khamneithang

instigating a life, one story at a time…

Does Your Roof Leak?

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In a book written in 1696, I found these statements: “Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a soaking rain to the house. We know not there are such holes in the roof till the shower comes, and then we see it drop down here and there. Perhaps we did not know that there were such unmortified cuts in our soul till the storms of affliction came, then we found unbelief, impatience, and fear dropping down in many places.”

How true! Affliction tests us and proves what sort of Christians we are. If there are defects in our spiritual armor, they will show up under the strain and pressure of trouble.

When the floodgates of distress are opened, it is then we echo with understanding the words of the psalmist, who exclaimed, “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck” (Ps. 69:1). Yet we need not fear, for it is our loving Father who allows the waters to come, not to drown us but to cleanse us and help us to see where our life needs repairing.

Have you been through a storm? Have you been disturbed, irritated, faithless, fearful, or rebellious? Consider that God may have put you through this difficulty to reveal your spiritual needs. By prayer, faith, and yielding to the Holy Spirit, repair the “leaky roof.” —Henry G. Bosch (ODB Editor 1956-1981)

God’s way is the best way, though I may not see
Why sorrows and trials oft gather ’round me;
He ever is seeking my gold to refine,
So humbly I trust Him, my Savior divine. —Leech

God takes us into deep waters not to drown us but to cleanse us.

- Courtesy: Our Daily Bread

The Road We Must Travel

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The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide for Your Journey is a well-organized book written by a fine collection of some of the best writers, spiritual mentors and teachers in contemporary Christian world. A careful reading of the book which is meant to be a guide will undoubtedly help readers to take a firm grasp of themselves as they journey along life’s rugged pathways.

Insightful and practical, the book consisting of eighteen well thought-out chapters are divided into five parts – Part I: Roadworthy, Part II: Necessary Repairs, Part III: Washouts & Detours, Part IV: Traveling Light and Part V: Peripheral Vision. The book offers direction as you steer through unfamiliar roads. The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide for Your Journey features one lesson each from Francis Chan, Eugene Peterson, Ruth Barton, Nathan Conrad, Steve May, Tullian Tchividjian, Skye Jethani, Mark Labberton and Donald Sunukjian while Bill Hybels, Mark Buchanan and Gordon Mac Donald contributed two, three and four chapters respectively.

The hurdles along the road of life are not easy to overcome. Yet, this marvel of a book provides guide for every rut, fault and failure, roadblock, pothole, turn and corner of the road. Delightful chapters like Tuning Your Engine, Bad Situations Are Great Opportunities, Yield the Right of Way, and The First Rule of the Road: Love will help you unlearn and learn with a new eye. All in all, this is a book that will help the sojourner move forward, keep balance, maintain regular checks and nourish the soul spiritually. Refreshingly insightful and resourceful, this book must be in the hands of every Christian wherever they are in this journey of life.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617952915
ISBN-13: 978-1617952913
List Price: $14.99

A tribute to “America’s Pastor”

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Thank You, Billy Graham

In the last two years I have had the privilege of reading and reviewing two books written by Dr. Billy Graham – The Reason for My Hope: Salvation and Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. Judging by the number of reviews on Amazon, I came to the conclusion that they were well-received. But I was shocked by the tepid response to Ruth and Billy Graham: The Legacy of a Couple by Hanspeter Nüeschas which was released as recently as January 7, 2014. It has so far managed just 6 Amazon reviews.

Thank You, Billy Graham: A Tribute to the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham by Jerushah Armfield, Aram Tchividjian and Basyle Tchividjian, Graham’s grandchildren, will undoubtedly be a different case. The forward of the book is written by Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan. The book is unique. It is different. It will also draw a huge readership as a tribute to the man who has preached now for 70 years and has delivered the gospel message to more people face-to-face than anyone in history and has ministered on every continent of the world.

It is meticulously sorted and compiled into different twenty-four chapters, including the foreword and introduction. The chapters are:
Thank You, Billy Graham…
- for Inspiring My Christian Faith
- for Your Spiritual Legacy
- for Your Personal Touch on My Life
- for the Time I Met You in Person
- for the Day I Got Saved
- for Reaching Me with Your Books
- for Reaching Me with Your Movies
- for Setting Such a Good Example
- for Your Classic Crusades
- for Helping Me Deal with Death
- for Helping My Marriage
- for Touching My Life When I Was a Child
- for How You Explained the Gospel
- for Planting Seeds of Faith
- for Helping Me Find Jesus
- for Bringing Me Back to Jesus
- for How You Touched My Family
- for Helping Me Deal with Adversity
- for Saving My Life
- for Everything
- for Sharing Ruth with Us

The uniqueness of this new book is that it is for Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor.” In it the authors have painstakingly compiled letters and notes sent to Billy Graham and published it in book form. The letters are written by family members and strangers, people from far and near, from all corners of the globe whose lives have been touched. He has impacted every section of the global society – from the poorest to the richest. The letters are written with love and gratitude, shedding light not only about the senders’ lives but also about Billy Graham and his ministry and how it impacted lives.

In a way the book showcases the magnitude and gigantic nature and reach of Billy Graham and his ministry. It is a testimony of his love and commitment to Jesus Christ whom he has sought to serve for over seventy-long years. Above all, the letters are inspiring. When God works miracles can happen even if it is only through one single person.

Misrepresenting Ourselves

SONY DSCA friend was sure he had found his soul mate through an online dating site (and this isn’t about dating sites). Eventually, they met in person and later he said, “She misrepresented herself.”

Over the years, I’ve met people like that and that statement applied to me as well. Most of the time it wasn’t deliberate deception, but more a matter of showing only our good qualities. And when I write that, I’m thinking of people we like or want to know better. By withholding parts of ourselves, however, they don’t truly know us. I used to wonder, if he really knew who I was, would he still want my friendship?

Why do we misrepresent ourselves? Here’s my number one reason: For a long time I didn’t like parts of myself. If I didn’t like those parts of myself, would anyone else? But I am making progress in self-acceptance.

One of my favorite, original maxims goes like this: I would rather be disliked for who I am than to be respected for who I’m not. That has been my goal – yet too often I’ve failed.

Recently, however, I had lunch with Josh Lord, a long-time acquaintance. At one point he said, “You know why I like you? You’re honest about who you are.”

Josh’s words shocked me and immediately I wanted to protest, but instead I stopped and thanked him. This sentence tumbled out of my mouth: “The greatest privilege I have in this life is to be exactly who I am.”

I knew I had spoken the truth. I’ve also embraced this statement: I am a unique, unrepeatable miracle of God. It is a privilege to me – not because of achievements or talents, but because I’m God’s creation. The more I value myself, the more I can repeat that sentence.

No one else can ever be me. Ever.

I’m imperfect and flawed, but I’m me. Everyone won’t like me and that’s all right. I like Cec and I know God loves him. That’s enough to make me shout, “The greatest privilege I have in this life is to be exactly who I am!”

Cec Murphey (taken from Cec Murphey’s February 2014 Newsletter)

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Inspiring year-end quotes

1521610_10151793163813204_359339805_nYear’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right || Oprah Winfrey

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else || Judy Garland

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something || Neil Gaiman

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one || Brad Paisley

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us || Alexander Graham Bell

The journey is the reward || Steve Jobs

For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move! || Mehmet Murat Ildan

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it does not come back, it was never meant to be.

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year || Vern McLellan

In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away

Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

I have the opportunity, once more to right some wrongs, to pray for peace, to plant some trees, and sing more joyful songs || William Arthur Ward

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it || Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul || G.K. Chesterton

Maybe this year, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but looking for potential || Ellen Goodman

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover || Mark Twain

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them || Walt Disney

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right || Henry Ford

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing || Helen Keller

Inspiring Christmas quotes

christmas begins with christ1. How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts! || Benjamin Franklin

2. A new star, the Christ child, God’s gift to mankind; these are what Christmas is made of || Richelle E. Goodrich

3. I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year || Charles Dickens

4. Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time || Laura Ingalls Wilder

5. Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas || Ronald Reagan

6. My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? || Bob Hope

7. Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind || Mary Ellen Chase

8. Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone || Charles M. Schulz

9. I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
|| Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

10. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall || Dave Barry

11. Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful || Norman Vincent Peale

12. Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you || Steve Maraboli

13. He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree || Roy L. Smith

14. And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself || Sigrid Undset

15. One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly || Andy Rooney

16. A man wrapped up in himself always suffocates. But his loved ones will forever hold in their hearts the memory of that Christmas || Bauvard

17. When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness || Bob Hope

18. A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together || Garrison Keillor

19. My parents always said that knowledge was the best gift they could give me, probably because they were too cheap to buy me Christmas or Birthday presents || Jarod Kintz

20. Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love || Hamilton Wright Mabie

21. What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace || Agnes M. Pahro

22. Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts || Janice Maeditere

23. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior || John Piper

24. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas || Calvin Coolidge

25. Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves || Eric Sevareid

26. Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever || Bess Streeter Aldrich

27. Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog || Philip Yancey

28. Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weaknesses and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas! || Henry van Dyke

29. Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day || Helen Steiner Rice

30. Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart || Washington Irving

31. Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home || Charles Dickens

32. Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes || Joan Winmill Brown

33. I didn’t feel like buying him the jacket he asked for for Christmas, so I just got him a coat hanger with a sticky note attached that read, “Here’s something for you to hang your dreams on, pal || Jarod Kintz

34. As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is || Eric Sevareid

35. The universe is a trillion, trillion threads moving in seemingly unrelated directions. Yet when you look at them together, they create a remarkable tapestry || Richard Paul Evans

36. Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home || G.K. Chesterton

37. No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear || Greg Kincaid

38. At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe || Chris Van Allsburg

39. And in despair I bowed my head;
There is no peace on earth, I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!
|| Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

40. Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends || Margaret Thatcher

41. I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world || Norman Vincent Peale

42. Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall || Larry Wilde

christmas may your days be merry43. Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree || Charlotte Carpenter

44. Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world || Calvin Coolidge

45. Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’ || Bing Crosby

46. The knowing is easy. It’s the doing that gives us trouble || Vannetta Chapman

47. Everyone wants to feel loved, but when all you feel is alone it’s tough to accomplish anything else || Glenn Beck

48. God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul || St. Josemaría Escrivá

49. The human life cycle no less than evolves around the box; from the open-topped box called a bassinet, to the pine box we call a coffin, the box is our past and, just as assuredly, our future. It should not surprise us then that the lowly box plays such a significant role in the first Christmas story. For Christmas began in a humble, hay-filled box of splintered wood. The Magi, wise men who had traveled far to see the infant king, laid treasure-filled boxes at the feet of that holy child. And in the end, when He had ransomed our sins with His blood, the Lord of Christmas was laid down in a box of stone. How fitting that each Christmas season brightly wrapped boxes skirt the pine boughs of Christmas trees around the world || Richard Paul Evans

50. If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept || Howard W. Hunter

51. Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive || Robert Lynd

52. At Christmas
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.
|| Edgar A. Guest

53. Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven’s making || Leigh Hunt

54. I think commercialism helps Christmas and I think that the more capitalism we can inject into the Christmas holiday the more spiritual I feel about it || Craig Ferguson

55. The light of the Christmas star to you.
The warmth of home and hearth to you.
The cheer and goodwill of friends to you.
The hope of a child-like heart to you.
The joy of a thousand angels to you.
The love of the Son and God’s peace to you!
|| Sherryl Woods

56. Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas || Peg Bracken

57. Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever. Even though you grew up and found you could never quite bring back the magic feeling of this night, the melody would stay in your heart always – a song for all the years || Bess Streeter Aldrich

58. Christmas is a time in which, of all times in the year, the memory of every remediable sorrow, wrong, and trouble in the world around us, should be active with us, not less than our own experiences, for all good || Charles Dickens

59. Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority || W.J. Cameron

60. Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world || David McCullough

61. One of the things that Christmas reminds us is that Jesus Christ was once a child || Hark Herald Sarmiento

62. Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday || Gladys Taber

63. I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day! || Ray Stannard Baker

64. It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart || Marjorie Holmes

65. Christmas works like glue, it keeps us all sticking together || Rosie Thomas

66. I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month || Harlan Miller

67. Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence || Joan Mills

68. It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit || Isabel Currier

69. A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.”
|| Walter Scott

christmas may peace70. Christmas is a time for families || Dorothy Koomson

71. As I wrote ‘The Christmas Lamp’ I realized that tradition is priceless, whether you have a small family, a large family, or no family. Tradition doesn’t have to be logical; it only has to emphasize the light of Christ and his everlasting love || Lori Copeland

72. Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if for cold it hap to die,
We’ll bury ‘t in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.
|| George Wither

73. Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion || Ralph Sockman

74. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out || Max Lucado

75. The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature. If some of our great decorated trees had been grown in a remote forest area with lights that came on every evening as it grew dark, the whole world would come to look at them and marvel at the mystery of their great beauty || Andy Rooney

76. Christmas is a time of sharing, and joy and grace. There’s no better time to entertain family and friends than now || Shelley Shepard Gray

77. I don’t want Christmas season to end, because it’s the only time I can legitimately indulge in on particular addiction: glitter || Eloisa James

78. Money is made at Christmas out of holly and mistletoe, but who save the vendors would greatly care if no green branch were procurable? One symbol, indeed, has obscured all others–the minted round of metal. And one may safely say that, of all the ages since a coin first became the symbol of power, ours is that in which it yields to the majority of its possessors the poorest return in heart’s contentment || George R. Gissing

79. Christmas is a whisper of peace and a sigh of hope on the lips of perfect love || Richelle E. Goodrich

80. The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected || Samuel Johnson

81. Except the Christ be born again tonight
In dreams of all men, saints and sons of shame,
The world will never see his kingdom bright.
|| Vachel Lindsay

82. At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year || Thomas Tusser

83. A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small || Eva K. Logue

84. For the rest, silence or good music, not much food, a lot of solitude, walks on the Heath, the time to think while others… well, often fall apart. Not so bad, not so bad at all. Being queer and self-sufficient is the best present at this season || Will Self

85. There are some wonderful aspects to Christmas. It’s magical. And each year, from at least November, well, September, well, if I’m honest, May, I look forward to it hugely || Miranda Hart

86. Before God does anything, before he makes anything for us to be sustained by, God says, “More than food, more than water, more than shelter, more than other people, they are going to need me.” || Wesley Miller

87. The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy || Andy Rooney

88. I long to look at my holiday season with eyes that see the Christ in Christmas || Ann Marie Stewart

89. Mankind is a great, an immense family… This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas || Pope John XXIII

90. A magic came out of your smile
Gold thread of gold thread
Stars illuminating the sky
There
Where in the mountain stream
Healing water
Tears of ice as a gift to me”
|| Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

91. Christmas Sun! What holy task is thine!
To fold a world in the embrace of God!
|| Guy Wetmore Carryl

Trusting God When the Unthinkable Happens

ImageBound to a Promise tells the amazing true story of God’s faithfulness in the face of unimaginable loss. Bonnie Floyd’s father and stepmother had been living a dream life—serving as caretakers of a private tropical island and traveling the world in a sailboat. That life was cut short when three young men boarded their yacht as it was anchored off the coast of Antigua. Determined that there should be no witnesses to their theft and brutality, the assailants shot all four people on board.

 

At 6:00 a.m. on a cold, foggy day in Fresno, California, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. The U.S. Embassy notified me that my parents, Bill and Kathy Clever, (my father and stepmother) had been brutally murdered, along with two others, on board the yacht Challenger. For many years, my parents had lived a life of adventure. They traveled the world together on their sailboat. Then they became the caretakers of a private island that belonged to a wealthy British businessman. My parents, as a Christmas bonus, had been given a two week trip aboard the yacht Challenger; on what should have been a relaxing and fabulous Caribbean vacation. Instead, every person aboard had been shot to death as the ship was anchored in Antigua. It would take over two years for the assailants to be brought to justice.

 

Q & A with Bonnie Floyd

 

Q: You chose the title Bound to a Promise. Tell us about the promise that became the focal point of your story.

 

A: After I became a Christian and married my wonderful husband, Donnie, we seized every opportunity to share our faith with my parents. The thought of them spending eternity separated from God was too much for me to bear. Over the years, they became more open to hearing the gospel. For example, my mom kept a daily scripture calendar I sent her in the kitchen where she worked as a chef and read the verse to my dad every day. She even mentioned praying for us. My Dad was supportive, but many of our conversations ended with his saying, “Honey, it has obviously made a positive change in your life, but I’m doing just fine the way I am.” In one of my final conversations with my parents, they told the story of a friend who had nearly drowned after falling overboard in a storm. I decided to seize the opportunity and said, “Dad, just promise me one thing—if you and Mom ever get into a position where you fear for your life, you will call on the name of Jesus.”

 

Surprisingly, without any hesitation, he looked me right in the eye and said, “I promise you, if I ever get into a position where I fear for my life, I will call on the name of Jesus, but I have never been, nor will I ever be, in a position where I am not in total control.” I knew my dad so well, and while to some people that statement would have sounded arrogant, I knew there was a lot of truth in his assertion. What Dad didn’t acknowledge, which many people don’t, is the fact that a day is coming in every person’s life that he cannot control. On that day he will need a savior. And Romans 10:13 is comforting because it says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

In a way, there were two promises at the heart of the book. One was my father’s promise that he would call on Jesus if he was afraid for his life. The other is God’s promise that he will save everyone who calls on his name.

 

Q: You were originally told by the U.S. Embassy that your parents were shot in their sleep. Later, you discovered that, in reality, they had been bound and gagged before they were killed. How did you react to that news?

 

A: I knew Paul, the man who called from the U.S. Embassy, was prepared for another cry of anguish. However, what he got from me was not at all what he expected. While staying on my knees in a position of worship, I said, “I know for most people, the fact that they [my parents] were bound and gagged would be a torturous thought, but for me, it isn’t. It is the answer I have been crying out to God for. Paul, I’m a Christian, and just six months ago my dad promised me that if he and Mom were ever to get into a position where they feared for their lives, they would call on the name of Jesus. What you first told me left them no time to keep that promise; what you’re telling me now does.”

 

Bound to a Promise

 

By Bonnie Floyd

Creative Enterprises Studio

November 2013

www.BonnieFloyd.com

The first phone call from heaven

the first phone call from heaven

Click cover to go to Amazon

Mitch Albom is no stranger to us. For many of us, his name is synonymous with the kind of book that reflects on the meaning and lessons of life. Personally, Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, And Life’s Great Lesson, first published in 1997, has been my favorite. And I like the idea of heaven reaching out to us down here – through the phone, which is the overall theme of his latest book. And coming as it is just a little over a month before Christmas, I think it is timely.

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom is a tender and delightful story told through the life of Sully Harding, a widower, who returns home to Coldwater, Michigan, after a series of tragic incidents leading to his imprisonment and his wife dying while he is incarcerated. The mysterious phone calls start one autumn day. Tess was called by her mother whom she had nursed through Alzheimer’s, and Katherine also received a call from her sister. Elias Rowe was called by a man who blames him for his death, and Jack, the police chief by his son Robbie, who was killed in Afghanistan. And several others as well. Some keeps the call a secret but when some choose to talk about it, the news spread like wildfire. Sully is skeptical about it and plans to uncover the hoax but his son, Jules, is convinced and believes his mother will contact him and dearly clutch onto his plastic phone.

Coldwater is swarming with a deluge of newshounds, miracle-seeking pilgrims and spiteful protesters. Amy Penn, a young and ambitious reporter, is entrusted the task of covering the case by her paper. It is the kind of assignment she has been long hoping for. It could make or break her career. She is also a little apprehensive as she could be on a wild goose chase, while at the same time she is genuinely hoping that it would be the beginning of a new direction in her career and life. But there is one nagging question that must be answered: Is it a real miracle or a hoax? No one knows. And the mad scramble continues.

When plan is afoot to broadcast one of the phone calls to the entire world, Sully knows time is running out. He works at a frenzied pace. Elias Rowe and a young girl offer their help. As the world holds it breathe to hear the first phone call from heaven, Sully manages to unravel the truth before the waiting world, bringing the story to a decisive climax.

The First Phone Call from Heaven is a story of loss, grief, hope, forgiveness, miracle, and faith. It is beautiful beyond the scope of the ordinary, as Albom paints a picture with a canvas that is awesome, sweeping and inspiring. The book keeps me thinking – thinking about loved ones in heaven. What if heaven is really just a phone call away? What if you are allowed a call or two in a lifetime? It would be so wonderful to hear the voices of loved ones, find out how they are doing, and share with them about our joys and happiness.. I’ll talk to them about the cheers and smiles the little ones are bringing into our lives. And to my dad, how his only grandson, who was born three days after his home-going, bears a striking resemblance to him – in appearance, movement and features. I know he would growl with laughter that heaven will shake. And the other call will be to my “angel” wife – but why should I tell you what I would be telling her?

Here are some favorite quotes from the book:
There are two stories for every life; the one you live and the one others tell.

Desire sets our compass, but real life steers our course.

Sometimes, questions are more hurtful than insults.

Bad news has no limits. We often feel it should, like a rainstorm that can’t possibly get any heavier. But a storm can always worsen, and the burdens of life can too.

Miracles happen quietly every day – in an operating room, on a stormy sea, in the sudden appearance of a road side stranger. They are rarely tallied. No one keeps score.

Giving others an opportunity

I visited Charlie several times during the three months before he died. He always seemed in good spirits. One day he showed me a picture of himself as a college student. He had been a star football player for a southern university and graduated with honors in biology.

He spoke about “back then” and his limited ability now. “How do you stay so upbeat?” I asked.
“Back then, I didn’t feel I needed people. I’m not sure I felt much of a need for God either. My weakness has become my gift to others.”

Charlie, aware that I didn’t understand, added, “My cancer humanized me.”

He told me that he had been a highly self-sufficient man, to whom things came easily. “I was successful in everything I did.” Then came the shattering news of inoperable tumors.

I hadn’t known him before his diagnosis, so I was amazed at what he called his radical life change and his commitment to God. “I was strong and self-reliant, but now my weakness gives others an opportunity to do something for me,” he said.

He paused for breath before he added, “I have one regret: I had to reach the stage of helplessness before I realized my need to let other people serve me. I cheated them.”

For days after I left Charlie, his words kept coming back to me. Like Charlie, I had cheated others out of an opportunity to serve me. Charlie’s words have helped me make changes.

Our pastor is also helping me, even though he probably doesn’t realize it. About once a month at church, he asks us to talk to two or three people sitting near us. We’re to tell them one thing for which we’re thankful, and one prayer request. The first is easy; the second has been difficult. But I’m learning.

I’ve also realized something else: the strongest people aren’t the self-sufficient. The strong are those who are willing to face their weaknesses and say, “I need…”

When I face my weakness that’s when I’m strong.

-by Cec Murphey

giving others

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