Thursday, December 18, 2008
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.
The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.
For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately...until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.
So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?"
And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me."
"So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him...for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed.
The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him...FOR ALWAYS.
I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here it is, and in response I sent her the same message as a flash movie I have produced sometime back.
-------- Original Message --------
I send this on with the love of Jesus in gratefulness for the blessing you are in my life.
I am sending this to you to see how many actually read their e-mail. Your response will be interesting. Pay attention to what you read.
After you have finished reading it, you will know the reason it was sent to you.
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support,
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson,
Love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant
/Thank you for being a part of my life,/
/Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime./
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
You need to bring with you faith when you read this story. You need to believe that even as this story ends, a most unhappy ending, the truth is that it has not ended yet. It is just not yet complete and there is no consensus among us breathing mortals on how it will really end.
In the end good will triumph over evil but not necessarily in our lifetimes.
So here is the story of someone who seems to have triumphed without leaving heartprints. Again, I have this story here only to make this blog real to life as lived by the majority of us.
Toward the end of Sunday service, the Minister asked,
'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?
' 80% held up their hands.
The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one small elderly lady. 'Mrs. Neely?';
'Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?' I don't have any.' She replied, smiling sweetly.
'Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?' 'Ninety-eight.' she replied.
'Oh, Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?'
The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said:
"I outlived the bitches!"
I almost wanted to boldface the last line, but why should I? I know by faith that is a losing line!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
My mother used to ask me what the most important part of the body is.
Through the years I would take a guess at what I thought was the correct
When I was younger, I thought sound was very important to us as humans,
so I said, 'My ears, Mommy.'
She said, 'No. Many people are deaf. But you keep thinking about it and
I will ask you again soon.'
Several years passed before she asked me again. Since making my first
attempt, I had contemplated the correct answer.
So this time I told her, 'Mommy, sight is very important to everybody,
so it must be our eyes.'
She looked at me and told me, 'You are learning fast, but the answer is
not correct because there are many people who are blind.'
Stumped again, I continued my quest for knowledge and over the years,
Mother asked me a couple more times and always her answer was, 'No. But
you are getting smarter every year, my child.'
Then one year, my grandfather died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was
crying. Even my father cried.
I remember that especially because it was only the second time I saw him
My Mom looked at me when it was our turn to say our final good-bye to my
Grandfather. She asked me, 'Do you know the most important body part yet, my dear?'
I was shocked when she asked me this now. I always thought this was a
game between her and me.
She saw the confusion on my face and told me, 'This question is very
important. It shows that you have really lived in your life. For every
body part you gave me in the past, I have told you were wrong and I have
given you an example why.
But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.'
She looked down at me as only a mother can. I saw her eyes well up with
tears. She said, 'My dear, the most important body part is your
I asked, 'Is it because it holds up my head?'
She replied, 'No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a
loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometime
in life, my dear. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that
you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.'
Then and there I knew the most important body part is not a selfish one.
It is made for others and not for yourself. It is sympathetic to the
pain of others.
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did . But
people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.
Good friends are like stars...You don't always see them, but you always
know they are there.
You know because you have often left heartprints on each other before.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
What is your gift? Everyone has something to offer.
HISTORIA DE UN LETRERO (THE STORY OF A SIGN)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I've learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either.
I've learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
I've learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
I've learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you shouldtry cheering someone else up.
I've learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretlyglad my parents are strict with me.
I've learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
I've learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures.
I've learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there.
I've learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
I've learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it.
I've learned that you can make some one's day by simply sending them a little note.
I've learned that the greater a person's sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
I've learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.
I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours.
I've learned that motel mattresses are better on the side awayfrom the phone.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way hehandles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
I've learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I've learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that everyone can use a prayer.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that you should pass this one on to someone you care about. Sometimes they just need a little something to make them smile.
Author Unknown, but leave me a note if you do. Thanks.
Friday, September 19, 2008
It was Monday, September 15, the girls first day of school. We were quite late in joining the school. The school term has started a couple of weeks before. As expected, things were not starting on the right foot. I was somewhat anxious if the girls would be able to fit in.
We arrived very early that morning - an hour before school began. As I tried to find my way to the girls' classrooms, a young lady walked up to me to introduce hereself and asked if she could help us. Completely disoriented, I was grateful for the kind offer.
So we started chatting as she walked us to the right rooms for each girl. I learned that she has been here only two weeks before. I imagined she must be disoriented and may be coping with culture shock herself. She explained the school to me, provided my first map and compass. Well this is just my shorthand way of explaining what she has done for us.
I met Doreen again two days later. I wanted to tell her about a mid-autumn gathering at the Singapore consul general villa that evening. She thanked me but told me that she would not be able to attend because she is flying home on Saturday. She has resigned. My heart sank. I have watched her from a distance looking out for the kids, directing them to the right places and I will always remember her smiling and patting my younger girl on her head and showing her the way to me.
Thank you Doreen for being so kind and caring. Thank you very much for the map and compass you gave me. Thank you for leaving heartprints in our lives.
Bon Voyage and all the best to you back in Singapore.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Early in the last century an old missionary couple who had been working in Africa for many years returned to America to retire. With no pension and broken in health, they were discouraged, and somewhat fearful of the future.
They happened to be booked on the same ship as Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from a big-game hunting expedition. They watched the passengers trying to glimpse the great man, the crew fussing over him. At the dock in New York a band was waiting to greet the president…but the missionary couple slipped off the ship unnoticed.
That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly." His wife suggested he go in the bedroom and tell the Lord.
A short time later he came out with a face completely changed. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"
"The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told him how bitter I was that the president should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!'" *
And now I can share what went before the story to my friend.
It is not practical to go into the details here, also what I have been through might not be directly relevant to you. What is common with all who suffer is this - We experience some kind of loss. What I have discovered and here again, it could be different from person to person is that through suffering we might find the Lord in ways that just isn't possible any other way.
You come out of this with a deeply personal relationship with him that you struggle to find to words to explain. When you are still in there, it is like fire. When you come out of it, you realize it is worth it.
We suffer, become depressed because we are not home yet and especially so when we thought we are already home. Let me explain briefly from a story I have received several times. (i.e., the story you just read above)
* From "My Time With God" by Donald McCullough.
Friday, August 15, 2008
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide -
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head;
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."
Will Allen Dromgoole
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
If the title "Carl's story" is completely unfamiliar to you then you should read and be reminded of it.
Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.
Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.
When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up. He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.
He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, 'Would you like a drink from the hose?'
The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, 'Yeah, sure,' with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.
Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. 'Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?' the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. 'Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday.'
His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water. Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, 'Carl, what are you doing?' 'I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately,' came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.
A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.
The summer was quickly fading into fall Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack. 'Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time.' The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl. 'What's this?' Carl asked.
'It's your stuff,' the man explained. 'It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet.' 'I don't understand,' Carl said. 'Why would you help me now?' The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. 'I learned something from you,' he said. 'I ran with that gang and hurt people like you we picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink.
You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.' He stopped for a moment. 'I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.' He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. 'That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.' And with that, he walked off down the street.
Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.
He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather.
In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, 'Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.'
The following spring another flyer went up. It read: 'Person needed to care for Carl's garden.' The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. 'I believe this is my job, if you'll have me,' the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl.
He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, 'Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him.'
The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it. One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, 'My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday.' 'Well, congratulations!' said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. 'That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?' 'Carl,' he replied.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8
As the Olympic Games open in Beijing, my thoughts go back to Eric Liddell, a former champion immortalized for his surprising gold medal victory in the 400 meters during the 1924 Games in Paris. A year after his triumph, Liddell went to China, where he spent the last 20 years of his life as a missionary teacher and rural pastor. There he ran the greatest race of his life against opponents we all know—difficult circumstances, war, uncertainty, and disease.
Crowded into a Japanese internment camp with 1,500 other people, Eric lived out the words he had paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13:6-8— “Love is never glad when others go wrong. Love finds no pleasure in injustice, but rejoices in the truth. Love is always slow to expose, it knows how to be silent. Love is always eager to believe the best about a person. Love is full of hope, full of patient endurance; love never fails.”
Eric served the others in camp, whether carrying water for the elderly or refereeing games for the teens. When he died of a brain tumor in February 1945, one internee described him as a man “who lived better than he preached.”
In life’s most difficult race, Eric Liddell crossed the finish line victorious through love. — David C. McCasland
1 Corinthian 13 is very special to me. It represents at least of couple of firsts. I first read it from a free copy of the Living Bible New Testament when I was eleven. It was also among the earliest flash movies I produced for the website.
I first cam across the story of Eric Liddell in the famous movie, "The Chariots of Fire". Ever since, I have often heard its theme music. Each time it is played, I will picture Eric and the other running at the edge of the beach as it was depicted in the movie.
I went to look up for additional resources on Eric Liddell and discovered that there is an Eric Liddell Centre. I would encourage you to visit.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
"All I Have Left is What I Gave Away"
The author wishes to remain anonymous Edited by Shmuel Greenbaum. Printed with Permission of http://www.PartnersInKindness.org
This is a lesson from one of my nursing home residents:
Mrs. C. was an artist and a cigarette smoker. She came to live at the nursing home after a match that she thought was out resulted in a fire that burned down her apartment. She lost everything that was in her home.
After she settled in to the nursing home she spoke of her loss. "All I have left," she said, "is what I gave away."
She was philosophical about it, for as a young child her father taught her a saying she used and shared with us: "What is, is and what isn't, isn't." That helped her move on in life.
As her friends heard of what happened, they brought pieces of her artwork that she had give them before the fire back to her, to decorate her new room. It became her new home until she passed away a few years later.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
A friend from China, a member of the underground church, sent me the above. He wasn't the first one to point it out to me, but he was the one who left a strong impression on me. See below.
当然，李光耀和他的国民更应该感谢上帝 - 同样是华人，有了主的救赎，才能获得幸福，就如同生活在香港，澳门的中国人一样。
Sunday, June 1, 2008
this poem is really great, esp. i come across it when i am confused about whether i need to love or not .i am hesitate to love because of past hurt.
and i can only understand part of it,could you please kindly offer some explanation about it
thanks, the Father be with you
Here is my reply to that person.
The words of this particular flash movie came from CS Lewis book, "The Four Loves". Well, if you can get whole of the book, you will understand everything the author wants to share. You can also find out more about the book by going to Amazon.com to read reviews and synposis.
Even God gets hurt because he loves us. So to imitate Christ is not to seek to be hurt but to know that you will be. We are all selfish and we will be hurt when love is not reciprocated. We are incapable of love that doesn't end in misery unless our love is from God. A good example of this would be from the life and work of Mother Teresa. She encourages us to love until it hurts and beyond that there is no more hurt, only love.
To love without drawing from God's love is "foolhardy" but very common. Somehow we find a practical balance somewhere between giving and receiving but that is shortchanging ourselves from what God plan for us to enjoy. Each of us must begin somewhere, so start with where you are at. Just don't forget who is the author of love. If you believe in him he will teach you along the way. Websites like mine are only messengers for him.