A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave, he slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.
Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."
Heaven's Grocery Store
As I was walking down life's highway
many years ago
I came upon a sign that read
"Heaven's Grocery Store".
When I got a little closer
the doors swung open wide
And when I came to myself
I was standing inside.
I saw a host of angels.
They were standing everywhere
One handed me a basket
and said "My child shop with care."
Everything a human needed
was in that grocery store
And what you could not carry
you could come back for more.
First I got some Patience.
Love was in that same row.
Further down was Understanding,
you need that everywhere you go.
I got a box or two of Wisdom
and Faith a bag or two.
And Charity of course
I would need some of that too.
I couldn't miss the Holy Ghost
It was all over the place.
And then some Strength
and Courage to help me run this race.
My basket was getting full
but I remembered I needed Grace,
And then I chose Salvation for
Salvation was for free
I tried to get enough of that to do
for you and me.
Then I started to the counter
to pay my grocery bill,
For I thought I had everything
to do the Master's will.
As I went up the aisle
I saw Prayer and put that in,
For I knew when I stepped outside
I would run into sin.
Peace and Joy were plentiful,
the last things on the shelf.
Song and Praise were hanging near
so I just helped myself.
Then I said to the angel
"Now how much do I owe?"
He smiled and said
"Just take them everywhere you go."
Again I asked "Really now,
How much do I owe?"
"My child" he said, "God paid your bill
a long long time ago".
Five Fingers of Prayer
Your thumb is nearest to you,
so begin your prayers by praying
for those closest to you.
They are the easiest to remember.
To pray for our loved ones is,
as C. S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."
The next finger is the pointing finger.
Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.
This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.
They need support and wisdom in pointing others
in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
The next finger is the tallest finger.
It reminds us of our leaders.
Pray for the president, leaders in
business and industry, and administrators.
These people shape our nation and guide
public opinion. They need God's guidance.
The fourth finger is our ring finger.
Surprising to many is the fact that this
is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher
will testify. It should remind us to pray for those
who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your
prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
And lastly comes our little finger;
the smallest finger of all. This is where
we should place ourselves in relation to
God and others. As the Bible says,
"The least shall be the greatest among you."
Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.
By the time you have prayed for the other four groups,
your own needs will be put into proper perspective
and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight,
just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.
Serious minded boys and girls,
Young ladies and young men,
With youthful, earnest faces,
Wreathed in grins, as they come in.
Warmly greeting one another,
Each happy to be there,
And soft laughter fill the air.
A good group - a friendly group,
Who had in common, one main thing,
They loved to raise their voices,
In harmony and sing.
No wait - they had another trait,
They all adored and loved their Lord,
They sang their songs in praise to Him,
When indeed their voices soared.
Choir practice every week,
At Seven, Thursday nights,
Not a chore and not a bore,
To each a pure delight.
Blest with voices like fine instruments,
All attuned to one another,
A perfect blending, too, of hearts,
With brother loving brother.
To see young faces so sincere,
As each is raised in song,
To see their eyes aglow with light,
Is to know their spirit's strong.
To hear their music in the air,
To feel their passion so revealed,
Is like listening to angels sing,
As they burst forth with heartfelt zeal.
Old songs, old hymns, old favorites,
And new music introduced,
They could sing all evening long,
Hallowed spirits on the loose.
"He walks with me and He talks with me,"
And "When the saints come marching in,"
"Hallelujah! He is risen!"
They grin and sing it all again.
Enthusiastic, eager souls,
In divine communication,
Together, yet alone, in song,
In total dedication.
Time draws to a close,
Heads are bowed in grateful prayer,
As they prepare to go.
Refreshed and nurtured by sweet hymns,
The smiles they wear are broad,
But I know one day they'll surely learn,
Their smiles were not as broad as God's.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright 2002 ~ Revised 2004
Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my being able
to see and to hear this morning. I'm blessed because You are a
forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me
and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for I have sinned.
I ask now for Your forgiveness. Keep me safe from all danger and harm.
Let me start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day and give my best in all
that is put before me. Clear my mind that I can hear from You. Broaden
my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Let me continue to see sin through God's eyes and acknowledge it as
evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my
wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God. And when this world
closes in on me, let me remember Jesus' example - to slip away and
find a quiet place to pray. It's the best response when I'm pushed
beyond my limits. I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Thy Will. Continue to bless me that I may be a
blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak and unsaved.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can't find their way. I pray for
those that are used and just misunderstood. I pray for those who refuse
to share a word from You. I pray for those who don't know You
I pray for those that will only read this and not speak this aloud in
their own lives. I pray for those that don't believe. But I thank you that I
believe. I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I
pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every family member in their
households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes, that they are
out of debt and all their needs are met. I pray that every eye that reads
this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in His hands for Him to fight. I pray that these words
be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that
confesses them willingly.
This is my prayer. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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