Reflections

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How God Answers Us

"I don't believe God ever tells us 'no'. He has three answers for us."

Yes. Or - Not right now. Or - I have something better in mind, just be patient.


Can You See The Treasure?

A king once had a prized jewel, an exquisite diamond. As he held it to the light, perfection glinted from every of its luminous facets. This gem, he felt, would be the crown jewel in his magnificent diadem.

One morning the king awoke, and upon taking out his precious treasure he found, much to his dismay, that there was a single thin crack descending down its face.

The greatest jewelers were called to look at the stone in the hopes of fixing it, but nothing could be done—the crack ran so deeply down the face of the diamond that any effort to remove it would further ruin it.

Finally, one jeweler, a simple man from one of the neighboring villages, stepped forward. He would save the diamond, he claimed.

The king laughed. The greatest craftsmen in the world had seen the gem, and deemed it hopeless; how could this simple jeweler hope to do anything?

Seeing, though, that there was nothing to lose, the king informed the jeweler that he could spend a single night with the diamond. If he managed to fix it, then he would see great reward. If, however, he did not succeed, a bitter lot awaited him.

Locked in his room, the jeweler took a long look at the stone. It was truly magnificent, sparkling like the fire of the sun on the surface of the water. And the crack, however thin, could not be removed without destroying the precious crown jewel in the process. What could be done?

The next morning, the jeweler came out with the the stone in hand, a look of triumph on his face.

When he produced the gemstone, the entire royal court—the queen, the ministers, even the jester—erupted in an uproar. The scratch had not been removed; it remained in its place. The jeweler had instead etched a rose, the symbol of the kingdom, on the face of the diamond, turning the crack into its stem.


The Old Mule in the Well

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical!

But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up!

This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!"

He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows of dirt, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well.

The dirt that seemed would bury him, actually blessed him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

The king stood up from his throne and embraced the simple jeweler.

“Now, I truly have my crown jewel!” he said. “The diamond was magnificent until now, the best I had ever seen. It was, however, no different than any other stone. Now, though, I have a truly unique treasure!”


A Kitten From Heaven

Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about a pastor. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard, and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and grasp the kitten.

He did all this, kept getting out to check, then figured if he went just a little bit farther, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved a little farther forward... the rope broke.

The tree went *Boing!* and the kitten instantly sailed through the air- out of sight. The pastor felt very bad. He walked all over the neighborhood, asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a kitten. So he prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to Your keeping," and went on about his business.

kitty cat in a tree

What Happened to the Kitten? A few days later, he was at the grocery store, and he met Melissa Jefferson, one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart, and he was amazed to see cat food. Knowing she hated cats, he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?" She replied, "You won't believe this," and told him how her little girl Meghan had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the girl had begged again, and so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well, if God gives you a cat from heaven, I'll let you keep it."

You can guess the rest. She told the pastor, "I watched my little girl go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a kitty cat. And really, Pastor, you won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws spread out, and landed right in front of her.

I've always wondered if he told her what really happened.


Grandpa's Glasses Went to China

My Mother's father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at it's height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this."

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.

"But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my co-workers and I were much in prayer about this.

Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top."

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued, "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that."

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking Him! Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often: "Thank you God for not allowing my car to start this morning." He may have been saving your life from a car accident.

"God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

- - - - - - - Phil 4:19


A Child Shall Lead Them

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Ignacy Jan Paderewski piano concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered her son was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy was sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."


Are You God's Wife?

From New York City, on a cold day in December, some years ago, little Bobby, about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

A lady approached the young boy and said, 'My, but you're in such deep thought staring in that window!'

'I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,'was Bobby's reply.

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she purchased him a pair of boots.

shoes boots

She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him.. She patted him on the head and said, 'No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.'

As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her.

'Are you God's wife?'


Old Farmer's Advice

Wisdom takes time to learn and develop.

Age can bring wisdom, especially from a life lived well.

Maybe we can learn some wisdom from a sage, a wise old farmer.


Wise One-Liners to Live By

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.


Old Farmer's Advice

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.


Farmer's Wisdom

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don 't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life.. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.


Sage Advice from an Old Farmer

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta' the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

The King's Highway

Once upon a time, a king had a great highway built for the people who lived in his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to have a contest.

He invited as many of his subjects as desired to participate. The challenge was to see who could travel the highway the best, and the winner was to receive a box of gold.

On the day of the contest, all the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing and fancy food to make the trip a luxurious journey.

Some wore their sturdiest shoes and ran along the highway on their feet to show their skill. All day they traveled the highway, and each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king about a large pile of rocks and debris that had been left almost blocking the road at one point, and that got in their way and hindered their travel.

At the end of the day, a lone traveler crossed the finish line warily and walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty, but he addressed the king with great respect and handed him a small chest of gold. He said, "I stopped along the way to clear a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This chest of gold was under it all. Please have it returned to its rightful owner."

The king replied, "You are the rightful owner."

"Oh no," said the traveler, "This is not mine. I've never known such money."

"Oh yes," said the king, "you've earned this gold, for you won my contest."

"He who travels the road best is he who makes the road better for those who will follow."


King Author Must Choose

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?... What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus: What a woman really wants, she answered... is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The lady replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day... or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would you do?

Lancelot consider his answer carefully, then declared, he would allow her to make the choice herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

What was your choice?

Yes, there is a moral to the story:

If you don't let a woman have her own way . . . things are going to get ugly.

(Ba-Da-Bing)