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Dilbert

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!

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A little boy surprised his grandmother one morning and brought her a cup of coffee in bed. He had made it all by himself and was very proud of himself. He waited eagerly to hear her verdict on the quality of the coffee.

The grandmother had truly never in her life had such a bad cup of coffee. The first few sips just about did her in, but she praised her grandson, and told him it was wonderful – and she drank it all anyway.

As she forced down the last sip, she noticed three little green army guys in the bottom of the cup. She asked, “Honey, why would three of your little army guys be in the bottom of my cup?”

Her grandson replied, “You know, Grandma, it’s like on TV: ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.”

 

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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.

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The world today is both an amazing and, sometimes, scary place – and those two things converge nowhere like with our children.

In bygone days, children were essentially left free to roam about with little concern for their safety. Everyone has an older relatively who would talk about the treacherous trek they’d have to make to go to school. Things like “crossing guards” didn’t exist for them.

The concept is one that makes perfect sense: a public safety officer stands guard at intersections children have to cross to make their way to school. It helps keep them safe from drivers distracted by their coffee, make-up, or the radio on their commute to work.

These guards also give kids a hopefully, friendly face to say “good morning” to each day. However, in North Carolina, winters can be cold, unforgiving, and leave people of all ages in no mood to chat.

A crossing guard for Trask Middle School, known to the kids as Ms. Minnie, is a trusted friend to the kids. She greets them warmly no matter the outside temperature and has done so for 19 years. In fact, she’s been there so long that she never expected that the adults driving by her daily post would pay attention to her.

Kayla Thomas, a teacher for a local high school, does pay attention to Ms. Minnie and was shocked to see her leading some of the kids to her car parked near the intersection she minds each morning. Stunned by what she saw, Kayla had to snap a picture.

In today’s suspicious world, seeing a crossing guard taking kids to her car might be a cause for concern, but if you look carefully you’ll see something amazing near the trunk of the car: a clothing rack full of winter coats.

As Kayla wrote on Facebook:

“Today I noticed that she had a rack of coats by her car, and signs saying “free coats” posted everywhere. It took every ounce of restraint in my body not to put the car in park and get out and hug this woman, to thank her for using her free time to keep our students safe and for giving coats to people who may not have them. There is still good in this world, despite what we see and hear everyday. People like her give the rest of us hope that we can all live in peace and focus on the things that really matter.”

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Ms. Minnie gives the coats to kids who need them, and asks for nothing in return. Her generosity is not just limited to the winter months either.

She is also known for handing out umbrellas to kids on rainy days. At the beginning of the school year, she passes out school supplies. While these gifts to the kids are surely important and wonderful, it’s her personality that truly serves them. Her positive attitude gives kids something to smile about, even those who dread going to school.

For Ms. Minnie, however, all this attention is not why she does it. No, she does what she can to make her community a better place. The kids of Wilmington are lucky to have a woman like her in their corner.

By - Joshua Patton 12/26/2017

Capture

“So where do you think we will be going to church next month?” That became a common inquiry from my husband. We had moved to this mid-Atlantic hinterland and found ourselves in search of a new church. This mission was compounded by the fact that we knew no one. Weekly, we checked out a different church to find the perfect place to worship.

After months, we found the perfect place (or so we thought). It was close to home, had a great children’s program, and seemed to have an appropriate amount of young, growing families. I spoke with the greeter and found out who to call. The next day, Monday, I did just that.

“Hello, may I speak with Reverend Coleman?…Oh, well is there a better time to reach him? My family and I have been relocated to this area, and we really like your church and your congregation and would like the appropriate paperwork to formally join.”

The receptionist, who had been taking Reverend Coleman’s calls, told me that we could not join the church because too many families were enrolled. A new congregation was forming, however. “Perhaps you could speak with someone there,” she said. I was to call a man whom I did not know, at a place that did not exist, for a congregation that was only being formed…somewhere.

“Okay, we will go back to the church one more time, and maybe we can find out where this new group meets,” I told my husband and children. They were agreeable, mainly because we always went to breakfast after church. The draw was not the worship but the fellowship and the feast afterward. At the next Sunday mass, the homily was actually given by the new leader of the scattered flock of people. Thus, we now had a contact; her name was Mary Lou. I called her the next day.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes!” she said. “We would love to have you join our congregation. May I stop over and introduce myself and bring the paperwork for you and your family? We are still looking for a permanent place to have our weekly church gatherings, but we are delighted that you will be joining us.” Mary Lou chattered on for a while longer, and I knew we were going in the right direction, although I was not sure where.

“Mommy, I thought we were going to church,” Jay questioned the following Sunday as we pulled into the parking lot of a movie theater.

“We are, sweetheart,” I answered, as his daddy parked the car. Jason’s eyes lit up, and he was not about to let this drop, thinking one or both of his parents had lost their minds. “Why are we here if we are supposed to be going to church?”

“The church is not a church yet, and we do not have anywhere else to go, so we are going to the movie theater,” I explained. None of us really cared where we went after a few weeks, especially because on these days we began going to the movies after church, which took the place of breakfast. Pop and popcorn began to substitute for ham and eggs.

As the summer wore into autumn, and the leaves began to drop from the trees, the congregation continued to grow and the accommodations in the movie theater became too small. It was time to move on again, and the new location was, again, due to the generosity of a community member. This time we were shuffled to an old, gray barn. It was not much to look at, but it served the purpose — and our active, hard-working, and still-growing community gathered at this rustic spot, now filled with folding chairs.

It took a long time to get wiring into this dimly lit structure to supply us with light, heat, and a microphone. Reverend Appleby fortunately had a sense of humor and a booming voice. However, as October transitioned into November, and Thanksgiving ushered in Advent, our necessity for heavy coats during church became more apparent.

“Jim, make sure the kids have their gloves this morning,” I said. “It is really cold. I know we should expect December weather, but the wind seems brutal today.”

“Check. We have gloves and hats, and I grabbed a blanket, just in case we need it. We can wrap these little monkeys up; they’ll stay warm for the hour.”

The cold weather brought preparation but still no permanent church. December wore on and Christmas Eve appeared in a flash.

Again, we had the checklist before church. “Honey, let’s keep the kids extra warm. It may snow tonight. Can you help me get Katie’s boots on?”

Robby, our second child, mumbled, “Mommy, do we have to go? It’s too cold.”

“Yes, honey, we do. It is Christmas Eve, and if we have time to wait for Santa, we have time to go to church and remember Jesus’ birthday.”

So we packed up the children and drove to the barn. “This is an exceptionally blustery night,” I remarked. “It is a good thing that Daddy remembered the blanket, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” the three children yelled in unison. Dusk slipped into darkness as we parked along the old country road and trudged along to the barn, children in tow, wrapped up so much that they could barely walk. We entered our familiar “church.”

The old, gray barn was no longer just an old, gray barn. It had been transformed into a nativity scene — a real one, with a real manger and real sheep and a cow and a donkey. Hay was everywhere. The eyes of the children were filled with sheer wonder. Amid the animals were people. The woman wore a blue robe, and the man was in old, brown sackcloth tied with a rope. He held a staff, and she held an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. They were not just people; they were the Holy Family. They were surrounded by shepherds tending the flock. I don’t remember what the music was, if there was any. Nor do I remember what the homily was, if one was given. I don’t even know if we stayed warm enough. I do remember being in the presence of the true spirit of Christmas. It was magnificent.

That Christmas Eve celebration could have lasted forever. We finally left the barn to find that snow was lightly falling and the stars were announcing the birth of Jesus. We all felt a silent joy at the miraculous event we had been witness to. Eventually, we did find a church to call our own. But nothing ever came close to that Christmas Eve of wonder, with Jesus in the old, gray barn.

By Elizabeth Toole

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

Vintage Dilbert February 16 1996

Vintage Dilbert    –   February 16 1996

They lie on the table, side by side The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.

One is well worn, but cherished with pride (Not the Bible, but the TV Guide)

One is used daily to help folks decide. (Not the Bible: it’s the TV Guide.)

As the pages are turned, what shall they see Oh, what does it matter?…turn on the TV.

Then confusion reigns, they can’t all agree on what they shall watch on the old TV.

So they open the book in which they confide (No, not the Bible…..it’s the TV Guide.)

The Word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse e’er they fall into bed.

Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be… not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.

So then back to the table, side by side, lay the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.

No time for prayer….no time for the Word. The plan of salvation is seldom heard.

But forgiveness of sin so full and free is found in the Bible…..NOT on TV!

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I have.....  
Comment if it touched your heart and share if you liked it... 
Take Care and God Bless  :-)  Kenny T
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