Inspiration and Encouragement – July 2019
I Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
A Merry Heart
Baseball in Heaven
Two buddies Chris and John were two of the biggest baseball fans in America. For their entire adult lives, Chris and John discussed baseball history in the winter and they pored over every box score during the season.
They went to 60 games a year. They even agreed that whoever died first would try to come back and tell the other if there was baseball in heaven.
One summer night, Chris passed away in his sleep after watching the Yankee victory earlier in the evening. He died happy. A few nights later, his buddy John awoke to the sound of Chris’s voice from beyond. “Chris is that you?” John asked. “Of course it’s me,” Chris replied.
“This is unbelievable!” John exclaimed. “So tell me, is there baseball in heaven?”
“Well I have some good news and some bad news for you. Which do you want to hear first?”
“Tell me the good news first.”
“Well, the good news is that, yes, there is baseball in heaven, John.”
“Oh, that is wonderful! So what could possibly be the bad news?”
“You’re pitching tomorrow night.”
The New Minister
The new minister stood at the church door greeting the members as they left the Sunday morning service. Most of the people were very generous telling the new minister how much they liked his message, except for one man who said, “The was a very dull and boring sermon, pastor.”
A few minutes later, the same man again appeared in line and said, “I don’t think you did much preparation for your message.”
Once again, the man appeared, this time muttering, “You really blew it. You didn’t have a thing to say, pastor.”
Finally, the minister could stand it no longer. He went to one of the deacons and inquired about the man.
“Oh, don’t let that guy bother you,” said the deacon. “He’s a little slow. All he does is go around repeating whatever he hears other people saying.”
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – brilliantly disguised as insolvable problems.” John Gardner
“Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Abraham Lincoln
A Sack of Potatoes
A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refuse to forgive in their life’s experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy.
They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places. Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty smelly slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity! Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person only, but it clearly is gift for ourselves as well!
Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Learn to forgive others today and never allow bitterness into your heart and mind. It has been wisely said that bitterness is the only chemical that can destroy its own container.
More than Conquerors
After living what I felt was a “decent” life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a courthouse. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around I saw the “prosecutor.” who was the most evil person I have ever seen.
I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I knew Him. The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, “Let us begin.”
The prosecutor rose and said, “My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.” He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, even my own Attorney. Satan finished with a fury and said, “This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.”
When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, “Hello Father,” and then He turned to address the court. “Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won’t deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.” Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, “However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine.”
My Lord continued with, “His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.” As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, “There is nothing else that needs to be done. I’ve done it all.”
The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips… “This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.”
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and having, “I won’t give up, I will win the next one.”
I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, “Have you ever lost a case?” Christ lovingly smiled and said, “Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, ‘Paid in Full.'”