On Wings Of Eagles

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lessons We Can Learn From Horses

Matthew 20:16 (NIV)
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Throughout the years we would go horseback riding on our family vacations.  One of the interesting things that became very evident is that horses have very different personalities. Some are leaders and some are followers. Some are at the "head" of the herd and do everything in their power to stay there, while others are at the "tail". Some want a routine; others want to be free to structure their own time. Some have a high work ethic; others are lazy. Some shy at everything; others can't be phased.

Meet the thoroughbred that was rescued off the race track. He's at the top of the pecking order in his little "herd", a position he shares with the only mare. He is a gentle as a lamb with humans, but he doesn't hesitate to remind the other horses of who is the boss. He's a bit on the lazy side and mostly he's slow; but he does enjoy a good gallop whenever it is allowed. The interesting thing is that although he's at the top of the pecking order, when going out for a ride along the road, he refuses to be the lead horse! He shies, he refuses, he walks backwards, he tosses his head, and if he can be convinced to lead, he shies at garbage, mail boxes, funny-shaped branches on the ground, anything. It's an interesting trait for a horse who once was a successful racehorse!

Next meet a handsome pinto pony. The pony is somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, and he loves to work. He's fast, he's frisky, and he can jump amazingly high barriers, despite his lack of physical height. But he's not a leader, either.

One day after two horses were done working it was time to cool the horses down.  One little problem: Neither horse would go first. They backed up. They reared. They put their heads down and refused to move. They walked sideways. They did everything except lead the way.

There are two other horses that warrant mentioning. One is a striking Palomino, and the other is a black thoroughbred. Their positions in the pecking order are last and second to last, but they don't seem to mind. They simply submit to the authority of those above them. Interestingly, when we take the horses out for a ride along the road, these are the only two with courage enough to lead!

They aren't given any thanks, however. Once back in the barn, the thoroughbred  lays back his ears or stamps his foot, and the other two are instantly back in their positions at the bottom of the pecking order.

In all, it reminds me of humans. There are the ones who bully their way to the top. They climb the ladder of success by knocking down and treading upon those who stand in their way. They take no thought of the hurt they may cause, and once they reach the top, they do not stop reminding everyone of who is in charge. But are they true leaders? In a push-comes-to-shove situation, will they stand up for the rest? Will they be willing to sacrifice themselves for others? There are those who humbly submit to authority, who simply sit back and do their jobs and do nothing to stop those who would rise to positions of importance. But what happens when problems arise? What happens when someone is needed to step forward and assume responsibility? What happens when someone is needed to sacrifice self for the good of other? Isn't it generally the underdog who then rises to the occasion? But once the crisis is over, the "leader", the one who has cowered behind in the crisis, quickly retakes his place in the seat of honor.

We all know people in both categories. In fact, many of us ARE people in both categories! Let's remember Jesus' advice: "Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." (Luke 13:30 NIV) It isn't where we stand in the human "pecking order" that matters. Rather, it is where we stand in God's eyes!

How much better the world would be if we would all be content to be "Palominos" and "black thoroughbreds". If we could all be people who don't even try to take the places of honor, and instead humbly stand back and let others claim the glory they crave. Let's all be ready, however, to humbly move forward to lend a helping hand when it is needed, and not get worried about whether we get the glory for it or not. Instead, let's just humbly go back to our positions of servitude, ever knowing that "the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matt 20:16 NIV)

Dear Lord, we thank You for the lesson we can learn from the horses that You created. Help us to not worry about being in the peeking order of man but in the eyes of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flash Back to Moody Bible Institute - Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

Genesis 18:27 (NIV)
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes.

One of the first classes I took at Moody Bible Institute was a mission’s class. In the class we were to read “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” and write a short paper on what we learned from it. Below are some of the lessons I gleaned from it.  It was many years ago now but the lessons are still as good today as the day it was written.

In 1853, J. Hudson Taylor arrived in Shangai as a young twenty-one year old missionary. Twelve years later, he founded the China Inland Mission and became the first Protestant missionary to go into inland China. Taylor led the China Inland Mission for the next 40 years and at the time of his death in 1905, the mission had 205 stations, 849 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians. Taylor also translated the New Testament into the Ningpo dialect.

Near the end of his life, two ladies in Shanghai once began talking about him, wondering if he was ever tempted to be proud. One of the ladies went and asked Mrs. Taylor. She did not know. But Mrs. Taylor went and asked Hudson.

He was surprised and inquired, "Proud about what?"

Mrs. Taylor replied, "Why, about the things you have done."

Then immediately Hudson replied with the beautiful answer, "I never knew I had done anything."

He was right. Hudson Taylor never had done anything, for it was God who had worked in and through him.

Is pride stopping you from becoming great in the Lord's eyes?

Dear Lord, we want to confess any sin of pride that we have today. We want to be humble in all our ways so that we may bring honor to Your name in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Gullible Are We?

Psalm 119:65-66 (NIV)
65 Do good to your servant
    according to your word, Lord.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.

In early 1997, Nathan Zohner of Idaho Falls, Idaho, surveyed some 50 people about "dihydrogen monoxide." His survey read: "The chemical compound dihydrogen monoxide has been implicated in the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, mainly through accidental ingestion. In gaseous form, it can cause severe burns. And, according to a new report, "the dangers of this chemical do not end there." The chemical is so caustic that it "accelerates the corrosion and rusting of many metals, ... is a major component of acid rain, [and] ... has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients." Symptoms of ingestion include "excessive sweating and urination," and "for those who have developed a dependency on it, complete withdrawal means certain death." Yet the presence of the chemical has been confirmed in every river, stream, lake and reservoir in America. Judging from these facts, do you think dihydrogen monoxide should be banned?" Some 86% agreed it should be banned. Follow-up surveys at the University of Notre Dame, in Glasgow, Scotland and in Stockton, California yielded similar results. Interestingly, "dihydrogen monoxide" is more commonly called water (H2O)! Fourteen-year-old Nathan won the Idaho Science Fair by proving his project's thesis: "How Gullible Are We?"

There are so many wonders the Lord wants to show us. But instead of seeking His ways, we tend to want to want to stay gullible and ignorant of His truths. Are you seeking to know God's ways?

Dear Lord, thank You for the wonders of your world.  We pray that we would seek to know Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Simple Hug Could Mean the World to Someone.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

She was eighty years young and still very active. In this small town in southwest Virginia, not much happened. It was just another empty day for a senior citizen who lived by herself. Although she has four children, five grandchildren and several great grandchildren, she was often alone.

In need of a few small things at the grocery and a desire to just get out of the house and be among people, she took a trip to the local Kroger's. Since there were only her own needs to satisfy, she walked up and down the aisles with a small cart. With just six items, she headed to the checkout.

He wandered the store. He'd come for a cup of hot soup and perhaps someone to talk to. The soup was good, it always was, but no one wanted to talk to an old man.

Disappointed, he was about to leave when he saw her. She headed to the checkout with only a few items.

"Good morning, Ma'am." He smiled, "You can't leave yet?"

She turned toward the voice. A well-dressed man smiled at her. "Excuse me?" She asked.

He pointed to the six items she'd selected. "Your basket is not full."

"There's no need to buy a lot." She replied. "There's no one to eat it."

He stared at her for a moment and said, "I'm so lonely!"

"I know what that's like."

In the middle of an aisle, in a large grocery store, at 11:30 AM, they stood and talked. "My wife and daughter died." He said. "They died too young." His eyes softened as he spoke briefly of them and then added, " I just recently, I lost my little Pomeranian.

She was all I had left. Now I'm alone."

"I'm so sorry." She felt her own eyes moisten. He was as alone as she was.

"It's OK." He said bravely. "I hope I can find another dog like her. She was such a joy. At least someone needed me. She gave me purpose. Now I have none. Perhaps I'll get another, but at my age, I don't want to leave her alone when my time comes. Then again, I have this big house. A dog would be happy there. I've lived in it for fifty years. It has big rooms."

"Oh, the homes were built big back then. It was a time when people had large families." She smiled and wondered where the conversation was going.

"They sure did. This old place has four bedrooms. Three of them are empty. It's just me now." He sighed. "There's not much to do. My days are empty. I do get out as often as I can. In fact, every morning I go to McDonalds for breakfast."

"Good for you!" She said. "I try to get out as much as I can myself."

"Those kids at McDonalds are very nice to me. They always greet me with a smile and make such a fuss over me. They're almost like having grandkids. And you know what?"


He leaned close and whispered. "They let me have my coffee for free. What do you think of that?"

"That's wonderful!" She knew the joy it must give him to feel welcomed.

They chatted for perhaps twenty minutes. "Well," she looked into his eyes, which now sparkled with pride over the family he had at McDonalds. "I must be getting home."

"I understand." The sparkle faded. "It was nice talking to you."

"It was nice talking to you too." She touched his hand. "I mean it."

He looked back at her and asked softly, "Can I give you a hug?"

A bit taken by his request, but fully understanding his need, she said, "Yes!"

There they stood, in a warm embrace, in the middle of a busy grocery, on a normal day that was made special by a simple hug.

That evening, she reflected on her encounter with the man. She felt like he did, alone in the world. How many others her age feel the same loneliness? How many seniors just need a kind ear and perhaps a simple hug?
Let’s reach put today and give a simple hug. Who knows it may make their day.

Dear Lord, thanks for the example of love You have given to each of us. Help us see that one You will bring into our live today that needs a simple hug. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

It All Started With a Hug

John 13:34 (NIV)
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

The story is told by a nursing aid in a home for the elderly. She says one never seems to be amazed at anything. This cool September morning the minister’s wife and her daughter came to the home to visit the residents. The residents always looked forward to the minister’s wife visit but this was special, she was bringing her daughter.

Sitting in a corner of the living area was an elderly lady named Grace. Grace was so unhappy and it seemed that nothing could comfort her. Her families had brought her here over a year ago and have visited only once. Many families did that but some of the residents could deal with it while Grace could not.

Grace’s chin was on her chest and her white hair fell forward covering her face where silent tears rolled unto pale cheeks.

The young girl looked over at her and walked over to the darkened corner. She kneeled down and looked into moist blue eyes. A wide smile crossed her face as she said, “Hello, I am Beth, what is your name?”

Grace lifted her head and looked at the beautiful young girl who stood in front of her. She wiped the moisture from her cheek and whispered. “I am Grace, my dear; it is so nice to meet you.” A soft smile appeared on her face as she looked into the excited green eyes of the young lady standing before her.

Beth leaned over and gave Grace a big hug.

We all stood there with mouths wide open. Beth hugged Grace, and Grace hugged her back. In the whole year of her being in the home no one could ever remember her smiling let alone give a hug. Wow! The aids were amazed and even tears fell freely. That one act of kindness from a young girl who was only 8, made a big difference in another’s life.

Beth visited with her mother often and always went straight to Grace for her hug. They would visit and smile and laugh, they became such wonderful friends.

Over four years passed and Beth was always there for her visit with Grace. The one day she came Grace was not in her corner. She skipped down to her room thinking she was resting. The room was dark and empty.

The head nurse seen her and walked slowly towards her.

“Beth, I so wanted to catch you before you came and I did call but you had already left. Honey, Grace passed away late last night”

Beth looked at the nurse and said, “Oh my, Grace told me that she would soon be with her Lord. She has gone home to be with Jesus. She was so looking forward to that. Told me she would miss me but for me not to worry for she would be so very happy.”

A tear ran down Beth’s cheek, as she added, “I shall so miss her. I did so love her.”

The nurse watched Beth as she walked away. She wondered if that young lady had any idea of just how many lives she had touched with one hug.

Beth walked slowly; she was filled with so many emotions. Yes, she would so miss her Grace but she was so happy that Grace was home with Jesus.

Grace’s family made the arrangements for the funeral but Beth was not told where or when. This broke her heart. Still every week she would go to the nursing home and chat and hug the beautiful people there.

Years later, Beth was in charge of a large nursing home in the state of Ohio. She loved her work and she insisted that anyone working there would treat the residents with respect and dignity. Beth always told those who asked that she is working in the nursing home because of a wonderful precious lady named Grace. Grace had shown her how important all people are.

Will you take the time today to share a hug. Who knows what a difference it can make on the life of someone today.

Dear Lord, Help us to take the time to show your love today. Help us reach out and give a hug to one who needs it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Incredible Hug

Mark 12:31 (NIV)
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

In my life I have experienced a lot of different types of hugs. I have gotten the warm hug that goes on forever. I have gotten the bear hug that squeezes the air right out of your lungs. I have gotten the neck hug where the little child jumps in your arms and wraps lovingly around your neck. I have gotten the back slapper hug where the hugger gives you the bam, bam on the back. I have even gotten the leg hug which toddlers all over the world use to melt your heart.

Here is a story about Lee Shapiro a retired judge. He is also one of the most genuinely loving people we know. At one point in his career, Lee realized that love is the greatest power there is. As a result, Lee became a hugger. He began offering everybody a hug. His colleagues dubbed him "the hugging judge" (as opposed to the hanging judge). The bumper sticker on his car reads, "Don't bug me! Hug me!"

A few years ago Lee created what he calls his Hugger Kit. On the outside it reads "A heart for a hug." The inside contains thirty little red embroidered hearts with stickums on the back. Lee will take out his Hugger Kit, go around to people and offer them a little red heart in exchange for a hug.

Lee has become so well known for this that he is often invited to keynote conferences and conventions, where he shares his message of unconditional love. At a conference in San Francisco, the local news media challenged him by saying, "It is easy to give out hugs here in the conference to people who self-selected to be here. But this would never work in the real world."

They challenged Lee to give away some hugs on the streets of San Francisco. Followed by a television crew from the local news station, Lee went out onto the street. First he approached a woman walking by. "Hi, I'm Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge. I'm giving out these hearts in exchange for a hug." "Sure," she replied. "Too easy," challenged the local commentator. Lee looked around. He saw a meter maid who was being given a hard time by the owner of a BMW to whom she was giving a ticket. He marched up to her, camera crew in tow, and said, "You look like you could use a hug. I'm the hugging judge and I'm offering you one." She accepted.

The television commentator threw down one final challenge. "Look, here comes a bus. San Francisco bus drivers are the toughest, crabbiest, meanest people in the whole town. Let's see you get him to hug you." Lee took the challenge.

As the bus pulled up to the curb, Lee said, "Hi, I'm Lee Shapiro, the hugging judge. This has got to be one of the most stressful jobs in the whole world. I'm offering hugs to people today to lighten the load a little. Would you like one? The six-foot-two, 230-pound bus driver got out of his seat, stepped down and said, "Why not?"

Lee hugged him, gave him a heart and waved goodbye as the bus pulled out. The TV crew was speechless. Finally, the commentator said, "I have to admit, I'm very impressed."

One day Lee's friend Nancy Johnston showed up on his doorstep. Nancy is a professional clown and she was wearing her clown costume, makeup and all.

"Lee, grab a bunch of your Hugger Kits and let's go out to the home for the disabled."

When they arrived at the home, they started giving out balloon hats, hearts and hugs to the patients. Lee was uncomfortable. He had never before hugged people who were terminally ill, severely retarded or quadraplegic. It was definitely a stretch. But after a while it becarne easier with Nancy and Lee acquiring an entourage of doctors, nurses and orderlies who followed them from ward to ward.

After several hours they entered the last ward. These were 34 of the worst cases Lee had seen in his life. The feeling was so grim it took his heart away. But out of their commitment to share their love and to make a difference, Nancy and Lee started working their way around the room followed by the entourage of medical staff, all of whom by now had hearts on their collars and balloon hats on their heads.

Finally, Lee came to the last person, Leonard. Leonard was wearing a big white bib which he was drooling on. Lee looked at Leonard dribbling onto his bib and said, "Let's go, Nancy, there's no way we can get through to this person." Nancy replied, "C'mon, Lee. He's a fellow human being, too, isn't he?" Then she placed a funny balloon hat on his head. Lee took one of his little red hearts and placed it on Leonard's bib. He took a deep breath, leaned down and gave Leonard a hug.

All of a sudden Leonard began to squeal, "Eeeeehh! Eeeeeehh!" Some of the other patients in the room began to clang things together. Lee turned to the staff for some sort of explanation only to find that every doctor, nurse and orderly was crying. Lee asked the head nurse, "What's going on?"

Lee will never forget what she said: "This is the first time in 23 years we've ever seen Leonard smile."

How simple it is to make a difference in the lives of others.

Dear Lord, help us be the one that makes a difference in the life of somebody today.  Help our eyes be open to those You bring into our life that needs Your love thought us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Assigning Value

Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

The story is told of a young boy named Teddy Stollard. He was not the kind of kid who got invited to parties. He slouched in his chair and looked bored most of the time; he only spoke when called upon, and then in monosyllables. He never dressed right; he had smelly clothes; he was a rather unattractive boy.

Whenever his teacher would mark Teddy's papers, she. got a certain perverse pleasure out of marking all the wrong answers. She would put the "F" on top with a little flair. She might have known better, because his history was on record:

First grade: Teddy is a good boy and shows promise, but has a poor home situation.

Second grade: Teddy is quiet and withdrawn. His mother is terminally ill.

Third grade: Teddy is falling behind. His mother died this year; his father is uninvolved.

Fourth grade: Teddy is hopelessly backward. His father has moved away; Teddy's living with an aunt. He is deeply troubled.

Christmas came, and all the children brought presents to school. They were carefully wrapped, except for Teddy's, which was packaged in brown paper and held together with tape and marked, "For Miss Thompson. From Teddy."

The teacher would open the gifts one by one for the class to admire. When she opened Teddy's, it was a rhinestone bracelet with most of the stones missing, and a bottle of perfume that was mostly gone. The other children started to laugh, but Miss Thompson caught herself. Snapping on the bracelet, she said: "Isn't it lovely, class? And doesn't the perfume smell good?"

At the end of the class, Teddy approached her shyly. "I'm glad you liked my gifts, Miss Thompson," he whispered. "All day long you smelled like my mother. And her bracelet looked nice on you, too."

After he left, Miss Thompson put her head down on the desk and cried. She asked God to forgive her. She prayed that God would help her to see what he sees when she looks at a motherless boy.

When the children came back to school the next day, Miss Thompson was a new teacher. She tutored the children who needed extra help, Teddy most of all. By the end of the year he had caught up with most of his classmates and was ahead of some. After that, she didn't hear from him for quite a while. Then one day she received a note:

Dear Miss Thompson,

I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating from high school, and I am second in my class.

Love, Teddy Stollard

Four years later came another note:

Dear Miss Thompson,

I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating first in my class. The university has not been easy, but I liked it.

Love, Teddy Stollard

Four years later, another note:

Dear Miss Thompson,

I wanted to you be the first to know that as of today I am Theodore J. Stollard, M.D. How about that? I want you to come sit where my mother would have sat, because you're the nearest thing to family that I've had.

Love, Teddy Stollard

The ability to assign value is one of the rarest and greatest gifts in the world. So value what God values..

Let us see the value in those around us as God sees the value.  Take a minute today to see someone through God’s eyes.

Dear Lord, Thank You that we all have value. Help us see what You see in others.  Help us spread Your love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

People Flock to Places Where They Really Feel Welcome.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

It started small. In 1931 the Wall was just an ordinary pharmacy with one huge goal: to reach out to those in need. The depression years were terrible, and many businesses were going belly up; but despite the fact that the home of this particular pharmacy, Wall, South Dakota, was only a tiny town, it knew how to survive.


Located at the entrance to the South Dakota Badlands, tourists frequently passed through Wall during the hot summer months. The pharmacist figured out that the greatest need he could fill for these tourists was to quench their thirst. Although in those days they did not have refrigerators like we do now, he figured out a way to provide free ice water to anyone entering his pharmacy. But more than this, he treated anyone visiting his store like royalty.

Before long, the little pharmacy of Wall, soon to be known as "The Wall", along with its pharmacist who cared enough to take an interest in his customers, became famous all over the state, and eventually all over the US. People literally flocked in.

Over the years, business continued to boom, and now The Wall has expanded to the point that it could better be called an indoor mall. Covering an entire city block, it contains a variety of stores where one can buy clothing, shoes, books, toys, souvenirs, music, food… and of course, pharmaceutical drugs. But it is still renown not only for its many services, but especially for its friendly and caring staff and its free ice water.

Being friendly attracts people. Caring for others makes people think. Being genuinely interested into the welfare of others opens up even the hardcore introverts. People flock to places where they really feel welcome.

I have to wonder why so many churches can't seem to attract those who don't know Jesus.

I mean, the gospel message is powerful. Not only does it free people from addictions, it also provides freedom and real life beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Jesus is alive and He backs up his message of salvation: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV); "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:18-20 NIV).

So why aren't people flocking in?

Is it possible that it's because we, as Christians, do not know how to genuinely be interested into the welfare of others? Is it possible that we don't really know how to love others like Jesus did? Is it possible that we don't know Jesus intimately enough? "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV); "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12 NIV)

If newcomers don't feel welcome in an establishment, especially in a church, they will eventually stop coming. Churches are famous for clicks, but we have to ask ourselves if we attend church to be with our friends, or if we attend with the single purpose of worshiping the One who makes a difference in our lives, of loving and adoring Him and of loving and encouraging those He died for? Isn't attending for any other reason truly a waste of time?

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt 7:22-23 NIV)

What is your purpose for attending church? Do you want to follow in Jesus' steps? Do you want to obey His call to love one another and to broadcast His dynamic message of love and deliverance to a generation that hungers for real meaning in life?

"Excuse me, is your ice water truly free?"

"Absolutely sir. By the way, my name is Christian. Where are you coming from? Let me help you out…"

A little bit of friendliness will have a huge impact on someone's life. If you don't believe it, visit the Wall in Wall, South Dakota.

Dear Lord, help us reach out to those that come into our churches.  We pray that the impact we leave will make them feel welcome and want to learn more about Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Open Arms or Clenched Fists?

Judges 19:20 (NIV)
“You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.”

Whitehorse, Yukon has a pair of unique skyscrapers made out of logs. Basically, they are stacked log cabins! These three-story skyscrapers consist of 5 apartments and one store. They are 58 logs high, with each log weighing a minimum of 300 pounds. It makes for a quite unique heavy building! The original foundation in 1947 was in the ground; to support the weight however, concrete footings have been added in recent years.

While the Alaskan Highway was under construction during World War II, the Northwest Staging Route airports and the Canol Pipeline were also being built. To say that housing was at a premium in Whitehorse would have been an understatement. Every hotel and home was overflowing with Air Force and Army personnel and construction crews. Even the riverboats were employed to accommodate the excess workers! And things didn't settle down after the war, either. Whitehorse then became the hub of the Yukon transportation system, and housing remained at a premium. Talk about a great time for real estate investments!

Martin Berrigan, a 70 year old builder, suggested meeting the needs by building the first (and last) Log Skycrapers. They were the first privately-owned, multiple-dwelling rental accommodation in the Yukon, and they still house people today. In fact, they have become quite a landmark in Whitehorse! (It seems that construction methods were a bit sturdier in the past!)

Some of you may frown and wonder who would want to live in such accommodations; but if you could visit them today you will immediately see that they are loaded with character and charm. Add to this the fact that the apartments have now been insulated, dry-walled and equipped with plumbing, electricity and the latest technologies, and you have one very desirable dwelling!

The purpose for housing has changed dramatically over the centuries. Imagine for example, living in Jerusalem in first century A.D. Unless you were rich, you house was used solely as a place to sleep and store provisions. You lived in the courtyard, and that's where you invited the neighbors to come and share in your meals and conversations. Even as late as the early twentieth century, housing was still people friendly. Doors were left unlocked and neighbors were welcome, even if you were away!

But things have changed however. Houses are now used to keep people . . . OUT! Ah those noisy bothering neighbors! Our houses have turned into mansions of doom. "It's my house, not yours! Get out!"

I wonder if this might be a sign of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." (Matt 24:12 NIV)

As Christians however, we are urged to be different: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV) But how can we truly love one another with a closed door policy?

I have to ask myself: Do I always welcome visitors into my home with open arms? Or is my attitude something like this? "What do you want? Money again! What do you take me for?" Or "Jehovah witnesses again! I slammed the door on one of you just a month ago!" Or "Who gave you the permission to tell me who to vote for? Go back where you came from!"

Sometimes our attitudes do improve: "What! I just won the contest and you have a check for me? Come on in! You are more than welcome in my home!"

Wealth is not measured by what we have but by who we know, and it is demonstrated by how well we respond to others.

Who's at your door, now? Will you welcome them with open arms or with clenched fists?

Dear Lord, Thanks first of all for our homes that You have allowed us to have.  We pray that we would open our doors to those around us so they can see Your love though us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

How Christ-Like Did You Act Today?

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NIV)
1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

She walked slowly into the beautiful church. She had dressed in her best dress and her favorite hat. A slight smile touched her lips. She was in God’s house, and she was so happy. She had no idea that her coat smelled of moth balls and the hat was stained.

Heads turned toward her and whispers were going strong in the congregation.

Tilley put her head down and walked to a pew to sit down. When she sat down, a couple got up and moved. It was as if everyone in the place was looking at her. How she wished Sharon would hurry up.

Sharon walked into the church with a warm smile that soon faded. She saw Tilley sitting alone in a pew with tears rolling down her cheeks. Sharon sat down and put her arm around Tilley and held her close.

She whispered to Tilley, “We can leave if you want. We don’t need to stay here.”

Tilley shook her head. She had dressed up and come to church and she was going to stay.

By now the pastor noticed the stir in the church and looked around. He soon became well aware of what was going on. He walked to the back of the church to welcome both Tilley and Sharon.

He leaned over and asked Tilley, “Would you ladies do me the honor of sitting in the front pew with me?”

A shine entered into Tilley’s eyes and she nodded.

The music had started and it was just beautiful. Tilley was now so glad she had stayed.

After the music stopped, Sharon leaned over to ask the Pastor a question.

He smiled and said, “Please do.”

Sharon stood in front of the church and squared her shoulders. “Today is a very special day for Tilley, it is her birthday and she is 90 years young. All she wanted for her birthday was to go to church. We picked this one out for it is lovely. I want to personally thank each of you for your kindness.”

One could have heard a pin drop.

The Pastor stood and walked to the pulpit. He looked over the congregation and said, “I had a sermon all ready for today but I do believe I need to change it. Today we need to go to Hebrews 13:1&2.

He read the Scripture loud and clear. Once again he looked at the congregation and said, “I hope each and every one of you go home and think on not only this Scripture but how Christ-like you acted today. May God go with you all.”

Sharon and Tilley stood to leave and he walked over to them and gave each of them a hug. “Tilley, I pray that you have a blessed birthday and I so thank you for coming here and sharing your day with us. I also thank you for showing all of us a hard lesson, one we needed to learn.

Dear Lord, we pray that our hearts would be open to those around us that need to feel loved. Help us be willing to show love to everyone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thanks For Talking to Me

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It was just another ordinary day as she performed her tasks at a large university as an administrator working with Hall Monitors and residents. It wasn't uncommon for students to pop in to say a welcomed "Hello" or the like.

This particular day would bring something entirely new her way. As the workday neared its end, she sat at her desk as she completed some paper work. She heard a sheepish giggle and looked up startled by what she saw. This was not one of the many students that would drop in routinely to ask her a question about dorm life or complain about a given Hall Monitor. Standing there at the door of her office was a very short black man who, by most standards, would be considered unseemly to look at as he clearly had been born with birth defects.

He was unusually small and his face was deformed as he stood holding a cane. Obviously his eyesight was impaired as well. Trying to keep her composure she asked, "Hello, can I help you with something?"

He smiled and replied, "No Ma'am, I just like to come to campus to make friends but most people won't talk to me because I think they are scared of me by the way I look."

Trying to be tactful, she replied, "Not at all! I am not scared of you. You look just fine to me." He giggled again as he placed his backpack on the floor. "Are you having a problem or is there something going on at your dorm that I can help you with?" she asked.

"No Ma'am. You see, I am not a student. I carry this backpack around with me so that the other students will talk with me and be my friend but I don't think it's working very well because no one wants to talk with me very long. I come to campus because there are a lot of people here and I want to make friends."

As she looked at him, her eyes began to tear up but she desperately tried to hold her emotions back for fear that he would think she felt sorry for him. The conversation went on as he told her about himself and she told him more about her life and the things that had occurred while dealing with students. His laugh was infectious and his childlike innocence was so delightful.

Before she knew it, she realized that she no longer saw him in the same light as she first did. "Well, I think I've wasted enough of your time so I better leave. You have better things to do than talk with me."

As he reached down to the floor to pick up his backpack, she began to tear up again but this time the tears came not from her feeling sorry for him, but from the respect she had for his being so incredibly brave. Holding back the tears she stated, "You are one of the most kind and beautiful individuals that I've ever met. Promise me that you will come back and visit again as I enjoy talking with you. Do you promise?" she asked.

He smiled and callously looked down for a moment. "Yes, I promise I will but I have a hard time climbing the stairs. Can I ask you a question Ma'am?" She stood up, as she wanted to shake his hand before he left and replied, "Of course you can. What do you want to know?"

He stood very still as his eyes turned her direction. "Did you really mean what you just said about me?" he asked. Without hesitation she quickly replied, "I've never said anything more true in all my life and I mean that!" He positioned his cane and began to walk out of the door but suddenly stopped and looked her way again.

"I can't see you very good, but for the first time in my life, I believe someone. Thanks for talking to me and being my friend. I'll be back, I believe in someone now!" As he walked slowly out of her office he giggled, smiled, and uttered very softly....."I believe."

Will you be the one today that is a friend?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would be a friend today to those You bring into our life.  Help us look beyond the exterior and looking into the heart if those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Welcoming My Grandnephew Into the World

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Today I had the joy and privilege of holding my grandnephew at about 7 hours old. As I held him in my arms and watch the joy sparkle in his mom’s eyes it reminded me of a story I had read a while back. I thought it was a good day to share it.

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small 'n helpless?"

"Your angel will be waiting for you 'n will take care of you."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing 'n smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel will sing for you 'n will also smile for you. 'n you will feel your angel's love 'n be very happy."

Again the child asked, "'n how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful 'n sweet words you will ever hear,'n with much patience 'n care, your angel will teach you how to speak."

"'n what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"

God said, "Your angel will place your hands together 'n will teach you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it's life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."

God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me 'n will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard 'n the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."

"You will simply call her, Mom."

Take a minute today to remember the mom’s out there and pray for them as they take care of the special gift that God has given them.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the mom’s out there that faithfully teach their children all about You. We pray for each of them today, give them strength and encouragement that they need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Does Your Heart have God's Music?

Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

It was 1994. Daily, the city of Sarajevo was under siege. Mortars and artillery fire instantly transformed once beautiful buildings into rubble. Sarajevo's citizens were frightened, weary and increasingly despondent. Then, one February day, a mortar shell exploded in the market killing 68 civilians. Many more were wounded and maimed from the blast.

A cellist with the Sarajevo symphony could no longer stand the killing. He took his cello to the market, sat down a midst the rubble and played a concert. When he finished, he simply took up his instrument and left.

Every day, for 67 days, he came to the market. Every day he played a concert. It was his gift of love to the city. He did it because he felt his community needed hope.

Hope is music in the heart. It is a gift given to each of us to see us through the night. Once you have lost hope, you have nothing left to lose. Utter hopelessness kills everything it touches. But hope gives us strength to continue, whether it be a marriage that is worth saving, a life that is worth living or a situation that is worth salvaging.

In the end, hope is a spiritual thing. When all is in chaos and ruin, hope is the knowledge that the music still goes on. In this vast and infinite universe, we are not alone.

During those times when all may seem to be crumbling down around you, can you hear the music in your heart -- the song of hope?

Dear Lord, thanks for the hope You give us. We pray today that we would take the time to share that hope to those around us so they might feel Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where Do You Find Your Hope?

Matt 5:3-10  (NIV)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Sooner or later we will all realize the futility of trying to be in control of our circumstances, and we will come to understand that our life has been a total sham. Hopefully it won't be while we are on our deathbed!

God, in His goodness, will give us many opportunities throughout our lives to contemplate real life, real freedom and real love. More often than not, however, we simply shrug our shoulders and go on without a second thought.

Still, only when we are completely broken inside can we truly realize that there is more to life than wildly running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But in all honesty, is our stressful life truly the full life Jesus promises us? "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 NIV

This was a concept the Germans didn't realize during World War I. They wanted complete control, and complete control they had. Or so it seemed to them. They hadn't yet conquered all of Europe, but they had Belgium under their control! And though the Netherlands succeeded in shaking them off their back, the Germans continued to strive for total control.

No communication was allowed between these two countries, and this was easily controlled. Or at least that's what the Germans thought when they erected a three-meter electric fence and sent 2000 volts of current between these two countries. "Ha! That will keep them away!"

However in any plan designed to control someone's behavior, there is always gaps that we never considered. Ingenious Hollanders found a way around this electric fence. Or should we say "through it"! They found out that if they put a wooden barrel between the wires, they could crawl through the barrel to the other side without any consequences. Soon they were regularly smuggling mail between the two countries.

Yes, the Germans thought they had the country completely in control, especially since they had a backup plan. They had German troops patrolling "the wire", or "Het draad", as they called it in Dutch. And yes once, one of these troops caught one of these pundits and shot him on the spot. But it didn't stop the communication between these two countries.

Eventually the Germans realized they could not control all of their conquered countries, and World War I came to an end. They never completely gave up the idea of controlling all of Europe, however, and the entire world as well, and a mere twenty years later Hitler came into power. Fortunately for the world, he, too, had to come to the realization that total control was impossible.

Broken, many of these soldiers, as well as the inhabitants of the European countries who had suffered throughout the wars, discovered a refuge in the One they considered their Shepherd. He was the One they could trust at all times, to Him they surrendered their lives. Through brokenness they discovered there is more to life than just barely living!

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Ps 23:1-3 NIV)

If you are facing despair and solitude because of your circumstances, consider the hope Jesus, our Lord, is offering you. Even a midst absolute turmoil, you can experience real living. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV)

Dear Lord, we pray that we wouldn't live in despair but instead in Your great love that gives us each hope. Help us share that hope with someone today. IN Jesus’ Name, Amen.