Tag Archives: spiritual

Christianity Is A Love Relationship

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Unknown Author

You cannot love someone that you do not know, and you cannot know someone that you don’t spend quality time with.

To know Jesus is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to obey Him. To obey Him is to be blessed. It begins with a daily, quality communication with the Lord.

Why is it best to spend time with the Lord in the morning? Because you are getting ready to go on a road trip through life. You don’t take the trip and then read the map, do you?

How are you starting your mornings? With a cup of coffee and the paper? Or with the pure milk of the Word and the light of His presence?

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. — Psalm 5:1-3

An “Aussie” Story

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Author unknown

Years ago a hardworking man took his family from New York State to Australia to take advantage of a work opportunity there. Part of this man’s family was a handsome young son who had aspirations of joining the circus as a trapeze artist or an actor. This young fellow, biding his time until a circus job or even one as a stagehand came along, worked at the local shipyards which bordered on the worse section of town.

Walking home from work one evening this young man was attacked by five thugs who wanted to rob him. Instead of just giving up his money the young fellow resisted. However they bested him easily and proceeded to beat him to a pulp. They mashed his face with their boots, and kicked and beat his body brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead. When the police happened to find him lying in the road they assumed he was dead and called for the Morgue Wagon.

On the way to the morgue a policeman heard him gasp for air, and they immediately took him to the emergency unit at the hospital. When he was placed on a gurney a nurse remarked to her horror, that this young man no longer had a face. Each eye socket was smashed, his skull, legs, and arms fractured, his nose literally hanging from his face, all is teeth were gone, and his jaw was almost completely torn from his skull.

Although his life was spared, he spent over a year in the hospital. When he finally left, his body may have healed but his face was disgusting to look at. He was no longer the handsome youth that everyone admired.

When the young man started to look for work again he was turned down by everyone just on account of the way he looked. One potential employer suggested to him that he join the freak show at the circus as The Man Who Had No Face. And he did this for a while. He was still rejected by everyone and no one wanted to be seen in his company. He had thoughts of suicide.

This went on for five years. One day he passed a church and sought some solace there. Entering the church he encountered a priest who saw him sobbing while kneeling in a pew. The priest took pity on him and took him to the rectory where they talked at length. The priest was impressed with him to such a degree that he said that he would do everything possible for him that could be done to restore his dignity and life, if the young man would promise to be the best Catholic he could be, and trust in God’s mercy to free him from his torturous life. The young man went to Mass and communion every day, and after thanking God for saving his life, asked God to only give him peace of mind and the grace to be the best man he could ever be in His eyes.

The priest, through his personal contacts was able to secure the services of the best plastic surgeon in Australia. There would be no cost to the young man, as the doctor was the priest’s best friend. The doctor too was so impressed by the young man. Whose outlook now on life, even though he had experienced the worst, was filled with good humor and love. The surgery was a miraculous success. All the best dental work was also done for him.

The young man became everything he promised God he would be. He was also blessed with a wonderful, beautiful wife, many children, and success in an industry which would have been the furthest thing from his mind as a career, if not for the goodness of God and the love of the people who cared for him.

This he acknowledges publicly.

What Can God Do With 57 Cents?

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True Story

by Author unknown

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it “was too crowded.” “I can’t go to Sunday School, “she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kind hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school. For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents. Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H. Conwell, author of the book, “acres of Diamonds”—a true story. It goes to show you “What God CAN Do With 57 Cents.”

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A first-hand account of this story is in a sermon delivered December 1, 1912 by Russell H. Conwell, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia.  Rev. Conwell said the little girl’s name was Hattie May Wiatt

The Sneeze

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They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would NOT pray during the commencements – not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.

The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were routine … until the final speech received a standing ovation.

A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!

The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, “GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!” And he walked off stage …

The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval.

This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland.

The Matchless Pearl

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Author Unknown

David Morse – American missionary to India – became great friends there with the pearl-diver, Rambhau. Many an evening he spent in Rambhau’s cabin reading to him from the Bible, and explaining to him God’s way of salvation.

Rambhau enjoyed listening to the Word of God, but whenever the missionary tried to get Rambhau to accept Christ as his Savior – he would shake his head and reply, “Your Christian way to heaven is too easy for me! I cannot accept it. If ever I should find admittance to heaven in that manner – I would feel like a pauper there…like a beggar who has been let in out of pity. I may be proud – but I want to deserve, I want to earn my place in heaven — and so I am going to work for it.”

Nothing the missionary could say seemed to have any effect on Rambhau’s decision, and so quite a few years slipped by. One evening, however, the missionary heard a knock on his door, and on going to open it he found Rambhau there.

“Come in, dear friend,” said Morse.

“No,” said the pearl-diver. “I want you to come with me to my house, Sahib, for a short time — I have something to show you. Please do not say ‘No’.”

“Of course I’ll come,” replied the missionary. As they neared his house, Rambhau said: “In a week’s time I start working for my place in heaven; I am leaving for Delhi — and I am going there on my knees.”

“Man, you are crazy! It’s nine hundred miles to Delhi, and the skin will break on your knees, and you will have blood-poisoning or leprosy before you get to Bombay.”

“No, I must get to Delhi,” affirmed Rambhau, “and the immortals will reward me for it! The suffering will be sweet – for it will purchase heaven for me!”

“Rambhau, my friend – you can’t. How can I bear you to do it – when Jesus Christ has suffered and died to purchase heaven for you!”

But the old man could not be moved. “You are my dearest friend on earth, Sahib Morse. Through all these years you have stood by me in sickness, in want – you have been sometimes my only friend. But even you cannot turn me from my desire to purchase eternal bliss…I must go to Delhi!”

Inside the hut Morse was seated in the very chair Rambhau had specially built for him – where on so many occasions he had read to him the Bible.

Rambhau left the room to return soon with a small but heavy English strongbox. “I have had this box for years,” said he, “and I keep only one thing in it. Now I will tell you about it, Sahib Morse. I once had a son…”

“A son! Why, Rambhau, you have never before said a word about him!”

“No, Sahib, I couldn’t.” Even as he spoke the diver’s eyes were moistened.

“Now I must tell you, for soon I will leave, and who knows whether I shall ever return? My son was a diver too. He was the best pearl diver on the coasts of India. He had the swiftest dive, the keenest eye, the strongest arm, the longest breath of any man who ever sought for pearls.

What joy he brought to me! Most pearls, as you know, have some defect or blemish only the expert can discern, but my boy always dreamed of finding the ‘perfect’ pearl – one beyond all that was ever found. One day he found it! But even when he saw it – he had been under water too long… That pearl cost him his life, for he died soon after.”

The old pearl diver bowed his head. For a moment his whole body shook, but there was no sound. “All these years,” he continued, “I have kept this pearl – but now I am going, not to return, and to you, my best friend – I am giving my pearl.”

The old man worked the combination on the strongbox and drew from it a carefully wrapped package. Gently opening the cotton, he picked up a mammoth pearl and placed it in the hand of the missionary.

It was one of the largest pearls ever found off the coast of India, and glowed with a luster and brilliance never seen in cultured pearls. It would have brought a fabulous sum in any market.

For a moment the missionary was speechless and gazed with awe. “Rambhau! What a pearl!”

Matchless pearl”That pearl, Sahib, is perfect,” replied the Indian quietly. The missionary looked up quickly with a new thought: Was not this the very opportunity and occasion he had prayed for – to make Rambhau understand the value of Christ’s sacrifice? So he said, designedly, “Rambhau, this is a wonderful pearl, an amazing pearl. Let me buy it. I would give you ten thousand dollars for it.”

“Sahib! What do you mean?”

“Well, I will give you fifteen thousand dollars for it, or if it takes more – I will work for it.”

“Sahib,” said Rambhau, stiffening his whole body, “this pearl is beyond price. No man in all the world has money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. On the market a million dollars could not buy it. I will not sell it to you. You may only have it as a gift.”

“No, Rambhau, I cannot accept that. As much as I want the pearl, I cannot accept it that way. Perhaps I am proud, but that is too easy. I must pay for it, or work for it…”

The old pearl-diver was stunned. “You don’t understand at all, Sahib. Don’t you see. My only son gave his life to get this pearl, and I wouldn’t sell it for any money. Its worth is in the life-blood of my son. I cannot sell this – but I can give it to you. Just accept it in token of the love I bear you.”

The missionary was choked, and for a moment could not speak. Then he gripped the hand of the old man. “Rambhau,” he said in a low voice, “don’t you see? My words are just what you have been saying to God all the time.”

The diver looked long and searchingly at the missionary, and slowly, slowly he began to understand. “God is offering you salvation as a free gift,” said the missionary. “It is so great and priceless that no man on earth can buy it. Millions of dollars are too little. No man on earth could earn it. His life would be millions of years too short. No man is good enough to deserve it. It cost God the life-blood of His only Son to make the entrance for you into heaven. In a million years, in a hundred pilgrimages, you could not earn that entrance. All you can do is to accept it as a token of God’s love for you – a sinner.

“Rambhau, of course I will accept the pearl in deep humility, praying God that I may be worthy of your love. Rambhau, won’t you accept God’s great gift of heaven, too, in deep humility, knowing it cost Him the death of His Son to offer it to you?”

Great tears were now rolling down the cheeks of the old man. The veil was beginning to lift. “Sahib, I see it now. I have believed in the doctrine of Jesus for the last two years, but I could not believe that His salvation was free. Now I understand. Some things are too priceless to be bought or earned. Sahib, I will accept His salvation!”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Teach Me To Forgive

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 Author unknown

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.

His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there, and with  tears in his eyes, he prayed
“Lord – You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed.
Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how. It is not fair Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – Teach me To Forgive.”

As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them. He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head.

Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.
“Have you ever told a lie, He asked?” The man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?” The man answered, “Yes, Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.
“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours,” Jesus asked? And the man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?” The man, crying now, answered, “Yes, Lord.”
As Jesus asked many more times, “Have you ever”? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, “Yes, Lord.”

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before. Jesus said, “I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.”

It may be hard to see how you’re going to get through something. But, when  you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is…   “If God brings you to it… He will bring you through it.”

Passed Around By Man But Not Passed Over By God-Chapter 10

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I know I said Sherita was an ugly girl and that remains true. I am not saying I was all that and a bag of chips because I was not. I was just a short, thin-framed girl but I did have something that Sherita would never have — long, thick, naturally-beautiful, dark brown hair, flawless caramel-brown skin and a gorgeous smile. Yeah, yeah, she had thighs, legs and a big butt, but that is all she had going for her and I believe she already knew that. Sherita’s and my birthday came around, both were in April. Hers on April 21st and mine on the 24th but she was a year older than I.

Esther decided to take me to the doctor to get my ears pierced for my eighth birthday. I was excited that I was going to be able to wear earrings. Big Momma had purchased a cute white dress for me to wear on my special day but before I could go get my ears pierced and wear my birthday outfit, I had to get my hair washed and pressed. The only thing I did not care for was getting my hair hot combed and because my hair was long and thick it seemed like it took forever. My hair had to be done this way on a weekly basis because I had “grade N” hair, that is, nappy.

After my hair was done and gorgeous, we went to the clinic to get my ears pierced. The nurse put silver studs into both of my ears and I must say the earrings enhanced my appearance. You could not tell me anything at this point. After being blessed with my new earrings, Esther took Sherita, Pauline and me out to dinner and a movie for our birthday.

Things were not always bad around the house, but you can bet your last dollar if trouble happened, Sherita’s name was all over it. One of those bad days sure came into that house unexpectedly, a day I can never forget and I know Sherita can never forget it either.

We were on our way home from school on a warm day, when Sherita and I came across a stranger. Our school was only a block away from the house and there was a vacant lot that many of us would use as a shortcut as we went home. We were walking down the hill of this empty lot, with Sherita ahead of me, when a young man approached Sherita. She stopped and they began talking to one another.

I was looking at this young man, who I definitely knew was not near our age, but something was familiar about him. He started walking and Sherita began walking behind him as if she was following him. I started speed walking to catch up with her and asked if she knew him. She said as clear as day, “Yes, just come on” and I assumed everything was okay. But everything was far from okay.

The next thing I knew, Sherita and I were in a dark garage with this young man. He put a knife up to Sherita’s throat and told me to sit down and cover my eyes. I put my hands over my face but peeked through my fingers as he sexually assaulted Sherita. He made her take off her pants and underwear and unbutton her blouse then made her lay on that dirty ground where he assaulted her. I remember him kissing her and rubbing his hands all over her body. I could see Sherita was scared because he still had that knife at her throat. He would look over at me to see if my eyes were still covered.

I could not believe what was happening and hoped that I was not next to be touched, or worse he would kill us both. The worst report a neighborhood could hear on the nightly news was that two young girls were sexually assaulted and found dead in a garage directly across the street from their house.

After the stranger finished, he told Sherita to get dressed and for us to wait in the garage for twenty minutes after he left and that we’d better not tell anyone what he had just done. We did as we were told and came out of the garage with both of us looking to make sure he was gone as we ran across the street to the house. Sherita was crying as she told her family the horrible thing that just happened to her on our way home from school. They asked us who it was, where it happened, what happened, and so forth.

The police were called to the scene and everybody was still in shock about the news they just heard as the police questioned us about the man’s description. I can still recall how he looked as if it was yesterday.

Remember when I said I did not know him, but he looked familiar? He was about 5’7”, medium built, light-skinned complexion with red freckles and a reddish-color afro. He was just red! I know there are little sayings like all black people look alike or everybody has a twin. Whatever the case may be, he looked just like the uninvited young man who was in our apartment when my family moved into Stateway Gardens.

Hey, let’s look at this — Big Momma’s house was on 58th and LaSalle and Stateway Gardens was on 39th and State. It is not far because State Street is only two streets away from LaSalle Street. Therefore, there is a possibility that this could be the same person.

Just when I thought things could not get any worse than they already were, guess what — they did. Guess who was in the kitchen being interrogated by the family about what happened to Sherita? Can you believe they were now blaming this rape on an eight year old? They asked me, “Where were you? Why didn’t you get any help? How did you let this happen?” Excuse me? I was in tears because I could not understand why they were blaming all of this on me. Hello, I might not have been sexually assaulted but I was a victim too! And it could have been worse – we were both still alive! I can understand their anger and frustration but blaming it on the foster child was not the answer.

What hurt me most was when Sherita told her family that she did tell me to go and get help. They asked me if what she said was true, and I said the true answer was no, she did not. I kept telling them exactly what happened but they did not seem to be listening to a word I was saying. I looked at them and wondered why they were not asking Sherita who this person was that she was openly talking to, as if she knew him. What did he tell her that would cause her to follow him in the first place? I mean, he didn’t have anything in his hand that was a threat to her, so why? She was the one that was older and should have known better. Oh, believe me I was cursing them out real well in my mind. It was not my fault y’all did not teach her not to talk to strangers. Ms. Brown taught her baby girl! You can bet that man would not have gotten two words out of me, much less a damn look. But all I could do was sit there crying; wishing all of this would go away.

A couple days later, we went down to the police station to try to identify the young man. They gave Sherita and me some books that were filled with mug shots of different male individuals but unfortunately he was not in any of the books.

Eventually things died down and we moved to a courtyard apartment unit on 69th and Cornell. I cannot recall what apartment floor we resided on but I know I was now attending another school for my third grade year. This school was Parkside Elementary at 6938 South East End Avenue. I don’t remember the teacher’s name or what he or she looked like because I didn’t stay long enough to keep memory of it but for some strange reason I remember the school’s name and where we lived.

Passed Around By Man But Not Passed Over By God  Chontate Brown Copyright ©2013 All rights reserved.