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Contributed By:
MELVIN NEWLAND
 
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ILL. Do you remember Bubba Smith? He retired from professional football a few years ago. Then, after he retired from playing football, Bubba Smith started making beer commercials. He was the guy who tore the top off of beer cans, & engaged in the argument about whether it is less filling or tastes great. You remember him now, don’t you?

In a magazine article about him, Bubba Smith said that he has never, ever drank beer. Drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage just isn’t a part of his life. But he advertised it & felt good about his job. It was an easy job. It was an enjoyable job, & it paid a good salary.

Until one day when he went back to Michigan State, his alma mater, as the Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade. As he was riding in the limousine at the head of the parade, he heard the throngs of people on both sides of the parade route shouting. And what were they shouting? "Hail to Michigan State?" No! One side was shouting, "Tastes great!" & the other side was shouting, "Less filling!"

Bubba Smith suddenly realized that he & the beer commercials that he made had had a tremendous impact on the students at Michigan State. And the message that they had gotten was that "It is all right to drink light beer."

Later, Bubba was in Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break, & he saw drunken college kids up & down the beaches, shouting "Tastes great! Less filling!"

And when it came time to renew his contract, he refused to sign because he said that he didn’t want his life to count for something like that. He said that there was a still, small voice in his mind that kept saying, "Stop, Bubba. Stop."

You see, everybody’s life counts for something.

 
Contributed By:
Andrew Chan
 
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Have you ever heard of the woman who hated Mother’s Day? According to the Toronto Star’s website, there was such a woman. If you think the spirit of Mother’s Day has been spoiled by the commercialism of cards, flowers and once-a-year sincerity, you stand united with the woman credited with giving us the annual event.
West Virginian Anna Jarvis was so horrified by the monster she helped create in 1914, she spent most of her later years campaigning to have the second Sunday in May removed from the calendar as the day to honour your mother.

In the end, Jarvis lost the fight. The woman, who was never a mother herself, exhausted her financial resources and ruined her mental health in that fight. She died alone in 1948 in an asylum at the age of 84. Just before her death Jarvis told a local reporter: "I devoted my entire life to Mother’s Day and the racketeers and grafters have taken it over."

"She simply wanted a day to honour and remember mothers, but in her mind it didn’t turn out that way," says William Pollard, an archivist at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., where Jarvis bequeathed her letters and other writings.
In 1914, Jarvis spearheaded a campaign to help persuade U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to set aside May’s second Sunday as a national day for recognition. She orchestrated a letter-writing campaign to Wilson, lobbied influential politicians and clergymen and distributed brochures arguing about the importance of a national day for mothers.

Jarvis’ cause came from admiration for her recently deceased mother, Anna Maria, and others like her who had been an inspiration. But by the early 1920s, she was sickened by the commercial circus she had helped create. She felt the day had nothing to do with celebrating the real achievements of women.

Jarvis spent her latter days crashing floral company conventions to protest and urging card companies to give the money they made from Mother’s Day to the poor. At one Mother’s Day convention where flowers were being sold she was arrested for disturbing the peace. She even launched a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival from being held. (Story fr. Thestar.com)

For Jarvis, her mother was an inspiration, she wanted to honor her. And I believe it is the same kind of inspiration that drove Isaiah to write, for he sees something in mothers that shows us what God is really like. He wanted his readers to know that God cares, and he knows the power of a word picture and he chooses mothers, to picture for his audience, the kind of God who is totally committed to their welfare.

 
Contributed By:
Scott Weber
 
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I saw this in Reader’s Digest,
- On the last day of school, children were bringing gifts to their teacher. The florist’s son brought the teacher a bouquet. The candy store owner’s son brought the teacher a pretty box of candy. Then the liquor store owner’s son brought a big, heavy box. The teacher lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit. She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it. "Is it wine?" She guessed. "No," said the boy. She tasted another drop and asked, "Champagne?" "No," said the little boy. "It’s a puppy!"

 
Contributed By:
Jim Kane
 
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“Joy is like the hidden note in the glass. Joy is tuning in to what God is doing around you, seeing the world through his eyes, picking up on his delight in us as his children. Anyone can find happiness for a while… Happiness depends on what is happening to you. Joy is different; joy goes deeper. Joy is when your whole being sings because you hav...

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Contributed By:
Wade  Hughes, Sr
 
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I love the story of a king that wanted to show his people how much he loved them.

So, he decided to pay for a great feast for his kingdom.
He decided to have a great meal and invite every family.

The king would provide all the meat, all the vegetables, all the desserts ...
everything, the king would provide all, but the wine.

The king asked every family to bring one bottle of their best wine.

He would see that there was a several thousand gallon vat for all to pour in their bottle of wine.

What a feast this would be! The King wanted to honor his people.

One poor farmer decided, he would slip in his bottle, nothing but water, no wine.

How would the king ever know his selfishness?

His one bottle of water mixed with thousands of bottles of wine would never be known.
The King would never know? The taste would still be good.

So the poor farmer climbed the stairs to the top of the vat and while no one was looking,
he poured in his bottle of wine, I mean his bottle of water in with the thousands of other
wine bottles.

No one saw him. He had fooled every one there.

He laughed, he got away cheap!

He sat down at the kings table ready for the feast.

The king was so proud, he honored his precious people.

He filled his plate with delicious food.

The King picked up his Royal Gold Chalice.
The king placed his chalice under the spout of the huge vat of wine.

The king looked into his chalice, and to his surprise ... it was clear, pure water.

Seems everybody in the kingdom thought their little bottle of water would not matter
in the vat of wine..

Dear friend, your part matters!

Doubt cannot feed on doubt else it would die.

Doubt degenerates into cynicism, faultfinding, doom, gloom, pessimism.

Life is what you should emphasize...
Do you emphasize adverse, negative attitudes that fall into hopelessness and despair?
Self inflicted depression? You decide?

Are you going to leave and quit also?

 
Contributed By:
Wade  Hughes, Sr
 
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THE LESSON OF THE APPLE? FRUIT?
I always use several colors of apples in my fruit salad.
The red and the yellow help make the fruit salad more colorful.
I was pondering about the apple in my fruit salad.
At one time that apple I am dicing on my counter was a bloom on a tree.
At one time that tree was a seed in the cold wet ground.
Many can see the apple on the counter, a few can see the seasons and years that the apple required to
become fruit, even fewer see the seed, the damp ground, the spout, the little tree, the cold winter, the wet
and warmth of spring, the pretty blossom, and the little honey bee flying so busy all around.
Then there is the dry, hot summer, the developing apple, the process of maturity, the ripening, the picking,
the bushel basket, and some of the apples are going to be crushed for cider or apple sauce.
Others will fall off the tree and rot, still others will be peeled for the pie.
Then there is the seemly, cruel process of pruning and cutting away excesses.
Then how about the winds and storms that tax to the limits, but to the apple that hangs to the tree,
there is a plan, so much had to happen before I washed this apple and started cutting it to be the center
of my fruit salad, so much had to happen, I never saw this?
But it is all a process of time.
The Father saw it all, the Father had a plan.
Someone had TO DREAM, they had to act upon the dream, to find the good ground.
Someone made the choice to plan to plant a seed, for me to hold this apple.
Someone chose to water a little developing plant, and hope to the future.
How much time and effort did someone invest in this tree and this apple?

Seems we have the ability to count the seeds in an apple,
but only God can count the apples in a seed.
I know not who took the seed out of the apple? I know not who planted it?
I know not who watered the little tree? I never saw the little honey bee land on the blossom?
I may remember a few of the storms that have passed?
But before me is sitting a bowl of fruit salad and I taste the golden delicious and the red delicious apples and
I owe a debt to many unknown people. How shall I repay them for their kindness?
As a blossom goes before the fruit, so faith must go before your miracle.

 
Contributed By:
Rodney Buchanan
 
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Dorothy Sayers, in a book of her essays entitled The Whimsical Christian, has one essay called “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged,” where she writes, “The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore — on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” It is true that the Pharisees and political leaders saw Jesus as a very real threat. It was the zealots and even his disciples who thought of him as too meek. He did not use the language or the tactics of political liberators. He said things that inflamed those who wanted him to take action. He told them to put away their swords, for “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). But the authorities saw another power at work: meekness lived out in a simple life of obedience which taught a new way of living. They deemed him dangerous. The benefits of his meekness is that he became the ruler of the universe. The Bible says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). This lesson from the life of Jesus says that the meek win and the arrogant and powerful lose. This is heavenly wisdom, not worldly. Meekness is the quiet confidence that God is in control, and there are great rewards in that confidence. We are rewarded with peace.

 
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THE SMILING SOLDIERS

"Weika Coenraad, of Dahlonega, Georgia, was a little girl in Holland during the War, and has vivid memories of the American soldiers who liberated her town in 1945. She’s now an American citizen. [She writes:]
’I was just a little girl during the Second World War, born in Haarlem, Holland, in 1937...
The scariest thought in my mind were soldiers, with black shiny boots and a gun; nobody ever smiled, there was nothing to smile about...
The most severe winter in decades was the winter in 1944...Everybody was hungry and our daily meal consisted of sugar beets, which we now feed to the hogs, and tulip bulbs...
Suddenly there was spring, the bad weather was gone, and it was May 1945. Big tanks rolled through the streets and for the very first time I saw people who smiled and waved to us. They were soldiers! It was like a miracle--they were supposed to be scary, and now they were friendly and smiled. They threw Hershey’s chocolate bars and chewing gum into the crowd. Something we had never seen or tas...

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Contributed By:
Scott Carroll
 
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There was a little fellow who was returning home from a store with a pail of honey in his hand. A gentleman who walked beside him saw him slip one finger down into the pail. Then, because his mother had told him never to wipe his sticky fingers on his blouse or trousers, it found its only logical destination, his mouth. It really tasted good. After he had done this several times, the gentleman approached him and said, "See here, Sonny, what have you in that pail?" "Some honey, sir." "Honey-is it sweet?" "Yes, sir." "How sweet is your honey?" "It is very sweet, sir." "Well, I do not understand you. I asked you how sweet your honey was, and you have not yet told me. How sweet is it?" "Why, it is very, very sweet, sir." "Well, you are a funny little fellow; I asked you how sweet your honey is, and you just tell me it is very, very sweet. Now, can’t you tell me really how sweet your honey is?" The little fellow was impatient by this time, so he stuck his finger down into the honey, and holding it up said, "Taste and see for yourself."

 
Contributed By:
Chris Surber
 
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SEA SPONGE COLLECTION AND THE SPIRIT

When my wife Christina and I lived in Tarpon Springs, Florida, one of our favorite places to visit was the Greek Sponge Docks. We lived on a few blocks away, in fact, and we would often take evening walks past the boats, restaurants, and little shops that are scattered along the docks. In years past, the Sponge Docks were major centers for the local economy because of the abundance of natural sea sponges that grow in the area waters. The sponge divers would go down under the water for great lengths of time as they walked along the sea floor, collecting natural sea sponges.

They would face the perils of sharks and other sea predators. Diving equipment then was not what it is today. In those days diving equipment was heavy and cumbersome, with large brass helmets with glass portals through which to see. There connection to the surface was the air line which extended from their large brass helmets and heavy air tight canvas suits to the surface, where the sponge boat would supply pumped air into the line and keep and eye out for a tug on the rope which extended from the diver up to the surface. If the diver got into trouble or when he was finished harvesting sea sponges, he would pull the rope and then the deck crew would hoist him to the surface.

Though the sea sponge market has dropped to a point where only a few sponge boats still operate commercially in Tarpon Springs and while diving techniques have shifted dramatically, a person may still see the old world way of sponge diving in action. On one occasion I took my oldest son Kurtis and Christina’s younger brother on a tour that is offered to see just how the sponge divers did it back in the hay day of their operation.

The sponge diver, in his heavy suit and weighty metal helmet was at the mercy of the gulf waters, submerged several feet from the surface, surrounded by the possibility of a shark tasting his air hose, leaving him oxygen-less, or worse yet, taking a bite out of him. The diver’s link to the surface is that hose and that tug line.

In the Christian life, our link to the surface, our source of spiritual oxygen, life, and our help in times of trouble come from the Holy Spirit of God who lives and dwells within us. Though we may at times feel alone, lost in the dark, helpless, Christ has left us with His divine presence right here, right now, dwelling within our very beings!

In what is knows as "The Farewell Discourse" in John 14:16-17, Jesus says, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (NIV)

 
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