Mountain View Independent Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
God is good ALL the time... and ALL the time, God is good!!

Year 2014 - April thru June

 

 
 
+++ The Christian Banner - June 2014 +++
 
 
 
Congratulations to Don Freeman, elected as our 2014 Father of the Year!
 
+++
 
Congratulations and Best Wishes to our 2014 Graduates!!
 
            Landon Hunt       Macie McLeod
            McKenzie Millner       Jacob Perkins   
 
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The Story of Salvation
Written & submitted by: Vicki Rivers 
 
I am a born again Christian. I hope this helps someone who does not know Christ as their personal Savior. He died for all of us and loves us, but this is a decision we all have to make. May this bless you and help you to witness to loved ones. This is my testimony for our Lord Jesus - we are never alone. The story of salvation can be told in four words: 
 
1.    Sin - Salvation is needed. - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23(KJV)
 
2.    Calvary - Salvation is provided. – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) 
 
3.    Faith - Salvation is offered. – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)
 
4.    Life - Salvation accepted.  – He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12 (KJV) 
 
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What Makes a Dad
Author Unknown
 
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad
 
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 You Took my Parking Space at Church
Author Unknown
(A recently received email)
 
One day, a man went to visit a church. He got there early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near the driver got out and said, "I always park there! You took my place!" 
 
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. 
 
After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit! You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing. 
 
Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye, "I took your place." 
 
When you receive this, say a prayer. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. This is powerful. Just send this to four people and see what happens. Maybe, just maybe, we can get the world to start thinking of who took our place. 
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The Miracle Baby
Written & submitted by: Lela Trotter
 
My nephew will have another birthday this month. As I was thinking about this, my mind went back to 1978, the year he was born. A few months before he was born, I was babysitting his sister. I went into the nursery and I looked at his baby bed. The worse feeling came over me. I felt an urgent need to pray. I knew something would happen so I really prayed.
 
After that, things started happening. My sister started having problems. The doctor decided to send her to Greensboro, NC. I can’t recall now but she was switched to another hospital for his birth. The day he was born, the miracle happened. He weighed 9 pounds and 13 ounces and he had wide shoulders. It was a very difficult birth. The doctor had to use forceps during the delivery. When I saw my nephew, he was black and he was rushed to infant ICU. His brain registered 1 and it was supposed to register 8. The next time they tested him, his brain registered 8. The doctor said if he had been in another hospital in Greensboro instead of Moses Cone, he would have died or been retarded.
 
I’m sure that things have changed now at the other hospitals, but I call it a miracle and I thank God for it. When we feel the need to pray, we had better do it! It might just save a life. My nephew’s life was spared and he has brought a lot of joy and served the Lord. I’m so thankful for him! 
 
Happy Birthday, dear Nephew…. and may you have many more! 
 
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Matthew 7: 9-11 (KJV)
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 
 
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The Thrill of Victory
Written & submitted by: Pat Lewallen 
 
Father’s Day brings back memories of Daddy. He was always a big NASCAR fan. Daddy even owned a race car at one time. It was raced at Caraway Speedway back when it was a dirt track. Daddy was a Ford man too. When my two sisters and I got old enough to date, Daddy always wanted to know what make of car our dates were driving. The young man had a much better chance of getting Daddy’s approval if he was driving a Ford. Lucky Richard - he drove up in a Ford Mustang.
 
I still remember Daddy as he listened to the NASCAR races on the radio. He liked them even better when he got cable TV and he could watch them too. One day, Richard asked Daddy if he ever fell asleep watching a NASCAR race. Richard told me he doesn’t remember Daddy even saying a word. Daddy just shook his head and looked at Richard as if to say, “Now, that sure was a silly question!”
 
Death claimed Daddy on November 26, 2005. I’ll always love Daddy and I sure do miss him. I always think about him when I hear that a NASCAR race is being run. After the race is over, I always try to find out who won. If a Ford wins, oh how I long to share the news with Daddy. In my mind’s eye, I can almost see that winning grin on Daddy’s face and I can almost hear the thrill of victory in his voice.  
 
My Heavenly Father desires each of us to know the thrill of victory over sin. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to this earth to live and to die for us. Because of Jesus’ death on Calvary, we can ask Jesus into our hearts and He will become our own personal Savior. I can only imagine the great joy it brings my Heavenly Father when a sinner accepts His free gift of salvation. I’ll never forget when Jesus forgave my sins and saved me. What a joy and peace it brought to my soul! Lucky me – I’ll experience the ultimate thrill of victory when I cross life’s finish line and I’m at Home with Jesus and my loved ones forever! 
 
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Morning Prayer
Author Unknown
Copied article 
 
Dear Lord,
So far I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped.
I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy
nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.

I'm very thankful for that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I'm going to get out of bed;
And from then on, I'm probably
going to need a lot of help.
 
 
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A little 7 year old girl recently dumped her boyfriend by writing him this letter: 
“Shawn I am braking up with you. You have not talked to me since the day you ask me out. That was 3 months ago. You need to git it together or you will never git mareed and that wold be sad.” 
She then finished the heartfelt letter with something for her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend to think about: “You shold get mareed. Just not to me.” 
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There Is a Time
Written by: Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-1860)
Copied & submitted by: Vicki Rivers 
 
There is a time we know not when,
A place we know not where;
Which marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
 
There is a line, by us unseen,
Which crosses every path;
Which marks the boundary between
God's mercy and His wrath. 
 
To past that limit is to die,
To die as if by stealth;
It does not dim the beaming eye,
Nor pale the glow of health. 
 
The conscience may be still at ease;
The spirit light and gay;
And that which pleases still may please,
And care be thrust away.
 
But on the forehead God hath set
Indelibly a mark;
Unseen my man, for man as yet,
Is blind and in the dark. 
 
And yet the doomed man's path below,
May bloom as Eden bloomed,
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed.
 
He feels perchance that all is well,
And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed but damned!
 
O where is that mysterious line,
That may by men be crossed;
Beyond which God Himself hath sworn
That he who goes is lost? 
 
An answer from the skies repeats,
"Ye who from God depart,
TODAY, O hear his voice, Repent!
And harden not your heart".
 
+++ 
 
Quotes by Rev. Billy Graham:
 
“You cannot come to Christ unless the Spirit of God brings you. But what if you ignore His warnings? Then you are in the gravest danger, for some day God will no longer be speaking to you. Then it will be too late. Come to Christ while there is still time. Christ, God's greater Ark, stands ready to welcome you to safety today.”

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is like a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”
 
 
 
 +++ The Christian Banner - May 2014 +++
 
 
Congratulations to Mary Greene, elected as our 2014 Mother of the Year!
 
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U.S. Downfall Plotted 51 Years Ago
Article in the December 1970 REMC’s “Watts Working” Newsletter
Copied & submitted by: Thelma Harris
 
In May 1919, at Dusseldorf, Germany, the Allied Forces obtained a copy of the “Communist Rules for Revolution.” Now, fifty one years later, they are still “following the rule.” As you read the list, stop after each item and think about the present-day situation where you live – and all around our nation. We quote from the Red Rules:
 
A. Corrupt the young: get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial; destroy their ruggedness.
 
B. Get control of all means of publicity, thereby:
 
     1. Get peoples’ minds off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and      plays and other trivialities.
 
     2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no      importance.
 
     3. Destroy the peoples’ faith in their natural leaders by holding the latter up to contempt, ridicule and      obloquy.
 
     4. Always preach true democracy; but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.
 
     5. By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit; produce fear of inflation with rising      prices and general discontent.
 
     6. Foment unnecessary strikes in vital industries; encourage civil disorders and foster lenient and soft      attitude on the part of government toward such disorders.
 
     7. By specious argument cause the breakdown of the old moral virtues, honesty, sobriety,      continence, faith in the pledged word, ruggedness.
 
C. Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view of confiscating them and leaving the population helpless.
 
Take time to think seriously of the above and draw your own conclusions.
 
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Mother's Day is not a federal holiday. Organizations, businesses and stores are open or closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. Restaurants may be busier than usual, as some people take their mothers out for a treat. Remember your mother on May 11, 2014. And, if she’s living, remember to call her or pay her a visit.
 
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Our Walk with God
Written & submitted by: Jean Hunt
 
At times in our walk with the Lord we can grow very tired, stumble and sometimes even fall. The cares of this life and the attacks of the enemy can just take everything out of us. We feel we just can’t go on. But there is hope. When we come to this place in life all we have to do is call out to God and He’s right there, ready to pick us up in His arms of love and mercy to carry us.
 
When we grope through the dark valleys of life, just remember we’re never alone. There’s always His light in the darkness, His peace in the valley and His calm through the storm. We will never face or go through anything in this life that He is not by our side leading the way and making the impossible become possible. Jesus is the way maker and the Light that leads the way.

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Jesus died for you. Will you live for him?
 
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The Homework Assignment
Written & submitted by: Pat Lewallen
 
The annual Teacher Appreciation Week will be observed May 5 – May 9, 2014. I owe my sincerest thanks and gratitude to my school teachers. They were some of the best in Randolph County. I graduated from Farmer High School with lots of school memories.
 
I have one unforgettable memory of the third grade. Mrs. Mabel Smith was my teacher. She had given us a homework assignment to write a story using our spelling words. I didn’t do my homework so I was trying to write it in class. It was a dumb idea but I was trying it. Mrs. Smith was randomly picking classmates to stand up and read their story. I had just written down my spelling words when she called on me to stand up at my desk and read my story. I just wanted to disappear. I stood up, looked at the spelling words, and began making up my story. I tried to make it funny so everyone would laugh and not notice how badly I was shaking.
 
I finished my story. Yes, the kids did laugh. It was finally over and I sat down. But it wasn’t over. Mrs. Smith asked me to stand up and read my story again. A double dose of terror consumed me. I tried to repeat the exact story I had just “read” to the class. Have you ever tried to do this? I don’t recommend it. I’m not sure I fooled anyone. Mrs. Smith knew my homework wasn’t done. She taught me a very valuable lesson that day. I don’t remember ever going to school again without my homework being done.
 
Did you know we’ve all been given a homework assignment here on earth? We’re all assigned to get prepared in this life to meet God before we die. So many people today get so caught up in this temporary life that they forget all about their assignment. After death, our homework assignment will be reviewed by God. No one will be able to just disappear before Him either. If you’re not prepared today, please ask God to forgive your sins and invite His presence into your heart. You’ll never regret it! Life is short, death is certain, and you’re not promised another sunrise.
 
Revelation 20:11-13 (KJV)
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
 
 
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A World without Love
Joanne Lowe – 01/12/2013
joannelowe8@cox.net
www.heavenlylove77.blogspot.com
   
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 King James Version
 
When God sent His beloved Son into the world to be crucified and die on the cross for us, unconditional love entered the world.  What amazing love flowed from the heart of God when He sent His Son to die for our sins.  Jesus proved how much He loves us when He allowed them to crucify Him for our sins.
 
Many years ago I heard someone sing a song with the words “I won’t stay in a world without love”.  Without God and without Jesus there is no love in the world, not real love.  Thank God for loving us so much He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  I would have no desire to live unless I knew that Jesus loves us. 
 
For those of you who have been on my mailing list for a long time you know that many years ago, I crawled underneath a bed in a mental hospital because I was afraid of everyone and everything.  I didn’t want to live because I had been raped and abused emotionally and physically.
 
One day as I was lying underneath that bed, Jesus came to me.  He put His arms of love around me and lifted me up from under that bed and said to me “I love you, Joanne.  It is safe for you to come out from underneath this bed.  I will never let anyone hurt you again and I will never leave you”.
 
I have said this many times and will say it until I die “No one loves us like Jesus loves us”.  Our family and friends love us but no one loves us like Jesus loves us. Do you know that Jesus loves you and that He will never leave you, not even for one minute?  What a precious Saviour, this Jesus of Nazareth!
 
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A Tragedy or a Blessing?
Copied Article – Author Unknown
 
Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Mr. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new ocean liner to the United States. The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life.
 
However, seven days before their departure, a dog bit the youngest son. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks' front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days. The family's dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave - without the Clark family.
 
The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune. Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland - the mighty Titanic had sunk. On April 15, 1912, this unsinkable ship sunk taking 1,517 lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because a dog had bitten the son, they were left behind in Scotland.
 
When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the
family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing. Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason.
 
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I Need a Runaway Ramp
Written by: Renee Swope, Proverbs 31 Ministries
Copied Article
 
Have you ever noticed those runaway truck ramps on mountain highways? Our family was recently traveling through the mountains and I noticed several emergency exit ramps. You know the ones that are created for large trucks that need somewhere to go if their brakes fail.
 
Honestly, this week I needed some runaway ramps! I was going too fast, rushing myself and my kids with unrealistic expectations. And my brakes weren’t working well either as I traveled down a path of over-commitment.  And sadly, God also showed me that I needed to exit a relationship that’s heading down a slippery slope.
 
Maybe we all need some runaway ramps. Turning off our computers and going for a walk could be one. Or having coffee with a friend or a weekend with no commitments so we can rest. And even talking with a Christian counselor or pastor might be a good idea.
 
No matter what our ramps are, I have a feeling they could make a big difference! For more encouragement, visit proverbs31.org.
 
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Alone but Not Alone
Copied Article – Author Unknown
 
Her name is Joni Eareckson Tada. At the age of 18 while swimming in a lake with friends, Joni dove off a raft into too shallow water and was immediately paralyzed from the neck down. For many years she fought against what was now her new life, angry at God for allowing it to happen, until one day she just decided to accept it and do what she could to help others. With no ability to use her hands, but with a God given creativity, she began drawing with her teeth! I wish I could pull a photo off the internet to post here because you would not believe it! The pictures are amazing! (Google it)
 
Then Joni started an organization called “Joni and Friends” that uses the proceeds from her drawings to purchase wheelchairs for needy children and adults around the world! Just last year she was asked to sing a song called "Alone but Not Alone" for a small Christian film. She said the song appealed to her because she often feels alone "always sitting down in a stand up world". Even more amazing about this song is that because she has only 58% lung capacity, her husband had to kneel down and push on her diaphragm so she could hit the high notes!!!
 
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My Mother's Love
Author Unknown
Submitted & copied by: Lela Trotter
 
Her love is like an island
In life's ocean, vast and wide
A peaceful, quiet shelter
From the wind, the rain, the tide.
'Tis bound on the north by Hope,
By Patience on the West,
By tender Counsel on the South
And on the East by Rest.
Above it like a beacon light
Shine Faith, and Truth, and Prayer;
And through the changing scenes of life
I find a haven there.
 
 
 
+++ The Christian Banner - April 2014 +++
 
Spring
Written & submitted by: Irene Wright
 
As the sun pierces through the window glass
I can see the signs of spring at last
Daffodils raise their heads above the ground
And take a look around
Not yet fully dressed
Perhaps the bit of chill makes them a little stressed
Clinging on to the rays of the sun
Their journey has just begun
Soon adorned with brightly yellow blossomed hats
Nod as people take time to stop and chat
And as I look and see the signs of spring
I can hear the birds begin to sing
The brown blades of grass can no longer be seen
As they turn the shade of green
I see the trees that once were bare
Now clothed with leaves waving in the air
The days begin to grow longer
And the signs of life grow stronger
Oh yes, I can see the signs of spring
And all the blessing that GOD has to bring!
 
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Are We Just too Busy?
Written & submitted by: Jean Hunt
 
We’re living in a very busy world. It’s hurry here and hurry there to do what we think needs to be done. Are we just too busy? I think so. We get up in the morning and our day is already planned. Often times we’re so busy with those plans that we fail to even thank God that He has blessed us to see another sunrise. How sad!
 
God wants us to begin each day with Him just as He wants to be with us when we lay our head down to rest at the close of the day. When we get too busy to spend quiet time with God we miss out on so many blessings He has in store for us each day. Maybe we were too busy to notice the beautiful sunrise or hear the singing of the little birds. Through the busyness of the day, we missed out on the glimpses of God’s goodness that were present to help us to know the love He has for us.
 
God is all around us and we need to take the time to notice and be thankful. Without Him and His presence there would be no days to experience His blessings and the beauty that surrounds us. Take time to lift up His name and be thankful.
 
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The Name that’s Above Every Name
Written & Submitted by: Richard Lewallen
 
The third commandment states “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.”
 
The scripture tells us in Exodus 34:14 (KJV) “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:”
 
God is jealous over His holy name and will not hold a person guiltless that takes His name in vain. How thoughtless, how reckless, how unthankful God’s name is used by so many people in today’s society. They are guilty of biting the hand that feeds us and cursing the name that blesses us.
 
Why should we show reverence to God’s holy name? One good reason is found in the Bible in Acts 4:12 (KJV) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
 
When we come down to the end of life, only one thing will matter. What did we do with that precious name? Did we trash it or did we confess our sins to it?
 
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Trying to Give Hope
Written by: Paul
Copied Article
 
This article was written recently by an unemployed man named Paul. He did not give his last name. Please pray for Paul and the millions of people all across America in need of a job. Let’s remember the unemployed in our prayers each day.
 
Recent article written by Paul:
Due to a lack of job security and all the bad economic news I have lapsed into a clinical depression. I have been susceptible to anxiety and depression in the past. However, I did not have to deal with a bout of depression for about 5 years. I am writing this as a wakeup call to other people who may be feeling what I am feeling right now. I am extremely angry about the rampant corruption, laziness, hubris, and ignorance that is permeating through society today. I have shifted between anger, apathy, and sadness. However, I have family that I must protect. One of my purposes in life is to give people hope. Also, below is a list of actions I took to combat my depression:
 
Take up a new hobby. Dancing helped me.
 
Take stock of how your life impacts others.

Prepare for harder times ahead. This is extremely empowering.

Engage in acts of kindness. I found a twenty dollar bill on the floor at a store. Instead of keeping it I gave it to lost and found at customer service. I also removed a sharp piece of wood from the middle of a residential street.

I remember the saying “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
Feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness are transitory. If you have thoughts about taking your life please get help.

Typing this has made me feel better. I will continue to fight my depression. I am in a dark place right now. However, I am searching for the light.
 
+++
 
Notice spotted in an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY
PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.
 
+++
 
Reproof
Author Unknown
Copied & submitted by: Lela Trotter
 
As children bring their broken toys
   with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God,
because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him,
in peace, to work alone;
I hung around and tried to help,
with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried,
"How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said,
"What could I do?
You never did let go."
 
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I’m Dying
Written & submitted by: Pat Lewallen
 
These were Steve Irwin’s last words. This was revealed in a recent interview of Justin Lyons. He was Steve’s close friend and camera man. Justin was filming on Labor Day 2006 when a freak accident with a stingray led to Steve’s death. Steve Irwin was known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter. Steve was a man who always seemed to enjoy life. He was filled with excitement as he shared his many dangerous adventures with the world. I still remember the grief I felt after learning of the Crocodile Hunter’s death.
 
Think about Steve Irwin’s last words, “I’m dying.” Steve knew he was facing death. Each of us as living human beings today will face death somewhere in our future. None of us can escape it. Hebrews 9:27 KJV: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. The Bible tells us that in addition to death, we will face judgment. We will each face God, our Creator and Judge, and we’ll be awarded eternity in either Heaven or Hell.
 
The event of Jesus’ death on Calvary is very important to me. Jesus willingly suffered a barbaric, painful, bloody and humiliating death on a cruel wooden cross. His shed blood provided the atonement needed for my sins. His death made it possible to have all my sins forgiven and gives me a peace and comfort that only God can give. Hebrews 9:28 KJV: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. 
 
Easter is a special time to reflect on God’s great love for all humanity. John 3:16 KJV: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I know Jesus as my Savior. I don’t dread death because I’ve got an eternal home in Heaven. Are you ready for death? I hope and pray you are. If not, please ask Jesus to forgive your sins and to save you. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you will be forgiven of all your sins. You will live again in Heaven for all eternity. Put your faith and trust in God. He loves you and He will always keep His promises.
 
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Message on a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING.
(PLEASE KNOCK HARD – THE DOORBELL DOESN’T WORK!!)
 
+++
 

Asking and Receiving
Author Unknown – Copied Article

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for help, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life, I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for--but everything I had hoped for.

 Despite myself, my prayers were answered. I am, among all men most richly blessed!

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Bird Cage Story
Written by Paul Harvey - Copied Article
 

There once was a man named George Thomas, a pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the church with a rusty, bent old bird cage and set it by the pulpit. Several eyebrows were raised, and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak.
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the boy and asked, “What you got there, son?”
“Just some old birds,” came the reply.
“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.
“Take ‘em home and have some fun with ‘em. I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers and make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”
“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”
“Oh, I got some cats. They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”
The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh? Why you don’t want those birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing –they ain’t even pretty.”
“How much?”
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy. “10 dollars?”
The pastor reached in his pocket and pulled out a 10 dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash the boy was gone.
The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that persuaded the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began telling this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting.
“Yes, sir. I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap. Used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ‘em all.”
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’m gonna have fun. I’ll teach them to marry and divorce each other. How to hate and abuse each other. How to drink and smoke and curse. How to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun.”
“And what will you do when you get done with them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’ll kill ‘em.”
“How much do you want for them?”
“Oh, you don’t want those people. They’re no good. Why, you’ll take them and they will just hate you. They’ll spit on you and curse you and kill you. You don’t want these people.”
“How much?”
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “Your life.”
Jesus paid the price.
The pastor picked up the cage, opened the door, and walked from the pulpit.