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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You Are More Than You Know…You Have Personal Power!

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You are more than you know… You have personal power! We all have the ability and are meant to make a positive difference in the world! The problem with too many of us, is that we don’t believe the great good that just one person can do and the difference that just one personal can make! Too many believe that they have no personal power when the truth is that our personal power is a innate gift from God!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story! It comes from the book Stone Soup for the World

The Power of an Idea  by Jeb Bush and Brian Yablonski

One Sunday morning in the spring of 1993, eleven-year-old David Levitt read “The Power of an Idea” in Parade magazine. The story was about Stan Curtis, a Kentucky man who had founded a network of volunteers to transport donated food to hungry people. The program was called Harvest USA, with over eighty chapters across the nation. David was so intrigued, particularly by their motto “Feeding The Hungry Without Money,” that he paid a visit to another food organization, the local Tampa Bay Harvest.

The president gave him all kinds of information about Stan Curtis’ food donor program called “Operation Food for Thought” in Louisville, where donated leftovers from school cafeterias goes to the hungry. Why couldn’t he create a similar program in his school so that leftover food could feed the homeless in local soup kitchens?

The sixth-grader first approached his school principal with his idea, but was told that there were probably government regulations that would prevent a program like this from getting off the ground. Even his new friends at Tampa Bay Harvest told him that several people had made similar proposals to the Pinellas County School Board only to be defeated. Nevertheless, David was not discouraged.

Over the next few weeks, David collected facts, figures, and success stories from Tampa Bay Harvest and Operation Food for Thought. He researched Florida’s laws regarding food donations. He wrote a proposal, made eight copies of it, and personally delivered it to the superintendent and all seven members of the Pinellas County School Board.

While at the school board office, David asked to see the meeting room. Photographs of the board members were hanging on the walls, and as he looked at them he wondered how an eleven-year-old would be able to sway these powerful people when so many before him had failed. What if he called each of them individually to share his idea? He got the phone numbers of each of the board members, personally called each one, and asked their response to his idea. No one had ever taken the time to do this before and the school board members were really impressed with David’s determination.

David’s twelfth birthday was a big one. He found himself standing before the Pinellas County School Board in the very room he had been awed by only weeks before. His persistence and hard work had paid off. The school board unanimously approved his plan! David smiled in victory. “It just took a kid to help them see that this matters,” he said.

Five months went by, however, and the program had still not been implemented. David was getting impatient. Food was being wasted and people were going hungry. David called the president of Tampa Bay Harvest to see what needed to be done. It turned out that they needed airtight containers to ship the food, and since the school system’s budget had no money to purchase them, Tampa Bay Harvest was responsible for buying the containers. But they didn’t even have a bank account, let alone the money.

David set out on a quest for the containers. A visit to his local supermarket got him the addresses of companies that made containers. He then sent letters to every company he could find. Publix Super Market, Inc. was the first to help. They sent him a one-hundred dollar gift certificate to buy containers. He was making progress, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Next, David received a letter from an executive at First Brands Company, maker of Glad Lock bags. They were so impressed with David’s project that they sent him eight cases of storage bags and later committed to providing an ongoing supply. David was delighted.

Now the program was finally ready to begin. It had taken just about a year from the time David had gotten approval from the school board for the first school lunch to find its way to the hungry. At first, ten schools donated their leftover lunches to soup kitchens and local shelters. Today one hundred and five school in Pinellas County send their leftover lunches to the volunteer transportation network – over 234,000 pounds of food in two years!

Now, fifteen-year-old David wonders, “Can you imagine how much food there would be for the homeless if every food server throughout the U.S. participated in food donation programs?” Now he’s lobbying the Florida legislature to get his program to go statewide. When David tells others about his experience, he says, “Kids can make a difference, and adults will take the time to listen to kids.”

David’s always looking for creative ways to get more food to the homeless. At his bar mitzvah, he asked guests to bring canned foods for Tampa Bay Harvest and, as a result, collected over five hundred pounds of food. “The most important thing I’ve learned is how good it makes you feel when you do something to help others,” David said in his bar mitzvah speech. “Working with the Harvest program has made me a better person.” He adds, “I want to champion causes like this as long as I live.”

 

Your Mind is a Powerful Thing!

your-mind-is-a-powerful-thing-hot-air-balloon-1268998Your Mind is a Powerful Thing! Without the mind, no inventions would have been invented and no stories could have been written. With the mind, anything that can be imagined can be created! When we learn to control and harness our thoughts and our creativity in positive ways, we open our lives to true abundance!

Today’s story is a little unusual but I love that it so clearly communicates the power of our minds. I hope you enjoy!

One man was traveling and suddenly he got to the paradise.

He sat down under the desire tree (there is such tree in the paradise, sitting under which you can immediately fulfil any your desire, you just need to think about it) and thought: “I am hungry, so it would be nice to have a bite right now.” And when he just thought about this, a table full of different dishes that he was thinking about appeared right before him.

Wow! – The man was surprised, – but it can’t be! – He thought so, and the table with dishes disappeared immediately. “It would be nice to get it back!” – And dishes appeared again.

He ate a plenty of dishes – he has never eaten such tasty food before. After satisfying hunger he thought: it would be nice to drink something – and a perfect wine appeared immediately, because there are no restrictions in the paradise.

Lying in the shadow of the tree and drinking wine, he started wondering: Why these miracles do happen? It just can’t be that everything would be so good – probably some ghosts played a joke on me.

Suddenly the ghosts appeared. They were terrible and looked like he imagined them.

The man became scared and thought: now they will kill me!

And they killed him.

Everyone lives in the world that he deserves.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.eu/stories/stories-about-the-power-of-thoughts/

Building Faith….

Building Faith in Our Lives

I hope you will love today’s story as much as I do! Building faith in our lives does not always come easily or according to the time frame we determine. I am convinced that building faith is much like navigating a maze blindfolded. We know there is a path and we know there is a way to successfully get to the goal but we cannot see the end until we actually arrive there.

With a maze and with life – the point is to navigate the path using the best efforts we are capable of. And…with the assistance made available to us, we can make corrections and keep trying until we get it right! Building faith is not an easy task but the reward is well worth the effort!

Tell Them (Author Unknown)

Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith.

That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange – very strange.

Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge. He constantly objected to or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?” “No,” I said emphatically. “Oh,” he responded. “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

I let him get five steps from the door and then called out. “I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am certain He will find you.” Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm.

“Tommy! I’ve thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick,” I blurted out.

“Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It’s a matter of weeks.”

“Can you talk about it?”

“Sure. What would you like to know?”

“What’s it like to be only 24 and know that you’re dying?”

“It could be worse,” he told me, “like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”

Then he told me why he had come.

“It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God, and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit. I decided I didn’t really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.’ So I began with the hardest one: my dad.”

Tommy’s father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.

“Dad, I would like to talk with you.”

“Well, talk.”

“I mean, it’s really important.”

The newspaper came down three slow inches.

“What is it?”

“Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”

Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. “The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I couldn’t remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning.

“It was easier with my mother and little brother,” Tommy continued. “They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the things we had been keeping secret for so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, and I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

“Then one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. Apparently He does things in His own way and at His own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

“Tommy,” I added, “could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you told me?”

Though we scheduled a date, he never made it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen or the mind ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. “I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said. “I know, Tommy.”

“Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?”

“I will, Tommy. I’ll tell them.”

 Story shared from: www.inspirationalarchive.com/1760/tell-them/

Spending Time with Family and Loved Ones…You Will Never Regret It!

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I am blessed with a husband that taught me the importance of making memories and spending time with family and loved one. I hope that you are able to spend time with your family and loved ones this holiday season. If not, I hope that you will make sure that they know of your love for them!

Today, I want to share a story I love!:

by Stephen on October 14, 2008

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.”

Story shared from the following website: http://academictips.org/blogs/give-time-to-our-family/

Have the Faith to Cut the Rope and Do God’s Will!

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Sometimes I find that my daily blog post is as much for me as is it for anyone else. Today is one of those days! I really needed to be reminded that my faith is about listening and doing God’s will – not taking care of my personal desires.  I’m just getting over a bad cold and my humanness just wants a long nap and all of my responsibilities to be handled with the wiggle of my nose.

Today’s story about faith reminded me that, though I am tired, I am greatly blessed and sometimes faith requires discomfort. I hope you enjoy today’s story as much as I did! (I really needed today’s story!)

The Mountain Climber

— Author Unknown

They tell the story of a mountain climber who, desperate to conquer the Aconcagua, initiated his climb after years of preparation. But he wanted the glory to himself, therefore, he went up alone. He started climbing and it was becoming later, and later. He did not prepare for camping, but decided to keep on going.

Soon it got dark. Night fell with heaviness at a very high altitude. Visibility was zero. Everything was black. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by clouds.

As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell. Falling rapidly he could only see blotches of darkness that passed. He felt a terrible sensation of being sucked in by gravity. He kept falling… and in those anguishing moments good and bad memories passed through his mind. He thought certainly he would die.

But then he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Yes! Like any good mountain climber he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist. In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air he had no other choice but to shout: “HELP ME GOD. HELP ME!”

All of a sudden he heard a deep voice from heaven… “What do you want me to do?”

“SAVE ME.”

“Do you REALLY think that I can save you?”

“OF COURSE, MY GOD.”

“Then cut the rope that is holding you up.”

There was another moment of silence and stillness. The man just held tighter to the rope. The rescue team says that the next day they found a frozen mountain climber hanging strongly to a rope…
TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND.

Story shared from: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/faithstories/TheMountainClimber

The World Has Enough Beautiful Mountains…Be Grateful!

the-world-has-enough-beautiful-mountains-beautiful-1694880Does your world have enough beautiful mountains? Does it have enough to make your happy? Are you grateful for what you have?

Do you look for your blessings? As you look at today’s meme, can you see the beautiful mountains that are depicted on the woman’s face? Or, without looking closely, did you assume you were seeing a five o’clock shadow?

As we enter the holiday season – I like to think that Thanksgiving is a fitting beginning of our celebration because it starts the festivities with being Thankful and having Gratitude. Recognizing our blessings is a huge component of finding happiness in life.

If your wealth was determined by the amount of time, love and energy you shared with others, how wealthy would you be? If your happiness was dependent on your ability to recognize your blessings – would you be happy?

In reality, our eternal wealth is dependent on the amount of time, love and energy we share with others and our happiness is directly connected to our ability to recognize our blessings and be grateful.

Today, I want to share a portion of a post from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. I think it provides some good food for thought 🙂 !

Are you thankful no matter what? Perhaps you have lost your job recently, as the economy has continued to struggle. Or you may have lost your health, or a loved one. Such circumstances can be tremendously difficult. But even so, we all have much to be thankful for. Look with me at the story of a man who had every right to be bitter—but wasn’t.

The next footsteps in the corridor, he knew, might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone floor of the dank, cramped prison cell. Not an hour passed when he was free from the constant irritation of the chains and the pain of the iron manacles cutting into his wrists and legs.

Separated from friends, unjustly accused, brutally treated—if ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man, languishing almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his lips rang with words of praise and thanksgiving!

The man was the Apostle Paul—a man who had learned the meaning of true thanksgiving, even in the midst of great adversity. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV).

Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything—no matter the circumstances! Thanksgiving for the Apostle Paul was not a once-a-year celebration, but a daily reality that changed his life and made him a joyful person in every situation.

Thanksgiving—the giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ. We must not allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden our heart and chill our relationship with God and with others.

Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness.

In the ancient world, leprosy was a terrible disease. It hopelessly disfigured those who had it, and it permanently cut them off from normal society. Without exception, every leper yearned for one thing: To be healed.

One day 10 lepers approached Jesus outside a village, loudly pleading with Him to heal them. In an instant He restored them all to perfect health—but only one came back and thanked Him. All the rest left without a word of thanks, their minds preoccupied only with themselves, gripped with a spirit of ingratitude.

Today, too, ingratitude and thanklessness are far too common. Children forget to thank their parents for all that they do. Common courtesy is scorned. We take for granted the ways that others help us. Above all, we fail to thank God for His blessings.

Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible. One of the Bible’s indictments against rebellious humanity is that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Romans 1:21, NIV). An ungrateful heart is a heart that is cold toward God and indifferent to His mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything.

From one end of the Bible to the other, we are commanded to be thankful. In fact, thankfulness is the natural out-flowing of a heart that is attuned to God. The psalmist declared, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7, NIV). Paul wrote, “Be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NIV). A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian.

Why should we be thankful? Because God has blessed us, and we should be thankful for each blessing.

Post is shared from: https://billygraham.org/story/how-to-be-thankful-in-all-things/.

Happy Thanksgiving! May God’s Greatest Blessing Be Yours!

thanksgiving-2016-autumn-1649440Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May God’s greatest blessings be yours and may we all recognize the incredible blessings that are a part of our lives!

Here’s an inspirational story for Thanksgiving!:

A Thanksgiving Remembrance

My paternal grandmother lived with us. She would sit in the porch swing and I would stand behind her and brush her beautiful long gray hair. As I brushed her hair she would tell me her two favorite stories from the Bible. The only thing better was when she would have me snuggle up close to her in the swing as she read to me. As I child, I surmised that they were just good stories but now as a mother and grandmother I realize she had an ulterior motive – she was teaching me a most valuable lesson – a lesson about kindness and thankfulness.

She often added to the story of the Good Samaritan, “You never pass someone in need even if their skin is not the color of yours.” And, “You should never pick and choose who you will be kind to, you just be kind,” she would enumerate over and over.

This same instruction came with Manners and Etiquette. “Know what to do and do it. If you do the same right thing often enough it will become second nature to you.” “That way,” she would instruct, “You will always know what to do and feel confident doing it.”

Sounded complicated as a child but as I grew older I realized what I did automatically, others my age struggled with.

This tutoring soon gave me the understanding that the Kindness lessons and the Manners lessons were synonymous. They both really were practicing the Golden Rule. Which is simply put, “Treat others, as you want to be treated and never forget any kindness extended to you.”

I also learned as a child growing up that my mother always had a slip of paper fastened to the inside of a cabinet door in the kitchen. It was near the sink where mother was more apt to see it. At the top of the page were written the words, “Lest I forget.” There was never a kindness extended to her or our family that was not found listed on her paper. In November of each year she would in some way once again let the person or persons involved know how grateful she was for their kindness. Mother often quoted the reminder to us, “Don’t remember the kindness you do for another, but never forget kindness done for you.”

I am reminded even more of the lessons learned as a child and even some days I find myself missing that spot on grandma’s lap and the peace that came with her loving arms around me.

May we each give thanks and remember all kindness given to us.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.values.com/your-inspirational-stories/39-a-thanksgiving-remembrance

Are You Thankful for Your Thorns?…Dealing with Adversity

rose bushes  profile-girl-rose-young-girl-50998With Thanksgiving quick approaching, the last thing you may have on your mind is thorns. However, life is full of thorns and it is important to be thankful – even for some of the thorns! In that spirit, I share today’s story:

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No – she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.” “I . . . . I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”

Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang. “Barbara, hi!” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did. “Yes, please. It’s exquisite.” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”

Sandra stared. “Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement?” she wondered. “Ah,” said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah . . . ” “Yes?” “Well, she had no flowers!” “Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the “Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself she chuckled. “Do you really want to know?” “I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing. I’d think about nothing else!” “That might be good,” said Jenny.

“Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.” “Ouch!” said Sandra. “That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”

“I’m a Christian, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s bell diverted their attention.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. “I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily. “I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet. “Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.” Sandra could not resist asking, “These are for your wife?” Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. “Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?” “In fact, I’m glad you asked,” He said. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage – our love, really. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems — stems! — As a reminder of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition.” Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life, ” Sandra said to Jenny. “Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns.” Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.” “I hoped you would, ” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both the good and hard times. We grow through both.” “Thank you. What do I owe you?” “Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

Jenny handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.” My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

-Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.heavensinspirations.com/thankful-for-thorns.html

Prayer is Not An Old Woman’s Idle Amusement

Portrait on Black Of Old woman Praying

I believe that Prayer may be the greatest gift we have been given – next to the Atonement! It has been my personal experience that sincere, daily prayer is an indispensable tool in  bringing me closer to God and to true balance in my life.

I love that prayer has helped me to know God better and helped me to understand more and more the true mentor and friend that my Creator is. I know of His perfection and of His love but I also know, from my near death experience, that this life is meant to be a growth experience. Prayer has helped me to grow with God as my ally. I hope that you will allow prayer to strengthen your relationship with God as well!

Today, I want to share a story that I love! :

One day in the mother house in Calcutta there were about three hundred novices and they were all out for the morning. One of the novices working in the kitchen came up to Mother Teresa and said, “We’ve planned poorly; we have no flour to back these chipaties for lunch.” Chipaties are little flour and water pancakes. The situation looked bleak—three hundred plus mouths are coming to be fed in about an hour and a half and there’s nothing to cook with. There’s no food.

“What I would expect Mother Teresa to do,” Fr. Langford explained to me, “Was that Mother would pick up the telephone and call some of her benefactors and mobilize them to find some way to feed her daughters. Instead, her reaction—her spontaneous reaction—was to say to this little one, ‘Sister, you’re in charge of the kitchen this week? Well then, go into the chapel and tell Jesus we have no food. That’s settled. Now let’s move on. What’s next?’”

Lo and behold, ten minutes later there was a ring at the door and Mother Teresa was called downstairs. A man she had never seen before was standing there with a clipboard. He addressed her saying “Mother Teresa, we were just informed that the teachers at the city schools are going on strike. Classes have been dismissed and we have 7,000 lunches we don’t know what to do with. Can you help us use them?”

God provided for the needs of his children.

Mother Teresa’s sanctity was built on a very simple foundation of deep faith and trust in God. Mother Teresa turned to Him in prayer, not only in need, but also to rest in the arms of the Father—body and spirit.

That is how Mother Teresa lived each day of her life.

This story comes from http://101prayer.com/story2.html

The Way to be With God…

the-way-to-be-with-god-tree-838666Do you find it difficult to put God first in your life? Do you also find that in the most difficult moments of your life that God is who you first turn to?

Expecting your relationship with God to be vibrant and strong during momentous times is like expecting your marriage to be full of fireworks and bliss without working on it or spending time with your spouse. It may sound good but it just doesn’t work that way.

God always follows the law of the harvest. You reap what you sow – both in your marriage and in your relationship with him.

In order to trust God, you have to know Him. In order to know Him, He must be more than a casual acquaintance.

To know God is a simple concept but one that is not always easy to accomplish. I have found that it requires prayer and turning to Him for guidance daily. I have also found that utilizing God’s guidance on a daily basis has placed me in a position of hope and enabled me to successfully use, know and understand His guidance whether the difficulty is big or small. In a way that words can’t explain, I find that my life is easier to handle, I am strengthened, and my ability to see life as it really is is enhanced.

I hope that you will choose the blessing of knowing God for your life!

Today, I have a story about a man who knew God. I hope you will enjoy!

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless:

The boat was small and the storm was really huge, and any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid ?”. This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the other shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?

The man laughed and took the sword out of its sheath. The woman was even more puzzled: What he was doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck.

He said,” Are you afraid ?”

She started to laugh and said,” Why should I be afraid ?,If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.

” He put the sword back and said, This is my answer”. I know God Loves me, and the storm is in His hands

SO WHATSOEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD. If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good ,because everything is in His hands and He cannot do anything wrong.

Story is from the following website: http://rishikajain.com/2013/01/22/inspirational-short-story-with-moral-trust-in-god/