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Determination

I am working late at night in a 24-hour pharmacy. There are only three customers in the store: a scruffy but clean young couple and another gentleman. The woman in the young couple is very heavily pregnant, and her partner is picking up the range of baby hats we carry and holding them up against her stomach, then looking at the prices and sadly putting them back. They pick up a packet of the cheapest pain medication we carry and bring it to the counter.

Female Customer: “I’m sorry, but can you please ask the pharmacist if these are safe for me to take?”

Me: “Of course!”

While we’re waiting for the pharmacist to come out, they tell me they’re expecting their daughter any day now. The pharmacist has been watching the young couple since they came in.

Pharmacist: “These are fine, but can I ask why you need them?”

Female Customer: “Oh, I have a horrible cough that’s making my back ache even worse. I can’t get to sleep.”

The pharmacist goes through a list of cough medicines safe for her to take, before the young man shakes his head with tears in his eyes.

Male Customer: “I’m sorry, I’ve just lost my job and we really can’t afford any of those. Sorry for wasting your time.”

Pharmacist: “That’s okay, but this packet is damaged, and legally I can’t let you take it. Seeing as it was the last one, let me and [my name] go look in the back for some more.”

The pharmacist takes me out the back, where he puts three packets of name brand painkillers, four bottles of name brand cough syrup, a wheat bag for her back, a tin of formula, a packet of newborn nappies and a few of the hats the couple was looking at into a box. He hands me the box and tells me to take it out to them. I do and they both burst into tears, thanking us over and over again. They leave with huge smiles on their faces.

Female Customer: “Thank you again!”

Other Customer: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but over hear. Did you say you just lost your job at [local company]?”

Male Customer: “Yes, I was an IT tech.”

Other Customer: “I own [other computer store in the area], and I’m looking for a new tech. Can you start tomorrow?”

There were tears all round that night. A week later, the young woman brought in her beautiful daughter and a giant batch of cupcakes for the pharmacy staff. Best night at work ever!

Author Unknown - Story found at this web site
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I was five years old when I walked into my mother’s bedroom and told her I wanted to give my life to Christ. We got down on our knees beside the bed and I asked Jesus into my heart. After that, I proudly told everyone that Jesus had saved me, but my pride slowly diminished over the years.

As I got older, the more I questioned the efficacy of my salvation prayer because, let’s be honest, the five-year-old motives behind it didn’t exactly demonstrate any depth of understanding about what I was doing.

On the one hand, my parents taught me a lot about the Bible, so by that age, I really had developed a childhood affection for the miracle-working Savior who held little kids in His lap and then died to save them.

On the other hand, I wanted to be born again because I would get to take the grape juice and cracker during communion at our Baptist Church — not to mention the most important reason of all: I would avoid going to hell. These reasons didn’t seem like very good ones for wanting to commit my eternal life to God, so I eventually began to wonder if perhaps I hadn’t actually been saved after all.

My insecurity about my salvation inspired me to repeatedly redo my salvation prayer, but it never seemed like it was enough. I wanted something more official. I needed a prayer that would unquestionably provide my eternal connection to Jesus. But there was a vignette in the Easter story that provided the security that a prayer for salvation never could.

A Thief’s Last Words

As Jesus was hanging there and His life was almost over, He had a brief conversation with one of the two thieves hanging on either side of Him. The gospel of Matthew tells us that this thief had actually been mocking Jesus earlier in his crucifixion. But Luke tells us the rest of the story: With the clock ticking down on his life, the thief had a sudden change of heart and made a simple request: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.”

The man was a low-life, a common criminal attempting a desperate deathbed conversion, and all he could utter was a request that wasn’t exactly profound: “Remember me.”

Jesus didn’t do an inventory of the man’s good or bad deeds before He responded. He didn’t ignore him or wait until the man said the perfect words. “Remember me” was more than enough. In the final minutes of their lives, Jesus responded, “Truly I say to you, today you’ll be with Me in Paradise.”

Maybe you won’t go to church this Easter — maybe you don’t even want to. Maybe you’re a believer who’s insecure about your salvation. Maybe the idea of praying about something as monumental as your eternal salvation seems intimidating to you — you wouldn’t even know where to start. Start here: “Remember me.”

It doesn’t matter if your motives are self-interested or if you’ve never shown any desire to follow Jesus. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made and how many more you’re likely to make. He’s there willing and waiting to take you home with Him.

Call out to Him. Trust that He’s willing to welcome you into His kingdom. Ask Him to remember you today. His certain response will have nothing to do with your worthiness and everything to do with His unfailing love.

This column was originally published on April 13, 2017.

Joshua Rogers is a writer and attorney who lives in Washington, D.C. You can follow Joshua on Twitter @MrJoshuaRogers and Facebook, and read more of his writing at JoshuaRogers.com.

2017-10-09_8-00-47

Once upon a time there was a leafy tree in a field. Leaves grew densely on the tall branches. The roots were deeply into the ground. The tree was the most remarkable among the rest.

The tree then became the home for some birds. They built their nests and they lived on his branches. The birds made holes on him, and they hatched their eggs within the greatness of the tree. The tree felt so delighted because he was accompanied as he walked through his long lasting days.

People were grateful for the presence of the tree. They often came over and sheltered under him. Under his branches, they sat down and opened their picnic baskets. “This tree is very useful,” that’s what the people said everytime they went home from shelter. The tree was very proud hearing those compliments.

However, time went on. The tree was beginning to be sick. His leaves and twigs were falling, then his body became thin and pale. The greatness he used to have was fading away. Birds felt reluctant to build their nests there. No one would come to sit under the tree to shelter anymore.

The tree wept, “Oh God, why is it so hard for me? I need friends. Now no one would come close to me. Why do you take all the glory I used to have?” The tree cried loudly, so it echoed throughout the forest. “Why wouldn’t you cut me down, so I don’t have to bear this suffering?” The tree kept on crying, and his tears were running down his dry body.

Seasons came and went, but his condition had not changed. The tree was still feeling lonely. His branches became drier and drier. Every night the tree wept and cried, until the morning broke.

“Cheep…chirp….cheep” Ah, what was that noise? Oh, it’s a little baby bird who has just pipped from the egg. The old tree woke up from his daydream.

“Cheep…chirp…cheep”, the noise became louder and louder. There was another baby bird. Not long after that, the tree became noisy because of the birth of new baby birds. One…two…three…and four baby birds have been born to this world. “Ah, He has answered my prayers,” exclaimed the old tree.

The day after, there were many birds flying to the old tree. They were going to build new nests. The dry branches have turned out to attract their attention to nest there. The birds felt warmer to stay inside the dry branches instead of their place before. The number of birds was increasing and there were more kinds of them. “Wow, now my days are brighter with their presence here”, murmured the old tree gladly.

The old tree was back to cheer again. And when he looked down, his heart was flowing with joy. There was a new little tree growing near his roots. The new tree seemed to smile at him. The tears of the old tree has grown a little tree who would continue his devotion to nature.

by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 14, 2001

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his Father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said he’d make a deal with his son, “You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, And get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.”

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the Offer, and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, “Son, you’ve brought your grades Up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m Disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.”

The boy said, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve Noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there’s even strong Evidence that Jesus had long hair.”

The Father replied….. And did you also notice that they all walked everywhere?”

 

Author Unknown - Please respond if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
January 9, 2012

More than twenty years ago, I was working the night shift as a registered nurse. It had been a hard night and I was exhausted. It seemed as if I had just fallen into a deep sleep, when the doorbell rang. I stumbled out of bed to the door, I was tired and resented being disturbed. I opened the door to a thin young black child about 12 years old. He had been dropped off with a group of other young people to sell magazines. I snapped, “I am not interested!”

He asked ” Could I please have a drink of water?”

I sharply replied “I don’t have time.”

I slammed the door and went back to bed. When I awakened, I couldn’t believe my behavior to that child. I have never been so ashamed of myself. I remember my parents referring to how “we are tested throughout life.” I had been given a test and failed miserably. For years I have had a heavy heart and a scar on my soul for the way I treated that little boy. Praying for forgiveness did not ease my burden.

In 1998, more than 20 years after I failed one of life’s tests, I was living in Florida, working in a position as Director of Nursing of the Emergency Department. However, for the second time in my career, it was becoming apparent that I was being “downsized” out of my job and was expecting to be laid off. Being in my 50’s, I was angry and grief stricken over the loss of my job. I decided I would do direct patient care during my last days on the job.

One afternoon the medical alert radio sounded and we were informed they were bringing in a man found lying unconscious on the street. I told everyone, “I’ll take this one.”

Shortly, the ambulance arrived. The young man on the stretcher was the filthiest human being I had ever seen. His long brown hair and beard were matted and tangled. His clothes were wet from a recent downpour and appeared to have been worn for months. The paramedics reported he was epileptic and had a seizure, causing him to fall and strike his head. As he came around he said his name was Rick.

This wild looking young man had the most incredible blue eyes I have ever seen. In a calm and soothing voice Rick stated he did not have the money to buy his seizure medication.

The physician checked him and treatment was started. I asked if he was hungry and he replied he had not eaten in four days. A double portion lunch was ordered. I watched as he ate slowly, chewing his food, savoring every flavor and bite. He displayed impeccable manners, the way he handled his silverware and wiped his mouth with the rough paper napkin. Rick ate every morsel of the food, quietly thanking me.

It was time to clean him up. I began peeling the hideous smelly clothes off to give Rick a bath. The staff begged me not to take Rick’s shoes off.

It’s an unwritten rule in the emergency room — if you don’t really need to remove someone’s shoes– DON’T! As I pulled his shoes and socks off I gasped. The thick mud on his feet looked as if he had brown casts on both feet. I thought “Oh this is going to be a terrible mess.”

As I soaked the layers of dirt from Rick’s feet and started washing them, I was nearly knocked over by an overwhelming thought which surprised me. In my mind I heard a voice say, “there is story about the Lord washing a poor person’s feet.” I thought to myself “how weird, wonder what made me think of that?”

Later, Rick was clean, in fresh clothing and shoes, medications given to take with him and ready for discharge… but, to where?

Rick told me his mother lived 60 miles away. I decided the hospital could pay for his cab fare. (The hospital was probably going to lay me off, so I figured if they didn’t like it, that was too bad. My hostility was rearing its ugly head again!)

I made arrangements for a taxi to take Rick home to his mother. Finally, the clerk announced Rick’s ride was waiting so I gathered Rick’s belongings, linked arms with him and we walked to the waiting room.

I almost fainted when I saw a man in a tuxedo standing there and parked outside was a limousine! I had called a cab! I asked the driver if he was at the right place and he replied, “Oh, yes, ma’am, you must have somebody really special here.”

I replied, “Yes, I think he is pretty special.”

Rick turned, softly smiled a beautiful smile with his perfect white teeth and those magnificent blue eyes and in a whisper, he said, “Bless you. I shall never forget what you have done today.”

As he drove off in the huge limousine, I was both stunned and confused. I went back to my colleagues and explained how Rick had driven away in luxury. They were staring at me as if I had been struck by lightening. Was the limo sent by mistake, or was it by design. And who was Rick?

I guess I will never know.

Meantime, my consulting job turned into a full time position as an Emergency Room Director in Maine. It is the most wonderful job I have ever had and I work with people I truly adore. Maine is beautiful and I feel a peace and a joy here like never before.

Looking back, I firmly believe Rick was an important part of my destiny.

Maybe Rick was sent to me to allow me the opportunity to start fresh and renew my journey. Since none of us know when our tests will be given, I am grateful to have had a second chance.

Unknown author - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
December 27, 1989

In life there are people that will hurt us and cause us pain,

but we must learn to forgive and forget and not hold grudges.

In life there are mistakes we will make,
but we must learn from our wrongs and grow from them.

In life there are regrets we will have to live with,
but we must learn to leave the past behind and realize it is something we can’t change.

In life there are people we will loose forever and can’t have back,
but we must learn to let go & move on.

In life there are going to be obstacles that will cause interference,
but we must learn to overcome these challenges and grow stronger.

In life there are fears that will hold us back from what we want,
but we must learn to fight them with the courage from within.

God holds our lives in his hands. He holds the key to our future.
Only he knows our fate.

He see’s everything and knows everything.
Everything in life really does happen for a reason: “God’s Reason”.

By  Angie Flores ©
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
January 3, 2013

She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red-haired, freckle-faced image of innocence.

It was pouring outside — the kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth that it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.

I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child, came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in. “Mom, let’s run through the rain,” she said. “What?” Mom asked. “Let’s run through the rain!” she repeated. “No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated: “Mom, let’s run through the rain.” “We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom said. “No we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm. “This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?” “Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life, a time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. “Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Mom said. They off they ran.

We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran too. I got wet. I guess I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories. So don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day. I hope you will take time to run through the rain!

By - Bob Perks
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