Spiritual Kingdom

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Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to God's kids.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was: "Don't". "Don't what?" Adam replied. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said. "Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve...we got forbidden fruit!" "No way!" "Yes way!" "Don't eat that fruit!" said God. "Why?" "Because I am your Father and I said so!" said God, wondering why he hadn't stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later God saw his kids having an apple break and was angry. "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" the First Parent asked. "Uh huh, " Adam replied. "Then why did you?" "I dunno" Eve answered. "She started it!" Adam said. "Did not!" "Did too!" "DID NOT!!" Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set and it has never changed.

But there is reassurance in this story. If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give them wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble handling his children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?

Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache do what it says on the aspirin bottle:
Take two and keep away from children.

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Last night I had a dream;
It had a tale to tell.
I dreamed I saw an angel;
Poor thing, he wasn't feeling well.

His body bruised and battered
His wings were ripped and torn
This angel could hardly walk,
He looked so tired and worn.

I walked right up to him to ask;
"Angel? How can this be?"
He turned around and paused a bit,
Then he spoke these words to me:

"I'm your Guardian Angel,
A great task as you can see.
You've run amok most all your life:
Look what it's done to me.

These bruises are from shielding you
In times both dire and ill.
Those alcoholic bouts and drugs you've used
I've often paid the bill

You see my wings are ripped and torn;
a noble badge I wear;
How often they have flown you
From evils unaware.

Each mark is it's own story Of deadly wounds destroyed,
You made me wish - and more than once -
That I were unemployed.

If only you could make it standing on your own
Oh, don't you fret or worry - But please try to remember -
I'm getting old and frail."

I could not believe all I had heard,
Let alone how much he cared.
I wept upon his shoulder, then left him in despair.

The next day I sat and pondered:
Should I really try?
And in the distance I thought I heard;
A frail old angel cry.

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MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news On September 11, 2001. Neither will I. I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-Bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor. Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me... this way... take my hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go."

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

God
[author unknown]

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Checking In

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day
decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle
The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while
His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed
the man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away

In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap
each time he knelt just for a moment a lunch pail in his lap
Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear
He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?"
The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour
Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.
"I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away
As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:

"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,
BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY."

The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine
He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime
Time to go, Jim smiled, said "Thanks." He hurried to the door
The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before
His cold heart melted, warmed with love and met with Jesus there
As the tears flowed, in his heart he repeated old Jim's prayer

"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.
I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY,
BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY."

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come
As more days passed without Jim, He began to worry some
At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill
The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill
The week that Jim was with them had brought changes in the ward
His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward

The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad
when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had
The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern
No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn
Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a smile he said:
"The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here by my bed
Every day at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see
He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me"

"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN,
SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
I ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,
I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY,
AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY."

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GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS ~

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the North had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the towns-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food." My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.

I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.

The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: in invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he replied, "just resting." "Have you eaten today?" "Oh, I ate something early this morning." "Would you like to have lunch with me?" "Do you have some work I could do for you?" "No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch." "Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things. I asked some surface questions. "Where you headed?" "St. Louis." "Where you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida." "How long you been walking?" "Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.

"Nothing's been the same since,"he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now." "Ever think of stopping?" I asked. "Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads." I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice.

The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?" "What?" "To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?" "Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink,a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you use another Bible?" I asked. He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see." I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful. "Where you headed from here?" "Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon." "Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?" "No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things. "Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from folks I meet." I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you." "I know," I said, "I love you, too." "The Lord is good." "Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked. "A long time," he replied. And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem." "I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?" "You bet," I shouted back, "God bless." "God bless." And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. "See you in the New Jerusalem," he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will..

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