool hundreds of yards long. Now wire doesn't think, but suspend disbelief for a few moments and pretend that it does. I'm also going to make my wire female, because having a gender makes my wire seem more alive than simply referring to the wire as it (author's perogative).

The wire wondered what wonderful job she would have.

She was an ordinary wire, on a spool like hundreds of similar spools in the warehouse.

Maybe I'll be part of a telephone system and carry important messages. Maybe I'll be part of an electrical system and make people's lives easier. Maybe I'll be part of some specialized piece of equipment that will save lives.

She grew excited as the spool was mounted at the front end of the assembly line. The noise of the line was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The wire wound down the line and suddenly she felt cut at both ends. Too short! I'm too short! How can I be of any use? Before the thought finished she found herself bending. In a moment she found herself crammed together with many more bent wires in a small dark, cardboard box.

None of the wires knew what their use would be. All they knew was they were cut too short and painfully bent.

The box moved many times. It was opened now and then, allowing a brief moment of light and fresh air. Every time the box opened a hand took some wires and they never returned.

Her turn finally came and a hand grabbed her. At last! She found herself in another dark place, crammed with wires that like her knew nothing about what they were doing. All they knew was that now and then the front staple would move forward and not come back.

Ever so slowly, it seemed like months, she moved closer to the front of the line. Finally she was next. As she burst out into the daylight, she felt great pressure and was bent once again. What was happening?

When her mind cleared she realized that she was holding very important papers together and the one who had bought her was pleased. She realized that her job was not as glamorous as she had dreamed, but it didn't matter, she had found her place and pleased the master.

She was proud to be a staple.

Our lives are like that.

Sometimes we get bent and sit in dark places.

Sometimes we see light briefly, and then it goes dark again and we wonder what is going on. Sometimes we feel the pressure and get bent yet again before we know what the Master has designed us to be.

Some have exotic, exciting seeming places in the kingdom. Others have more ordinary and mundane tasks. It doesn't matter, each piece is important to the Master and it is a blessing to be used by Him, as He doesn't "need" any of us to do His work. He allows us the privilege of helping. But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?' "

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? Romans 9:20-21 (NIV). I don't know whether you are called to noble purposes or common use.

I don't know what circumstances you are going through or the trials you have faced. I don't know when it will be revealed to you what you will become. I do know that God loves you and has a special place in the kingdom that He is shaping you for.

No other person on earth, past, present or future will fill the role He has for you.

You and you alone were created to do His will. No matter what you are facing or how long you have sat in that dark place, remember that He has a special plan that only you can fulfill.

The Visitor

One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, "I always park there. You took my place!"

The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday school, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing. Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change.

Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?"

The visitor replied, "I took your place."

An Interview with God

"Come in," God said. "So you would like to interview Me?"

"If you have the time," I said.

He smiled through His beard and said: "My time is called eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have?"

"None that are new to you. What's the one thing that surprises you most about mankind?"

He answered:

"That they get bored with being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived..."

His hands took mine and we were silent. After a long period, I said, "May I ask you another question?"

"As a Father, what would you ask your children to do for the coming years?"

"To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved. To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to destroy it.

"To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. There will be others better or worse than they are.

"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

"To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them.

"To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

"To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

"To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.

"To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

"To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.

"To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a landing gear to achieve.

"To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one, has found a true treasure.

"To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves.

"To learn that the truth, is still the TRUTH, even if no one believes it.

"To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.

"To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness. To learn that happiness is a decision. They decide to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.

"To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.

"To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.

"To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give, when they cry with a friend, they find they help to ease the pain.

"To learn that even though the word "love" has many different meanings, it loses value when it is overstated.

"To learn that they can never do something extraordinary for Me to love them; I simply do.

"To learn that the shortest distance they could be from Me is the distance of a prayer."

The Oyster (author unknown)

There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who had found that some sand
Had got into his shell.
It was only a grain
But it gave him great pain,
For oysters have feelings
Although they're so plain.

Now, did he berate
The harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea
Should have given him protection?

No, he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years rolled around
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny -
Stew.

And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral,
For isn't it grand
What an oyster can do
With a small grain of sand?

What couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin?

A Picture of Peace

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest.... a picture of perfect peace. Which of the pictures won the prize? The King chose the second picture. Do you know why? "Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

The Onion

I was an onion before Christ set me free;
Layers upon layers of iniquity.
An ugly old onion whose fragrance was strong;
That my Jesus bought and loved all along.

Unknown to me what He was going to do,
Of what He was planning, I had not a clue.
Pulling each layer off one by one.
In order to make me more like Jesus the Son.

The first layer wasn't so bad.
I saw all the sins that I knew I had.
They were easy to fix, just change the way I talk.
And learn more of how He wanted me to walk.

Reading His Word, and learning again
How to put aside my life of sin.
But the next layer was pulled which hurt more.
He was getting closer to the core.

Unknown what He would find there,
I simply gave it to Him in prayer.
As another layer was removed, He started to cry;
Pulling this layer brought pain to my Father on High.

And I was crying over the sadness I felt,
The brokenness and all of the guilt.
Past memories that I thought were gone;
Buried under layers disguised in a fragrance so strong.

As onions peel more and more,
They put tears in our eyes as we get close to the core.
So my Father wept over my pain,
Giving me a balm of comfort and strength to sustain.

"NO MORE LAYERS!" I would scream,
As He continued to peel them off of me.
"I'll have nothing left my Lord, what will I do?
I'll be nothing but a worthless core to You."

But He just said "Trust Me," and continued to peel.
I was sure He was blinded to my pain that was so real.
Year after year I shrunk more and more;
Until all that was left of this onion was a core.

It was then that I began to understand
As the Lord embraced me in His loving hand.
He said, now and only now can you be
The creation that will minister before Me.

Clothed with the righteousness only from above,
Gone are your layers of self to be replaced with My love.
He took my layers of sin, hurt and pain,
And clothed me with love, truth and mercy in His name.

Yes, we are all onions, learning with each day
How to overcome as each layer is taken away.
Some layers tear and pull at our heart
While others grieve us to our innermost part.

But we are nothing but an ugly onion without Christ.
Layers upon layers of pride, sin and strife.
Only God can take those layers away.
And clothe us with His righteousness in that final day.

The Quilt

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all. I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.

The Nail

As the story goes, they built a new church building and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired its beauty! Up on the roof, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely structure -except the nail! No one even knew he was there, and he became angry and jealous.

"If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!" So the nail then released its hold, slid down the roof, and fell in the mud. That night it rained and rained. Soon, the shingle that had no nail blew away, and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall, the carpet was stained, and the pulpit Bible was ruined by water. All this because a little nail decided to quit!

But what of the nail? While holding the shingle, it was obscure, but it was also useful. Buried in the mud it was just as obscure, but now it was useless and would soon by eaten up by rust! The moral of the story-EVERY MEMBER IS IMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH! You may, like the nail, feel obscure at times, but just like the nail, your absence is felt. When you are not present for worship, in some way the body of Christ hurts. We are ALL a part of the Lord's ministry.

The Life I Planned

Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced.
I've looked in every corner;
It's lost without a trace.

I've found one I don't recognize --
Things missing that were dear;
Promises I'd hoped to keep,
And dreams I'd dreamed aren't here.

Faces I had planned to see,
Hands I planned to hold;
Now absent in the pictures;
Not the way I told.

Has someone seen the life I planned?
Did it get thrown away?
God took my hand from searching;
Then I heard Him say --

"Child, your ears have never heard,
Your eyes have never seen,
Eternal plans I have for you
Are more than you could dream.

You long to walk by sight,
But I'm teaching eyes to see;
I know what I'm doing --
Till then, you must believe.

He's done so much, I felt ashamed
To know He heard my moans.
To think I'd trade in all He's done
For plans made on my own.

I wept over His faithfulness
And how He'd proved Himself;
How He'd gone beyond my dreams
And said to Him myself,

"No, my ears have never heard,
My eyes have never seen,
Eternal plans You have for me
Are more than I could dream.

"Yes, I long to walk by sight
But You're teaching eyes to see;
You know what You're doing --
'Til then, I must believe.

I felt His great compassion --
Mercy unrestrained.
He let me mourn my losses
And showed to me my gains.

I offered Him my future
And released to Him my past.
I traded in my dreams
For a plan He said would last.

I get no glimpse ahead;
No certainties at all,
Except the presence of the One
Who will not let me fall.

Are you also searching
For a life you planned yourself?
Have you looked in every corner?
Have you checked on every shelf?

Child, your ears have never heard,
Your eyes have never seen,
Eternal plans He has for you
Are more than you could dream.

Perhaps you long to walk by sight,
But He's teaching eyes to see;
He knows what He is doing --
Child, step out and believe.

The Problem

I was sitting deep in thought when He arrived. My mind was so busy that I didn't notice when He sat down next to me. His soft voice broke the silence.

"Hello."

"Oh, hello," I said. "I was expecting You. As a matter of fact, I'd planned to come and see You."

"Any problems?", He asked.

"Well, maybe a small item or two." My voice trailed off into silence.

"Would you like to show me what you have in your hands?", He asked.

We both looked at my clenched hands. They were locked together very tightly around a large object. "Yes, I really want to show You what's in my hands. Actually, I've been planning to give You this for some time now." But my hands didn't move.

As we sat there staring intently at my hands, my fingers began to relax and slowly open. We both studied the object in my hands. "It doesn't look too well", He said. It didn't. It was unsightly due to several dirty bandages, livid bruises, and festering cuts. "I've been working on mending it," I said quickly. "I think it's much better now and probably will be well soon, don't You agree?", I asked Him anxiously.

For a long time He sat there quietly, looking into my eyes. His eyes were softer than a baby's breath. I hadn't noticed before how very kind and gentle they were. They were so full of goodness and peace, I could have looked into them forever.

"May I hold it?", He asked. Slowly, I stretched out my hands and offered it to Him. "You won't hurt it, will........." My question died on my lips as I looked into His eyes. "I'm sorry I murmured. I know You will be kind to my problem."

I looked for several minutes at my problem in His hands. For some reason, He didn't wrap His fingers around it tightly, but rather let it lay softly in His hands. Suddenly, a strong urge within me caused me to reach out to remove it from His hands. But as I touched it, it began to tremble. "Forgive me", I said. "I really don't want it back." I gently folded His fingers around it and gave them a little pat. We smiled at one another and I felt a sudden lightness in my heart.

"Thank you, Jesus, for taking my problem."

"You're very welcome," He said.

The Teacup

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. "You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'let me alone,' but he only smiled, 'Not yet.'

"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. Stop it! I'm getting dizzy! I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet.'

"Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as He shook his head, 'Not yet.'

"Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better,' I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'

"Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening, nodding his head saying, 'Not yet.'

"Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf.

"One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.'

"'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'"

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,
"Arise and go down to the potter's house,
and there I shall announce My words to you."
Then I went down to the potter's house,
and there he was, making something on the wheel.
But the vessel that he was making of clay
was spoiled in the hand of the potter;
so he remade it into another vessel,
as it pleased the potter to make.
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying,
"Can I not, O house of Israel,
deal with you as this potter does?"
declares the Lord.
"Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand,
so are you in My hand, O house of Israel."

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NASB)

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