Inspiration - Page 4

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He Is...

In Genesis, He's the breath of life
In Exodus, the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus He's our High Priest
Numbers, the fire by night

Deuteronomy, He's Moses' voice
In Joshua, He is Salvation's choice
Judges, Law Giver
In Ruth, the Kinsmen-Redeemer

First and Second Samuel,
Our Trusted Prophet
In Kings and Chronicles, He's Sovereign
Ezra, True and Faithful Scribe

Nehemiah, He's the Rebuilder of
Broken walls and lives
In Esther, He's Mordecai's courage
In Job, the Timeless Redeemer

In Psalms, He is our Morning Song
In Proverbs, Wisdom's cry
Ecclesiastes, the time and season
In the Song of Solomon,
He is the lover's dream

In Isaiah, He's Prince of Peace
Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet
In Lamentations, the cry for Israel
Ezekiel, He's the call from sin

In Daniel, the Stranger in the fire
In Hosea, He is forever Faithful
In Joel, He's the spirit's power
In Amos, the Arms that carry us

In Obadiah, He's the Lord our Savior
In Jonah, He's the Great Missionary
In Micah, the promise of peace
In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield

In Habakkuk and Zephaniah
He's pleading for revival
In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage
In Zechariah, our fountain
In Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness
Rising with healing in His wings.

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
He is God, Man, Messiah
In the book of Acts, He is fire from Heaven
In Romans, He's the grace of God

In Corinthians, the power of love
In Galatians, He is freedom from
The curse of sin
Ephesians, our glorious treasure
Philippians, the servant's heart

In Colossians, He's the Godhead Trinity
Thessalonians, our coming King
In Timothy, Titus, Philemon
He's our Mediator and our Faithful Pastor

In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant
In James, the one who heals the sick
In First and Second Peter,
He is our Shepherd

In John and in Jude, He's the lover
Coming for His bride
In the Revelation, He is King of
Kings, and Lord of lords

The Prince of Peace
The Son of Man
The Lamb of God
The Great I Am
He's the Alpha and Omega
Our God and our Savior
He is Jesus Christ the Lord
And when time is no more
He is

The Origin of "The Praying Hands"

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look, look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, my brother ...for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - -ever makes it alone!

Puppies For Sale

A Store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies for Sale."

The signs have a way of attracting children. Soon a little boy appeared at the sign and asked, "How much are you gonna sell those puppies for?

The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30-$50."

The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37, can I look at them?" The store owner smiled and whistled. Out of the kennel came his dog named Lady, running down the aisle of his store followed by five little puppies. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy.

He asked, "What's wrong with that little dog?"

The man explained that when the puppy was born, the vet said that this puppy had a bad hip socket and would limp for the rest of his life. The little boy got really excited and said "That's the puppy I want to buy!"

The man replied "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll give him to you."

The little boy got upset. He looked straight into the man's eyes and said " I don't want you to give him to me. He is worth every bit as much as the other dogs and I'll pay the full price. In fact, I will give you $2.37 now and 50 cents every month until I have him paid for."

The man countered, "You really don't want to buy this puppy, son. He is never gonna be able to run, jump and play like other puppies."

The little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the man and said, "Well, I don't run so well myself and the little puppy will need someone who understands."

The man was now biting his bottom lip. Tears welled up in his eyes....He smiled and said, "Son, I hope and pray that each and every one of these puppies will have an owner such as you."

In life, it doesn't matter who you are, but whether someone appreciates you for what you are, accepts you and loves you unconditionally.

The Most Beautiful Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, and too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with overacted surprise,
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it; here, it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it midair without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life,
And appreciate every second that's mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy,
Another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

At The Foot of the Cross
by Marcia Krugh Leaser

Fearing the battle was over
And I'd already lost the war,
I was tired of trying and failing.
I just couldn't fight anymore.

So, dragging my battle-scarred body,
I crawled to the foot of the cross.
And I sobbed. "Oh please, Father forgive me.
But I tried...I tried; and still lost."

Then the air grew silent around me.
I heard his voice just as clear as the dawn:
"Oh, My child, though you are tired and weary,
You can't stop, you have to go on."

At the foot of the Cross, where I met Him,
At the foot of the Cross, where He died,
I felt love, as I knelt in His presence.
I felt hope, as I looked in His eyes.

Then He gathered me lovingly to Him,
As around us God's light clearly shone.
And together we walked though my lifetime
To heal every wound I had known.

I found bits of my dreams, long forgotten,
And pieces of my life on the floor.
But I watched as He tenderly blessed them,
And my life was worth living once more.

I knew then why I had been losing.
I knew why I had not grown.
At the foot of the Cross came the answer:
I'd been fighting the battle alone.

At the foot of the Cross,
Where I met Him,
At the foot of the Cross,
Where He died,
Then I knew I could face any challenge together
Just my Lord and I.

Train Of Life

Some folks ride the train of life
Looking out the rear,
Watching miles of life roll by
And marking every year.

They sit in sad remembrance,
Of wasted days gone by,
And curse their life for what it was
And hang their head and cry.

But I don't concern myself with that,
I took a different vent,
I look forward to what life holds
And not what has been spent.

So strap me to the engine,
As securely as I can be,
I want to be out on the front
To see what I can see.

I want to feel the winds of change,
Blowing in my face,
I want to see what life unfolds
As I move from place to place.

I want to see what's coming up,
Not looking at the past.
Life's too short for yesterdays -
It moves along too fast.

So if the ride gets bumpy,
While you are looking back,
Go up front and you may find
Your life has jumped the track.

It's all right to remember -
That's part of history,
But up front's where it's happening,
There's so much mystery.

The enjoyment of living,
Is not where we have been,
It's looking ever forward
To another year and ten.

It's searching all the byways,
Never should you refrain -
For if you want to live your life...
. You gotta drive the train.

Five Sponges

There are five sponges laying on your kitchen counter. Each member of your family has been cleaning up different areas of your home, but all the sponges look the same. You are curious as to what was cleaned, but you can't tell by looking. They all look the same. So, what do you do? As you squeeze the first sponge you see that cola comes out, and you decide that someone cleaned the kitchen with that one. Upon squeezing the second sponge, you find tub and tile cleaner. That one was used in the bathroom. In the third sponge you find motor oil. Someone cleaned the garage. In the fourth sponge, baby power puffs out. The baby's nursery was cleaned with that one. In the last sponge is floor wax. That was the one you used on the hall floor. As you lay the last one down, you look again at their similarity.

They all look the same until they are squeezed. Christians are the same!

As life squeezes us, different things come out: anger, revenge, tears, remorse, greed, untruth, lust and finally, from one saint, pours forth the love of Christ. Just like the sponge, we can only squeeze out what is put in. Stay in the Word daily and be in continuous prayer so that when life puts the squeeze on you, Jesus, and Jesus alone will shine forth.

So They Can Tell We Have Been With The King
by Sheila Gosney

May we as the children of the King of all kings
become so passionate about our purpose on earth,
That our neighbors take notice of how different we are
so they'll see what Salvation is worth.

May we wake every day with a sense of our identity
walking holy....because God made us clean.
So that all those around us would see a life of redemption
and be drawn to what Christ really means.

May we linger so close to the Holy Spirit each day His fire fuels us forward each hour.
Then He will tell us what to do in the midst of the lost
and they will see a display of His power.

May we as His children, who've been bought by the Blood
so saturate ourselves in His Word.
Then our lives would speak Truth to a hungry, desperate world
and people would believe what they've heard.

May we be so connected to God and His glory
that our worship breaks open like an alabaster box.
Then people will see it's really possible to know Him
and they will want to be part of His flock.

May we walk every day beneath the banner of Christ
and may His joy be what makes our souls sing.
And may we sit in His presence till we radiate and shine they can tell we have been with the King.

Paid in Full

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.

Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold.

Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible!" and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages.

His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, "And if ye, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly father which is in heaven, give to those who ask Him?"

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words, PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?

The Nickel Story
By Hana Haatainen Caye

"Hey, Red, you owe me a nickel!"

Susan had bumped Frank while he was playing pinball in the bar where she waitressed. A red light flashed TILT and the game was over. Reaching into her apron pocket, Susan pulled out a nickel and flicked it to him, then went back to her work.

"I'm going to marry her someday," Frank told the bartender confidently.

"Sure you are!" he laughed. "She's been here a long time, and I've never known her to even go out on a date. Good luck!" Frank rubbed the nickel between his fingers, knowing it was his lucky charm.

Susan had made a life for herself as a young widow and a single mother. The last thing she was thinking of was complicating her life with a new man.

But Frank's lucky charm worked - Susan knocked his socks off and stole Frank's heart on their first date. Soon he had not only won her heart, but her daughter's heart as well.

There were many hard times after their wedding. Frank was a military man who was shipped overseas, leaving Susan in the single-mother role once again. Another daughter kept her busy, and both daughters adored their daddy. The years passed by quickly. Frank loved to tell the nickel story to anyone who would listen. His eyes sparkled as he spoke of his love for Susan. This was a man who truly loved his wife.

Their fiftieth wedding anniversary was a special day. Frank contacted me to do a floral arrangement for the church and a corsage for his bride. They renewed their vows on that Sunday morning following the worship service. Our band surprised them as they walked down the aisle by singing "their" song, "The Sunny Side of the Street." Their walk became a dance as Frank twirled Susan down the aisle. What a celebration! It was a joy to be in their presence.

Soon after this wonderful day, Frank got sick. He offered everyone a smile and continued to glow with his love of Susan. Frank was never one to complain. Having a strong faith, Frank knew he would be with the Lord soon. After a few long months of suffering, he died.

All the seats at the funeral home were taken as we gathered to honor the memory of this dear friend. We were all inspired by him in our own ways. The minister spoke of Frank with such love and respect. We laughed, and our hearts were warmed as he shared memories of this special man. And then he told the nickel story. He said that Frank had called him a week or so before he died and asked to see him. While they visited, Frank took out his lucky charm. He had held on to that nickel for all of these years.

"Frank told me to keep this for him," the minister said as he reached into his pocket and walked over to Susan. "He wanted me to give it to you today and to tell you to hold onto it. He'll be waiting for you at the pinball machine."

Dancing with God

When I meditated on the word "guidance", I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word.

I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word: guidance. When I saw "G," I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i." "God, "u" and "i" dance." God, you, and I dance. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.

And I hope you dance!

Scars of Life

Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my dad wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

God has blessed you so that you can be a blessing to others. You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through. Never judge another person's scars, because you don't know how they got them. Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them too -- enough to not let them go.

The Birdhouse
by Marian Smith

"That is one ugly birdhouse," I thought , as I took my early morning walk on a new route. "Wonder why the people who live there don't so something to spruce the drab birdhouse up? They could sand and paint it, or decoupage a scene on it. Something, for goodness sake!"

Just as I was mulling over all these constructive critical thoughts in my mind, a beautiful bluebird flew out of the birdhouse. He soared off into the air, with the beauty of his open wings in full display. The unattractive appearance of the birdhouse made no difference to that little bird. He saw an appealing place to make his home - to build his nest - and he entered it and did so. Inside the wooden house, the nest is intricately woven and is made of twigs, leaves and a variety of other materials from nature.

Do you know God wants to build His nest of love inside our hearts? The exterior appearance doesn't make any difference to Him, whether we are spruced up and beautiful or dried out and weather beaten. When God looks at you, or me, or any of His children, He sees a wonderful place to make His home. He wants to bring us all His attributes, and will build a tightly woven nest of love in our hearts. He will take twigs of compassion, self-control, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, generosity, and weave them into a wonderful love nest for our hearts to dwell in.

The best component of God's love is forgiveness. He weaves the twig of forgiveness throughout the entire nest, holding it together. He is ready to forgive all our sins, and this forgiveness allows us to soar to the heights of a personal relationship with Him. I am so glad God chooses His dwelling place in the hearts of all. Not just those with polished exteriors.

For outward appearances and beauty will fade, but the love the Lord has for us never will fade.

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