What If You Were Not Born?

Part 11 of 14: At Christmas eve, George suddenly finds himself in great financial trouble.

Part 01, Part 02, Part 03, Part 04, Part 05, Part 06, Part 07

Part 08, Part 09, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14

It's A Wonderful Life

One man's life can have more impact on things around him than anyone might realize. This was the main lesson in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". George Bailey (Stewart) has so many problems that he is thinking about ending it all - and on Christmas! Meanwhile in heaven, as the angels discuss George, the film shows his life in flashbacks. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence (Travers). George and Clarence got acquainted and in the course of their conversation George confided his frustrations in life to Clarence and wished that it was better if he were not born. Clarence the guardian angel granted George a brief moment of his wish and showed him what his town would have looked like if he were not born. Only then after that brief strange episode did George realized the value of his own life and he saw the unnoticed positive impact his seemingly less significant life had made on the lives of the people around him.

The movie starts off with everyone in town praying for the safety of a man by the name of George Bailey, who had apparently been acting strange lately. God receives these prayers and sends for Clarence Oddbody, an angel who had not yet earned his wings. Clarence is shown parts of George's past in order for Clarence to understand him better.

In the first flashback some children are sledding down a snowy hill in snow shovels, each trying to get further along the ice patch at the bottom than the one before. George, 9 at the time, rescues his younger brother, Harry, when he falls through the ice. George becomes ill from the freezing water and loses his hearing in one ear a few weeks later.

Four years later,George is now 13 and is working at the pharmacy that is run by Mr. Gower. Mary tells him she loves him, but makes sure to say it in his bad ear, so he can't hear her. George talks of traveling the world, his want in life. Mr. Gower is in back making pills, but has obviously tried to drink his sorrows away. George finds a note that says Mr. Gower's son had died and then stops him from unknowingly giving poison pills to a sick family.

George, now a grown man, is getting ready to leave for college. He had helped work at his father's business for a few years, only long enough to make some money for college. More than anything else, his dream was still to leave this city and travel the world. He is invited

Mr. Potter, the owner of the bank, had bought out most of the town, but had always been defeated when trying to acquire the Baily Loan Company. After 4 years, Harry came back a married man. World War 2 starts, and Harry enlists. George is rejected because of his bad ear, and has to once again manage Bailey bank & loans. The Bailey company barely manages to squeak by the depression. Harry comes home a hero after the war. George marries Mary and they have four kids, two boys and two girls.

The reason for George's crisis occurs when forgetful "Uncle Billy", George's uncle who had been helping him run the company from the start, accidentally gives $8,000 to Mr. Potter as he was bragging that they had made it through the year, and that Mr. Potter had not gotten their company. George, very distressed and now starting to lose it, goes and gets drunk at the local bar. He then plans on jumping off a bridge, but Clarance the angel comes down and jumps before him. As Clarence expected, George jumped in and saved him. Clarence tried to tell George how important he was, but George refused to listen, so finally Clarence showed him what Bedford Falls would be like if George had never been born.

The first thing George noticed was that everyone in town was a good deal more angry, rude, and inhospitable. The "Bedford Falls" sign now read "Pottersville", for Mr. Potter owned the enitire town. Everyone now lived in run-down old houses, for the trusting and friendly Bailey bank & loans had died with his father. The city became ran-down, with a Gamorah-ish twist. Mary became a bitter old maid, and his mother had to start a boarding house just to make ends meet. Harry died when he fell into the ice, and so did the transport vessels he saved in the war. Mr. Gower became a drunkard after he was released from prison for poisoning an entire family who had the flu. George became distraught and asks Clarence to take him back.

George, his mood much lighter, ran home and hugged his children. A banker and a lawyer were their, wanting the $8,000. Mary said she had a surprise for him. Just about the entire town came in and donated money to pay the bank. Well over what was needed was raised, as the townspeople showed their gratitude to their good friend, George Bailey. George looked down and saw "Tom Sawyer", the book Clarence had been reading. Inside was a note reminding him just how precious life is. A bell rang on the Bailey Christmas tree, signifying Clarence's earning of his wings.

This movie was a great example of just how valuable the gift of life is, and how large of an impact even one person can have on the life of so many others.

Source of Narrative: http://www.travelin-tigers.com/zhs/rptwondl.htm

What if you were never been born? What would your family become or your local community looked like?

What if the Child in the manger was never been born on this earth? What would this world become?


Where's The Line To See Jesus?

"If Christmas time is His birthday,
Why don't we see Him more?
Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents,
But Christ gave His life for me."


"You're good... I'm good too!"

By The Windchime

A friend of mine in Facebook posted in her status a message that caught my attention and caused me to take a brief contemplation about it. Her status message, which I believe is a quote from an author, read as follows:

"Don't compare yourself with anyone else in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself."

The act of comparing ourselves with others is as natural as our instincts. No matter how we intend not to do it, yet our subconscious mind seems to do it on its own. Take for instance in a formal community gathering, people of different social class will tend not to mix together but rather they tend more to instinctively group according to their social status in the community.

Taken with a negative mindset, comparing one's self with others could of course result into something bad. If one thinks of himself/herself as inferior to others, then subconsciously he/she will feel insecure of himself/herself and as a result he/she will tend to avoid others. Or, if one believes he/she is better than anyone else, then he/she will project an attitude of superiority towards others and as a result he/she will tend to look down on others.

If the process of comparing stops at only finding who is better or who is worse, then comparison becomes a bad thing. To the person with an arrogance complex, it can become a tool for false self-confidence. To the person with an inferiority complex, it is a self-destructive defense mechanism for mediocrity.

But in comparing one's self to others, not everything there is can be negative. Comparison can also be a good tool for self-improvement. To be able to use it for good requires, first and foremost, that one recognizes and understands that in the eyes of God all human beings are created equal -- stripped of all the adornments of materialism, we all are dust and unto dust we all shall return. Secondly, one must realize that no matter what level or status you may be at in life, always there are people who are higher than you as well as people who are lower than you.

In a healthy comparison of yourself with others, you do not only look for what's better and what's not better in the qualities between you and the person you compare yourself with, but also you assess both of your qualities based on God's standard. Bear in mind that the rewards in the life hereafter are not based on who you are in this temporal life or on what have you achieved for yourself. The greatest human equalizer is in knowing "whose we are", and the greatest achievement there can be is in serving God and our fellowmen according to the divine standards.

Therefore, let's not be afraid to compare ourselves, but comparing using God's standard that we may improve ourselves and we may "outdo" one another in the giving of genuine godly love as the Lord Jesus did.

Have a blessed and joyful Christmas one and all.


Did you know that the Son will deliver you?

Mary, Did You Know?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven's perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding, is the great I AM.


Detachment: The Key To Joy

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

This verse is neither a romanticizing of economic poverty nor a demonization of wealth, but rather a formula for detachment.

Here I suggest a somewhat variant rendition of the verse: "How blessed are you if you are not attached to material things -- if you have not placed the goods that wealth can buy at the center of your concern."

When the kingdom of God is your ultimate concern, not only will you not be addicted to material things, you will in fact be able to use them with great effectiveness for God's purposes.

-- Fr. Barron

This short clip is a preview from episode two called "Happy Are We: The Teachings of Jesus". Fr. Barron talks about the key to joy by putting the beatitudes into terms we can understand clearly today.

The filming of Episode Two took Fr. Barron from the Mt. of Beatitudes in the Holy Land to Poland, New York, Madrid, and - in this particular preview - to the Cove Alliance orphanage near Kampala, Uganda.

For more info visit: WordOnFire


The Cookies

Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

It's not yet too late, you still have the opportunity to do the right thing. Therefore waste it not before it is gone. Be not afraid to do the right thing even if it will mean you have to endure some hardship. The Lord is a just God and He knows everything, even the most deeply hidden secrets that brought about injustice. If you are willing to entrust your life in His hands, He will use your situation (in a way no one would think is possible) to right that which is wrong so that what is right in His eyes might remain right throughout time.

If you will humble yourself and be honest before the Lord, He shall set before you an armor -- but you need to put it on. Trust in His justice and mercy and you shall not be without recourse; for your battle is not against people, but against the spirit that is holding your own soul in spiritual captivity.


"Laki Sa Layaw": The Mike Hanopol Story

"His music and fame led him down an inevitable path of sex, drugs, gambling and, eventually, paranoia. Who can save Mike Hanopol from his struggle? Watch the moving story of how a rock-and-roll legend found the path to genuine peace." -- The 700 Club Asia


Five Loaves and Two Fishes

Surrender What You Have To The Lord
By Edward F. Markquart

To the little boy, the key was his willingness to surrender his meager gifts to Christ, and at the heart of the story is the implied invitation for all of us to surrender our little gifts, the gift of our little lives to Christ, and then see what mighty miracles God can do in and through us. That’s what God wants from you and me, to surrender, to give the gifts of our little lives to Him.

Jesus can work miracles with five loaves and two fish. In the story, the little boy brought his meager gifts to Jesus, his five loaves and two fish, and and the Lord worked a mighty miracle with them. And God wants to do the same with us; that we bring our meager gifts to God, our five loaves and two fish, our meager and ordinary talents and gifts, we bring the simplicity of who we are to God, and see what mighty miracles God can do with our little lives.

God can use our inadequacies and work mighty miracles through them.

Implied in the story is this question: Have you surrendered your five loaves and two fish to Christ? Have you surrendered the meagerness of who you are to Christ? You would be amazed at what mighty miracles God can do with your meager self when you have surrendered who you are to Christ. The question is persistent when the memory of this story lingers on: “Have you surrendered? Have I?” Like the little boy did.

What do you hold dear in your hands? If one of these days the Lord would ask, "My child, what is it in your hands?", will you be willing to let Him have what you may be holding dear? Whatever seemingly little thing you willingly surrender to the Lord, He uses it for greater blessing that will bless you more as well as many other people.


We All Are Pilgrims

At times our path is rough and steep, our way is hard to see; we ask God, "Why is life unfair?" He answers, "Follow Me." --D. De Haan

When a person begins to ask "Why is life unfair?", it is only because he has started to shift focus unto himself. But when a person sets his focus upon the Lord, he begins to recognize that his neighbors are fellow pilgrims traveling the same rough and steep path he is traveling -- each one carrying not his own load but the load of a fellow pilgrim.

If we think that what we are carrying is heavy, let us remember that it is our fellow pilgrim's load that we are carrying and that our very own load, which may even be much heavier than what we are carrying, is being carried by other fellow pilgrim along with us.

We are in the world but we are not of this world. We are pilgrims in this world carrying each other's load just as the Lord Jesus Christ carried all of humanity's load thru Calvary unto the cross that He might lead mankind back to the Shrine, the Father.


Burning Together Close To Each Other

These were the only unshielded candles I noticed in the cemetery that burned completely without being ever rekindled. Their fires never went out despite frequent blowing of the wind. Had those candles been placed separate from each other, their fires would have been long gone out.

Like these burning candles, people need to stay close together in their souls and spirits so that each one's "fire" may join with the "fires" of the others. The combined fire has more heat and brighter light than a lone fire, and it can withstand wind blows. When one's fire goes out, the other fires close by are able to rekindle it back.

Life may be compared to these burning candles, ready or not, someday it will all come to an end. When that time comes, the only thing that matters is how you matter to God and your fellowmen.

It is always never too late to live a life that truly matters to God and fellowmen.


Walk By Faith

Walk By Faith
by Jeremy Camp

Would I believe you when you would say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

yeah, yeah , yeah, yeah, yeah, ya


Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace

[chorus x2]

Well hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
Well hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)

I will walk, I will walk, I will walk by faith
I will, I will, I will walk by faith

If in your heart the Lord would say, "Fear not my child, My hand will guide your every way", would you believe? Will you receive His words every moment of every day? If so, then walk by faith child of God even when you cannot clearly see. The road you're on may seem to be broken, but the Lord shall guide your way.

There will always be temptations to give up our faith and our values. There will always be views on contentment and real success based on worldly standards. In the face of adversity or temptation we must be on our guard lest our faith fails and we begin seeking undue signs and proofs and then we fall into making bargains with God.



Lord, Give Us Clean Hands

Give Us Clean Hands
By Kutless

We bow our hearts we bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes from evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

We bow our hearts we bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes from evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

Give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

And God let us be a generation that seeks,
Seeks your face, oh God of Jacob (x2)


God let us be a generation that seeks,
Seeks your face, oh God of Jacob

And God let us be a generation that seeks,
Seeks your face, oh God of Jacob (x3)

Jesus you are

You're my God (x2)

You're my God (x2)

You're my God

Did you know that the 15th of October is global handwashing day? Handwashing could symbolize many things, but the message conveyed by this song has a simple yet profound meaning. Before the eyes of the Lord, how clean are our hands?


Give, And It Shall Be Given Unto You

By The WindChime

Giving is universally recognized as a heroic trait. The measure of a genuine giving spirit is its willingness and ability to give even beyond what it is willing to give freely without any thought of receiving a reward.

Someone with great wisdom once said, "Give and give until it hurts; for if your giving costs you no pain, what makes it different from the rest?" The author was talking about sacrificial giving which is a trademark of a genuine giving spirit.

Only genuine godly love can empower a person to have the wisdom and strength to give beyond what he/she is willing to freely give without any expectation of reward. Genuine godly love is solely the motivation behind every act of genuine kindness. When it sees an opportunity for showing love, it gives willingly and freely without counting the cost and without expecting any reward.

The cosmos operates under divine principles and one of which is the principle of reciprocity. In science this particular principle is stated as follows: "For every action there is a reaction." In the common philosophical language it is popularly acclaimed as follows: "What you sow, is what you reap."

In the area of giving, the principle of reciprocity works just as perfectly fine. Because genuine godly love is authored by heaven itself, those who live by it cannot escape its overwhelming reciprocating effect. In heaven's economy, LOVE is the only currency and GIVING is its sole medium of exchange and TRUE PROSPERITY is but merely a side effect. True Prosperity may be defined as the state of being in grace where nothing is lacking and all needs met and provided for, contrasted with being in the state of materialism and over-indulgence.

The principle of reciprocity operates as a two-way street -- one way goes from one party to another party, and another way goes in the reverse direction. In the economy of genuine godly giving, there is a giver and there is a receiver. At any one time, a person with godly genuine love is the giver, and at other times he/she is the receiver. Like any other normal transaction, it functions in the give-and-take way. In times when a person is at the giving end, it gives him/her the opportunity to master genuine godly kindness. At other times when a person is at the receiving end, it gives him/her the opportunity to master genuine godly humility. In all of the times, every party who is taking part in the interaction is merely exercising his/her genuine godly love.

Therefore, to a genuine godly giving spirit operating within the heavenly economy, it is not only BETTER to give, but more so, it is both BEST to give as well as to receive because it teaches both kindness and humility -- godly kindness when you give, and godly humility when you receive.

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

That is the Divine Principle of Reciprocity.

Here is one thinker's thought embodying also an essence of that principle: "No one can shout at a mountain range in one direction without hearing an echo from all directions."

The truth of the verse in Luke 6:38 holds true for the good or positive things we do to others. For instance: Show kindness to one person one way, and there will be ten or more people who will show you kindness in various unexpected ways.

But perhaps what most of us fail to realize is that the truth in Luke's verse also holds perfectly true for every bad or negative things we do to others. For instance: Hurt or be unkind to one person one way, and there will be ten or more people who will hurt or be unkind to you in various unexpected ways.


Action, Progress, & Goal

"Do not confuse motion with progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress." ~ Alfred A. Montapert

Just because things are moving is not always a guarantee that there is progress being headed. That's true. But try putting the idea a bit deeper in context, and you will discover a deeper meaning.

Consider MOTION (action) in relation to goal: "For a goal to be achieved, it is necessary that right action be taken."

Likewise, consider PROGRESS in relation to goal: "Progress is a measure of how far a goal is from being achieved."

Context 1: If the goal is to transport a child to some place, how foolish it would be to use a rocking horse! Surely the rocking action will get the child nowhere and the goal is not achieved.

Context 2: If the goal is to make a child enjoy playing, it won't be wrong to use a rocking horse afterall. Surely the rocking motion will make the child enjoy the play a lot.

Here is a rejoinder: "It's not so much an issue of MOTION (action) and PROGRESS. It is about GOAL coupled with right action which is of prime importance."

We may look at someone riding on a rocking horse and quickly dismiss the person's action as foolish... but for all we know, all the person's objective may just be to enjoy a rocking horse ride. Or consider a man on a treadmill. Just because he is not "progressing" an inch from where he is jogging in place that we can simplistically say there is no progress taking place?

So I say, "Do not confuse progress with goal. A treadmill can't advance an athlete an inch from the gym, but surely it helps a lot in progressing him towards his goal."


Approaching A Door

When a door presents as an answer to a prayer, approach it with the right mindset and attitude otherwise you will end up in a futile struggle against the door -- foolishly trying as hard as you can to force your way through... in a wrong way.

Instead of a presumptuous forceful pulling, sometimes all it takes to open a door is a humble gentle push.


Note To God

Note To God
By Charice Pempengco

If I wrote a note to God
I would speak what's in my soul
I'd ask for all the hate to be swept away,
For love to overflow
If I wrote a note to God
I'd pour my heart out on each page
I'd ask for war to end
And for peace to mend this world
I'd say, I'd say, I'd say

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is overdue
And it seems like so much is goin' wrong
On this road we're on

If I wrote a note to God
I would say please help us find a way
End all the bitterness, put some tenderness in our hearts
I'd say, I'd say, I'd say

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is overdue
And it looks like we haven't got a clue
Need some help from you
Grant us the faith to carry on
Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
Cause it seems like so much is goin' wrong
On this road we're on

No, no, no
We can't do it on our own
So, so...

Give us the strength to make it through
Help us find love cause love is overdue
And it looks like we haven't got a clue
Need some help from you
Grant us the faith to carry on
Give us hope when it seems all hope is gone
Cause it seems like so much is goin' wrong
On this road we're on

No, no, no
We can't do it on our own
So, so...

If I wrote a note to God

Our nation is undergoing a tremendous period of trials already while it is yet within the early 100 days of President Noynoy's fresh administration. Starting with the hostage crisis and then overlapped by this very serious jueteng expose'.

The lyrics of Charice's song is but fitting for these trying days. Let us pray for our nation, especially for our new set of leaders that they (and we the people also) may have the strength and wisdom to make it through.


"...but the greatest is love."

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

* * * * * * *
We may have given up on love. Perhaps we've waited for love to find us, only to be disappointed. Maybe our loved ones have hurt us so badly that we needed to numb ourselves from the pain. Our addictions helped to keep us numb. Now that we're in recovery we have to find a way to deal with the issue of love once again.

It's God's will that we love; without love nothing else matters (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love is more than a feeling. It's a choice of behavior that grows in our lives; it's a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced in our lives as we yield to God. The Bible defines it this way: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. . . . Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

No one loves perfectly, but we must not give up on loving. We can accept the responsibility to love others and stop playing the victim by waiting for them to love us. We can be patient with ourselves while love grows. When we choose to act lovingly, the emotions will follow. We'll also find that love comes back to us.

The better we know God, the more we'll find ourselves showing love.

--Stephen Arterburn

When a person is in the realm of the love of God, no matter how imperfect the world may be, he begins to see it as rich and beautiful, full of all the opportunities for sharing God's love.


Look Beyond The Dark Night

In his dark trying night, Zac Smith found a different kind of strength when at the dawn of suffering he discovered the wisdom behind his dark night. As Zac realized it he said, "God cannot give me a bad gift...". Indeed, nothing bad could ever come from God, but when bad things happen, God is able to turn blessings out of them.

Just a thought for this Cancer Awareness Month of September: Sometimes the bigger spiritual gifts of blessings are delivered during the darkest of nights and they often come packaged in the pains of sufferings.

By the Lord's pains and sufferings, salvation became possible.


The Room

By Brian Moore

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger" "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched ," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.

Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."

The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.

I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments, couldn't bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.

His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.

He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

* * * * * * *
The story behind the story "The Room"

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he later told his father, Bruce. "It's a killer, It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever wrote."

It also was the last.

Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while cleaning out the teenager's locker at Teary Valley High School.

Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them-notes from classmates and teachers, his homework. Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's life.

But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven. It makes such an impact that people want to share it. You feel like you are there." Mr. Moore said.

Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it, " Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him.


Faith vs. Fear

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." ~ James 1:2-4

When in the throes of a crisis, we are desperately seeking solutions, answers, guidance and deliverance. And we are impatient; we want to see our way out as fast as possible. And therein lies the fundamental problem: we say that we trust God, but by desiring a specific and rapid resolution, we are denying God an opportunity to work, to implement his plan rather than ours.

And this reveals the basic dilemma in Crisis Management 101—until we completely, fully and totally TRUST God, we will never achieve the peace that comes from knowing that "All is Well."

When we are impatient, fearful, controlling, demanding, insecure and stressed, we reveal that we are not confident that God is on the throne and that he has a better plan for us than we can design ourselves. We deny ourselves his ultimate blessings as we seek to settle for much less than he desires for us. And we spend our days in panic, turmoil, and pain rather than in peace.

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Family: Our Only True Heritage

What kind of fruit are you eating?
Whom did it came from?

What kind of seed are you passing on to the next generation?
Of what fruit is it coming from?

What kind of tree do you belong?
What's the root of that tree like?


Simple Solutions

Author Unknown

When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn't work at zero gravity (ink won't flow down to the writing surface). In order to solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did Russians do?

The Russians used a Pencil!

* * *

One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan's biggest cosmetic companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.

Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.


Let The Father Lead You

“Lead Me”
By Sanctus Real

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're in independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone


Knock The Walls Down: Unleash Love's Strength

Sometimes love is truly tested when conflicts or misunderstandings cause walls to be put up, not to keep you out, but to see if your love really has enough strength to knock the walls down.

[1 Corinthians 13:1-7]

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Bring The Rain

Bring The Rain
By MercyMe

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty


Thoughts On Father's Day

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. -Clarence Budington Kelland

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. -Sigmund Freud

A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be. -Frank A. Clark

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys." -Harmon Killebrew

Prayers for Fathers

For fathers, who have given us life and love, that we may show them love and affection today and all days, we pray to God, our Father.

For fathers who have lost a child through death, that they may find hope, and solace in your never ending love, we pray to you, O God, our Father.

For fathers who have died, that God may welcome them into that peaceful place that is without ending, we pray to you, O God, our Father.

God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless those fathers who have taken upon themselves, the responsibility of parenting. Bless those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce who are parenting their children alone. Strengthen them by your love that they may be and become the loving, caring persons they are meant to be.


The Sheep Of The Shepherd

Author Unknown

A gentleman traveling in Syria, relates how he stopped to watch three shepherds who were at a well watering their flocks. The three flocks were all mingled together at the watering place. The traveler could see no difference between them, and he wondered how they would get them separated again without great trouble. But presently one of the shepherds stood forth and called out, "Menah," the Arabic for "Follow me," and sure enough thirty sheep immediately separated themselves from the indiscriminate mass and began to follow the shepherd up the hill. Then, a second shepherd lifted the cry, "Menah," and a second flock separated themselves and started after him, while the rest of the sheep remained as unconcerned as if no one had spoken at all.

The traveler was so astonished that as he saw the third shepherd preparing to depart, laying his hand to his crook and beginning to gather a few dates fallen from a palm beneath which he had been resting, he stepped up to him and asked: "Would your sheep follow me if I called them?" The man shook his head. "Give me your shepherd's cloak and crook and let me try." the traveler said. He even wound the shepherds turban round his head and standing forth began to cry, "Menah, Menah!" but no sheep stirred. They only blinked at him lazily in the sunshine. "Do they never follow any one but you?" asked the traveler. "Only when a sheep is sick; then the silly creature follows any one," the shepherd said.

Whose voice are you following?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)


Losing To Win

It's How You Play the Game
By Mike Bellah

"It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game," my dad used to tell my brothers and me, usually after we lost some sporting event. But we never believed it. In the first place, all my friends' dads told them the same thing and they didn't believe it either; and, we suspected, neither did the dads or coaches who proffered the advice. Most of us believed more in the philosophy of the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. "Winning isn't everything," Vince Lombardi is supposed to have said; "It's the only thing."

So like most American boys I grew up believing that second best is never good enough. How many collegiate crowds do you hear chanting "We're number two?" Even a tie was unacceptable: "like kissing your sister," said my junior high football coach.

I expect that some of this fierce competitiveness is good for young men. It pushes us to our full potential and helps us succeed in a world where only the fittest survive. Yet there is a dark side to the winning-is-everything philosophy. If for me to win others must lose, too much competitiveness can cause me to hurt my fellow human beings. If I'm not equally concerned with how the game is played, I may cheat those stronger than me and take advantage of those who are weaker.

Healthy competition helped build this great nation, but the green-mailers and insider-trading artists of the '80s are good examples of what happens when winning becomes the only thing. At midlife I am especially concerned with the personal toll extracted by this philosophy. My peers speak of themselves as hamsters on a treadmill running as fast as they can but always coming up short.

I suspect that the feeling springs from an overemphasis on competitiveness. That's why I was interested in a 1993 book by Howell Raines, a Pulitzer Prize winner and editorial page editor of The New York Times. In Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis Raines likens life to his favorite sport, an activity where he has ceased to be competitive.

Raines once kept a fishing log where he recorded the numbers and sizes of his catch. Then one day his mentor and friend Dick Blalock challenged him: "I don't believe in keeping count," he said. "If you're going to keep score you might as well be on a golf course." Raines contemplated his friend's advice: "What would happen if upon raising a trout one immediately feigned indifference to its capture? What if one set out not to land the fish, but simply to prevent it from breaking the line?"

Raines discovered what psychologists call the value of process. At midlife "a man may continue to seek excellence," writes Dr. Daniel Levinson in The Seasons of a Man's Life, "but he gains more intrinsic enjoyment from the process and product of his efforts and he is less concerned with recognition and power."

What would happen if you and I stopped keeping score with things like salaries, promotions, influential friends, physical looks and abilities, and material possessions? What if we "feigned indifference" to recognition and reward? What if instead we let ourselves celebrate the process? With the pressure to be number one gone, might we not enjoy life more? Perhaps life would enjoy us more too.

At midlife it's time to stop keeping score in everything we do; it's time to relax and enjoy living as well as achieving. It's time to believe what our dads once told us: It is how we play the game that counts.

In this great game called life we are all called to win no matter how unwilling participants many of us may be. The only rule is: Choose life and you will live. By participating we win, by declining we lose.

[Deuteronomy 30:19] I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed.

[Proverbs 11:19] He who is truly righteous gets life. He who pursues evil gets death.

[Proverbs 13:14] The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Thus, losing our old wicked ways of doing things is to win the race of life.

The night is almost over, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us now walk honestly, as in the day; not anymore in the ways of darkness.


God Knows What We Really Need

Be Ready for What You Pray For
By Brian Lawrence

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

The word "pray" or "prayer" appears in the NIV version of the Bible 347 times. Prayer first appears in Genesis 20 and last appears in Revelation 8, spanning nearly the entire Bible. Throughout God's Holy Word, we are shown how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), where to pray (Matthew 6:5-6), when to pray (1Thessalonians 5:17), why to pray (2Chronicles 7:14), and whom to pray for (Matthew 5:44). We are shown model prayers by our patriarchs (Genesis 32:10-12, Deuteronomy 9:26-29, 1Kings 8:22-53), requests for prayer by unbelievers to believers (Exodus 8:28), and the results of prayers answered (Genesis 20:17, Genesis 25:21, 1Samuel 1:19). We can read about prayers of anguish (1Kings 19:4), prayers of repentance (Ezra 9:5-7), prayers of praise (Psalm 66:20), and prayers of intercession (1Kings 13:6). Prayer is one of the cornerstones of the Christian's life.

During my short time as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I've seen many prayers answered and many not answered. Recently, though, God taught me a valuable lesson about being ready to respond when He answers a prayer. And through this lesson God drove home several important points about prayer and the Christian life. First, what we pray for should be for God's glory and not our own. Second, when we pray, we must expect God to answer the prayer. Finally, when God opens the door we've prayed for, we must act.

Even our failures, or should I say especially our failures, God uses for our growth and for others' benefit. From my own failures, God taught me three lessons about prayer.

First, what we pray for should be for God's glory and kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

There is an unfortunate movement among supposedly Christian organizations, especially those on television, called the "name it and claim it" movement. What this movement falsely teaches is that God put us here for our benefit, not for His, and therefore, if we believe we should have it, God will give it to us. If we believe we should be rich, we will be. If we believe we should have power, we'll have it. A spin-off of this movement are those television evangelists who say if we give to them, God will give back twice, three times, maybe even ten times as much. To put it bluntly, this is wrong. This is seeking our glory and not God's.

When we pray, we must examine our motives. Why are we praying for what we're praying for? Is it for God's glory or our own selfish wants? Even when we pray for the healing of others who may be gravely ill, we need to examine why we want that healing. If it's not for God's glory, why should He honor that prayer? If we have a relative dying of cancer and the only reason we want them healed is because of our own grief, is that for God's glory?

Notice what John 14:13 says. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name,..." Jesus had just finished telling his apostles that they would do greater things even than He. And then He tells us, He'll do anything we ask him. But what does that mean? Asking in Jesus' name does not mean simply repeating, "I ask all this in Jesus' name" at the end of our prayer, and then, no matter what the prayer was, Jesus will answer it. The rest of the verse says, "...so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." Therefore, whatever we ask Jesus to do, He'll only do if He can bring glory to God. Even Jesus must bring glory to God in all He does. So too, must we. We need to align our prayer life with God's kingdom, not the other way around.

The second point I learned from my experiences is that after we've prayed, we must be watchful and ready for God to answer that prayer and to use us for His kingdom.

We've overcome the first hurdle and adjusted our prayer life so that our prayers are for the glory of God. Now what? Now, be ready. God will start answering those prayers. When He does, we need to respond. For example, if we ask God to put those in our path whom we should witness to, then we need to watch and pay attention to whom God puts in our path. And when someone is put in our path that is lost, we need to respond and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even if we don't feel like it at the moment.

To put it in the world's terms, say you ask your boss for a chance to be project lead. At first he says no, but you persist and week after week you ask him to give you a chance. Finally, after months of pleading the boss promotes you to project lead. Only, instead of responding by working harder and validating his trust, you slack off. You just don't feel like leading at the moment, so you don't. You let the project deadline slip. Nothing is done to specification. Quality is down. Do you think your boss will let you do that again? Not for some time, anyway.

It's the same way with God. If we ask Him for something and He delivers, but we don't respond, what makes you think He'll be quick to answer our prayers again anytime soon?

If what we've prayed for is for the glory of God, and if we're watching and ready for God to answer the prayer, when He does, we must be willing to yield to the Spirit and act. Oftentimes, the way God answers a prayer is by opening a door. We still have to step out in faith and go through that door (see Hebrews 11:8). We can't sit back and passively wait for God and expect Him to give us everything we ask for without some kind of effort of our own.

Usually, our failure to act is selfishness. Sometimes, fear works it's way into the equation as well, but even fear is based on selfishness. In some of my own failures, I realized that some of them were a mixture of fear of what to say, and selfishness; I was preoccupied with matters pertaining to my own interest and didn't want to take the time. Both reasons quenched the Spirit. I failed to take up my cross those day and crucify myself so that I could live in the Spirit (see Matthew 10:38 and Romans 6).

Fortunately, our God is a God of second chances, and He uses our mistakes and our failures to help us grow and to teach us. Examine your prayer life and be sure what you're praying for is for the glory of God. After you pray, be watchful and expect God to respond. And when God responds, yield to the Spirit and walk through the door He has opened.

Sometimes the answer to what we prayed for is surprising to us because it is not according to what we expected. This happens because the Lord knows what we really need. We may ask for material prosperity, but He knows what we really need is genuine peace and joy. Or we may pray for strength and security, but deep within we are really longing for eternity.

And thus, according to His infinite wisdom, and as the Master of all things that He is, the Lord knows how to answer the real and true desires of our hearts -- for after all, it is He himself who placed those noble and genuine desires in our hearts to initiate us and stir us up into accomplishing His divine purpose in each of our individual lives for His glory.

Some people may not get what they are praying for and trying so hard to achieve at the present moment or at some point in their lives, yet it doesn't mean that the God-given noble desires of their hearts are not being answered or will not be answered by the Lord.

We may be praying for some earthly authority over other people, but deep within our being what the Lord really has planted in our hearts is the divine desire to serve Him through our fellowmen.

When prayed for, no God-given desire is left unanswered -- for it is a seed from heaven planted in the God-fertilized soil of our hearts. No rain that falls from heaven shall accomplish nothing. Just as no word of the Lord that proceeds out of His mouth shall return to Him void.

"So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
(Isaiah 55:11)

People may be desiring and praying for one and the same thing to have when only one of them can have it at a point in time. But the Lord knows how and when to answer every one of them; for He knows what the real desire of their hearts truly is -- for it is the Lord who called them and initiated them to that desire.

In time, some of them will be in one place, others will be in other places. Some will be doing one task, others will be assigned other tasks. But ultimately, no one of them will be doing the task not according to the true desires which the Lord has planted in their hearts. When their individual seasons come in their own times, they will be like the season of bloom.


So that no flesh should boast before God


Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is nonsense in the world to make the wise feel ashamed. God chose what is weak in the world to make the strong feel ashamed. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important; so that no flesh should boast before God. -- (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

If He was a man of the world, Jesus would have chosen the elite of His day to accomplish His mission — however He used simple fishermen. These men were considered uneducated, lacking “social status”, wealth or worldly distinction of any kind — yet these “simple” men were the ones the Lord selected to continue the work of building the lordship of God on earth.

When the chosen people were slaves in Egypt, God didn’t send an army to deliver them, He sent a single man. But the anointing power of God through one man was shown to be greater than the most powerful kingdom on Earth.

Throughout the Bible, we read of the Lord choosing and using the weak things of the world to confound and shame the wise and powerful. God seems to love revealing His awesome power through humble vessels, so that no flesh can glory in His presence.

Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that God cannot use you because you are “flawed”, weak, or seemingly inconsequential. No, instead, remember that He uses the base, despised, nonentities of this world, ordinary, often broken, people…to do extraordinary things. Our God is not looking at your wealth, your social status or your education — He’s looking at your heart! If your heart is willing and your life is available, then He is more than able to perform miraculous work through you for His Kingdom’s sake. With so much work to be done, don’t allow the enemy to stifle or steal the Lord’s vision for your life –- He has a plan to use you to confound the wise of this world, and to bring to naught the things that are!

[...] "It is not by your own strength and abilities that you will be able to fulfill the tasks that will be given to you, but by the strength of the Lord's right hand." [...] Read full text of message.


The Day Is At Hand

By George H. Warnock

"The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." We are discovering that as in the old creation, so in the new creation, there are circles, orbits, of Divine truth and revelation. People are always saying, "History is but repeating itself... ." And the Church cries out with every fresh moving of the Spirit, "We had that forty years ago. .. or some such statement as that. What most Christians fail to realize is this: that with every setting of the sun and rising of the same, there is a NEW THING accomplished in the earth. There is a new measure of growth transmitted to the trees and shrubs and plants of the earth. Day after day, and year after year, there is a continual participation in the life of the sun, and a growing unto maturity. Some years ago, we stood before those great Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park. Here we saw the General Sherman tree, the biggest living thing in the earth, weighing something like 625 tons, and about 102 feet in circumference at the base. There it stood when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees, perhaps a little sapling, But it witnessed the truth of the passage we have just read, literally thousands and thousands of times. The sun rising, and setting, and rising again. But to this little tree it meant more than that. It meant a growing unto maturity. It meant a struggling against the elements. It witnessed winter and summer, over and over again, But it survived, and grew, and there it stands today in all its grandeur and greatness.

So with the Church of Jesus Christ and with the individual lives of God’s people. There is a continual increase of the Christ within, and of His government and peace in their lives. There is a new unfolding of the Divine purpose. "His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lam. 3:22,23). Men who lack vision are forever bemoaning the setting of the sun, as if that were the close of the day. But the setting of the sun is not the close of the day, it is the beginning. According to the book of Genesis (and we have discovered that we must continually go back to the Genesis to discover God’s order) "the evening and the morning" constitute God’s full day, and not "the morning and the evening." "The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. .. ." Even now before the full rising of the "Sun of righteousness" into the new day of His glory, there is the shining forth of the first rays of dawn. The daystar is arising in hearts. Even in this world of darkness there is glorious hope and promise, so that we may say with the Psalmist: "Even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" (Ps. 139:11,12). Faith is bright in the midst of darkness, because of the promise. But faith is budding forth into Hope, which is even brighter, because it is anticipating the dawn. Then do we enter into LOVE—which is the full expression of Faith, and Hope, the very life of God Himself radiating from the lives of His chosen ones.

The New Commandment

When Jesus was here, He was the Light of the world. But the light shone in the darkness, "And the darkness comprehended it not" (Jn. 1:5). Now there is a difference. The darkness is beginning to pass away. True, it will get darker, and darker, as far as the present order of mankind is concerned. But there shall be light in the homes of the people of God. John said, "I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning" (I Jn. 2:7). It was the old commandment of the Word. It had particular application to his day and hour. It is the same Word that we have today; but now it takes on new meaning. Therefore he continues: "Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past (Lit. ‘is passing away’), and the true light now shineth" (I Jn. 2:8). When Jesus was born the darkness did not apprehend the Light. But now it is not so. The darkness "is passing . . . ." The Word which we had from the beginning now takes on new meaning. It is a "new Commandment." The same Word, but it comes forth in the dawning of a new day, and therefore it is NEW. It is the new day of LOVE. Anything less than that is darkness. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the LIGHT.. . ." Surely none is so blind as to claim that the Church has entered into this heritage of LOVE!

Perfection Of Love

The lack of love is only too evident and blaring everywhere we look, in ourselves or in others. The apostle John makes it abundantly clear that walking in the light is WALKING IN LOVE. We would like to convince ourselves that walking in the light consists of adhering to proper creeds and doctrines. But regardless of creed and doctrine, the solemn fact remains: "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now" (I Jn. 1:9). Such a man does not even know where he is going, "because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." There is no neutral ground here. We may admit on the one hand there is not much love, and on the other claim that we do not hate. Love is Light, and the absence of the light means darkness. If there is no genuine Love, God calls it HATE. We need to read the Love chapter often, I Corinthians 13. We are inclined to think we know what Love is, and therefore its great potential scarcely stirs us. It is nothing less than the very realm of God, abiding in Him, and participating in His own heart of longsuffering, kindness, humility, meekness, unselfishness, and truth. All else that pertains to the realm of spiritual manifestation must give way to the fulness of LOVE, as the first rays of dawn give way to the rising of the sun. "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." "Won’t heaven be wonderful?" says one. But God wants this perfection of Love here on earth where it is needed. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven... ." Pray, tell me, what kind of a heaven are you going to that is going to require the exercise of "longsuffering," "kindness," "meekness," "humility," and "unselfishness." Read I Corinthians 13:4-8 once more, and imagine, if you will, what circumstances in Heaven might arise that would require the exercise of PERFECT LOVE. "Suffereth long. .. ." Will Michael the Archangel impose grievous burdens on you that are just too heavy for you to bear? "And is kind...." Here is a man in heaven that has wandered about on the golden streets, oppressed, weary, and foot-sore... and you pause for a moment to give him a word of cheer, or a helping hand. "Charity envieth not You will have to be careful when the rewards are given out, lest you find yourself envying the Christian that has been given the largest or most beautiful mansion. But then you will have perfect love, so you can resist the temptation. "Vaunteth not itself Another minister is sent forth to do some great work in the Kingdom of Christ, and returns with a glowing report. The angels rejoice, and the saints rejoice with them... he is not "puffed up’ or proud of his achievements; he has arrived at the place of perfect love! Selfish? Why no! If he has more than he needs for his mansion, he’ll distribute his abundance among the saints that have a smaller mansion and cheaper furniture ... he is not seeking his own, he is entirely unselfish. A scandal is raised against Gabriel, but the man who has arrived at Perfect Love has overcome... he "thinketh no evil," and the rumor is squelched. No matter how laborious the task that the Lord gives him to do, he "beareth all things" cheerfully. Won’t it be wonderful when we get to heaven, "when that which is perfect is come"?

But God wants perfect LOVE here in the earth, where it is so desperately needed. Heaven is full of love now but God wants it here. Jesus therefore taught us to pray, "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." Now we believe that Jesus taught us to pray that prayer because it is God’s intention to answer that prayer. We have discovered that the prayers that are ordained of the Lord, and that are inspired in the hearts of God’s people by the Spirit, are nothing less than the travail of the Spirit of God within the spirit of man to bring forth unto birth and full manifestation THE EXPRESS WILL OF GOD. It is not a case of you and I getting under some burden of human contrivance, and trying to persuade God to do something that He is reluctant to do. It is a case of so moving in God, knowing His will, functioning out from His very own heart.. . that we share His yoke; and the express will and purpose of God becomes our chief concern. Nor can we rest, or give Him rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem "a praise in the earth." The reason we cannot rest is because He cannot rest. And as we partake of His desire and yearning for the perfection of His Son in His other sons, there is that heaven-born groaning within, to accomplish the PERFECT WILL of God in the earth, even as it is done in heaven. God is not in the least concerned about PERFECT LOVE reigning in Heaven. Nothing less could even exist in that realm of PURE LIGHT. He does want, and He will yet have, PERFECT LOVE reigning in the hearts of His people, and to this end we pray. "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and HIS LOVE IS PERFECTED IN US" (1 Jn. 4:12).