Rain

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. “Dad, I’m thinking of something.”

This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

“The rain!;” she began, “is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away.”

After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. “That’s really good, Aspen.”

Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked… “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Aspen didn’t hesitate one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.” I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain.

-Unknown Author

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The Centre Of The Bible

Q: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 117

Q: What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 119

Q: Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?
A: Psalms 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118
Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118
Add these numbers up and you get 1188.

Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?
A: Psalms 118:8

Q: Does this verse say something significant about God’s perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God’s perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

Psalms 118:8
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Now isn’t that odd how this worked out (or was God in the center of it)?

When things get tough, always remember…
Faith doesn’t get you around trouble, it gets you through it !!

-Author Unknown

Scars For Life

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

His mother in the house was looking out the window saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.” You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.

In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not – let you go.

The Filling Station

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no lights. It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his life. His wife had gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out, George, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater and warm-up.

“Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger. “I see you’re busy. I’ll just go”

“Not without something hot in your belly,” George turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you’re done there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said.

There in the driveway was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked.

“Mister can you help me!” said the driver with a deep Spanish accent. “My wife is with child and my car is broken.”

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the car was dead. “You ain’t going in this thing,” George said as he turned away.

“But mister. Please help….”

The door of the office closed behind George as he went in. George went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.

“Here, you can borrow my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.”

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. George turned and walked back inside the office.

“Glad I loaned ’em the truck. Their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new tires…”

George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it.

“Well, at least he got something in his belly,” George thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator.

“Well, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new one on. “Those tires ain’t gonna get ’em through the winter either.”

He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car. As he was working he heard a shot being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder.

The officer moaned, “Help me.”

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention.

“Pressure to stop the bleeding,” he thought. The laundry company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound./P>
“Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. “Something for pain,” George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. “These ought to work.” He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills.

“You hang in there. I’m going to get you an ambulance.” George said, but the phone was dead. “Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your police car.”

He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up.

“Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.”

George sat down beside him. “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. “Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.”

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked.

“None for me,” said the officer.

“Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city.” Then George added: “Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.”

The officer laughed and winced at the same time. The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun.

“Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

“That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer.

“Son, why are you doing this?” asked George. “You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.”

The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!” The cop was reaching for his gun.

“Put that thing away,” George said to the cop. “We got one too many in here now.”

He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pee shooter away.”

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry.

“I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week…”

George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.”

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. “Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Being stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.”

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. “Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.”

“Shut up and drink your coffee.” the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn.

“Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

“Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?”

“GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.”

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. “That guy works here,” the wounded cop continued.

“Yep,” George said. “Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.”

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?”

Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas, boy. And you too, George, and thanks for everything.”

“Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.” George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. “Here you go. Something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.”

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.”

“And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.”

George reached into the box again. A toy airplane, a racing car and a little metal truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. “Here’s something for that little man of yours.”

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. “And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too. Count it as part of your first week’s pay.” George said. “Now git home to your family.”

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.”

“Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.”

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you left?”

“I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?”

“Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was getting a little chubby.”

The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will become a rich man and share his wealth with many people. That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.”

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And how do you know all this?” asked the old man.

“Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.” The stranger moved toward the door.

“If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.”

George watched as the man’s old leather jacket and his torn pants turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

“You see, George, it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.”

~Author Unknown

Baseball

Bob and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team. The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was one to zero, Satan’s team was winning and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love. Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love. The next batter up was named Godly wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were loaded. The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Bob said “He sure doesn’t look like much!” Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw Grace.

Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run!

The Lord’s team won. The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game. Bob answered that he did not know why. The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, faith and wisdom will get you on base,…but only My Grace can get you home. My Grace is the one thing Satan cannot steal.

-Author Unknown

A Glimpse Of Eternity

One night while diving for lobster on the small Island of Mauritius I was stung on my forearm by 5 Box-Jellyfish, which the local Creole fishermen called “invisables” A sting from a Box-Jellyfish often proves to be fatal – as exemplified in Australia where 70 people are known to have died from their stings. Many books quote this particular type of Jellyfish to be among the most venomous creatures in the world.

By the time an ambulance arrived my body was totally paralyzed and necrosis had begun to set into my bone marrow. On route to the hospital I began to see my life flash before me. At this point of my life I was an atheist – but I knew I was nearly dead and I didn’t know if there was life after death or whether there was just nothing. As I lay there dying, I saw my mother in a vision praying for me, encouraging me to cry out to God from my heart and He would hear me and forgive me (my mother was the only Christian in our family.) I didn’t know what to pray and cried out that if God was real, could He help me to pray. Immediately God showed me the Lord’s Prayer, and for the first time in my life I prayed from my heart and gave my life to the Lord.

Death & Hell

The ambulance stopped and they placed me in a wheel chair and raced me into the hospital. The nurse took my blood pressure twice but could not find a pulse as my veins had collapsed. The doctors tried to save my life by injecting anti-toxins and dextrose into my body, but seemingly to no avail. Within a few minutes I seemed to slip away (apparently life ceased from my body for a period of approx. 15 minutes).

During this time I found myself in a very dark place, not realising where I was. So I tried to find a light switch, thinking I was still in the hospital – but as I reached out into the dark I couldn’t touch anything. Reaching to touch my face I found my hand go straight through it. It seemed so bizarre, as I knew I was standing there but couldn’t touch any part of my physical body.

As I stood there I began to sense that this wasn’t just a physical darkness but that there was something else there. I could feel a cold eerie feeling as though something or someone was looking at me – a spiritual darkness. From the darkness I began to hear men’s voices screaming at me telling me to “shut up” – “that I deserved to be there” – “that I was in Hell”. I couldn’t believe it, but as I stood there a radiant beam of light shone through the darkness and immediately began to lift me upward. I found myself being translated up into an incredibly brilliant beam of pure white light – it seemed to be emanating from a circular opening far above me (I felt like a speck of dust being drawn up into a beam of sunlight).

The Journey

I entered this opening to find myself inside a long narrow passageway or tunnel – at the far end of the tunnel I could see the source of the light – it was so radiant that it looked to be the centre of the universe. As I continued to look towards this light it seemed to draw me towards it at an incredible speed – I wasn’t walking but was being translated along this tunnel towards the source of this light. I watched as a wave of light broke off the source and moved up the tunnel towards me – as it passed through me I could feel a wave of warmth and comfort flood my soul … it was incredible. This light wasn’t just physical, but was giving off a living emotion … Halfway down another wave of light – this time it gave off pure peace – followed by another wave – of pure joy. Coming out of the end of this tunnel I found myself standing in the presence of awesome light and power – it seemed as though even the constellations in the universe must find their energy source from this focal point.

As I stood there I wondered to myself if this was just an energy source in the universe or if perhaps there could be someone standing in the midst of this light!!!!! A voice immediately responded to my thought and asked me “Ian, do you wish to return?” Return, I thought!!! Where am I??? As I looked over my shoulder I could see the tunnel going back into darkness.

The Light

I thought – darkness – hospital bed – am I out of my body? – is this real? – am I standing here? – or am I in a coma having some bizarre dream? Am I in my body or out of my body?? (I could cognitively think of the two alternatives.) As I looked back towards the light, it was still there … I responded “I don’t know where I am, but if I am out of my physical body I wish to return.” The voice responded “If you wish to return – you must see in a new light.” “New light”, I thought, “I’m seeing the light.” “Are you the true light???” Words appeared in front of me “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).” I had never read a Bible before in my life so I didn’t know this was straight out of the scriptures. God is light, I thought – that is pure light – I see no darkness here, I have just come from darkness – I see no evil, no shadows – this is pure light – am I standing in the presence of God??? He knows my name and I didn’t tell Him, only God could do that – He knows what I am thinking before I even speak, only God could do that. Then he must be able to see everything I have done wrong in my life … no … I don’t want God to see that. I felt totally exposed and wanted to move away from the light and go back into the darkness where I belonged. I thought someone had made a mistake and brought the wrong person up. As I drew back towards the darkness a wave of light swept through me … I felt pure unadulterated Love flow over me. Love I thought, how could God love me – I’ve taken his name in vain – I’ve slept around – I’m not a good man … but no matter what I said, waves of His unconditional Love continued to flow over me. I found myself weeping uncontrollably in His Presence. It was so amazing that He had totally forgiven me and accepted me as I was.

The waves of Love ceased and I wondered if I could possibly step into the light and see what God looked like. I was so close. … I asked if I could step in. ..???.. I heard no response but thought if God could love me so much, He wouldn’t mind …. As I stepped into the light I found myself disappear into it as it was so radiant – it had the intensity of laser light, yet you could look directly at it. The light seemed to absorb me into it – the centre seemed to be very bright so I aimed for it – I could feel a healing presence coming off this light that was healing my broken heart … it was touching me deep inside my heart of hearts where no one gets to see … so beautiful.

God

Suddenly it opened up in the centre and standing in front of me was the most awesome sight – I could see a man standing in front of me, but he was not like anyone I’d ever seen before in my life. His garments were shimmering white in colour – garments of light – I could see His bare feet and His hands were outstretched towards me as if to welcome me. I knew I was looking upon God … as I looked toward His face the intensity of the light seemed to increase 7-fold – you couldn’t make out the form of his face as the light was so bright – such purity, such holiness, such beauty. I asked God if I could step closer. I felt I could, I wanted to see His face. Moving closer waves of more Love began to flow towards me, and I felt very safe. Standing, now feet away, from the Lord I tried to see His face – but I didn’t know that no man can see the face of God and live. And so, as I moved my face into the radiance that surrounded His face, He moved – and all His Glory moved with Him. Directly behind Him it opened out into a brand new World – green pastures, a crystal clear stream, rolling green hills to my right, mountains in the distance, blue skies above, to my left fields interspersed with trees and flowers. As I looked at the grass in front of me I could see the same light that was on the presence of God was radiating throughout this entire creation – totally untouched by man – perfect creation. And in my heart I knew I belonged here, that God had created me to live here – I knew I was home.

Return?
I was just about to enter in and explore, when God stepped back in front of me, and asked me this question. “Now that you have seen – do you wish to step in or do you wish to return?” I thought, “I don’t want to return. I wish to step in. I have no one to go back for and no one has ever loved me, all they’ve ever done is manipulate me and try to control me … I have no one to go back for, I wish to step in.” But God didn’t move, so I looked back behind me to say “goodbye, cruel world”, and standing behind me in a vision in front of the tunnel was my mother. And as soon as I saw her I knew that there was one person in my life that had shown me love, and that was my mother, and that she had prayed for me every day and tried to show me that this was the way. In my mind I thought, “if I am dead and I did choose to step into heaven, what would my mother think? Would she know I made it or would she think I went to Hell – because she knew I had no Faith? … I realised that it could break her heart and that she would have no reason to believe that God had heard my prayer in the ambulance and forgiven my sins. … I thought, “how can I do that to my mum, it would be so selfish” … and decided I wished to return.
God then spoke to me and said, “If I wished to return – I must see things in a new light.” I understood that to mean that I must begin to see through his eyes of Love, Peace, Joy, Forgiveness, from His Heavenly perspective, not my temporary earthly perspective. Looking back towards the tunnel again I now could see a vision of all my family, and thousands and thousands of other people. I asked God who all these people were, and He told me that if I didn’t return then many of these people would not get a chance to hear about Him….

I told God that I didn’t know most of them and I didn’t love them, but that I loved my mother and wished to return for her. God spoke to me and told me that He loved those people and wanted them all to come to know Him. I asked God how could I possibly return back down the tunnel and back into my hospital bed. He spoke and said “Son, tilt your head, now feel the liquid drain from your eye. Now open your eye and see.” And I was immediately back in my physical body.

Back to earth
As I opened my eye, I was lying back on a hospital bed with my right leg elevated, cupped in the hands of the young Indian doctor who had been trying to save my life. He had a scalpel or some sharp instrument in his hand and he was prodding the base of my foot like a dead piece of meat. He wasn’t aware that I was looking at him. I thought, “what’s that man doing with my foot, what is he doing with that knife!!!!!!” At the same time something seemed to spook the doctor and he quickly turned his head to see my right eye open, looking at him… Terror struck his face and I got the distinct impression that he has just seen a dead man looking at him… My eye wasn’t moving much and I could see the doctor thinking to himself that perhaps he had hit a nerve in my foot and caused the corpse to twitch, and that he had the evil eye looking at him or something. As for me, I was trying to grapple with what I had just seen. … Did I just see God, has He just given my life back??? As I lay there I heard the voice of God say “Son, I have just given you your life back.” I said if that is true God, could you help me to tilt my head to the left and look out of the other eye, as I was getting sick of looking at the doctor’s terrified face. Strength came back into my neck and I opened my left eye to see a whole bunch of nurses and orderlies standing in the doorway looking at me as if the dead had just risen … As my eye locked onto theirs they began to jump backwards out of the doorway. From what I can ascertain I had been dead for a period of some 15 minutes. I prayed to God that night and asked him to heal me and enable me to walk out of the hospital. That night God completely healed me and enabled me to walk out of the hospital the next day.

I asked God what I had become, as I found my entire life was changing for good. God told me I was a Re-Born Christian and that he wanted me to read His Bible. I had never read a Bible and had never heard about being Born-Again. Over the next 6 weeks I read the entire Bible. I have never been the same, and believe that I saw our Lord Jesus Christ in His Glorified form (Rev. 1 : 13 -18)

© Ian McCormack

A Letter From God

Good morning,

As you got up I watched and hoped you would talk to me. Just a few words, such as thanking me for something good in your life yesterday or last week, would do.

But I noticed you were busy selecting the right clothes for work. I waited again to hear from you. When you ran around the house collecting papers,
I knew there would be a few minutes to stop and say hello, but you never slowed down.

I wanted to tell you that I could help you
accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible if you would just spend some of each day with me.
At one point you waited fifteen minutes in a chair with nothing to do. I waited to hear from you.

Then I saw you spring to your feet; I thought you wanted to talk to me, but you ran to the phone and called a friend. I watched as off to work you went and waited patiently all day
long to hear from you. With all your activities you were too busy to talk with me.

I noticed at lunch you looked around; maybe you just felt embarrassed to talk to me. You glanced three tables over and noticed some of your friends
talking to me before they ate, but you wouldn’t.

There was still more time left, and I hoped that we would talk. You went home and had many things to do.
After they were done, you turned on the TV; just about anything goes there and you spend many hours watching. I waited as you continued watching TV and ate your meal but again you wouldn’t talk to me.

At bedtime you were totally tired. After you said good night to your family you plopped into bed and fell asleep. I had so much wanted to be part of your
day. We could have had so much fun and accomplished
so much together.

I love you so much that I wait everyday for a thought, prayer or thanks. Well, maybe tomorrow! I’ll be waiting.

Your Friend,

God