A Visit with God…

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Glimpse_of_Heaven_Joanna_Oblander_coverWelcome to the official website of author JoAnna Oblander, and her book, A Glimpse of Heaven: One Woman’s Life-Altering Visit with God.

We all come to a point in our lives when we ask ourselves, “Why do I have to suffer? Why do people, the world, and life have to be so cruel and unfeeling?” It is at these times that we are most poised to receive answers to those questions. It is also the time when we can be most resistant to receiving them.  Sometimes, as we question the value of our existence, those answers can seem elusive. It is for those questioning times that JoAnna Oblander wrote A Glimpse of Heaven. As the recipient of a near death experience and other profound life experiences that testify of God, her story will answer your questions, reach inside your heart, and extract the truth about who you are and who you are meant to become.

Her story will help you understand that your life has incredible purpose and that all experiences – especially the difficult ones – are opportunities for learning and personal growth! Start your journey of faith and personal growth today! Grab a copy of her book, A Glimpse of Heaven: One Woman’s Life-Altering Visit with God, and start receiving the answers to your most important questions! Find out more…

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Adversity…In the Middle of Difficulty lies Opportunity

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein

Adversity – so often we think that it’s only use is to frustrate us and make life difficult. So many times adversity is our door to opportunity. So many times adversity serves as a step to bring us closer to God.

When you understand that this life is about growing and about becoming more and more like God – loving, giving service, sharing our gifts and talents; then adversity’s gift becomes much more valuable.

We learn to play beautiful music after an extended time of practicing and producing less than beautiful music. We develop strong muscles and coordination after falling down as an infant and grueling work outs when we are older. We receive a small taste of what is must be like for God to watch us grow as we watch our own children through their struggles and triumphs.

The older I become, the more I am able to see that more often than not, my greatest source of adversity is myself. So very often, God takes me by the hand (figuratively speaking) and shows me that I just need to look at my life or a situation from a little different perspective. I should be used to it by now, but every time that happens, I continue to be amazed at how quickly the issue disappears with just a change in my understanding.

My burdens become much easier to carry when I allow God to give them their true size and significance rather than trying to assess them all by myself.

I hope that today’s story will leave a smile on your face and a taste of God’s love for you in your heart!:

Pancakes
Six-year-old Dan decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Dan was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn’t know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, and he didn’t know how the stove worked! Suddenly, he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically, he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

Just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Dan’s eyes. All he’d wanted to do was something good, but he’d made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him.

Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process. That’s how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we can’t stand our job, or our health goes sour.

Sometimes, we just stand there in tears because we can’t think of anything else to do. That’s when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can’t stop trying for God or for others. Sooner or later, we’ll get it right, and then they’ll be glad we tried.

Story shared from the following website: http://varietyreading.carlsguides.com/christian-stories/pancakes.php

Love is the Most Powerful Force in the World…

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to share one of his quotes today.

Love is truly the most powerful force in the world! It is also very misunderstood. Many people believe that love can overcome anything. The truth is that it can’t. I saw a battle in heaven during my near-death experience and if love could overcome anything, that battle would have never taken place.

There is no being or person more loving and more perfect than God and there is no place more infused with love than heaven. If God’s perfect love could not overcome in heaven – love cannot overcome everything on earth either.

However, having said that, I do not wish to diminish the power of love in any way. We all need love and we all need the joy of loving. Love can turn enemies into friends and it can heal terrible wounds. Love can melt cold hearts and love can revive lives, communities, and countries. Love is a gift and should always be cherished!

In that light, I share today’s story, I hope you enjoy!:

Making Friends, Losing Enemies

About five years ago I started at a new school, when my family moved to Iowa. I was just a little excited, but I worried I would never fit in with the other sixth graders.

Lucy, a girl in my class, who I thought was not ready for change, didn’t like me from the start. In fact, I was pretty sure she hated me. I would ask her a question, and I could tell she thought I was a total idiot.

My teacher made us sit by each other for the last semester. Lucy was horrified.

I didn’t wear make-up, and I didn’t wear those awesome bell-bottom pants. I didn’t exactly look like the coolest girl. But, I kept smiling at her, though she rolled her eyes, and I kept telling her she looked beautiful, even if she sighed in irritation.

Eventually, Lucy let me talk to her, even in sight of her ‘cool’ friends. She started telling me how beautiful I looked. I still remember that first time when she smiled at me saying that, and I smiled right back, telling her thanks. Lucy invited me over to her house for sleepovers, and talked to me all the time instead her other friends. Lucy, the girl who hated me, called me her best friend. After that, we still were good friends a whole year later.

I may have moved to Arizona after that, but I will never forget Lucy. It’s funny– I still remember her birthday. She was a great friend. And to think, she considered me her enemy at first. Though it was hard, and it felt like I was wasting my time, and losing my dignity, I still smiled at Lucy when she made fun of me. I’m not stupid, I didn’t think she was right in doing those things, but I still put up with it. And we became great friends. We became inseparable.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.values.com/your-inspirational-stories/230-making-friends-losing-enemies

Learning from Mistakes…

Our Greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up ever time we fail.  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our Greatest glory is not in never failing
but in rising up ever time we fail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever felt like the odds and the world were stacked against you? I think we all have at least a few of those days as we journey through our lives. Most of us have more than just a few.

Sometimes, we can feel like if we don’t succeed the first time we try, that we are not cut out for whatever it is we are trying to do. The reality is that even the most gifted people have to work through difficulty and failure from time to time.

Thomas Edison is a person that I would have loved to have known. His attitude and his willingness to fail blessed the lives of modern man every single day. I credit his amazing mother for instilling in him a willingness to learn and to fail. She must have been an amazing person as well.

The next time you get frustrated with life and with your failures, I hope you will take a moment to ask yourself, “What is God trying to teach me with this experience?”  Chances are the only way you are going to truly fail is if you decide to give up.

I hope you enjoy today’s story! I couldn’t resist sharing a Thomas Edison story!:

Thomas Edison Childhood – Inspirational Story

One day Thomas Edison came home and gave a paper to his mother. He told his mother that his teacher gave this paper to him and said, “Give this to your mother.”

His mother open it and read the paper. After reading paper her eyes filled with tears. Thomas asked his mother about what was written in the paper.

She read the letter in a loud voice to her son, “Your son is a genius, this school is too small for him and we don’t have enough resources and good teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.”

After many years, now Edison’s mother died and he has become one of the greatest inventors. One day as Edison was looking into old family things he saw a folded paper in the corner of his desk drawer. He took it and opened it.

It was the same paper which was given to him by his teacher in school to give to his mother.

After reading the paper, Edison cried for hours and wrote in his diary, “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled (mentally ill) child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.

Moral: One should never give up. We need to be confident in ourselves and move ahead in life with a positive attitude and hard work.

Story shared from the following website: http://moralstories26.com/thomas-edison-inspirational-stories-for-kids/

Do Small Things with Great Love…Giving Love and Service

Do Small things with Great love - Mother Teresa

Giving Love and Service – it is rarely easy and virtually never convenient. Yet, it can make all the difference to those we love and to the strangers around us.

I believe we all have a story to tell of someone who has done something small for us – an act of service that did not require great sacrifice. Yet, those acts born of thoughtfulness and concern are some of our most meaningful and cherished moments.

I remember a time in my life shortly after I had graduated from high school. I was working in a pizza store. I wasn’t happy with where my life was and was feeling like nobody cared. One night a couple that I knew casually from church came in. I was working the counter that night and did not wait on the couple but I said hi as I saw them walk in. After their meal, the man deliberately walked up to the counter and gave me a silver dollar. I don’t remember his exact words but he conveyed to me that he believed in me and that I was important. This man did not know me well but he had taken the time to notice me, think about me and then give me words of encouragement. He gave me a priceless gift that night. He gave me hope in myself and he helped me to believe in my worth. The silver dollar was a sweet gesture on his part but it was his words of encouragement that made all the difference. His kind act still impacts my life today.

Remembering moments like these in my life helps me to understand the profound difference small acts of service and kindness can make in the lives of those we come in contact with. I think today’s story shares perfectly the concept that we all need help from time to time. It is through the kindness of strangers that God most often answers our prayers. Are you meant to answer a prayer for God today?

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her – generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”
Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivateus.com/stories/five.htm

 

The Golden Rule….Still a Good Idea

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule…not only is it still a good idea; it is one of the easiest way to improve our lives, our relationships and the world!

The Golden Rule is not about controlling or manipulating. It is about honoring and understanding. I believe that that is what makes it so profound.

In order to utilize the Golden Rule, we must love: love ourselves, our creator, and those we call our fellowmen.

Many assume that loving ourselves is a natural accomplishment. I have found that most children love themselves easily. However, for teens and adults – loving ourselves is often filled with difficulties. Life seems to hand us experiences that challenge our ability to love and accept ourselves as wonderful and worthy of love. Yet, loving and honoring our self is fundamental to loving God and others.

Loving our Creator is an endeavor that requires effort and sacrifice. Knowing God through prayer, meditation, and the scriptures is essential and blesses our lives with strength that cannot be demonstrated but which I believe is tangible nonetheless.

Loving our Fellow man can be difficult. However, once we understand that each of us has the same basic needs, I think it becomes easier. We all need love. We all want acceptance. We all want to live a meaningful life and we all want security. Our personalities and beliefs may be very different but our core needs are very much the same.

During my near-death experience, I saw how we interacted with each other in that realm. I saw how we loved each other and cherished each other. Maybe even more important, I saw how we honored each other and supported each other in our various talents, gifts and endeavors. In other words, heaven was an amazing place to witness the Golden Rule being practiced and implemented.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about the Golden Rule and the positive impact it could have on your life!:

THE OLD MAN AND HIS GRANDSON

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ‘What are you doing there?’ asked the father. ‘I am making a little trough,’ answered the child, ‘for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

Story is shared from the following website and is a Grimm’s Fairy Tale: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2591/2591-h/2591-h.htm#link2H_4_0029

Coming Together, Keeping Together, and Working Together…Creating Unity

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping Together is progress. Working together is Success. Henry Ford

Coming Together, Keeping Together, and Working together is the mindset that I found prevailed in heaven during my near-death experience. Can I just share that the atmosphere and love that existed in heaven was more glorious than words can describe?

I think it is the glorious conditions there (in heaven) that make so many of us who have had a near-death experience want to return and/or never leave. But earth and life on earth has a purpose. We have come here to learn to love, support and grow ourselves and others.

Yet, that never happens successfully where there is conflict instead of love, lashing out instead of support and shrinking from challenges instead of growth.

The media has been sharing and deliberately creating lots of division in the last several months. Perhaps it originated with the presidential election and the various elections throughout the country. Perhaps it started much earlier.

I would not normally hone in on the media but from my vantage point, the division in this country does not seem to be between the citizens of my community. Nor does it seem to be with those I call friends and acquaintances who live far away from me. Instead, it seems to be mostly prevalent on the various forms of media where it appears that extraordinary effort is made to find divisive stories.

The power of unity lies with each of us. We can build unity with our families, we can build unity in our workplaces, we can build unity in our communities and in the world. We must be the ones who come together, keep together and support each others successes.

May we each choose to be a part of a unified world and may today’s story inspire you to be a part of the teamwork called unity!:

Teamwork in the workplace can be difficult. Teams at work often consist of a variety of conflicting personalities and styles. Getting to a point in which a team can collaborate and work in harmony can be a difficult task for a leader and takes time.

I love the following metaphor on teamwork from Steve Jobs I recently found.

He tells the story of a widowed man he had gotten to know in his eighties who lived up the street from him when he was a young boy.

One day the older man said to him, “come on into my garage, I want to show you something.” He pulled out a dusty and old rock tumbler that consisted of a motor and a coffee can with a little band between them, Jobs recollected.

He then invited him to the backyard where they collected some very regular and old ugly rocks. They put them in a can with a little bit of liquid and some grit powder. The old man then closed the can, turned the motor on and said, “come back tomorrow.”

Jobs remembered the can making a big racket as the stones went around in the can.

He came back the next day and when they opened the can and took out the rocks they were amazingly beautiful and polished. He states, “The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.” Teams, he states, are like these stones.

Individually we can be fairly normal, ordinary and even a bit rough. But through the process of teamwork we can end up in a very different state.

Jobs states that teams consisting of incredibly talented people who are passionate and are working hard towards something often times bump up against each other, argue, sometimes fight and make some noise. By working together they polish one another and their ideas and in the process create beautiful stones.

I love this metaphor. Have you built up enough trust on your teams to allow bumping up against one another and passionately arguing on occasion?

Passive, “follow the leader” types of teams are destined to fail. Each member of a team brings something unique. They are unique in their gifts, ideas and arguments. Team members must feel like they can express themselves without embarrassment or retribution.

Leaders who embrace the process of “tumbling stones” on their teams create more efficiency, better ideas, better problem solving and ultimately better teamwork.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2014/10/teamwork-and-collaboration-a-powerful-metaphor-and-story-to-share.html

Making a Difference in the World – We Can Be the Difference!

The Difference between what we are Doing and what we’re Capable of Doing would solve most of the world’s problems

Can you imagine how dramatically our world would change if we all recognized and believed that WE CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE!

It’s true! We can be the difference that the world needs! Change does not happen overnight but we are the only beings on earth that God has entrusted to be the change that the world needs!

Every positive choice we make makes a difference! Every mind aligned with truth becomes the catalyst! Every positive action makes the world a better place – no matter how small!

We have been born to create! Ours is the power to transform!

Just think of the difference one positive, hopeful, person with faith in God can make – then realize the synergy of hundreds, thousands and millions choosing to live a life of difference!

It you are willing to make the world a better place, think about what you can do:

  • Share a sincere compliment
  • Say thank you to everyone who provides service to you (even if they are getting paid for it)
  • Smile and say hi to everyone you meet (even strangers)
  • Give a hug to your loved ones!
  • Be courteous in all of your interactions
  • Laugh and share a blessing that is a part of your life
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for doing something right rather than berate yourself for something you didn’t do just right
  • Volunteer to give someone a ride or to sit with an invalid so their family member can run errands
  • Express your love to a family member or someone special in your life

Everything we do and everything we say makes a difference! What difference are you going to make today?!!

Today’s story touched my heart – I hope it will touch yours as well!:

Making a Difference

Here is a story of an elementary teacher that happened many years ago. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners … he is a joy to be around.” His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.” By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.” Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(Contributed by Dr. Andrew Jenkins, Central Washington University)

Story shared from the following website: http://www.pelinks4u.org/articles/inspire/ins102599.htm

 

Setting Priorities…Spending Time on Things That Are Important

SeMost of us spend too much time on what is urgent and Not enough time on what is Important

Setting Priorities – easy to say and not always easy to do. It may seem like getting that pay raise or new car is important. Or perhaps, we are intent on getting our garage cleaned and organized or the kids have to be taken to practice. It all seem important until something happens to a loved one and then, as their life hangs in the balance, none of that is important at all.

When you are setting your priorities, do you look at your responsibilities and weigh the importance of what effect your schedule will have on your relationships? Do you look at your life through those glasses that allow you to see what would truly be important if everything non-essential were stripped away?

This last summer as I sat in the hospital beside my granddaughter, I was reminded of the importance of keeping my focus on the truly important things.

It can be so easy to get caught up in living life without really giving importance and priority to the things that are eternal and timeless.

As we start out this new year, it is my prayer that all of us will give time to those things that are truly important and stress less about those things that aren’t.

I loved the sweet humor in today’s story. I hope you enjoy!:

Putting First Things First

Gordon J. Pennock

I once read an amusing story about a farmer who told his wife, as he tumbled into bed, “I’ll plow tomorrow.” “The next morning,” as the story goes, “he started to lubricate the tractor. But he needed oil, so he went to the shop to get it. On the way, he noticed that the chickens had not been fed. He started for the crib to get some corn, but he found some sacks there which reminded him that the potatoes needed sprouting. He headed toward the potato-pit. En route, he spotted the woodpile and remembered the shortage of kindling at the house. But he had to chop it first, and he had left his axe in the chicken coop. As he went for his axe, he met his wife who was feeding the pigs. With surprise, she asked, “Have you finished the plowing already?” “Finished?” the farmer bellowed, “I haven’t got time to get started!”

This story illustrates what happens to too many of us on too many days-especially preachers. We plan a day’s work, but then, we get an unexpected telephone caller or visitor who wants to discuss with us some personal problem or Bible question. And of course it is important that we do so. So the work that we planned must be set aside for the present. Or, it may be that we are informed of someone who is sick or hospitalized, so the planned activities must be postponed in favor of such missions of kindness and helpfulness. These interruptions are of course gladly and cheerfully accepted, because we recognize that priorities must always play a part in every plan.

What we must avoid is the upsetting of meaningful and important plans by trivial incidents or matters which are mundane and of but momentary value. An interesting Biblical lesson along this line may be drawn from the record in Luke 10, verses 38 through 42. While visiting in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany, Jesus saw contrasting dispositions in these two women. While Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and heard His word, . . . Martha was cumbered (distracted) about much serving.” Poor Martha! She was so concerned and preoccupied with the details of entertaining that she failed to take advantage of Jesus’ presence in her home by sitting down and listening to His word, like Mary did. And, thinking that what she was doing was so important, she felt unjustly treated by her sister and complained to Jesus about Mary’s indolence, as well as His apparent indifference toward it. He responded in words. which need to be heeded by all who are faced with the sometimes perplexing problem of priorities. He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful; for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Yes, it is also necessary for us to make careful evaluation and give proper priority to the many worthwhile demands upon our time. Surely, we will never have the time to do all the things which can and should be done. Consequently, we must use discrimination in choosing what we do. Like Martha, we need to be careful to choose “the good part” or that which is “needful.”

When we speak of priorities we refer to matters all of which may be proper but only of relative value when compared with others. It was in this vein that Jesus was speaking when He said: “Seek ye first his (God’s-GJP) kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things (food, drink and shelter) shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Note, that Jesus did not say, seek ye only God’s kingdom and righteousness, but rather seek them first.

Jesus certainly knew as well as we do that man has certain physical needs which must be satisfied if he is to survive. Spending time and energy to provide for these needs is not only proper but a serious obligation, as spelled out in such passages as these: “If any (man) will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10); again: “Let him (the Christian-GJP) labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that hath need” (Eph. 4:28). Plans and provisions to supply these needs nevertheless become sinful whenever we allow them to subordinate and displace our obligations to God and the neglect of our spiritual needs.

Friend, let us keep our values unmixed and our priorities straight. Put God, His kingdom and His will, first in your life and everything else that is needful will be enjoyed as a bonus.

Truth Magazine XIX: 48, p. 757
October 16, 1975

Story shared from the following website: http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume19/TM019330.html

We All Need a Cheerleader…Turning to God

We all need a cheerleader...I hear God has the best megaphone and pom poms!

At the beginning of the year I always have a tendency to see the days ahead as an opportunity to do better – to improve and give fresh views to my life. Turning to God is something I did a very long time ago. One of the things I have learned throughout my life is that I cannot enlist any better support system than what God offers to me. Virtually every day offers some telltale sign that God has been in the micromanagement of my life.

As I have mapped out my goals for this new year, I have realized even more that it does not take January 1 to come around in order to take a fresh look at my life or to make important plans. Every day that I have God’s support is a day that I can do something magnificent with my life – even if no one else is aware of it! For me, organizing my pantry may be my day’s magnificent accomplishment. On another day, it may be completing my next manuscript. Yet, with God’s direction in hand, I know that, with Him, my most magnificent accomplishments are the brief tender ones – sharing a hug with a friend, teaching a grandchild how to make cookies, or perhaps just showing a small kindness to a stranger.

As we head into this new year, I hope that you will utilize God as a critical part of your life and recognize the tender mercies and blessings that surround you in spite of the challenges and difficulties!

Today’s story struck a cord with me. I hope it will for you as well!:

WHO PACKED YOUR PARACHUTE TODAY

Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning,’ ‘how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute.

– Author Unknown –

Today’s story shared from the following website: http://godslittleacre.net/inspirationalstories/who_packed_your_parachute_today.html

True Wealth…Do You Have It?

True Wealth – do you have it?  When you make an assessment of your life – is your bank account wealthy but your relationship account poor? Have you ever noticed how miserable some of the very wealthiest people are?

When my father died, I came to know how truly wealthy he was. His bank accounts weren’t overflowing with wealth but his relationship accounts were. It seemed that everyone who knew him had a story to tell about him helping them or how much they valued his friendship. My dad was the kind of person his friends knew they could count on.

My dad rarely stepped inside of a church because of feelings of inadequacy and yet the leader of the congregation that my dad belonged (whom you would think would have not known him due to poor church attendance) knew him well, claimed that my dad was a truly treasured friend, and shared nothing but praise for the many times he had witnessed my father serve him and others.

My dad left nothing in his will for his grandchildren or great grandchildren but he left a treasure trove of precious memories. Whether it was dad helping my oldest daughter as a child feed my dad’s lame calf, inviting everyone out to sled in his fields or his frequent calls to meet him while he was in town for an ice cream cone – my family knew my dad’s love for them. Even in his last months of ill health, my dad was a frequent provider of his infamous piggy back rides.

A friend remarked to me after my dad’s funeral that he hoped that he was remembered as fondly at his funeral as my dad was at his. I think that my friend realized how truly wealthy my dad was. Wealth like the kind my dad had is truly priceless.

Today, I share a story that I think speaks to the importance of acquiring people wealth. I hope you enjoy!:

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

Reflection:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

Author: Stephen Covey
From: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Story shared from the following website: http://rishikajain.com/2015/08/16/the-story-of-a-woodcutter-author-stephen-covey/